Author Topic: XMIT Hall Effect Round 2 Prototype Thread  (Read 12057 times)

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Offline XMIT

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XMIT Hall Effect Round 2 Prototype Thread
« on: Mon, 26 June 2017, 21:47:02 »
The manufacturers of the XMIT Hall Effect Keyboard are hard at work on prototypes for Round 2! :eek:

They will hopefully be here in the next week or two.

It's tough to be spread out across four forums for design work (here, DT, Reddit, and Massdrop discussion) so let's keep the Round 2 discussion on this thread. Also, let's focus on manufacturing discussions, not timing of the next sales, nor issues with Round 1.

There are some really exciting things in the works. First let's talk about all the little things I've fixed. For the most part these boards will be really similar to Round 1 with lots of little tweaks.

On most boards, the top two layers will be glued together for added rigidity and to help prevent the cracking issues we saw with bamboo.

We're going with new countersunk screws and threaded inserts to prevent stripped threads.

On some boards, I'm adding a fourth layer around the switches, to better enclose the board and prevent light bleed. This is optional but is a nice option.

The edges of the cases will be rounded for a better in-hand feel - less sharp.

I've designed new rubber feet. They are circular and recessed. These will seem like less of an afterthought.

The molds for the sliders and the switch housings are unchanged. These won't be any quieter, sorry. I could only push the factory so much. I'm experimenting with downstroke damping, though.

Now, onto the fun stuff.

We've got some new layouts! The 104-key is being replaced by a 108-key. There is also a new 120-key, which is the 108-key with twelve extra function keys off to the left. This will look a LOT like a Sun keyboard.

The biggest new layout is the 98-key. This is the same exact layout as the Leopold FC980M. Lots of people asked for this one! (And, no, I'm NOT doing a 75-key, at least not this time.)

We're moving to Costar stabilizers. Hurrah!

We're eliminating the 50g spring option. Maybe I'll make the springs available but there were too many complaints that it was too soft.

We're adding a click leaf! This will give Alps-like audible and tactile feedback when typing.

We're adding wrist rests! They are made from the same material as the cases, and made to match the boards.

I know there will be lots of questions. I don't even have the boards in hand yet! So, let's start the discussion here. I'm still figuring out exactly which configurations to offer for Round 2. :thumb:

Offline robotsokk

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Re: XMIT Hall Effect Round 2 Prototype Thread
« Reply #1 on: Mon, 26 June 2017, 21:57:09 »
We're adding a click leaf! This will give Alps-like audible and tactile feedback when typing.

 :thumb:

If I had one wish for improving my R1 board, it would be a tactile option. Really stoked that's going to happen!
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Offline XMIT

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Re: XMIT Hall Effect Round 2 Prototype Thread
« Reply #2 on: Mon, 26 June 2017, 22:01:25 »
I'll see about offering the click mechanism as a retrofit option. If no mold changes happened then it will be a drop in addition. That was the plan from the beginning.

Offline robotsokk

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Re: XMIT Hall Effect Round 2 Prototype Thread
« Reply #3 on: Mon, 26 June 2017, 22:07:42 »
Very cool, didn't realize that was the plan to offer it as a drop-in. Even better!

I appreciated the option in R1 to purchase heavier springs if you wanted to swap them out later. And I support the idea of going with >50g springs by default for R2. Costar stabilizers are a bit of a pain for swapping caps, but they do feel nice so that sounds like a net improvement, too.

On top of the new key configs you mentioned, there would still be 60% and TKL options for R2, correct?
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Offline XMIT

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Re: XMIT Hall Effect Round 2 Prototype Thread
« Reply #4 on: Mon, 26 June 2017, 22:10:57 »
So, I LOVE Cherry style stabs for key swaps, but the binding issues - which are made worse with bamboo and how it expands and contracts with humidity - forced my hand. This is the one thing that is NOT replaceable later, the case needs to be cut for Costar or Cherry stabs.

Yeah, 60% and TKL aren't going anywhere, I plan on offering them again.

