Author Topic: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)  (Read 2606 times)

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Offline JedTheMaker

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Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« on: Sat, 08 May 2021, 17:50:07 »
Close to a decade ago I started paying attention to coordinating things in my office aesthetically, oriented around American black walnut and anodized silver aluminum. The latter because that was the color all the nicer Apple stuff was made in. My first mechanical keyboard was an IKBC MF108m, all glorious 7lbs and 108 keys of it. I felt pretty good about just having done some research and jumping straight to endgame...

...

Then one day I learned that shift and tab went backward the way tab takes you forward in spreadsheets. The more time I spent working in spreadsheets, the more I wanted to use this shortcut all the time. The official way to do it is two handed with two pinkies, which isn't great if your right hand is on the numpad. For whatever reason, there weren't reliable ways to achieve this at the OS or software level, and at the same time, I'd come to loathe the Caps Lock key rather than just be annoyed at it. This was the jumping off point into the rabbit hole for me. Currently, I use two Drop Shift keyboards, one at home and one at one of my workplaces. As things are getting back to normal and everyone at another office is vaccinated, I've wanted to leave my second Shift at the remote client office and breathe new life into my MF108. The build quality was great, but the 2 on the numpad stopped working, and trying to fix it only made things worse.  No one out there makes what I'm after, and I have spent a shameful amount of time looking, I've resigned myself to the inevitable. I'm going to have to learn how to hardwire it.

I'm hoping that what follows is helpful to the next person like me too OCD to accept that even without a limiting budget, the overdominance in the market of numpad neutered mechs just means you are lucky to get even just the utility you're after, aesthetics be damned. Likely if this is helpful, it won't be through the standard tutorial fare, but rather likely a horror freak show of bad calls that exist between the lines of those tutorials, in the hopes of validating the experiences of others like me who just aren't worn down enough to silence that optimism that thinks one can replicate those tutorials like a simple burger recipe. The following image exemplifies what I mean, as today I began work in earnest. I won't share more than one photo, as much to spare the sensibilities of those non novices as just plain laziness on my part while doing it.

The IKBC MF108's pcb has several quirks that are themselves the answer to many questions a window shopper or user of the board will naturally ask. Why is this much nice aluminum cnc'ed frame under $175, despite pricing in overpriced cherry switches, customizable RGB backlighting, and some feature listed as "countdown?" What is countdown you ask? It's somebody's pet project over at whoever made the PCB's company, that got folded into the non third party flashable firmware when they realized they needed a marketing gimmick to differentiate a board that is more expensive than its garbage plastic bodied counterparts. If you like deck flex or plastic for whatever reason, well, I'm glad somebody does I guess. Except you should also feel the same shame as those who put up with skinny jeans being a trend, causing those of us who live in Florida to never be able to find any pants that aren't awful for the weather here. Anyway, this "countdown" is a Disney-unicorn-rainbow-barf-in-slow-motion that gets triggered any time you forget that the upper nav cluster keys aren't what their legends say, but rather go-go-gadget-frustration-sequence. I'm guessing it's that garbage that eats up the memory that could otherwise have been used for remapping keys, or heaven forbid, useful macros... It is also the answer to the second imminent-upon-use question -- what does the MF in the model name stand for?

The MF108's frame is easily disassembled via a few screws, but as it is non hot swap, there are 108x2 solder points connecting the mx browns to the pcb and plate. Before picking a solder sucker, I made the mistake of watching wildcat's YouTube video about desoldering tools. Since the $25 one looks awful compared to the nice one, and the nice one is more than the parts I need to complete the project, and because my pcb is already screwed... I figured I would stay in my lane and redneck this ****. 108 switches are a lot to drill through, then pull out using pliers. It probably took two hours. But that's $125 hour if the alternative was buying a $249 desolder gun (clearly the $25 plunger thing was off the table, because were I capable of that, I wouldn't be trying to min max this keyboard that hard to begin with).

Nevertheless, the plate is liberated, the switches and stabs in hand, the diodes and microcontroller on their way. Went with a Teensy 4.1 to ensure enough pins. It's probably the wrong one and a future post will likely curse wildly when I get there. But that's the tears phase, today was only blood and sweat (be wary of the switch leaves while pulling key switches out with pliers, if you are crazy enough to not just go find a desolderer like a civilized person.

If the plate weren't thicker steel, but aluminum, it would probably be too risky to have bends that could turn to breaks. Here the edges fold over, which allows for a much greater rigidity in the plate to take the stress of armpit and leatherman.

Once the diodes come, stay tuned for putting them on in the wrong direction or some other not-yet-considered mistake otherwise making a mess of phase two, or feel free to place bets on what screws it up the most next and I can send you some of the broken or spare parts as a reward. I happen to have a pretty red craigslist-quality "gently used" pcb laying around somewhere.

PS - has anyone else ever gotten the capcha's on here correct the first time? I feel like they are someone's rather brilliant but awful idea of a gaslighting prank.



Offline nevin

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #1 on: Sun, 09 May 2021, 09:58:54 »
you are correct the teensy 4.1 is not compatible yet with QMK.
- the main "large" controller that's used for handwiring is the teensy ++2.0 https://www.pjrc.com/store/teensypp.html
- qmk supported controllers https://beta.docs.qmk.fm/developing-qmk/c-development/compatible_microcontrollers

diodes question....
- line/band around diode faces away from the switch leg.

as far as wire choices....
- the 24gauge solid core out of network cable works good, some also use enamel coated magnet wire
- really anything will work. don't go with too thick of a wire, and solid core (instead of stranded) is easier to work with/bend & stay where you want it. 22-30 gauge is ideal.

tools etc...
do you have a soldering iron & solder yet?
- any 30w+ generic soldering iron will do
- DO NOT GET LED FREE SOLDER (it is a lot harder to work with and needs a much higher temp to melt. you can thank me later)
- a "helping hand" will be useful, or even some "bluetack" will work to hold the wires.
- small pair of wire cutters
- small pair of needle nose pliers or nice size tweesers (not typical small ones)

lighting....
- are you planning on trying to retain the per-key rgb? (won't be easy) and i'd suggest skipping it for your 1st handwire.
- underglow however is very simple.

