Author Topic: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions  (Read 37777 times)

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Offline XMIT

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Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« on: Mon, 05 September 2016, 13:46:26 »
Video: Review on YouTube



(More photos HERE and HERE. I'll slowly add more photos from the albums to this thread.)

I'm typing this review on the first truly modern Hall effect keyboard that I've encountered. I looked around and couldn't find any other reviews of this board. I'm hoping to bring more of these to the community through a future group buy (maybe in time for Christmas?)

Back in June some folks from Reddit and the Texas mechanical keyboard community organized a meetup at Das Keyboard HQ here in Austin. One of the attendees brought an obscure "magnetic switch" keyboard made by Ace Pad Tech in China. I was intrigued since, as you may know, I have a special love for magnetic keyboards due to their robust, bounce-free switches.

I did some research and found a keyboard with a feature set that almost looked too good to be true. I say "almost" because, well, I've got one here in front of me right now, and I'm typing on it! Moreover, I've been busy over the past few months working with the manufacturer, and about ten forum members, to run a mini group buy to get these into people's hands for more opinions. Those keyboards are being delivered today and tomorrow for the most part so I expect that we'll see some more reviews on this thread soon.

Anyway. I found the manufacturer's Web site and was able to have a live chat session with one of the folks at the company (tough to do if you consider the time zone difference between Austin and China). I confirmed this set of features:

- Hall effect based magnetic key sensing.
- Linear key feel, in 50g (Cherry MX Red like) and 70g (Cherry MX Black like) spring weights.
- Native USB connection with full N-key rollover.
- Full RGB LED backlighting with a surface mounted LED under each key.
- Cherry MX mount key switches with Cherry style stabilizers for wide key set compatibility and easy key changes.
- PBT/POM key caps available in black, white, and several other color choices.
- Available in 61-key "60%", 87-key "TKL", and 104-key "full size" layouts.
- ISO layouts also available.
- Full surface mount single PCB construction. All the Hall sensors, LEDs, microcontrollers, and other logic are on a single board.
- Fully waterproof design. The PCB is coated with a water resistant epoxy and can safely operate underwater.
- Keyboard body available in bamboo, ABS plastic, clear/black acrylic, and several other colors.
- Laser engraving available for bamboo and acrylic boards.

I ordered a bamboo board with white key caps and 70g springs in July. I'm typing on it now.

Check the review video link above for more thoughts on the board, or click through to the photo link for more photos. I'll be adding future updates with a complete tear down, detail photos of the internals, and anything else you might want to see.

Offline klennkellon

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #1 on: Mon, 05 September 2016, 15:22:48 »
Excellent. What a cool little board!

If these catch on, RIP any linear MX switch.

Offline XMIT

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #2 on: Mon, 05 September 2016, 15:45:51 »
Thanks! :thumb:

Wilkie over on DT asked some great questions that are on everyone's mind. I'll cross post my answers here!

Quote from: Wilkie
Can you compare smoothness to MX Black (modern, vintage), Gateron Black, and/or Micro Switch?

The switches are extremely smooth. The slider and the housing for the slider are both polycarbonate I think (I'll ask). The tradeoff is tolerance: the key caps wiggle a little more than Cherry MX at the top of the stroke.

They are smoother than modern MX black, maybe about as smooth as Gateron Black, and a little less smooth than vintage MX black or Micro Switch. They're comparable to Micro Switch in feel - it's all a (relatively) giant slider moving against a housing, not a tiny slider moving along a cam follower.

Stabilized keys are less smooth due to the use of Cherry style stabilizers.

These photos should make it a little easier to conceptualize what is going on:


Board with key caps removed.


Detail of under side of key cap, with key cap removed.


Detail of spring assembly with slider removed.


Straight down view. The magnet is the silver disc inside the slider. The Hall sensor is on the other side of the PCB.


Slider and housing detail.


Hall sensor (HAL) and LED  on back side of board. The clear housing clips to the left and right of the Hall sensor are visible.

Quote from: Wilkie
How are off-center key presses?