Offline SpAmRaY

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Re: XMIT Hall Effect Round 2 Prototype Thread
« Reply #5 on: Mon, 26 June 2017, 22:46:30 »
Dang....all I had to read was 98 key layout....I might have to buy this time around... :D

Offline XMIT

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Re: XMIT Hall Effect Round 2 Prototype Thread
« Reply #6 on: Mon, 26 June 2017, 22:50:33 »
I'm still exploring key cap options for the 98 and the 120. I might offer them as barebones boards, or just put some odd caps in the new positions, unless we can work something out. These might end up being lasered ABS since lots of folks will bring their own caps regardless.

Offline geniekid

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Re: XMIT Hall Effect Round 2 Prototype Thread
« Reply #7 on: Wed, 28 June 2017, 09:19:53 »
Will they be programmable?

Offline XMIT

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Re: XMIT Hall Effect Round 2 Prototype Thread
« Reply #8 on: Wed, 28 June 2017, 11:29:47 »
Will they be programmable?

The firmware will be very similar to last time, so, only as programmable as last time (limited key swaps).

In theory I've got enough information to start hacking on a custom firmware, or to port tmk or Kiibohd or something else to these. But I haven't had the time to even get started. First step would be to understand how these work, and to double check the MCU to see if I can meet the minimum hardware requirements for Kiibohd, and see if it has backlight support.

The manufacturer is stonewalling with anything firmware related which is super ****ty. I work on open source software for a living; they want everything to be closed. It's the worst. This time around I'm mostly focusing on changes they can make effectively: mechanical and assembly tweaks.

Offline robotsokk

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Re: XMIT Hall Effect Round 2 Prototype Thread
« Reply #9 on: Wed, 28 June 2017, 22:51:16 »
Will they be programmable?

In theory I've got enough information to start hacking on a custom firmware, or to port tmk or Kiibohd or something else to these.

A TMK port would be awesome.
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Offline XMIT

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Re: XMIT Hall Effect Round 2 Prototype Thread
« Reply #10 on: Fri, 30 June 2017, 11:41:04 »
I've received an update that prototypes will be on their way on Monday! Hopefully I will see them within a week from today.

171960-0
61-key bamboo board. Note new logo placement and rounded edges.

171962-1
NEW 98-key G80-1800 style board, with high profile case. Note wrist rest!

171964-2
87-key TKL board with high profile case. Edge will be rounded.

171966-3
NEW 108-key board with high profile case and wrist rest.

171968-4
For those who need more keys, or have giant desks, or need a new keyboard for their Sun workstations, here's the NEW 120 key!

I'm really excited to get my hands on these in person next week! :thumb:

Online Rob27shred

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Re: XMIT Hall Effect Round 2 Prototype Thread
« Reply #11 on: Fri, 30 June 2017, 13:14:48 »
I've received an update that prototypes will be on their way on Monday! Hopefully I will see them within a week from today.

(Attachment Link)
61-key bamboo board. Note new logo placement and rounded edges.

(Attachment Link)
NEW 98-key G80-1800 style board, with high profile case. Note wrist rest!

(Attachment Link)
87-key TKL board with high profile case. Edge will be rounded.

(Attachment Link)
NEW 108-key board with high profile case and wrist rest.

(Attachment Link)
For those who need more keys, or have giant desks, or need a new keyboard for their Sun workstations, here's the NEW 120 key!

I'm really excited to get my hands on these in person next week! :thumb:

The addition of click mechanisms to the switches & an 1800 option might just be enough to draw me in for another XMIT board. I got the Bamboo 60% with 70g springs from Rd 1 which required some tweaking to get it where I wanted it but turned out to be an awesome board all things considered (speaking of those tweaks/mods I should probably post them for others to see). Glad to hear you are switching to Costar stabilizers as the stabs were probably the worst thing to me about my Rd 1 board. While I prefer clipped & lubed Cherry stabs I know it costs a ton to use genuine Cherry stabs on your boards. Given the choice between Costar & the generic Cherry style stabs from Rd 1 I'd go Costar all day long.