- you will need to figure out how you want to mount the controller

i've helped a couple here on the forum with handwiring and firmware. we're here if you have any questions or get stumped.
Some good handwiring articles:
https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=87689.0
https://deskthority.net/viewtopic.php?t=1067

some links to firmware stuff....
Article   https://matt3o.com/building-a-keyboard-firmware/
Qmk docs   https://docs.qmk.fm/#/
https://github.com/qmk/qmk_firmware      (if you're comfortable in code, setup the build environment, if not see kbfirmware below, or i can help)
https://caniusevia.com/    (an on the fly remapping frontend for QMK, yes you can do a handwire board and have it compatible with VIA)
https://kbfirmware.com/  (a web based firmware builder, based on a slightly older version of QMK)

once you have all the parts and are ready, i can help you with a wiring diagram if you'd like.

welcome to the forum and best of luck on your project.
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Offline JedTheMaker

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #2 on: Sun, 09 May 2021, 19:28:42 »
****, already bought the teensy 4.1. Oof.

No, donít plan on any lighting, per key, rgb, or otherwise.

I have been using lead free solder actually, have built two bm43aís with it so far. I dO have a soldering iron, which I am 99% sure I have in some way mistreated such that when I post a photo it will cause some readers that ptsd youíd get watching a gross scene in a Saw movieÖ. Watching folks on youtube, they seem to have some kind of brillo pad for constantly wiping their tip, one that didnít come with my cheapo lowes model.

Thereís a channel inside the frame I was hoping to use, but now will likely have to track down a teensy of the right model as youíve indicated the one I bought wonít play ball.

I have some helping hands, but they were attached to a janky amazon magnifier so crappy that Iíd just stopped using them. I have been soldering for model train stuff for about a year (not well mind you, just enough to realize how much working without them sucks). Wouldnít mind hearing what you and others use and like in that department.

Re: coding, I feel like I can describe my level by saying that I found flashing the Drop shiftís firmware challenging despite their having theoretically made it easier, figured there was much future cursing destined at that point, so will take you up on that offer should that hurdle present as I suspect it will.

Thank you for your reply and advice!




Offline nevin

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #3 on: Mon, 10 May 2021, 07:16:37 »
iron...
if it's gross & has plastic & other bits stuck to it, you can scrape the tip or use a file to get the junk & oxidation off the tip. then when you use it next, re-tin the iron tip. also, make sure the tip is screwed in the whole way. not wobbly or loose. not sure what model you have but usually the tip just screws into the element.

brillo...
yeah, that's common with soldering stations. i've always used just a wet paper towel or rag, works just as good.

helping hands...
yep. mine's a cheepie too, took the magnifying glass off years ago. it's nice for holding wires to tin or holding the controller still while you solder the wires to it. some bluetack will do the job too.

coding...
that's fine. we can get the firmware setup for your board with VIA support and you can remap & such from there.
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Offline JedTheMaker

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #4 on: Mon, 10 May 2021, 07:27:34 »
To clarify, is VIA possible with the 4.1, or do I need to source a ++ 2.0?

Offline nevin

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #5 on: Mon, 10 May 2021, 08:03:23 »
VIA is just an on the fly front end for the QMK firmware that runs on the controller (teensy ++2.0)

the problem with the 4.1 is the processor that's on it isn't supported by QMK yet.
the teensy ++2.0 has been around a long time, is fully supported by QMK and is the only controller i know of that has plenty of i/o pins for your build.
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Offline JedTheMaker

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #6 on: Mon, 10 May 2021, 08:20:52 »
Okay, found the ++ on amazon by google searching, where searching on amazon itself hadnít previously found me one (probably paid results pushing it too far down the results list). Bought two in case I mess one up, or if this goes well enough I may grab another mf108 to make a second now that they are available again. Will grab some regular solder next time Iím at the hardware store.


The diodes showed up yesterday, so after I do a plate scan to be able to lasercut another plate later if desired, I can start the early stages of the tutorials. Iíll post the scans (as well as the other plates I have come across such as the bm43a and kbdpad mkii) as svg files in case there are others who would like them for whatever reason.

Offline nevin

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #7 on: Mon, 10 May 2021, 08:32:30 »
where are you located? us? other?

you can order straight from PJRC (the ones that make them)
https://www.pjrc.com/store/teensypp.html
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Offline JedTheMaker

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #8 on: Mon, 10 May 2021, 15:37:28 »
US. Honestly, didnít see the capacity to buy from them due to the clutter on the website. I think Iíve also just developed an automatic assumption on viewing these vendors pages in this hobby, that they are out of stock as itís more often right than wrong.

Offline JedTheMaker

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #9 on: Mon, 10 May 2021, 18:06:46 »
Inside this linked folder are plate and/or pcb scans of the boards I have had apart. If you have a laser cutter or something else that can take advantage of an svg, they might be helpful. In my case, I should be able to make acrylic or wood plates for any of the projects Iíve built now. Iím currently burning a copy of the pcb for the mf108 in case itís helpful for stability/sound/wiring channels.

https://tinyurl.com/e8kr6w68

Offline JedTheMaker

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #10 on: Tue, 11 May 2021, 10:01:20 »
Painted the original mf108 plate (btw this is a v1) and after drying overnight, scanned it in and vector traced it. Have added svg and ai files to the google folder linked previously. Currently cutting a copy of the plate in walnut, and uncovered the copy of the pcb from last night. Put some grooves in it, in the hopes it would help keep the row wiring clean (sure there will be some issue with the first attempt - perhaps having to get funky on row/column arrangement to accommodate the amount of pins or something, but maybe it will be useful somehow).

