Author Topic: iGK61 keyboard review  (Read 673 times)

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Online reececonrad

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iGK61 keyboard review
« on: Tue, 24 October 2017, 17:49:18 »
So here is my experience with a full 2 hrs in hand.  I'm sure I'll find more to say down the road.  I bought the DIY kit with all of the offered parts except switches/caps.

I have built 9 custom keyboards in the past, and have modified 6 or 7 others.  This will be the first time I have tried hotswap sockets.

Case:
The case is the same form as the plastic ones you can order for cheap from ebay and aliexpress.  You can read up on reviews of those if you have more question.  Nice, cheap case.  Me likey.

It has an interesting mounting system, and I assume it is because of the hotswap sockets.  The PCB actually screws to the plate (on the back of the PCB) and then you screw through the plate into the case.  The case has 7 or so tall plastic bits that protrude up through the PCB and meet the plate.  Intersting that they did it this way but still left all 6 standard mounting holes for 60% baords.

One negative about this case is the screws.  As is often the case when screwing into plastic, the holes are very tight and take a lot of careful turning to fully tighten (so as not to strip the screws).  My hand still hurts b/c my precision screwdrivers don't have nice cushy handles :(

Included Cable
My first time to use USB-C on a board.  Nice to not have to look which way to plug it in.  I got what looks to be a 5ft USB-C cable that is black with braided fabric covering it for something like $1.  Can't beat that.

PCB compatibility
The PCB is actually compatible with other 60% cases.  Now... not ALL of them because it is just a little to large on edges to fit in a pok3r case.  However, it fit in my wooden case that I bought from Aliexpress.  The only clearance issue with mounts is that the hotswap sockets could interfere slightly with the center screwdown.  I was lucky to have it fit down exactly in the wooden case, but YMMV.

Stabilizers
The plate mounted stabilizers are very good.  They sound much better than the ones in my pok3r boards.  (Those are my only reference for plate mount).  I'm pretty picky about my stabilizers, and these are good.  I notice a very slight rattle on the enter key but I haven't lubed them yet.

For some strange reason, they have cutouts on the board for PCB stabilizers everywhere EXCEPT the left shift.  I would recommend they fix that in the next version for people who wish to buy this as a DIY part.

The hotswap sockets
These are awesome.  They are using the new Kailh sockets, and they are ingenious.  Mine had a few that were only soldered on one side.  These are surface mount pieices, so they just have a slight bit of solder below the hotswap arms.  Looks like they didn't get a few of them secured.

When you push the switches through the board, the hotswap plugs will push out if not properly soldered in.  In my case, after loading up the board with switches, I had 3 not working.  I was able to fix the issue by taking the board out of the case and pressing them back against the solder points. I checked and noticed that one arm of the socket was not soldered on those three switches.

None of this is an issue for me because I have a soldering iron and the knowledge/experience to fix it.  I just resoldered the affected arms and all is well now.  However, this could be a big deal for someone without equipment or knowledge of how to fix it.  I might suggest more QC checks on those solder points. Maybe I got random bad luck.  Still, no biggie for people who know how to use a soldering iron.

RGB backlighting
The lighting is vivid.  I haven't gotten into the software to mess around with colors yet. I couldn't get the software to see the keyboard hooked up through a usb hub, but once I got it directly connected to my computer all was good.  The software is a ton of fun.  The lighting is going to keep me busy for a long time.  Cool stuff indeed.

Programming
I'm not so sure programmable keys.  It seems that you can only change a key, not actually add a function layer. So for this reason, I will say the programmability of this keyboard is completely useless.  Yes, it supports media functions and arrow keys and such, but you can only assign them to a key, remapping the key.  Who would ever do or need such a thing?  I was hoping to find a way to set a function key but I'm just not seeing it.  You will have to use autohotkey to actually program arrow keys and such on this keyboard if you don't like the default function layer

I had one led not working when I first plugged it in.  Touch a soldering iron to all 4 legs on it to reheat the solder and now it works.  Again, no big deal to someone with equipment, but not great QC.  All you had to do was plug in the cable to see it wasn't working.

My overall impression is that this is respectable.  It's not perfect, but it's nice, especially if you don't need custom function layers. For the price I paid... it's a good deal.  Happy with my purchase.  I plan to use this board to try all of the switches I have sitting around.  I have 67g zealios in it at the moment. Very nice, but I'm about to swap it out with 62g and see which I like better.

If this was my only board, I would very much be missing the ability to control media and volume with a Fn+key command.  Again, as far as I can tell, this board only allows you to remap keys, not program function layers.

I have 5 or 6 switch tester plates around, but I can't ever get the full effect until they are on a real working board.  This is perfect for that job!


« Last Edit: Tue, 24 October 2017, 17:51:02 by reececonrad »
:)

Offline vizta

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Re: iGK61 keyboard review
« Reply #1 on: Wed, 10 January 2018, 07:19:26 »
there is new software version at site.
could you update your review?

Online reececonrad

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Re: iGK61 keyboard review
« Reply #2 on: Wed, 10 January 2018, 07:46:57 »
there is new software version at site.
could you update your review?

Yes, Iíve installed the new firmware and itís just what the keyboard needed.  You can now assign function keys properly like on most keyboards out there.  I set all of mine to the default functions that are on the vortex  pok3r boards because thatís what Iím used to.  And I use caps lock as my function key, but you can set it anywhere. 

In still think itís a great value.  Iíve ordered the aluminum case and hope to have it soon. 
:)

Offline Jacob4341

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Re: iGK61 keyboard review
« Reply #3 on: Fri, 12 January 2018, 18:18:44 »
Hi would you happen to be able to tell us the case compatibility with this PCB I was hoping to put it inside a KBDfans 5 degree case but I don't know if it's compatible.

Online reececonrad

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Re: iGK61 keyboard review
« Reply #4 on: Fri, 12 January 2018, 18:35:00 »
Hi would you happen to be able to tell us the case compatibility with this PCB I was hoping to put it inside a KBDfans 5 degree case but I don't know if it's compatible.

Pretty sure it wonít fit but let me check.  I have that case
:)

Online reececonrad

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Re: iGK61 keyboard review
« Reply #5 on: Fri, 12 January 2018, 19:10:58 »
It does not fit.  The plate is about 1mm to wide and about 1/2mm too tall.

Itís possible it would work with another plate but I would need more time to take it apart and see
« Last Edit: Fri, 12 January 2018, 19:17:01 by reececonrad »
:)