Also glad to hear the click mechanisms may be able to be dropped into switches on boards from Rd 1 as that is something I would be interested in. What weight springs will you be offering for Rd 2? The lightness of the springs in my bamboo 60% is the biggest reason it doesn't see a ton of use right now. I got it quieted down significantly & feeling very good with the modding I did, if I could get heavier springs for it probably would get into my daily driver pool TBH. Anyways the new boards look great & I really like the changes/additions you have made for Rd 2. Keep up the good work XMIT! :thumb:

Offline XMIT

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Re: XMIT Hall Effect Round 2 Prototype Thread
« Reply #12 on: Fri, 30 June 2017, 13:20:29 »
Yeah I'd really love to see the mods you did on this board. Please share them, and link here!

I'm only offering the "70g" spring this time around, since there was so much bad reaction to the 50g springs. I'll be rebranding them too: 70g is the bottom out force; actuation is more like 40g (and I wish they had a little more preload; the click mechanism will help with this).

I'll see about including a "parts pack" of 110 70g springs and 110g click leaves for any Round 1 folks who want to do a retrofit. The kit would be about $20.

Online Rob27shred

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Re: XMIT Hall Effect Round 2 Prototype Thread
« Reply #13 on: Fri, 30 June 2017, 16:54:36 »
Yeah I'd really love to see the mods you did on this board. Please share them, and link here!

I'm only offering the "70g" spring this time around, since there was so much bad reaction to the 50g springs. I'll be rebranding them too: 70g is the bottom out force; actuation is more like 40g (and I wish they had a little more preload; the click mechanism will help with this).

I'll see about including a "parts pack" of 110 70g springs and 110g click leaves for any Round 1 folks who want to do a retrofit. The kit would be about $20.

The most effective mod I found was doing this to the housings,
171972-0
171974-1
I just cut some electrical tape into small strips with a utility knife & then put those strips at the top of the channels the slider's legs run in on the housing. It's pretty effective at dampening the upstroke since it puts some cushion on the legs of the slider when they hit the top of the housing on the upstroke. It's a long tedious process & kind of a ghetto fix, but goes a long way to quieting the board down. I ended up settling on using electrical tape because everything else I could think of would either leave the sliders in inconsistent start positions or drastically reduce the sliders starting position. With electrical tape you have something that barely affect the sliders starting position & keeps them all uniform. As an afterthought I was thinking a piece of electrical tape could be placed on the bottom of the slider to dampen the bottom out as well. I doubt it would interfere with the PCB registering the magnets, but have not tried it since I had the board all put back together when I thought of it. Also the upstroke sound was much more annoying to me than the bottom out sound so I left it as an idea for now.

The other mod I found to help quiet the board down was to lube the stabilizers fairly heavily, but there is a fine line between killing sound & feeling mushy with lubing these particular stabs IME. Probably a better solution would be to just swap the stock stabs out for genuine Cherry plate mount stabs, clipped & lubed of course! The last mod was one me & you have discussed before & specific to the bamboo models. It was just getting slightly wider threaded machine screws of the same height as the stock ones to fix stripped out screw holes in the case. I can't remember the exact size, but I did post it on the Massdrop discussion about your drop & the DT page about your boards.

The electrical tape mod is easily the most effective at quieting the board down & the primary one I wanted to share. Not sure if it could be cost effectively implemented in production, but if there was a way to have a small coating of rubber or some soft material installed on the housing where I put the electrical tape I think it would make the switches much quieter.

Looking forward to seeing & feeling the click mechanisms in action, I think it will help with the preload as well. It would be awesome if you can make a "parts pack" for Rd 1 owners happen, I'd be in for one for sure! Hopefully the click mechanism will also make the switches feel a little bit weightier too. Have you tried out a board fitted with the click mechanism yet? Like I said before the lightness of the switches is the only thing I really don't like about your HE boards. I would really like to see a heavier spring option than the 70g bottom force one. I also think having a heavier spring option would help these boards appeal to a broader audience. Although I'm sure there is a good reason as to why you haven't offered the option yet & that it is a hurdle that can be overcome soon.
« Last Edit: Fri, 30 June 2017, 16:58:02 by Rob27shred »

Offline XMIT

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Re: XMIT Hall Effect Round 2 Prototype Thread
« Reply #14 on: Fri, 30 June 2017, 17:04:34 »
Awesome, thanks for sharing!