After this, Iíll have to wait on switches to arrive in a few days before plugging them in. Initially I had no plans for any LEDs, but as the outer frame has three holes for them, thinking I should plan to add three running lights if for no other reason than to show the keyboard has power when in use. Perhaps they can have additional functionality like blinking when in reset mode or something, but I guess that depends on what is possible within QMK. Hopefully these are the correct diodes, better to find out now before I batch fold and string them up to switches.

Offline nevin

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #11 on: Tue, 11 May 2021, 10:33:44 »
yep. correct diodes. black band will face away form the switch leg.

your grooves may be ok for rows, but you'll be adding columns as well. making a "grid" or matrix out of the switches.

did you use keyboard layout editor to make your plate? can you link the layout?
.... nevermind... you said you painted it.

these are easy for underglow, indicators, or "running lights"
https://keeb.io/collections/frontpage/products/rgb-led-strips-sk6812-ws2812b-compatible

here's an example of what you can do.
1st one, blue, is caps lock
2nd one, red is layer 1 (default layer is layer 0)
3rd one, green is layer 2
* 20201113_103616-2.mp4 (1597.5 kB - downloaded 15 times.)
« Last Edit: Tue, 11 May 2021, 10:48:32 by nevin »
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Offline JedTheMaker

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #12 on: Tue, 11 May 2021, 14:28:52 »
Yeah, scanned and brought into illustrator to overlay my cut lines against the scan, then deleted the scan out. I found that using the tools in illustrator to vectorize never make for clean shapes. I tried to account for imperfections in the placement of sockets on the pcb copy by enlarging the center hole, went a bit overboard on the first try. Also didnít think on pcb mount 5pin switch holes as the original didnít use them and I just copied it.

I did the rows knowing the columns would have to be on top, and knew that Iíd have to figure out that mess later since the rows align nicely but columns will zig zag all over the place to get 108 keys in on that number of pins.

I may go over to a keyboard layout editor and see if measurements are enough to get me a better fit for a second draft. If I do, it will be with the other linked items in the google drive folder for this project linked above in the thread.

Thank you for all the advice so far, btw! Iíll look into the LED suggestion you made and will probably do the same, perhaps with a single color LED if it makes programming it in any easier.

Offline nevin

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #13 on: Tue, 11 May 2021, 15:02:56 »
Quote
btw! Iíll look into the LED suggestion you made and will probably do the same, perhaps with a single color LED if it makes programming it in any easier.
those are rgb leds, so you can pick whatever color you want. and they're addressable, so besides power and ground it only takes up one pin on the controller and you can have it function multiple ways. the example in the video, the guy wanted them to act as normal indicator lights. these are also what's typically used for underglow.

depending on how much room you have in your case under your plate, you might scrap the wood "pcb" and just use spacers around the screws to get the plate at the right height. you'll have wires and a controller to stuff in there. if your limited for space, the area above the nav cluster is a typical place to put it, then run an extension out to the back edge of the keybord. either with a small usb extension cord or you can use a breakout board like this which will be easier to mount in the frame and just run wires between the controller's usb pads and the breakout board pads.
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Offline Leslieann

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #14 on: Tue, 11 May 2021, 20:08:48 »
Proton C is another controller that works with QMK and can power a full size.

QMK website has a configurator that will simplify the firmware creation, just beware that when creating your map what direction you're facing. The configurator I used was looking down on the keyboard (as if typing) while I was looking at my pcb sitting my desk turned upside down, this caused everything to be mirrored.  That sounds obvious when you read it, but you can't see the wiring with it right side up and if you don't think about it as you do it's easy to do.

Personally, I like breakout boards. Besides allowing you to place the controller where you want and the port where you want, it allows you to use nicer, better ports. Many of these controllers have mini B, I love magnetic cables and no one makes a mini B magnetic connector. Breakout boards let you use micro B or type C, you may dislike micro B but with a magnetic connector it's fine.  A breakout board also gives train relief to the connector on your controller (ever have a laptop power port go bad?), but also means if you do happen to damage the connector you don't have to rewire the whole board.

Use solid core for the matrix and flex/braided wire between the components (matrix, controller and breakout), this gives you the most ease of work and reliability.

Good luck.

i've always used just a wet paper towel or rag, works just as good.
While sponges and paper towels and such make it look pretty, the sudden cooling can cause micro fractures and prematurely destroy the tip.

Not a big deal on a cheaper copper tipped iron, but but if you have something nice using copper brillo is a better option. Some also like to leave the tip tinned, rather than clean when not in use.  Overkill? Probably.
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Offline nevin

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #15 on: Wed, 12 May 2021, 07:55:52 »
Quote
While sponges and paper towels and such make it look pretty, the sudden cooling can cause micro fractures and prematurely destroy the tip.

Not a big deal on a cheaper copper tipped iron, but but if you have something nice using copper brillo is a better option. Some also like to leave the tip tinned, rather than clean when not in use.  Overkill? Probably.

ok, that might be a possibility.... would i rank it on the things to worry about... no.
and i only clean it up (if it's dirty, badly oxidized or little tin left on the tip) once when i get it out to use it.

i still use my 25+ year old 30w radio shack iron. though, in the last couple years i did pickup one of those fancy TS100 irons. i recommend the alternate firmware to get the temp up a little more than default. great for board work but lacks a little with wire to wire work especially when outside.

proton c - yeah possible, but this will be Jed's 1st try at a handwire. i didn't want to overcomplicate the matrix for a smaller controller. Plus, he was already looking at teensy's
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Offline JedTheMaker

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #16 on: Thu, 13 May 2021, 16:44:47 »
Got one of the 2 Teensy++ 2.0 I ordered (oddly instead of the second, they sent me a set of lighted archery knocks, so unless they can send another Iíll have to avoid making any game over mistakes with this one).

