Author Topic: keyboard modding for newbies?  (Read 5555 times)

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Offline kodos96

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keyboard modding for newbies?
« on: Thu, 20 November 2008, 13:35:35 »
Hi all, longtime lurker, first time poster...

So I've been contemplating doing some keyboard modding, but I have no idea what I'm doing, and would rather not destroy a bunch of perfectly good keyboards in the process of trial and error.... does anyone know of any resources that would be useful for the newbie modder? I realize there probably aren't going to be any step-by-step howto guides, but maybe just examples of people documenting the mods they've done (like the posts in this forum section, just more of them)... just to get more of an idea of what's possible?

To ask a specific question of what I have in mind: I feel pretty much the same way iMav does about numpads - they must be destroyed, and their remains cast into the fiery pit from whence they sprang. Is amputation of a numpad from a board at all feasible? I don't care about aesthetics, so just sawing it off and sealing the chassis with duct tape would be fine by me... but that would require cutting through the PCB. Assuming that none of the control electronics are located on the portion of the board I want to remove, would cutting through the PCB and severing the leads to the numpad switches render the board inoperable? If so, would any solderingiron-fu be able to fix it?

Offline bhtooefr

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keyboard modding for newbies?
« Reply #1 on: Thu, 20 November 2008, 13:37:29 »
Well, depends on what sort of circuits run through there. Some boards may have circuits that need to be fully connected. Basically, if you're going to do that, you need to look at the board and see where the circuits in the PCB/membrane/whatever are, and what you can safely cut off.

Offline wellington1869

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keyboard modding for newbies?
« Reply #2 on: Thu, 20 November 2008, 13:45:36 »
sawing off the numpad, example 1

sawing off the numpad, example 2

sawing off something or the other, example 3

Is this the kind of thing you mean?

(on a related note, how hard would it be to saw off the numpad on a model M? Would love to get step by step instructions for that)

"Blah blah blah grade school blah blah blah IBM PS/2s blah blah blah I like Model Ms." -- Kishy

using: ms 7000/Das 3

Offline itlnstln

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keyboard modding for newbies?
« Reply #3 on: Thu, 20 November 2008, 13:53:15 »
I like the 'board in the 3rd link.


Offline bhtooefr

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keyboard modding for newbies?
« Reply #4 on: Thu, 20 November 2008, 13:53:36 »
I believe it is doable on a Model M, but you'd have to make sure the remains of the numpad weren't shorted out...

Offline wellington1869

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keyboard modding for newbies?
« Reply #5 on: Thu, 20 November 2008, 13:58:31 »
Quote from: bhtooefr;11930
I believe it is doable on a Model M, but you'd have to make sure the remains of the numpad weren't shorted out...


I'm surprised someone hasnt already done this and posted pics. I guess this will go on my long term list of things to do...

"Blah blah blah grade school blah blah blah IBM PS/2s blah blah blah I like Model Ms." -- Kishy

using: ms 7000/Das 3

Offline iMav

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keyboard modding for newbies?
« Reply #6 on: Thu, 20 November 2008, 14:07:14 »
Sawing off the numpad on a Model M2 would be trivial.  I THINK you could just cut off that portion of the membrane sheets...however, to be safe, you could certainly just roll up the numpad port of the membrane sheets.

Offline wellington1869

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keyboard modding for newbies?
« Reply #7 on: Thu, 20 November 2008, 14:21:50 »
Quote from: iMav;11940
Sawing off the numpad on a Model M2 would be trivial.  I THINK you could just cut off that portion of the membrane sheets...however, to be safe, you could certainly just roll up the numpad port of the membrane sheets.


Does anyone know any reason why this couldnt also be done to a unicomp? (Does the (ill-named) spacesaver unicomp model for instance have a metal plate? Although even if it did, it could be done, just takes a bit more sweat maybe).

Now I am envisioning a unicomp spacesver with greased up springs and a sawed off numberpad...droool.

"Blah blah blah grade school blah blah blah IBM PS/2s blah blah blah I like Model Ms." -- Kishy

using: ms 7000/Das 3

Offline bhtooefr

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keyboard modding for newbies?
« Reply #8 on: Thu, 20 November 2008, 14:23:55 »
It does have a metal plate - I've got an EnduraPro, which is a SpaceSaver with a TrackPoint tacked on.

