Author Topic: Just how necessary are stabilizers for 2u keys?  (Read 11768 times)

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Offline zslane

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Just how necessary are stabilizers for 2u keys?
« on: Fri, 11 August 2017, 11:59:19 »
So I know we're all used to using stabilizers for any key 2u or larger. Let's face it, without stabilizers those really wide keys can register keystrokes rather inconsistently. But I began wondering just how necessary they were for 2u in particular. So I'm reaching out to the community to get everyone's opinion on this based on your extensive collective experience. So...

Just how necessary do you feel stabilizers are for 2u keys?

1. Absolutely necessary.
2. Not necessary at all.
3. It depends. (Explain)

Offline Badwrench

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Re: Just how necessary are stabilizers for 2u keys?
« Reply #1 on: Fri, 11 August 2017, 12:10:35 »
To me, they are totally necessary.  It really comes down to location on the board.  Since most larger keys are at the peripheral of the board, I tend to hit them with my pinky, and usually right on the inner edge.  I am very sensitive to poorly functioning stabilizers.  I have tried going without while I was figuring out a layout on one of my builds and it was horribly wobbly - no way. 
wut. i'd buy a ****ty IBM board for that green V2

Offline clee290

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Re: Just how necessary are stabilizers for 2u keys?
« Reply #2 on: Fri, 11 August 2017, 12:24:05 »
I was debating whether to use a stabilizer when building my ortho with 2u space. I ended up going without it and it seems fine so far.

Offline zeltner

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Re: Just how necessary are stabilizers for 2u keys?
« Reply #3 on: Fri, 11 August 2017, 12:26:52 »
I mean, they are helpful. But not necessary.

I swapped the stock caps out of one of my boards recently. It has costar stabilizers except on the space bar. When I tried to pull the inserts out of the stock caps they all felt really stuck. I ended up breaking one and just giving up on the rest. So for now, the only "long" key that has stabilizers is the space bar. They do wobble a bit, but when I start typing it doesn't bother me.  Stabilizers will reduce the wobble, but I don't need them.

The only thing that worries me is I feel like there is a possibility of doing damage to the keycap and/or switch stem by using them without stabilizers.

Offline sam0s

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Re: Just how necessary are stabilizers for 2u keys?
« Reply #4 on: Fri, 11 August 2017, 13:46:06 »
I used a 60% keyboard with no stabs whatsoever (2.75u spacebar) for a few months, and if I am going to be completely honest, in normal typing I didn't really notice it at all.

Obviously if for some reason you hit the left or right side of a key wayyy to hard, you'll feel it give-way, but for the most part, it's not that bad.

So I am going to give it a 3. But I add stabs to all my new builds, just because you know, it's just the proper way to do things.
-sam

Offline tp4tissue

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Re: Just how necessary are stabilizers for 2u keys?
« Reply #5 on: Fri, 11 August 2017, 13:50:34 »
1.5 is the biggest you can get away with not stabilizing..

Even then , i think 1.5 feels a bit grind-ee near the bottom of the keystroke because of it.


Offline zslane

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Re: Just how necessary are stabilizers for 2u keys?
« Reply #6 on: Fri, 11 August 2017, 15:03:30 »
Are there examples of keyboards with 1.75u R-Shift keys that are stabilized? The HHKB doesn't appear to be. Nor does the WhiteFox.

Offline clee290

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Re: Just how necessary are stabilizers for 2u keys?
« Reply #7 on: Fri, 11 August 2017, 17:52:59 »
Are there examples of keyboards with 1.75u R-Shift keys that are stabilized? The HHKB doesn't appear to be. Nor does the WhiteFox.

I don't think so. I believe the smallest available stabilizers are 2u, so a custom wire would need to be made for 1.75u stabilizer. Then you would also need a custom 1.75u keycap mold that has three stems.

Offline chyros

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Re: Just how necessary are stabilizers for 2u keys?
« Reply #8 on: Sat, 12 August 2017, 03:31:49 »
It is absolutely necessary.

My Zenith has FIVE 1.75 u stabilisers off the top of my head.
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Offline Leslieann

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Re: Just how necessary are stabilizers for 2u keys?
« Reply #9 on: Sat, 12 August 2017, 04:21:34 »
Are they needed?
That depends on how long you expect the switch to last and how smooth you want the keyboard to be.

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Offline Findecanor

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Re: Just how necessary are stabilizers for 2u keys?
« Reply #10 on: Sat, 12 August 2017, 05:18:48 »
I am quite picky with key stability. It is necessary for me that 21 keys are stabilised.

But 12u thumb keys, such as for ErgoDox and Kinesis don't need to be.

Are there examples of keyboards with 1.75u R-Shift keys that are stabilized? The HHKB doesn't appear to be.
While HHKB doesn't, Topre Realforce does have a stabilised switch under the "Caps Lock" key.