I have space below the pcb that can theoretically accommodate the teensy, but know I need to insulate it from aluminum and that the orientation of it probably matters in some way. The teensy uses mini usb, so planning on doing something to get to type c, probably an adapter like the one pictured slimmed down to fit in the existing spot on the frame. Would then fill a little of the channel with an extension, and those might provide strain relief if done well.

Wondering if thereís not a better way like wiring a breakout type c daughter, but figure thatís one more place I can make a logical design error rather than just needing to cram things into spaces, something that makes more sense to my inner redneck.

Offline nevin

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #17 on: Thu, 13 May 2021, 17:19:59 »
yeah, whatever you want to do.

here's a breakout from earlier in the thread
either with a small usb extension cord or you can use a breakout board like this which will be easier to mount in the frame and just run wires between the controller's usb pads and the breakout board pads.

which, this was the link
https://keeb.io/collections/frontpage/products/usb-c-breakout-board

and PJRC has them in stock if your amazon order got botched.
https://www.pjrc.com/store/teensypp.html
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Offline JedTheMaker

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #18 on: Sat, 15 May 2021, 17:29:29 »
Grabbed a few of those type c breakout boards you linked to.

Somewhere in the thread you mentioned checking the threading on the soldering iron to see if it was still fully screwed in, mine was a bit loose (hadnít thought about the heat/cooling expansion/contraction cycles loosening the tip, but should have thinking about it retroactively).

My switches are the last bit Iím waiting on, as instead of scavenging enough box royals off a hot swap board in another office to start, I thought Iíd order some more and let curiosity get the better of me, ordering some of the new gateron silver blizzard switches and some blueberries to give a try. It seemed like if Iím doing this one, I might as well try it twice since it wonít take as much time or energy when if this works I want to make another for work, and the v3 mf108 is available again. For future cases where someone gets curious about the differences, I thought Iíd post some more observations that might help someone else down the line with these things.


Also, if anyone here around 5/15/21 likes clicky switches that are beyond loud, novelkeys has a sale on the non-box thick click (navy?) switches - they are listed as speed switches, but with a weighting of 100/100 (box navyís are listed as 60/90 on their site), Iím wondering if they are really the same thing. I feel like they might be good on a wood or acrylic plate, but the steel plate I have without a pcb seems like it would be super pingy (the bm43a i used them on is a bit pingy itself and the plate doesnít have near as much space for reverberation). But Iím almost certainly talking out of the wrong end, so who knows. I do have a sneaking suspicion that once you get a board layout deep into muscle memory and up the wpm, taste in switches changes away from ďi canít believe how loud/pronounced this is.Ē That being said, Iím still smitten by how satisfyingly like a stress toy typing on heavier switches is. The old mf108ís browns were like sliding around on slushy ice and really highlighted the crappiness in my typing skills or lack thereof.

First off, the v3 seems to run different stock firmware, which fixed the most annoying part of the v1 I have. The upper nav cluster originally operated a bizarre countdown timer by default, requiring fn+ the keys to send the normal scancodes like prt scr. I thought I was going to record a video of the thing going crazy like my old one, but on plugging in on MacOS, the keys do what they should, with the ďtimerĒ dohicky hidden behind fn+those keys. Good on IKBC for fixing that. Unfortunately they didnít add any way to remap keys other than a few modifier swaps. Nothing to make capslock into shift+tab. If mac os just had a slightly larger set of remapping options at this point to get me there, Iíd just swap out the key switches and plug this into my old case.

Regarding hardware - the two PCBs are close to identical, and the plates if different, are immeasurably so. They can swap with one another. So can the connector plugs going from the pcb to either mounted mini b (v1) or type c daughter board (v3). Oddly the v3 has no insulation between the pcb and back of the case. Either they dug it out a little more or were confident the pcb and steel plate donít flex enough to ever cause an issue. The v1 also had an additional thick piece of clear plastic over the uncovered section with some light adhesive, really not taking any chances. Iím guessing anyone wanting to build using the case of the v3 wouldnít need a daughterboard at all, just remove the plug mount or splice the wires from it. The port clearances are also different, as the v1s have a rectangular cutout, relying on the straight up rubber mini b connector to seal up the excess. The v3 has a daughter board I donít see why someone wanting to move, also good on them for fixing their connection method as the v1s were almost all ripped from being screwed in too tightly (mine was, but I just hot glued it back in place).

Thereís also a totally different siding to the v1 and v3, as the latterís bottom is one solid piece, the former seeming to be cncíed differently, or extruded and later cncíed only in a few spots. While the plates and pcbs are interchangeable between the two, itís dicey whether one could mix and match as the screw holes seem ever so slightly off, and placing the top of the v1 above the bottom of v3, there seems to be all of a millimeter in difference, enough I wouldnít advise trying lest some screw holes strip.

This second board, being in fine condition and fixing one of the worst issues almost makes me want to just swap the switches and try one of those hasu usb to usb remapper dongles. Iím thinking at minimum first Iíll work on the plate file in wood and preserve this pcb. I should warn anyone else on here that as of 5/15/2021, I need to tweak the plate .svg file, as the switch sockets are slightly too small, owing likely to the wood being several times thicker than the steel plate (like the way wider rings fit more tightly at the same size than thinner ones). Either that, or just the imperfect nature of using illustrator and piecemeal photocopier scans. Probably not a surprise to anyone. The switches could maybe be made to fit with some filing and/or coaxing, but as the burn didnít get all the way through on some of the cutouts, I have to reburn another anyway and might as well do it the right way.