Offline lowpoly

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keyboard modding for newbies?
« Reply #9 on: Thu, 20 November 2008, 14:25:50 »
There are some mod related links in the wiki.

Quote
Assuming that none of the control electronics are located on the portion of the board I want to remove, would cutting through the PCB and severing the leads to the numpad switches render the board inoperable?

It depends on the 'board. For ex. current Cherry G80s have the controller attached to the numpad area of the pcb. If you cut that off you will have to fix it. It helps if contoller and 'board pcb are separate in this case as you have a defined interface and can remove the controller for connection tests.

With a Cherry: If you're going to reuse the old controller then number code all interface connectors. Use permanent marker to draw a line where you're going to cut. With each circuit path that is going to be cut: find the next solder spot inside the remaining area and do a connection test to the controller interface. When it beeps, write down the number beside that solder spot. Saw. Connect the numbered solder spots to the numbered controller connectors.

It can be much easier though. When I cut the alpha part out of my Cherry G80 donor, only one key in the remaining part didn't work. One wire would fix that.

Quote
If so, would any solderingiron-fu be able to fix it?

Basically, yes. Not sure what happens if keyboard pcb and controller pcb are one piece. This can make connection testing difficult at least.

Miniguru thread at GH // The Apple M0110 Today

Offline wellington1869

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keyboard modding for newbies?
« Reply #10 on: Thu, 20 November 2008, 14:26:34 »
Quote from: bhtooefr;11943
It does have a metal plate - I've got an EnduraPro, which is a SpaceSaver with a TrackPoint tacked on.


bummer

Quote

Now I am envisioning a unicomp spacesver with greased up springs and a sawed off numberpad...droool.


note to self: Add black piano finish and cool blue leds.

Unicomp, if you're listening, see how we're resorting to creating our own keyboards because the market isnt filling the niche?

"Blah blah blah grade school blah blah blah IBM PS/2s blah blah blah I like Model Ms." -- Kishy

using: ms 7000/Das 3

Offline itlnstln

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keyboard modding for newbies?
« Reply #11 on: Thu, 20 November 2008, 14:30:59 »
Quote
Now I am envisioning a unicomp spacesver with greased up springs and a sawed off numberpad...droool.


I wonder if you could be arrested for packing a sawed-off at work/school.


Offline lowpoly

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keyboard modding for newbies?
« Reply #12 on: Thu, 20 November 2008, 14:35:40 »
Quote from: wellington1869;11945
bummer

Use a Dremel.

Miniguru thread at GH // The Apple M0110 Today

Offline lowpoly

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keyboard modding for newbies?
« Reply #13 on: Thu, 20 November 2008, 14:36:38 »
Quote from: iMav;11940
...however, to be safe, you could certainly just roll up the numpad port of the membrane sheets.
That's brilliant.

Miniguru thread at GH // The Apple M0110 Today

Offline kodos96

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keyboard modding for newbies?
« Reply #14 on: Thu, 20 November 2008, 15:03:35 »
Wow, the responses I've gotten on this thread are WAY more extensive than I thought they would be... thanks everyone for the links! Yes, this kind of thing is exactly what I'm looking for.... how do you find this stuff? Googling "keyboard mod" doesn't seem to find much.

lowpoly, you are my personal hero. Transplanting a trackpoint is something I've dreamed of doing for a long time, but it seemed too ambitious for a first attempt at modding, so I thought I'd start with the numpad amputation and go from there. But the fact that someone has already done this successfully is very encouraging. I actually have a spacesaver II which I bought specifically for the purpose of harvesting its trackpoint, but I haven't yet found the perfect keyboard to use as a host. When I do, I imagine I'll have some questions to bounce off you about the details of how you did it.

Incidentally, I just bought an Omnikey Evolution (off the marketplace on this forum)... I don't have it in my hands yet, but the layout seems really nice, and the trackpad, although probably not usable as a primary pointing device, should be useful at least for an emulated scrollwheel. Hopefully I'll end up liking the feel of it enough to use it as my starting point to begin modding. Does anyone have any pics of the internals of this board, or any threads on modding it?

Offline itlnstln

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keyboard modding for newbies?
« Reply #15 on: Thu, 20 November 2008, 15:47:30 »
Well, if you don't like it, I know someone who will take it off your hands. ;)