Heavily modded Kinesis Contoured

User avatar
Quartz64

16 Oct 2020, 19:28

This isn't my first modded Kinesis. I've modded 4 of them in a similar way by replacing switches (I'm not a fan of Cherry MX Browns), replacing rubber top row with mechanical switches and handwiring it all to a custom controller running QMK.

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But this one was special. Kinesis Essential KB132PC with typical problems: obsolete controller, yellowed chassis, Cherry Browns, rubber buttons (some of them were failing), hollow sound. The owner carefully listened for my explanation of powerful QMK wonders and flashing process, and finally asked me to preserve the original controller. So I had to install 3 panels with 6 MX switches instead of 2 to match existing 18 rubber buttons.

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That was easier than it sounds. All I had to do is desolder two Molex FPC connectors, put something more suitable instead and find the pinouts of the original membranes. Here they are:

Code: Select all

,--------------------------------------------,
| F8 | F7 | F6 | F5 | F4 | F3 | F2 | F1 | ESC|
|--------------------------------------------|
|  5 |  5 |  5 |  8 |  8 |  8 |  1 |  1 |  1 |
|--------------------------------------------|
|  4 |  3 |  2 |  7 |  6 |  2 | 11 | 10 |  2 |
`--------------------------------------------'

,--------------------------------------------,
| PG | KY | PB | SL | PS | F12| F11| F10| F9 |
|--------------------------------------------|
|  3 |  3 |  5 |  9 |  9 |  9 |  6 |  6 |  6 |
|--------------------------------------------|
|  1 |  2 |  4 | 10 | 11 |  5 |  7 |  8 |  5 |
`--------------------------------------------'
Request number two: add 1 button to each thumbcluster under the "End" and "PgDn", connect them as foot switches. I have designed custom mounting plate with additional switch hole.

Another request was to try and put inside Kensington Orbit trackball. It was a tight fit. I had to cut large pockets in thumbcluster PCBs, and another pocket in the bottom part of the chassis. I acknowledge that placing the mouse buttons just above the trackball isn't optimal, but I had no place left between thumbclusters.

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Final result is quite messy inside and not perfect from outside. Looks like I need to learn 3D modelling to print panels and special mounting brackets.

User avatar
vvp

17 Oct 2020, 20:58

Nice. I still hope to replace the controller on my Kinesis Advantage and maybe some modification to the thumb clusters. I do not mind the rubber buttons that much. It is easier to put the rubber keys into a layer anyway ... and leave their originals in the rubber form as they were.

User avatar
Quartz64

18 Oct 2020, 17:40

My next project is KinBP, fork of KinT controller by Michael Stapelberg. It is smaller (less than 100x100mm) and runs on $3.5 Black Pill STM32F103C8T6 board instead of expensive (>$20) Teensy 2.0++/3.x/4.x boards. Total cost of PCB and components is going to be around $15.

I need about 1 month to receive the samples from JLCPCB and assemble them. Unfortunately, I don't have Advantage or Advantage 2 with original components. I have removed all PCBs from my Kinesis Advantage about year ago and just threw them away. All documentation will be published under CC-BY-SA license as soon as I can make sure that the controller works.

User avatar
vvp

18 Oct 2020, 18:35

It is too late for you but there is some information about kinesis key matrix here:
http://humblehacker.com/blog/20100720/h ... -keyboard/

If I get to modernising my kinesis I'll go with Chris' firmware almost for sure and (less likely) with his hardware as well. That is mostly because I already use it on my custom K84CS.
https://github.com/chrisandreae/keyboard-firmware

Price of the controller is overrated for our small projects which result in only 1 - 10 keyboards modified. Time spent modifying the keyboard overwhelms the controller price.

Rayndalf

Today, 09:49

I wish those models with doubleshots were easier to find. The keywell connectors in the older ones seem to be somewhat unreliable.

Really not sure why anyone would want to keep the original controller. Mine is AT through an active PS/2 convertor and the input lag is slight but present.

User avatar
Quartz64

20 minutes ago

Rayndalf wrote:
Today, 09:49
I wish those models with doubleshots were easier to find.
This one has padprinted keycaps. Doubleshots were used on ever older models: 100, 110, 120 and some of 130s.
Rayndalf wrote:
Today, 09:49
The keywell connectors in the older ones seem to be somewhat unreliable.
That's one of the reasons why I prefer to tear down everything and make a handwiring.

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