Had done a good bit of research repetitive aimless google searching on whether the pcb on the mf could be reprogrammed via qmk or anything else. In case someone thinking the same dumb thing I was but stumbling onto these posts before others, apparently the controller is something totally outside of the realm of qmk compatibility, not on any list to figure out. The only hope is if it shares enough dna to the poker boards that use the same controller, but thatís so far beyond me. It may also be locked, which I can guess means itís either read-only, or is just otherwise as averse to flashing as a beach-walker with photographic memory realizing they just stumbled into a geriatric nudist colony on learn-how-to-macarena-day. Wondering if itís possible to use an existing pcb for the wiring traces and just have it run to a different controller. Figure if this wasnít dumb for a reason of which Iím ignorant, Iíd see it happening more in these forums. I know about the )replacement controllers? Is that the right term for ghost squid etc.?) for really popular boards, just not exactly how they function. Figure it has more to do with either the traces for microcontrollers being too tiny for novice solderers, or maybe just that reverse engineering the wiring layout along a pcb is harder than handwiring for less popular/common boards like this one.

 Iíll dig through the thread again and find the link to the pcb layout tool and use the calipers to maybe generate a better file others can use without as many fit issues.

Offline nevin

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #19 on: Sat, 15 May 2021, 18:25:05 »
Quote
or is just otherwise as averse to flashing as a beach-walker with photographic memory realizing they just stumbled into a geriatric nudist colony on learn-how-to-macarena-day.
LOL too funny....

replacement controllers... yes that's correct. but in those cases the controllers were on a separate daughterboard, not part of the main pcb. that's the big difference.

you could use the existing pcb for the traces, but i promise you it will be 3-10x more work to figure out what's what than to handwire from scratch.

if you're getting close to being ready we can put a wiring diagram together and get the firmware started.

more remapping for mac: (if you want to try these first)
Karabiner-Elements https://karabiner-elements.pqrs.org/ (formerly KeyRemap4MacBook)
Ukelele https://software.sil.org/ukelele/
ControllerMate https://www.orderedbytes.com/controllermate/ (old)
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Offline JedTheMaker

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #20 on: Sat, 15 May 2021, 23:11:08 »
I used to use karabiner elements with the board, but something made me stop. I think it may have had a hard time after some macOs update or something. Looking into it, it seems like it has more functionality now. I donít have an M1 mac, so the crash issue wonít be a problem in the short term.

Iíll have to look into the others. With the settings level macros MacOs does have, it seems bizarre there arenít ways to remap keys built in. I mean other than the basic swapping of modifiers or turning off caps lock. Just one of those things like the calculator on ipad that wouldnít take more than a handful of engineer days to build, but just sits on the forever backburner for them.

First step is the keyboard layout config tool, yeah? I was playing with it and realized if it generates a pcb file I can use to cut a different plate, I could make changes to the layout so long as they fit within the top frameís footprint - any reason I shouldnít make changes (such as changing the 3 1.25u modifiers left of space, four right of spacebar into something like 1u 1u 1.75u spacebar 1.75u 1.25u 1u 1u)? I could also sneak another 1u into the right side shiftís spot by shrinkint it by 1u. Iím thinking the concerns are keycaps, how it affects stabilizers (if the layout editor produces a plate and/or pcb svg file that wonít matter, but I can imagine that how stabilizers feel and sound probably has a sweet spot?). I referenced the keycaps I have while laying it out to be safe on that front.

Iíll do another one for the mac board going into the silver case, as that one probably has more concerns to address with regard to the breakout type c connector and such. If Iím doing 2, should maybe start on the ďeasyĒ one?

At any rate, this (https://tinyurl.com/4jjf8t33 ) is where I got on the first one. Trying to maximize utility for numpad use, create some spots for sequential key macro output, mostly some text strings Iím thinking. This one would spend about 75% of the time plugged into windows, 25 on a mac laptop or ipad. The other I havenĒt laid out yet would be the inverse.


Offline nevin

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #21 on: Sun, 16 May 2021, 05:53:55 »
Ok. Thanks for the extra explanation of use etc...

If it's going to be bouncing between os's keeping everything in the firmware will be the nicer option. That way you don't have to learn & set up two diff apps (one for win, one for mac). Plus, if all programming is in the keyboard, you don't have to worry about updates etc..  breaking functionality of the app.

Will send pc remap app list then, but main one used is usually autohotkey.

Kle.. yes, from there you can use the layout to generate a new plate file to be cut.

Stabs... because it will be handwired, you'll probably have to look at plate mount stabs or use your wood "pcb" as the mounting point for standard pcb mount stabs. Believe there are also the amoeba type (per switch) pcb that you solder to the switch that have the holes for pcb mount stabs and were specifically designed to support pcb mount stabs in handwire builds.
-all stabs are 2u, except for space
-anything under 2u does not need stabilized.

Different layout...
Totally up to you. And one of the great things about handwiring..  you can make whatever layout, shape, design you want with only a little know-how.
-you may have issues if you have to have legends on your alterations (if they are not typical options. Example of a typical option... split right shift = 1.75 shift key is common and can usually be found in most keysets)
- if really playing with the layout, plan on them being blank caps, wrong legend, or out of profile.
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Offline JedTheMaker

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #22 on: Sun, 16 May 2021, 06:59:23 »
The first one that will be mostly used on windows will be using the mt3 profile caps Drop sells, and they do offer a decent amount of odd ones. Iím trying to use legends that at least make some sense being repurposed in their intended role - pause break as a play/pause media key, or insert for use as a paste shortcut. The set comes with some blank and multi purpose R4s, but thinking of getting the set they sell that is just totally blank to have options. The hardest to find is probably an R1 for use as shift tab, where Iíd use two R1 page up and page downs side by side for that, just donít think thereís an R1 page down. Will have to look more closely again.