So something like 0.2-0.5mm Poron urethane foam would work well but that's really fiddly. Electrical tape is a good option here. I talked to the manufacturer about offering this as a stock option and since we don't have a way to automate this the answer is no. One thing I can think about is doing a double-shot housing, where the second shot is molded rubber, but again, that won't be around for Round 2.

I do think soft landing pads could soften the down stroke greatly.

I think the Costar stabs will fix all the stabilization issues.

We're moving to screws with threaded inserts next time around, so there will be no threading directly into plastic or wood.

I've tried an early prototype with the old click leaf. We couldn't bring this into production since there were consistency and key return issues! Hopefully those are solved with the latest versions - the factory says they are but I'll have to wait and see. There is also a tactile, non clicky version in the works.

As for a heavier spring - I've talked to the manufacturers about this and (apart from minimum order requirements) it's easy enough to do. But again, I want to wait and see how well the click mechanism works before thinking about different springs. Apart from the widespread complaints about the 30g (formerly "50g") springs being way too light, there isn't general consensus about spring weight - it's a highly personal thing with some people preferring 100g at actuation.

That being said, any spring of the right size will work in these boards, if you can find them. ;)

For all these reasons and more I'm excited about Round 2 and you should be too.

Online Rob27shred

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Re: XMIT Hall Effect Round 2 Prototype Thread
« Reply #15 on: Fri, 30 June 2017, 17:18:44 »
Awesome, thanks for sharing!

So something like 0.2-0.5mm Poron urethane foam would work well but that's really fiddly. Electrical tape is a good option here. I talked to the manufacturer about offering this as a stock option and since we don't have a way to automate this the answer is no. One thing I can think about is doing a double-shot housing, where the second shot is molded rubber, but again, that won't be around for Round 2.

I do think soft landing pads could soften the down stroke greatly.

I think the Costar stabs will fix all the stabilization issues.

We're moving to screws with threaded inserts next time around, so there will be no threading directly into plastic or wood.

I've tried an early prototype with the old click leaf. We couldn't bring this into production since there were consistency and key return issues! Hopefully those are solved with the latest versions - the factory says they are but I'll have to wait and see. There is also a tactile, non clicky version in the works.

As for a heavier spring - I've talked to the manufacturers about this and (apart from minimum order requirements) it's easy enough to do. But again, I want to wait and see how well the click mechanism works before thinking about different springs. Apart from the widespread complaints about the 30g (formerly "50g") springs being way too light, there isn't general consensus about spring weight - it's a highly personal thing with some people preferring 100g at actuation.

That being said, any spring of the right size will work in these boards, if you can find them. ;)

For all these reasons and more I'm excited about Round 2 and you should be too.

I completely agree, it's sounding like Rd 2 boards are shaping up to be a big leap forward to me & I plan on getting in on an 1800 model! I'm just a heavy switch type & wanted to nudge you a bit about heavier spring options. Ultimately though like you said weighting preferences are highly personal, so if the current 70g springs are fitting the bill for now I can see why you are focusing improvement efforts elsewhere.

I've had the thought of trying to source some heavier springs for my Rd 1 board but haven't had much luck finding compatible ones. That said I haven't really dived to deep into trying to find them so I'm sure I can come up with something with enough effort. Thanks for the detailed response & GL with everything moving forward, can't wait to see the finished Rd 2 boards! ;D

Offline dante

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Re: XMIT Hall Effect Round 2 Prototype Thread
« Reply #16 on: Sat, 01 July 2017, 08:05:03 »
Since it wasn't mentioned I take it this doesn't have everything relocated onto a plate?  Because I can tell you from all the horror stories I've read in round 1 there is no way in hell I'd consider the bamboo without it.

Can you tell me if the programming software is flexible enough to allow for the space-fn layout?.  If it's not, can it be by time the factory delivers?

Offline XMIT

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Re: XMIT Hall Effect Round 2 Prototype Thread
« Reply #17 on: Sat, 01 July 2017, 08:41:54 »
No and no.

The bamboo cases will have the top layers glued together to help with rigidity and cracking, that's the only change. Well, that and the new threaded inserts.

