Golden Key GK-928 [light blue Aruz]

User avatar
zrrion

15 May 2021, 05:07

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Got this board in the mail today as I've never tried aruz switches and the layout was cute. They're not the normal aruz switch, as these are light blue and don't have a logo on the bottom so I have no idea how these may/may not differ from the more typical blue aruz.

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This is the biggest letdown, it's doubleshot, but both this and the stabilizer are broken. I have a plenty of spare BAEs of this sort (not green though), but none of the rod stab inserts. Using a spare BAE makes it possible to hit on the top but it still binds like hell.

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These are the light blue Aruz version, compared to the darker slider that is pictured on the wiki. Again, I don't have any other versions of aruz so IDK if these feel different or not. Would love some to compare with at some point for sure.

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You can see some of the keycap variety here. I suspect the enter key and the 9 key were both added by the seller, but the other keys are all made by the same manufacturer as best I can tell.
The thick caps that are only thick about halfway up are the made with the same molds as the caps on KPT102s, Omnikeys, and most Focus boards, but these appear to be adapted from older molds before the caps had been thinned out. There are some leftover molding marks of the old thickness present on the thin caps, especially visible on backspace keys. I started my caps cleaning before I took pictures so I will need to get pictures later to illustrate this.

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Noods. These switches are spectacularly clean, which I did not expect from the grime on the case/caps. This is very fortunate as I really like these switches, they sound great in this very roomy case with the plastic integrated plate.

As you can see the enter and spacebar use different switches, These are fine, but I do not really know why they didn't use aruz for these as well. Perhaps they are heavier, but they are less tactile and not as loud so they still feel lighter.
Spoiler:
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The case is really tall for a tkl.

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here's a pic of the spacebar switch

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and a pic of the light blue aruz

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comparison of the click leaves, aruz on the left, 4 tab clone on the right. the teeth of aruz are longer, and they don't curve back in at the end either, which contributes to the tactility as the teeth are a lot more to clear than the rounded teeth of the 4 tab leaf.

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Looks like the case was designed to possibly support locklights.

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The plate holes for the stab clips are too large and the clips move around and come out super easy. I was afraid of using a film in the hole with them would just stretch the plate so I glued them instead. The stab wires are also oxidized and aren't smooth at all. I've replaced all of them except for the spacebar which I don't really have a replacement for. Not sure what the best way to smooth the wires out is, I'll probably lightly sand them or something.

I really like this board, the layout is great, the caps are mostly good and the ones that aren't are easy enough to replace (except for the Fkeys, which are all pad printed). The case is nice, the switches are very tactile, louder than my cyan omrons. All things considered this is a fantastic find. I'll for sure be converting this, only thing I haven't decided is whether I'll try making a PCB, or if I'll be using the existing PCB and slapping a teensey on it.

User avatar
E3E

15 May 2021, 05:14

Oh yes, this one, the one that reminded me of the F77.

Lovely little thing. Great find here. Have fun in putting it to use after conversion! The integrated molded plastic plate is very interesting on this board.

User avatar
zrrion

15 May 2021, 05:53

the plastic plate was a curve ball for sure. I was expecting either a metal plate or a separate plastic one, not an integrated plastic plate. I think it contributes to the sound quite a bit, the PCB isn't especially flexible and screws into the top case in like 8 places so it isn't especially bouncy or anything either.

Hak Foo

16 May 2021, 04:09

Do you know the original use of these boards (this one and the Oshima you also posted)? The save-out/load-in jacks seem like something you'd see on home computers with audio-cassette storage, but those machines tended to use cheaper, non-discrete-switch keyboards, built into the main unit. I could imagine a system where this was a "normal" non-bidrectional keyboard protocol, and the jacks actually only record the keyboard bitstream, as some crude form of automation system.

User avatar
zrrion

16 May 2021, 08:28

Unfortunately no, I have no idea what these keyboards were for. these come from e-waste piles and had the cables cut so I don't even know what sort of connector these would have used. The save/load jacks do imply that these were used alongside cassettes which would make sense for home computing, but they don't have enough brains in them to be an entire computer, so they would have handled only the keyboard portion of whatever system they were part of. The nature of 2nd hand e-waste also means that the seller doesn't know squat about these either so that is of no help.

User avatar
zrrion

16 May 2021, 09:43

Remembered to take a picture of the caps to compare them to caps from another board.

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Bottom: GK-928, Top: PDC-101

The PDC-101 uses the same caps as KPT, JTC, Focus, and Omnikey boards so I'll be calling them "Focus" caps here. As you can see, the GK-928 cap has a "shelf" where it transitions from incredibly thick to thin while the Focus cap does not. However, the Focus cap does have molding in the black shot that extends up to that height as well as a line on the grey shot at about that height as well, which would suggest that the caps were at one point thicker in much the same way the GK-928. My guess is that whoever made these caps redid the molds at some point to cut costs, and the inner mold for the legend was kept the same while the outer mold was redone to be thinner. The old outer mold looks to have been repurposed by another manufacturer and was used to make the GK-928 caps. This is why the molding pattern is so haphazard compared to the Focus cap. There are some caps on this board that are pad printed (all of the Fkeys, the Break and Groph key as well as a few others) and while they are not doubleshot they still have the shelf where the caps are a lot thicker. would have been cool to get a bootleg focus "Groph" cap but whatever.

I've suspected for a while that a thicker version of focus caps existed, and it is cool to (kinda) have it, even if it likely isn't legit. It does make me wonder if legit thick focus caps are on any boards? I don't have any early focus stuff, but I have ordered a NOS AT layout Podworld keyboard which might be old enough? I kinda doubt it but it's not impossible I guess.

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