The second one allows me to go a bit nuttier, as I ordered some of the SA godspeed and they are one of the best sets I have seen for having unique legends.


Offline nevin

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #23 on: Sun, 16 May 2021, 12:53:30 »
here are a couple usb mini b male to usb c female short extensions (these are amazon asin numbers, just search for the numbers)
B08P43X8M7
B08NP7D1ZX
B07BPXZRNS
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Offline JedTheMaker

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #24 on: Sun, 16 May 2021, 13:44:54 »
Thanks!

Currently working to get the svg file ready for a 2nd draft of the plate. Got the json data into the plate builder, will share for the next person like me that on a Mac {maybe also on pc?}, copy/paste wouldn't work, so downloaded the json file and dragged it into the field. That in turn resulted in a truncated version because the json data exceeded 250 lines as pictured, so I copied from the layout editor directly from web field into text editor, then dragged that file over and it worked.

My initial layout with the LED cutout indicators from the json were interpreted as key switch positions, as pictured. I deleted them and generated another svg, laid it overtop the svg from my scan. That shows where the dimension variance was. Almost all of it being in trying to marry the two separate scans of the orginal pcb together. Right now I'm going to take the traced hole cut lines and add them to the proper plate file, toss them into the google drive linked earlier in the thread. I'll use different colors so that anyone with a line color dependent laser or waterjet instruction app can choose not to use my cutouts without having to modify the file further. Rather than try to learn how to figure out the plate creator's margin settings, I figure I'll. leave the original border one layer/color, and just add another that fits the measurements off the plates I have here.

 

Offline JedTheMaker

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #25 on: Sun, 16 May 2021, 14:27:11 »
Just updated the drive with the most recent plate cut file, direct link here: https://tinyurl.com/8mmwt9j8

With a plate and layout design, I'm wondering if there's an equivalent tool for creating an svg of a pcb with the switch stem and pin holes. Thinking I will place the controller above the arrow keys in the gap as suggested, and can still cut another layer for stability if the cutouts are large enough for the controller. There probably is, and probably it's already linked somewhere in the thread, will go hunting in a bit.

Am I wrong to think that the wood pcb layer would, if the holes are in the right places and dimensions, create a channel into which the solder could flow and be better contained when the time is ready for it? Maybe if it were thinner than the current 1/8" depth. Will have to reread your posts about it and think through depths. In the absolute worst case I could ditch the nav cluster keys and position it there, maybe with some kind of clear dome over it or something, but will try it this way first.

If I reuse the original steel plate with nothing under it as initially planned, the cutout above the arrow keys isn't itself large enough for the teensy, so would just have to sit right below it.


Offline nevin

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #26 on: Mon, 17 May 2021, 08:31:10 »
pcb - i don't know of any auto generating pcb layouts, though that would be fantastic.

wood - solder won't "flow" like you may think. you'll want to use wires of some kind. solid core is preferred for the matrix. either cut up a network cable (usually 24-26gauge) or enamel coated magnet wire. solder itself is very soft & flexible and wouldn't make good wiring.

for handwiring and being full size, you'll need to think about stabilizers.
- there's the 2u amoeba pcbs that support all the stabilized keys but the 6-7u spacebar
https://keeb.io/products/amoeba-single-switch-pcbs?variant=29386439065694
- the other option would be to go with costar stabilizers, which are plate mount
https://www.switchtop.com/product/costar-stabilizers-and-keycap-inserts
- or you could do a combination of amoeba 2u's for the smaller keys and use costar for the spacebar....
- or you could cut a half-plate out of a material so the cherry stabs had something to clip or screw into (depending on which style you have)

oh, and if opening cad type files (plate or pcb) in illustrator or similar, the units is mm not inches that it does by default. (at least here in the u.s.) ... that way you're not guessing what to scale it down to...
« Last Edit: Mon, 17 May 2021, 08:33:52 by nevin »
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Offline JedTheMaker

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #27 on: Mon, 17 May 2021, 09:52:12 »
On to layout, I used Matt3o's guide on dimensions to create the pcb svg. I know it doesn't do the kind of pcb wiring design or manufacturing data, but good enough for a laser to score and engrave.

Doing the wiring diagram based on 60%'s obviously doesn't work as I don't think I have enough pins, and I'm guessing the solution is to mess with rows to lower the number of columns, like doing every other, or using an extra row to eat up the columns that have irregular numbers of row use based on spacing?


Offline JedTheMaker

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #28 on: Mon, 17 May 2021, 09:54:12 »
These were the stabs I bought for this a while back: https://drop.com/buy/everglide-panda-gold-plate-mounted-stabilizer-set any reason they wouldn't work? Have to get a second set anyway for the second one. I figure worst case they work on the metal plate I liberated from the v1.

Offline nevin

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #29 on: Mon, 17 May 2021, 10:18:25 »
oh, cool yeah. they're plate mount, you're golden.

i'll have to add them to my reference parts list.

you ended up getting a teensy ++2.0 right? ...plenty of pins.

i started a wiring diagram over the weekend. very close to what you have. will share tonight.

are you on discord? i'm nevin#3887
probably easier to chat over there when we get closer to putting the whole thing together.
« Last Edit: Mon, 17 May 2021, 10:19:57 by nevin »
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Offline JedTheMaker

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #30 on: Mon, 17 May 2021, 11:00:16 »
I'm not, but I've seen more and more reference to it throughout the mech community here and elsewhere like the kbdfans site as a place folks are previewing gbs and such.

