Author Topic: Need some advice from experienced geekhackers. Apple Extended Keyboard  (Read 3366 times)

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Offline Jamesbeat

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I have a project lined up, and I need a keyboard for it.

I have an old wireless keyboard that gave good service, but has now started double registering keystrokes and is basically worn out.

What I want to do is get a mechanical keyboard (with mechanical switches, not membrane), desolder the pcb, and wire up a new matrix with the wireless controller from my old keyboard.
And yes, I know that this will involve a LOT of wire stripping and soldering...

I have found an Apple Extended keyboard M3501 for cheap, and I know that it uses ALPS, which will be suitable for my project.
Obviously the old controller will be disposed of, so no compatibility problems.

What I'd like to know is, are there any reasons that this keyboard might prove unsuitable before I pull the trigger on it?
The layout appears to be ok, but are there any aspects of this keyboard that might make it unsuitable that may not be immediately obvious to a noob like me?

I will be using it with Linux, if that makes any difference.

Edit: For instance, do the switches have something other than the pcb to hold them in place, such as a metal plate?
« Last Edit: Tue, 28 February 2012, 14:17:25 by Jamesbeat »

Offline Ascaii

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Need some advice from experienced geekhackers. Apple Extended Keyboard
« Reply #1 on: Tue, 28 February 2012, 14:26:28 »
The main issue will be that the matrix of the keyboard and the matrix on the controller have to match. I am in no ways qualified to give you the techical details, but I will link you to a wireless mod where this problem is addressed:

http://geekhack.org/showwiki.php?title=Island:21096

maybe the creator of this mod can help you with yours!
"Mechanical keyboards are like pokemon:
you start with one, and then you wanna catch em all."

Offline Jamesbeat

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Need some advice from experienced geekhackers. Apple Extended Keyboard
« Reply #2 on: Tue, 28 February 2012, 14:32:42 »
Yup, I saw that, but I'm going to take the simpler but harder way out.
I'm going to solder wires directly from the controller to the the keys.
Probably won't be very pleasant to do, but as long as I'm systematic it'll be ok.
I already have the controller matrix mapped out, just a matter of finding a suitable board and doing the hard work.

Basically, what I need is a casing, a frame to hold the keys, and a bunch of switches and keycaps.
Providing the board doesn't rely on the pcb to hold the switches in place, I should be good to go.

Also, are the Apple keycaps a standard profile and shape, so I can buy aftermarket keycaps in the future, or do they use some weird shape or height that will make the aftermarket keycaps sit higher or lower or something?

Offline Ascaii

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Need some advice from experienced geekhackers. Apple Extended Keyboard
« Reply #3 on: Tue, 28 February 2012, 14:54:41 »
Perhaps lowpoly's M110 mod will give you some inspiration on how to wire a matrix directly between switches mounted in a plate. I found his use of the diodes and the attached wire quite ingenious.
Here you go:
http://deskthority.net/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=1067
"Mechanical keyboards are like pokemon:
you start with one, and then you wanna catch em all."

Offline fohat.digs

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Need some advice from experienced geekhackers. Apple Extended Keyboard
« Reply #4 on: Tue, 28 February 2012, 15:02:37 »
Ascaii beat me to it. That M110 mod is staggering in its beauty.

I would recommend that you choose your "base" switches carefully before investing the time and energy to "build" your own board.

Personally, I like the switches in the Apple Extended Keyboard better than the AEK2, what with those rubber "dampers" that do more harm than good, in my opinion, and there are probably more people who would say that you should hold out for a good set of blue Alps switches, to make it all truly worthwhile.
"The Trump campaign announced in a letter that Republican candidates and committees are now expected to pay “a minimum of 5% of all fundraising solicitations to Trump National Committee JFC” for using his “name, image, and likeness in fundraising solicitations.”
“Any split that is higher than 5%,” the letter states, “will be seen favorably by the RNC and President Trump's campaign and is routinely reported to the highest levels of leadership within both organizations.”"

Offline Jamesbeat

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Need some advice from experienced geekhackers. Apple Extended Keyboard
« Reply #5 on: Tue, 28 February 2012, 15:45:42 »
Quote from: Ascaii;529646
Perhaps lowpoly's M110 mod will give you some inspiration on how to wire a matrix directly between switches mounted in a plate. I found his use of the diodes and the attached wire quite ingenious.
Here you go:
http://deskthority.net/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=1067


Thanks for the link, bookmarked!

As to the switches, you're right, but this board is $5, so I'll take it.
I'm not a gamer or a touch-typist, so I'm a comparatively light keyboard user.
Plus, I'm going to make it tenkeyless, so I'll have a supply of spare switches.