Fine. I can't get them to bind. You do get more friction with off center key presses.

Quote from: Wilkie
Any chance for a heavier weight?

There is room for a pretty good sized spring. They are maybe double the diameter of Cherry MX springs (since they have to leave space in the middle for a magnet) and the same height. I'll ask, it should be possible to go as heavy or light as you want - or even ergo weighting - with just a spring swap.

Quote from: Wilkie
Consistency of feel between switches?

This is limited by the consistency of the springs, which is to say it's quite good. The stabilized keys are a little heavier due to stabilizer friction.

Quote from: Wilkie
Cases look a little iffy, what are the feet like?

Heh. This ... is currently a weak point. So, by design, these boards are made of layers of bamboo or acrylic sandwiched together. The feet are just a couple of extra bars of whatever material tacked on. See, for example, my 60% board:



(Note, too, the engraved DT logo and my username in the Technic font.)

Some folks - like myself - just remove the bars and stick on some rubber feet of whatever height. I'll work with them to see if they can offer different screw lengths to allow users to select different heights.

This photo shows better how everything is assembled:



Quote from: Wilkie
I feel like I'd want an anchor for a case for Hall Effect.

I asked about CNC aluminum cases. Anything is possible but at current this is not an option.

Offline Sifo

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #3 on: Tue, 06 September 2016, 01:53:59 »
holy **** this is so cool wtf
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Offline Halverson

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #4 on: Tue, 06 September 2016, 02:06:29 »
holy **** this is so cool wtf

Seconded
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Offline Elrick

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #5 on: Tue, 06 September 2016, 03:59:05 »
Talk about the resurrection of ancient style of switches.

Looking forward to a full sized Hall Effect keyboard.  Good times are coming, hope at least they are available for 2017.

Online AMongoose

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #6 on: Tue, 06 September 2016, 05:07:53 »
That is amazing! May I ask how much did it cost you to get one?

Offline oumakavoula

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #7 on: Tue, 06 September 2016, 05:24:09 »
the bamboo alone is amazing, i'm really eager to try the hall effect

Offline jaffers

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #8 on: Tue, 06 September 2016, 06:07:48 »
They look pretty alright, would like to try these out,
« Last Edit: Tue, 06 September 2016, 06:11:24 by jaffers »

Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #9 on: Tue, 06 September 2016, 07:19:39 »
2016 IS THE YEAR ONE OF MY KEYBOARD DREAMS COME TRUE. They finally made a modern Hall Effect board in a nice TKL or 60% layout?!?!?! I'm so hype. Haven't been this hype about keyboards in a while. Really wanna see some teardown pictures. Most importantly, how do I get my hands on one?
Please check out TactileZine.com!

Offline XMIT

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #10 on: Tue, 06 September 2016, 08:58:57 »
That is amazing! May I ask how much did it cost you to get one?

It was about $100 shipped. Group buy pricing is ... complicated. I'm hoping to target about that same price point for a group buy. It may be a little more, so, bear with me as I get this organized.

About ten various GH and DT forum members received samples of these boards that should be arriving today (shipped Friday from China via DHL). I'm hoping that they will chime in soon with their own thoughts!

I'll try to answer as many questions as I can here and do have an open line with the manufacturer to ask questions. Though, your question may already be answered on the DT analogue of this thread:

https://deskthority.net/keyboards-f2/chinese-usb-hall-effect-keyboard-review-and-impressions-t14551-30.html

Believe me, I'm as excited about a modern Hall effect keyboard as anyone! I have a bunch of Micro Switch Hall effect boards at home and have been working to get those working with modern computers. That project is sort of on the back burner for now as I work to get these boards available. :)

Offline XMIT

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #11 on: Tue, 06 September 2016, 09:00:04 »
Looking forward to a full sized Hall Effect keyboard.  Good times are coming, hope at least they are available for 2017.

Yep, full size 104 key is available for sure. I'm hoping to get a 108 key with media keys as well.

I'm hoping for 2017 as well. No promises but I'd love to get the group buy going soon so that these can ship for Christmas.