That's awesome, thank you! Let me know if there's anything I can change that avoids any work on your part, I want to be as respectful as possible given your generosity with your time already.

Switches came before I left for work, the usb c breakouts you recommended supposedly show up tomorrow. Last night I burnt another walnut plate off of the file from the keyboard layout design tool. Much more accurate, but might have to tweak file and settings a bit more in order to avoid any peninsulas that are too thin not to break while removing the hanging chads. Also each time I've burnt, the left four or so columns haven't burnt through, may need to add a layer to burn them a couple more passes than the rest to compensate for uneven power settings.

Got the cheaper desolder pump and tried taking some switches off the newer v3 plate, only got one off so far as I think I have to develop some more skill at placement of the pump. Definitely would be a pain for all 108 switches to reuse that plate or pcb, but less awful maybe than ripping the switches off like a dog whose favorite bone just got a new filling of peanut butter.




Offline nevin

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #31 on: Mon, 17 May 2021, 11:11:09 »
ooh, i do like the look of the wood plate. nice.

desoldering... this is what i use. cheap & "good enough"
https://www.amazon.com/Velleman-VTDESOL3U-Vacuum-Desoldering-Heater/dp/B00B88FRME/

discord is like txting, just on an app and without giving out your phone number... (a lot quicker conversations than the forum) really good for the final stages, questions.
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Offline JedTheMaker

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #32 on: Tue, 18 May 2021, 10:42:15 »
Re: black v3 mf108: Working to solve the height issues brought up earlier in using something thicker for a mock pcb. There's also gap between the plate later and the pcb stand-in due to the portions of the switch that hang below the plate.

Thinking that I can alter the file to switch the dashed lines indicating switch position into solid shapes to engrave away portions of the pcb stand in to allow for the space. Looking at the profile, there's also a slight height issue on both sandwiched, that I am thinking I could tie in with the walnut by laser cutting a thin walnut hardwood layer to go between that would be the wooden equivalent to the Drop boards' acrylic diffuser, just needing to confirm the screws would be long enough to reach through or would have to get different ones. Any space I buy this way would give more room for the diodes, wires, and controller (though it has the nav cluster cutouts that are more than enough to fit it unless the connections to it end up adding too much).

Thinking I should create some relief engravings on the underside as well to accommodate things. One idea, potentially as nutty as most of mine already with this, was to place the diodes on top of the pcb stand-in since there is space for them between plate and its layer. it would save engraving out space for the switches potentially, and if I dabbed each with some glue, I could bend the wires out through the proper holes on the other side, such that I would be soldering diode, row wire, and switch all at once in the pin hole, able to clip off any excess and get more or less flush on the bottom. Should then probably figure out what that would entail in terms of connecting wires to the controller.

does it matter where on the row the connection to the controller leaves from? As in, could the row connections come from between columns Q&R (nav cluster and numpad) in order to be shorter and not protrude through the side?  I would think the column connections are easy as they'd have to come from the top due to the one way nature of the diodes. Will need to spend some more time wrapping my brain around this part of the wiring tutorial once I get the spacing issues locked down.

Re: silver v1 mf108:

I should just use the plate and tactile switches, and something to lower the ping of the steel plate. Where liberating the black plate on the v3 from its pcb would require a lot of desoldering, I could just find some kind of case foam solution and go with stock layout. It would at least get me through the whole process a first time and maybe teach any considerations I would have to absorb to prepare for the dimensions on the wooden one. Unless I went for a wood middle layer on the silver one as well.


Offline nevin

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #33 on: Tue, 18 May 2021, 11:08:48 »
no, it does not matter where you tie into the matrix, most usually pull from the center (you don't have to be at the beginning or end of a row or column). go back & look at the two wiring examples in post 2.

wood middle layer... nice idea, but would probably look better if you did it like a veneer, that way you didn't have end grain on any side. or just veneer the ends that would be end grain....

i think the wood faux pcb is probably complicating things. between the solid core wire and the legs of the diodes, you can keep everything nice & tight to the switches. probably taking up less space for the matrix than the original pcb, and you'll need the extra space for the lines connecting the controller. i don't see indents/cnc'd depressions where the switch pins would be so there's probably plenty of clearance. one way to check, use a caliper's depth gauge to see what the space is between the plate and the bottom of the case.
268709-0

and in the pic below. the switch is not fully seated either. (don't know if this was intentional or not)
268711-1
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Offline JedTheMaker

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #34 on: Tue, 18 May 2021, 11:46:58 »
Yeah, the space between the stand in and plate lead to unseating the switches if the top frame presses down.

The middle layer I was going to do with 4 outer strips 45 degree angled together like a picture frame, and some in the middle as needed for rigidity.

The bottom of the case has more space - this photo doesnít have a measure, but gives a sense. It also has a lip that raises everything up, where if I cut the stand-in to drop below the lip I may not need the middle layer at all (thinking the formula for complexity = solving problem, getting attached to bonus from solution, ignoring better solution because it doesnít have the bonus of first solution). If I do go with just the plate, Another way I could solve things is just cutting a second plate layer, which could help with stability and be what insulates the row wires from the column wires instead of tape.

The root issues to address in plate only are sound and stability (of switches in their place such that a keycap could be pulled without the switch coming with it or getting wobbly in place after use). I can imagine that some combination of hot glue and case foam could fix this too.