I think that for Alps switches, stabilisers under the 1.75u keys are more common.
From what I have seen, vintage Apple keyboards use them, while Matias' don't.
« Last Edit: Sat, 12 August 2017, 05:22:17 by Findecanor »
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Offline LazyDog

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Re: Just how necessary are stabilizers for 2u keys?
« Reply #11 on: Sat, 12 August 2017, 10:59:07 »
I imagine it also depends on the actuation force of the switch. If your switch is lighter, you'll have an easier time depressing it from the side of the key.
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Offline Petch

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Re: Just how necessary are stabilizers for 2u keys?
« Reply #12 on: Mon, 14 August 2017, 07:00:38 »
I've had no issue with 1.75u right shift. Can't even tell it isn't stabilised, and I hit the very left of the key with my pinky

Offline Tom_Kazansky

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Re: Just how necessary are stabilizers for 2u keys?
« Reply #13 on: Mon, 14 August 2017, 09:25:46 »
it depends, I think, though My builds so far all have stabs.

I will try no-stab for 2u key in my upcoming build (which have only one 2u key), my thumb will pretty much hit this key at the center so I think stab is not necessary.
---
hmm... people are talking about stab for 1.75u key? only 2u keys and above need stab, right?
my board is HHKB style, so my left Ctrl is 1.75u, I hit it all the time, also I have 1.75u right Shift but I don't use it that much.

Offline epod

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Re: Just how necessary are stabilizers for 2u keys?
« Reply #14 on: Tue, 12 October 2021, 14:41:28 »
Sorry for resurrecting this thread but wanted to continue this discussion.

IMO, it depends on the particular switch; namely its wobble (? I think).

I'm waiting for a new PCB and have been playing with a half-built keyboard with just case+plate+switches, without any stabs.
Up until recently I didn't even think not having stabs was a good/common option. But right now (fake) typing without stabs feels amazing even on the (above-2u) "Enter" key (but not on spacebar), and argue it is better than with good stabs and also has the benefit of making it easier to switch keycaps around. But this seems very dependent on the switch and how much wobble it has (or.. tilt when its pressed down? That's correlated/same-as wobble right?). The T1s I have in the aforementioned board have very little wobble and the amount that the larger mods tilt to any side if tap on edge at usual pressure is the same with stab or without -- the exception might be the L-Shift (my R-Shift is 1.75u), but given how very stable the Enter key is, am guessing it may just be an individual particularly-looser switch on there. I tried with a different switch (forgot which) and yeah.. definitely needed stabs for that one for the 2us.
« Last Edit: Tue, 12 October 2021, 14:43:16 by epod »

Offline AJM

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Re: Just how necessary are stabilizers for 2u keys?
« Reply #15 on: Thu, 21 October 2021, 08:53:43 »
I agree, that it certainly depends on the type of switch, you use.
I've build a keyboard with Gateron silent Inks and no stabilisers (apart from spacebar, of course).
Even with relatively high keycaps like MT3, it's perfectly fine - including the ISO Enter.
So I would say no stabilizer is much better than a bad stabilizer.
(Should you have good stabilizers, they would make the keys of course a little bit more stable and a bit less wobbly.)

Offline Volny

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Re: Just how necessary are stabilizers for 2u keys?
« Reply #16 on: Fri, 22 October 2021, 00:39:49 »
Like most things, I think it'll mostly come down to your personal tolerance (in this case, for wobbliness). For me, I think that - with good quality keycaps and switches - the biggest problem will be the keycap 'swivelling' (like a propellor) rather than 'see-sawing', even though stabilisers are probably most often associated with preventing the latter. I tried a 2u key in a switch tester just now, and it pressed firmly and felt very adequate even when I pressed on the very edge - I was actually surprised by just how well it did. Though when I nudged the keycap around with my finger, the 'propeller swivel' was very noticeable. This would personally bother me more, as switches moving around while my fingers are resting on them makes a keyboard feel cheap and rickety to me.

But in my experience, by far the most rock-solid stable 2u keys are the ones mounted on 2 separate switches, rather than 1 switch and a stabiliser; I have quite a number of these between my main keyboard and macropads. You can't use a regular keycap with 3 stem sockets, but need a so-called 'POS (Point of Sale) style' keycap that has 2 sockets. Some keycap kits (eg. Ortholinear kits from pimpmykeyboard) come with both, so I had the chance to try both and realised the POS mounted ones feel more solid. Just the other day I was finding one of my stabilised 2u keys annoyingly rattly, and specially replaced it with a POS keycap, and it made a big difference.

The main challenge with doing this, however, is finding sufficiently light switches/springs for it, since you'll be doubling up the spring weight. You can remove the spring from one of them and it'll work ok, but the asymmety will be noticeable. So far, gateron silent clear switches are the lightest switches I've found, and I've put the lightest springs I own into them (45g), but it's still a little heavy, and I have some 35g springs in the mail.

You'll also want to disable one of the switches, of course. You can do this in QMK or whatever remapping software the keyboard uses, but I find that it's easiest to just bend one of the pins to render one of the switches dead. This is the most fool-proof and reliable method, as even when you disable the key with KC_NO in QMK, certain features (eg. tap/hold combos) still don't seem to work properly when there's a switch physically there.
« Last Edit: Fri, 22 October 2021, 07:39:01 by Volny »

Offline Sup

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Re: Just how necessary are stabilizers for 2u keys?
« Reply #17 on: Fri, 22 October 2021, 07:05:49 »
Its more about how nice do you want your off center feel presses to feel like. You want it to feel **** then go with out stabs if you care go with stabs :)
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