Offline XMIT

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #12 on: Tue, 06 September 2016, 09:03:28 »
Really wanna see some teardown pictures. Most importantly, how do I get my hands on one?

If you want to see some detail teardown pictures right now check the link in the OP, which I'll include here as well: https://goo.gl/photos/5ijmyf9RmHd9RYgE7. Also a bunch of pictures of the different color and size options: https://goo.gl/photos/5EmXR1WT3hHXVWqF6.

I was kind of scrambling to get the OP up yesterday so that this thread would exist for future reviewers to add their own thoughts. I'm working on longer write ups of the keyboard but it will take some time. I did a full tear down over the weekend including popping all of the key sliders off and replacing springs and sliders. That is reflected in the photos.

This is really a great year for keyboards. First the Model F replicas and now this.

Offline Badwrench

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #13 on: Tue, 06 September 2016, 09:15:38 »
Thank you for all of the great tear down photos.  That is a really interesting looking board. 

How is the quality of the bamboo?  It looks pretty thin, but very easy to replicate in a different material. 
wut. i'd buy a ****ty IBM board for that green V2

Offline XMIT

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #14 on: Tue, 06 September 2016, 11:52:28 »
How is the quality of the bamboo?  It looks pretty thin, but very easy to replicate in a different material. 

It's okay. It's a little rough. I would hit it with some sandpaper up to 800 grit to get a nice smooth finish. I've got a bamboo trivet (a kitchen thing) that is much softer to the touch.

Bamboo generally holds up pretty well to liquids and other abuse.

Yeah, the design of the board is so that, if you have any sheet of material that you can laser cut, making your own case is super simple. I may work with the manufacturer to get some laser cutter templates or just CAD some up myself. They offer an acrylic version as well since it is also super easy to laser cut.

Online Data

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #15 on: Tue, 06 September 2016, 12:38:53 »
In for a bamboo TKL if these ever become a thing.  Is it possible to get them on Taobao?

Any chance you could test them with an SA key set?  I know you would lose the shine-through but I'm curious how they fit on those stems.
« Last Edit: Tue, 06 September 2016, 12:40:34 by Data »

Offline FoxWolf1

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #16 on: Tue, 06 September 2016, 13:06:30 »
Oh, hi! It was great to chat about these with you back in June.

Personally, I'm still drooling over the "Chinese red wood" version of the case-- not that I either a) could afford it, or b) need another keyboard housed in a massive slab of wood.

A few observations, a few months in:
-There's something rather calming about typing on a keyboard engineered to resist dust and water, never chatter, etc. A typo is once again just a typo, not a sign of something beginning to go horribly wrong on an expensive peripheral.
-My (completely unscientific) gaming-based keyboard tests say this thing is fast. Oddly, I never felt that way about my RK capsense board-- if anything, I felt like I was struggling to maneuver as precisely with that as I could with keyboards using MX-style or ALPS-style switches. The Hall Effect board, on the other hand, makes me feel like I can nail tricky moves more easily than I can on anything else.
-Owning a Hall Effect keyboard means you get to feel smug every time you hear about someone investing 150% or more of what you spent on something with peasant contact-based switches.  :p
Yeah, okay then.

Offline XMIT

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #17 on: Tue, 06 September 2016, 13:41:06 »
In for a bamboo TKL if these ever become a thing.  Is it possible to get them on Taobao?

Any chance you could test them with an SA key set?  I know you would lose the shine-through but I'm curious how they fit on those stems.

For now please wait for the upcoming group buy. Then you get the benefits of all of our hard work fixing all the bugs in these keyboards. :-)

Engicoder tested them with SA. The Space bars have some issues. We'll need to rework the stabilizers a bit to fix this. I'll test it again myself later.

Offline XMIT

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #18 on: Tue, 06 September 2016, 13:43:00 »
Oh, hi! It was great to chat about these with you back in June.

Oh was this you? I was trying to remember who it was! Sorry I didn't get your contact info back then. If it weren't for you this project wouldn't be happening, so, thanks for showing me that board! I tried to get a hold of you through the meetup organizers but that somehow fell through.