Offline nevin

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #35 on: Tue, 18 May 2021, 12:02:46 »
the switches should "snap" into place in the plate. on the switches, two sides have clips that hold the top of the switch on, the other two sides have clips built into the bottom housing that clip into the plate. once clipped into the plate they won't come out without a switch puller or depressing the clips from the back side of the plate.

sound...
- lubing the switches can help greatly, as well as oiling or a "lube donut" on the bottom of the spring if it's really bad (where it sits on the post in the bottom housing).
- if you do end up putting a middle "layer" in the case, you could dampen the plate by putting some kind of dampener between the plate and the rest of the metal case, isolating the plate from ringing the rest of the case. might have to get slightly longer screws, not sure how much of the screw threads hold the case together.  ....look at gasket mount, isolation mount, etc... been done a bunch of different ways with various materials.
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Offline JedTheMaker

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #36 on: Wed, 19 May 2021, 15:58:52 »
Okay, taking your advice on plates, will scrap the wood ones for now. Think I can get some of the insulation Iíd like out of hot glue, tried it out while wiring the rows. The result could imaginably be the ugliest thing posted on this forum, but presuming I havenít ruined everything through some mistake of either inattention or lack of comprehension, at least some physical progress is made.

The desoldering tool you recommended did a great job once I understood that you only sort of get one chance to get enough of the solder out. Only had to break the first few switches I took out not able to remove the last of the solder. I guess now I could have added more than tried over, but they were the last to come out, so didnít think of it before they lost their pins.

I suspect that should I have not made a crucial mistake on the rows, at minimum I need to revisit the wiring plan and matrix. Would have had to anyway, since this plate changes the switch positions and numbers back to the original 108. Once I do, I can wire the rows and look to attaching the controller. This case has the added potential bonus or problem of an existing daughter board for type c. I imagine I can use the plug to the breakout board to wire to the controller, but will have to look and possibly ask once I know what to ask.




Offline nevin

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #37 on: Wed, 19 May 2021, 17:18:11 »
not bad so far. Apologies for not getting you the diagram sooner. Will try to touch base late this evening. Regardless of how you actually do the rows/columns we can make the firmware match.
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Offline JedTheMaker

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #38 on: Thu, 20 May 2021, 18:20:00 »
Just did a few columns today.

Offline nevin

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #39 on: Fri, 21 May 2021, 08:15:32 »
keep going as you are. looking good.
- was going to ask if there was a diode on the spacebar, but i see what you did
- you might want to use different colors for the wires that will connect the rows to the controller like the columns are. might make it a little easier to troubleshoot once everything is finished and tightly packed together (harder to "follow" a wire)

once you have all the rows & columns done, send me a good pic of the wiring and i will transpose it to the code that will be used for the matrix in the firmware. they have to match... code = physical wiring

again you can pull lines to connect to the controller from anywhere on any row or column, they don't have to be at the end of the row or column.
- wire the full matrix
- get controller placed where it will fit
- then we'll run all your lines from the matrix to the controller (we'll make notes of what row or column is connected to which pin on the controller)
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Offline nevin

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #40 on: Fri, 21 May 2021, 09:45:28 »
ok. it doesn't have to be exactly this but this is how it works. we can make adjustments for how you have the wiring already done.
268925-0
268927-1
268929-2
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Offline nevin

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #41 on: Wed, 26 May 2021, 11:36:40 »
How's it going?
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Offline JedTheMaker

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #42 on: Wed, 26 May 2021, 19:42:15 »
Busy work week, planning to dig in on Saturday.

Offline JedTheMaker

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #43 on: Sun, 30 May 2021, 16:36:00 »
Okay, I believe Iíve finished the matrix. Will have to adjust things a bit as at some point I go overzealous with a column and then justified not redoing it around the idea of keeping space open in the nav cluster for the teensy. Ugly as hell, but hopefully it works. Thinking I need a new tip on the soldering iron, it ended up becoming hollow and absorbing the solder, but that ended up convenient enough just sticking it overtop the pins quickly. Using the glued down stiffer row wires via the diodes was helpful for keeping the column wires in place, but next time I think Iíll find more colors of wire so there isnít overlap between rows and columns.

Didnít clip the bottoms in case they were of use going to the teensy, but looks like I should and just go off the top row. Also looks like I goofed by running the row wires off from the num pad side thinking I wanted to be at the end of runs of diodes, rather than at the beginning.

Found a laptop stand super helpful for not craning so much. Here starts the scarier stuff I imagine as mistakes start to have penalties.

Offline nevin

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #44 on: Sun, 30 May 2021, 21:10:28 »
yep, definitely time for a new tip.

columns look good. i'll have to adjust a couple things but you're on the right track.

before we make final decisions, put it back in the case and see what room you have, what wires might need moved or glue removed in spots etc...
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Offline Leslieann

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #45 on: Mon, 31 May 2021, 04:52:28 »
That's a solid copper tip, take a file and put a new point on it, it will last many more years.
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Offline nevin

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #46 on: Mon, 31 May 2021, 06:10:16 »
Yes, usually they are though I wasn't sure about this specific one and didn't want to give bad asvise. Thanks leslie.
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Offline JedTheMaker

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #47 on: Mon, 31 May 2021, 15:11:38 »
It fits, even with all the tails I left on (though it is hard to wrangle all underneath. There is space for the controller arguably in the usb daughterboard cable channel, or mid nav cluster where the plate has a cutout.


Offline JedTheMaker

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #48 on: Mon, 31 May 2021, 15:41:13 »
This is how it ended up.

Offline nevin

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Re: Full Size Freak Show (IKBC hardwire conversion)
« Reply #49 on: Tue, 01 June 2021, 07:48:46 »
yeah, think that's what i got looking over your image. new diagrams soon (almost done), retraced your columns, but need to adjust pinout as you have one more column than i was planning. will also point out a couple minor things for the next one you do.
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