Topre Realforce 101 ML0100 showcase

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Myoth

20 Jan 2019, 19:10

Greetings ! :duck: Sundays are Sundays, they mean time ! So this is a showcase of a keyboard that isn't covered enough in my opinion, this post is going to be a love letter to it :lol:

Contextualization :

If you ever were interested in old Topre keyboards, you won't notice a pattern in Topre keyboards, Topre made keyboards here and there and wasn't really consistent with its keyboards, from the oldest Topre keyboard that we've seen (viewtopic.php?f=62&t=19841) to their newest (viewtopic.php?f=44&t=18449), there are tons of naming schemes, part No. and Article numbers that would make Cherry enthusiasts sick :lol:. And it's fair, Topre is not a keyboard manufacturer after all, but a big company who happen to make keyswitches and PCBs for the same keyswitches. But this changed with the Realforce line. The Realforce set a massive standard in Topre's keyboard history, it set a consistent looking keyboard model, recognizeable by its thick top bezel and chubby looking corners.

The first Realforce model released was the 106, a WKL, JIS keyboard with variable dome. It was released in early 2003. Its brother, the Realforce 101, or ML0100, was released in the middle of 2003.

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There are 3 version of this the keyboard, the ML0110, the ML01K0 and the ML11K0. In order, a White WKL ANSI variant, a White WKL Korean ANSI variant and a Black WKL Korean ANSI variant. The first two use the dye-sublimination Topre is known for. Only the first and the latter have been seen, I'm not sure if there are even pictures of the ML01K0. Here is a picture of the ML11K0 :

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The 101 was unfortunately discontinued in September of 2012 (http://www.topre.co.jp/pdf/news/20120806/info_0806.pdf), because "Continuous production becomes difficult due to the completion of production of major electronic components." (Something to note is that the 101 mentionned is the ML0100, suggesting that the ML01K0 and ML11K0 were discontinued earlier.)

Specifications :

I mentioned it earlier, but I'm going to reiterate it to have a nice looking post. The ML0100 is an ANSI, WKL White Realforce keyboard with dye-subliminated keycaps.

But ... this description misses an aspect. The switches. Topre switches. Those come in multiple flavor : 30/35/40g, 45g, 55g, the different BKEs, variable, uniform, fun for everyone. The ML0100 comes with the "old" variable from Topre. "old" ? why the quotation marks ?, it's known to few people but Topre didn't always use the same variable scheme, the oldest ML0100s use the old version, this one to be precise :

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Whereas the latter models came with this variable scheme :

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The "new" variable was introduced somewhere between ... I actually don't know, this is one big mistery to me, I think it should be around 2008 ?

The love-letter to this model :

The Realforce 101 is my favourite model of its line and here's why : it's on the edge of the Realforce concept, it's common knowledge that the Realforce line, at least the first iteration of it, is trying to combine modernity, with a lot of technology in their keyboards, and traditionality, with its old looks.

The 101 is the peak of that concept, it uses the oldest usable layout there is and uses the same technology that you can find in the recent Topre keyboards. It's simply the most simple Realforce keyboard there is. The layout is to die for, the keycaps are excellent, and the switches are perfect.

Here are some pictures I took of mine, enjoy ! :D
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Dramatic shot
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Front shot
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Back shot
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Side shot
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Manual #1
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Manual #2
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Manual #3
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First date code, I thought it was less blurry than it actually is, sorry !
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Second date code, no matter how much I try to rotate it, I can't seem to do it, sorry !
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Spoiler:
P.S. : You may note the coiled cable, I actually just finished making it. Topre uses proprietary JST connector, fortunately for me, I had a 106 cable laying about, so it was easy to swap two JST connectors to make this nice coiled cable :)
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Hacked cable
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And what would be a showcase without a typing test ? Enjoy my bed desk !

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Dingster

20 Jan 2019, 19:13

Damn thats a good looking topre board. Sounds great, and that coiled cable...

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Myoth

20 Jan 2019, 19:44

:D thanks, it took the whole afternoon even though it is, in theory, so simple hahaha

Tias

20 Jan 2019, 20:26

That sure is a beautiful board, simple and elegant :)

The wider case/bezel design of older Topre boards look so good imo. Also the Realforce logo placement being on the lock light bank makes it stand out less, and that ads to the overall simplicity.

How is the variable weighting like to use on a daily basis? I imagine one would need to touch type with a somewhat proper technique to utilize its full potential. My typing technique is a complete blasphemy, so the advantage of variable weighted switches would probably be wasted on me x)

Also typing on your "desk" seems to have eliminated the sometimes otherwise present desk vibrations, and it really brought out the great sound of the keyboard ;)

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Dingster

20 Jan 2019, 20:30

Looks like he is typing on a boat ;)

Also +1 on how does variable weighting feel? Seems like a pain in the ass without the proper technique.

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Myoth

20 Jan 2019, 21:23

Tias wrote:
20 Jan 2019, 20:26
How is the variable weighting like to use on a daily basis? I imagine one would need to touch type with a somewhat proper technique to utilize its full potential. My typing technique is a complete blasphemy, so the advantage of variable weighted switches would probably be wasted on me x)
Dingster wrote:
20 Jan 2019, 20:30
Also +1 on how does variable weighting feel? Seems like a pain in the ass without the proper technique.
I don't have a proper typing technique, but even so, I think variable is very pleasent, it's not for everyone for sure, but after bashing it for so long (mind you, the board I first tried it on was a board I hated, I got it for cheap but it was JIS and those two aspects made me hate it, so I was biased) but after recently getting a 86u, which is a board I've always wanted (to craft a 84u), I must say, I really like it, it's feels less tiring, and you don't feel so tired of typing, I'm not sure if that makes sense :lol:

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//gainsborough
ALPSの日常

20 Jan 2019, 21:41

Excellent write-up, dude! I didn't know a lot of the history behind this board, so thanks for taking the time to type it out so nicely! Very well done, and great typing test! The cable mod is siiiiiiiiick!

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