IIRC you're local to the Austin area, so, feel free to stop by sometime if you want to check out some of the other form factors. Your version of the board is the even older one that has a buzzing backlight (fixed with different capacitor choices) and clicking springs (fixed with a new mold that eliminates a burr).

Offline FoxWolf1

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #19 on: Tue, 06 September 2016, 14:00:40 »
Oh, hi! It was great to chat about these with you back in June.

Oh was this you? I was trying to remember who it was! Sorry I didn't get your contact info back then. If it weren't for you this project wouldn't be happening, so, thanks for showing me that board! I tried to get a hold of you through the meetup organizers but that somehow fell through.

IIRC you're local to the Austin area, so, feel free to stop by sometime if you want to check out some of the other form factors. Your version of the board is the even older one that has a buzzing backlight (fixed with different capacitor choices) and clicking springs (fixed with a new mold that eliminates a burr).

Now formerly local to the Austin area, I'm afraid, but thanks anyhow!

Good to hear they're continuing to iterate on the design. I never noticed the backlight whine before you mentioned it-- it's quiet, but I can definitely hear it if I put my ear to the keyboard with the lights going full blast. The burr was annoying, though-- the bad "crunchy" feeling went away as the switches got broken in, but I'd guess your version is probably still a bit smoother than mine.

BTW, did they mention anything to you about a two spring version of the switch, perhaps with a brown stem? I've seen the occasional picture of it around the web, but I'm still trying to figure out if a) it really exists, and b) if it actually works differently (perhaps by having the short inner spring push down on a membrane) or is just using the second spring to add a form of tactility to the Hall Effect design.
Yeah, okay then.

Offline zslane

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #20 on: Tue, 06 September 2016, 14:02:54 »
Yeah, this development is very exciting.

To be frank, the only reason I am a devoted MX red user is because there is no modern Hall Effect switch being installed in fully integrated boards. Now there will be.

If this works out the way I hope it will, I forsee a complete turnover of all my keyboards.

(Though for a superior tactile experience, I am looking forward to the RealForce RGB.)

Online Data

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #21 on: Tue, 06 September 2016, 14:07:10 »
In for a bamboo TKL if these ever become a thing.  Is it possible to get them on Taobao?

Any chance you could test them with an SA key set?  I know you would lose the shine-through but I'm curious how they fit on those stems.

For now please wait for the upcoming group buy. Then you get the benefits of all of our hard work fixing all the bugs in these keyboards. :-)

Engicoder tested them with SA. The Space bars have some issues. We'll need to rework the stabilizers a bit to fix this. I'll test it again myself later.

Yeah, if there's to be a group buy in the near(ish) future I'm definitely in.  Thanks for showing us these boards.  I've been interested in Hall Effect switches for a while now but never had the pleasure of trying them.  This opportunity is too good to pass up.

Offline XMIT

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #22 on: Tue, 06 September 2016, 14:11:06 »
BTW, did they mention anything to you about a two spring version of the switch, perhaps with a brown stem? I've seen the occasional picture of it around the web, but I'm still trying to figure out if a) it really exists, and b) if it actually works differently (perhaps by having the short inner spring push down on a membrane) or is just using the second spring to add a form of tactility to the Hall Effect design.

Another user on DT mentioned this and I have no idea what it is. I may order one in just to check it out. One thing at a time! But I don't think it is the same thing.

http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/Hot-sell-elastic-shaft-gaming-mechanical-keyboard-with-87-keys-keyboard-26-Keys-Anti-ghosting-Internet/1708071_32677355036.html

http://imgur.com/a/U4wqX

Offline Moistgun

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #23 on: Tue, 06 September 2016, 14:15:35 »
nvm.
« Last Edit: Tue, 06 September 2016, 14:20:14 by Moistgun »

Offline Bucake

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #24 on: Wed, 07 September 2016, 23:42:50 »
interesting, i wonder if this will catch on

excellent review :-)
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Offline XMIT

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #25 on: Thu, 08 September 2016, 10:04:23 »
Thanks Bucake! :)

We're actively developing some parts of the board - firmware, stabilizers, a couple of other little things. Stay tuned, I think we'll get something great out of this.