Offline FoxWolf1

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Re: XMIT Hall Effect Round 2 Prototype Thread
« Reply #18 on: Sat, 01 July 2017, 09:03:18 »
That 120-key looks very nice! Very Sun-ish, as you said. Clicky/tactile leaves also sound like a good addition.

Is NKRO fixed for the new round? Due to my control style (and my habit of playing slightly sketchy indie games with ill-considered control schemes) I really don't get along well with rollover limitations.

Still hoping round 3/4/5/6/whenever will include a TrackPoint (or multi-trackpoint!) option... :p
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Offline XMIT

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Re: XMIT Hall Effect Round 2 Prototype Thread
« Reply #19 on: Sat, 01 July 2017, 09:59:07 »
The factory claims yes on NKRO but I'll need to verify this myself.

Offline dante

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Re: XMIT Hall Effect Round 2 Prototype Thread
« Reply #20 on: Sat, 01 July 2017, 10:39:54 »
That 120-key looks very nice! Very Sun-ish, as you said.

I agree with you.  The thing holding me back is silencing.  The 120-key would be for the Office (I have plenty of keyboards for the home) - BUT it needs to be quiet enough to be used. Tactility is less of a requirement than keeping my coworkers happy.

Offline KlarKuo

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Re: XMIT Hall Effect Round 2 Prototype Thread
« Reply #21 on: Sat, 01 July 2017, 11:29:46 »
That 120-key looks very nice! Very Sun-ish, as you said.

I agree with you.  The thing holding me back is silencing.  The 120-key would be for the Office (I have plenty of keyboards for the home) - BUT it needs to be quiet enough to be used. Tactility is less of a requirement than keeping my coworkers happy.

Yeah, they were louder than I expected in person


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Offline ArchCel

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Re: XMIT Hall Effect Round 2 Prototype Thread
« Reply #22 on: Sat, 22 July 2017, 14:17:32 »

The molds for the sliders and the switch housings are unchanged. These won't be any quieter, sorry. I could only push the factory so much. I'm experimenting with downstroke damping, though.


How about the issue of the keycap fitment? will there be the same issue with the stems having a big variance from well tight, all the way to making switches go airborne if typing fast? If not any chance there wil be more than 3 extra housings/sliders to ensure that all can work well, as i went to use all 3 and still have some of the worse fitting ones on, as it was only enough to save my switches from becoming pilots :)

I like the changes all in all. Sad that they won't let information on firmware slip, but hopefully we can get something working. Also which of the layouts are offered in bamboo?

As a sidenote i adore the switches and the sound of them, first linear i've ever come to enjoy using :)

Offline XMIT

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Re: XMIT Hall Effect Round 2 Prototype Thread
« Reply #23 on: Sat, 22 July 2017, 21:20:58 »
I think we've oversized the key mounts a bit, key fitment seems much tighter now.

Thanks for the feedback! :)

Yanbo at Massdrop had some Round 2 prototypes at the Seattle meetup, did anyone here get a chance to play with them?

Offline daniel_centore

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Re: XMIT Hall Effect Round 2 Prototype Thread
« Reply #24 on: Mon, 14 August 2017, 19:00:45 »
Been a while since there have been any updates. Did the prototype boards come in? Any more pictures?

I'm very excited for the sun keyboard -- it's my favourite layout and I've always wanted one with a real switch

Offline M4dn3ss

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Re: XMIT Hall Effect Round 2 Prototype Thread
« Reply #25 on: Sun, 27 August 2017, 07:26:45 »
Would it be possible to improve the sound of these for Round 2? The sound signature is probably the low point of the board, being high pitched, hollow and plasticky-sounding. If it were made to sound more solid and bassy (especially for the clicky version) we could have the best of all worlds, the ultimate keyboard:
 - Amazing click sound and feel like Alps
 - Legendary reliability with Hall effect switches
 - Cherry MX keycap compatibility

Offline wokechill

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Re: XMIT Hall Effect Round 2 Prototype Thread
« Reply #26 on: Sun, 27 August 2017, 13:10:40 »
I'll see about offering the click mechanism as a retrofit option. If no mold changes happened then it will be a drop in addition. That was the plan from the beginning.

hooboy, i am pumped that might be an option! really love my TKL, would love it even more if it was tactile/clicky

Offline MatchstickMan

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Re: XMIT Hall Effect Round 2 Prototype Thread
« Reply #27 on: Wed, 30 August 2017, 12:55:53 »
I got a hold of some thin poron foam and have been meaning to apply it to this board. Looking at Rob's solution have given me some ideas to try out when I get around to it also. I was planning on cutting small strips and placing them on the housing perpendicular to the arms, causes a bit of waste of the material I have, but I should have plenty enough. I just haven't been able to get around to it due to moving and surgeries and the like.

Threaded inserts will be great for this board. Part of why I'm wary of taking the thing apart again is because I don't want to be unable to screw the board together again, haha!

I'd be VERY interested in v3 if there is an in-housing damping solution for the upstroke. Especially that 120key or the 98 boards.
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Offline rich1051414

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Re: XMIT Hall Effect Round 2 Prototype Thread
« Reply #28 on: Mon, 04 September 2017, 23:53:53 »
Can't wait for the clicky version, keep us updated!
« Last Edit: Wed, 11 October 2017, 12:13:39 by rich1051414 »
Siig Minitouch with Orange Alps, Whitefox 60% Zealios 67g, Realforce 87U 55g Topre, LFK SMK/Alps TKL With SMK 2nd Gen Cherry MX mount switches, NEC APC-H412 NEC Blue Ovals, Unicomp Model-M Spacesaver, XMIT Hall Effect, WASD Code Cherry MX Clear, KBDFans75 Lubed Gateron Greens, Azio MGK L80 Kailh Brown, XD84 Pale Blue Box Kailh, NIB Pingmaster TMK Converted, KPrepublic XD96 Blue aluminum case with Jade Box Kailh

Offline xmagusx

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Re: XMIT Hall Effect Round 2 Prototype Thread
« Reply #29 on: Mon, 11 September 2017, 15:17:00 »
What's the current word on the status of round 2?

Offline MattKelly

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Re: XMIT Hall Effect Round 2 Prototype Thread
« Reply #30 on: Fri, 22 September 2017, 13:53:58 »
Hi, XMIT. I was wondering where you ended up with the configuration of the actuation point for round two of your keyboards. I'm currently looking at hall effect vs. optical switches, and considering both have no delay from debounce, the next major factor for me is how soon the actuation point can be. I'm a professional gamer looking for the fastest response time possible (240Hz monitor race to press a key the fastest sort of deal). I would love to know at what mm these round two boards can be actuated! Thanks in advance.

Offline Felion

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Re: XMIT Hall Effect Round 2 Prototype Thread
« Reply #31 on: Tue, 26 September 2017, 06:25:30 »
My major concern is if R2 will come with a working PCB or not? (My unit from R1 didnt :( )
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Offline dante

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Re: XMIT Hall Effect Round 2 Prototype Thread
« Reply #32 on: Tue, 26 September 2017, 07:50:27 »

Offline Techno Trousers

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Re: XMIT Hall Effect Round 2 Prototype Thread
« Reply #33 on: Tue, 26 September 2017, 07:58:25 »
If you use the "request" button on the Massdrop XMIT keyboards round 1, they should notify you when round 2 goes live.

Offline dorkvader

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Re: XMIT Hall Effect Round 2 Prototype Thread
« Reply #34 on: Mon, 13 November 2017, 12:41:33 »
Drop is now live
https://www.massdrop.com/buy/xmit-hall-effect-mechanical-keyboard?mode=guest_open

I'm very excited to see switch teardown photos of the linear and click. Looks like this was achieved by doing sideways alps-style.

Offline ander

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Re: XMIT Hall Effect Round 2 Prototype Thread
« Reply #35 on: Tue, 28 November 2017, 21:54:27 »
I'm afraid I won't be able to order a Round 2, as much as I'd like to... I'm sure there are good reasons why the prices are ~50% higher this time, but unfortunately I'm married to someone who thinks one keeb of any type is sufficient.  :?|
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