Offline saxophone

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #26 on: Fri, 09 September 2016, 07:25:40 »
Things I'd love:

Make the cable exit the usual mini usb port which you can attach/detach cable for
Make a 84 or 82key layout version

I'd easily throw $150+ for a compact layout with usb port that you can attach/detach from

Also check the LEDs. Some LEDs + controlle (used by chinese manufacturers) r has the unfortunate side effect of emitting a coil whine like either buzzing or high frequency whining sound while many LEDs are lit at the same time.
« Last Edit: Fri, 09 September 2016, 07:32:12 by saxophone »

Offline FoxWolf1

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #27 on: Fri, 09 September 2016, 08:00:42 »
Make the cable exit the usual mini usb port which you can attach/detach cable for

Personally, I like the fixed cable with the connection points sealed for full waterproofing. The nice thing about 100% waterproofing is that, if the board ever gets really dirty-- like if it suffers a bad soda spill, or your cat vomits into it, or you just happen to forget about cleaning it for 10 years, or whatever-- you can just rinse it off. Also means a bit more confidence in the spill protection in general.

Plus, I worry that the port where a cable connects could easily become more of a failure point than the cable itself.
Yeah, okay then.

Offline XMIT

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #28 on: Fri, 09 September 2016, 08:44:52 »
Also check the LEDs. Some LEDs + controller (used by chinese manufacturers) has the unfortunate side effect of emitting a coil whine like either buzzing or high frequency whining sound while many LEDs are lit at the same time.

You are absolutely right about the sound from the LEDs. This is something that I've already fixed in this revision of the boards. The latest version - what I have now - do not have a buzzing sound or a whine.

Offline XMIT

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #29 on: Fri, 09 September 2016, 08:45:43 »
Make the cable exit the usual mini usb port which you can attach/detach cable for

Personally, I like the fixed cable with the connection points sealed for full waterproofing. The nice thing about 100% waterproofing is that, if the board ever gets really dirty-- like if it suffers a bad soda spill, or your cat vomits into it, or you just happen to forget about cleaning it for 10 years, or whatever-- you can just rinse it off. Also means a bit more confidence in the spill protection in general.

Plus, I worry that the port where a cable connects could easily become more of a failure point than the cable itself.

I may offer the detachable cable as an option. I'll likely go with micro B out of personal preference, or USB C.

Offline Elrick

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #30 on: Fri, 09 September 2016, 21:33:06 »
For now please wait for the upcoming group buy. Then you get the benefits of all of our hard work fixing all the bugs in these keyboards. :-)

Engicoder tested them with SA. The Space bars have some issues. We'll need to rework the stabilizers a bit to fix this. I'll test it again myself later.

Damn straight, when it finally goes Public, count me in because I really want to try out some hall effects.  TKL and Full-sized babies.

These may actually be super rare once the Group Buy finishes, so it's good to own something that is unique even here within this closed keyboard community.

Thanks for doing this  :thumb: .

Offline XMIT

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #31 on: Sat, 10 September 2016, 06:08:18 »
I'm still in lots of discussions with the manufacturer about a bunch of little things and am also looking at a few different options for running an effective group buy. Please bear with me! I'll also work on posting a few more photos.

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #32 on: Sat, 10 September 2016, 09:02:59 »
Did I misunderstand, or is this not a product that is already in production and out for retail sale?

I know that XMIT is working to tweak details and that the group buy will be a specialty customized setup(s), but won't there still be a stock version on the open market?
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Offline XMIT

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #33 on: Sat, 10 September 2016, 09:41:32 »
Did I misunderstand, or is this not a product that is already in production and out for retail sale?

At present the only way to get this board is by contacting the manufacturers directly.

I know that XMIT is working to tweak details and that the group buy will be a specialty customized setup(s), but won't there still be a stock version on the open market?

Perhaps. Another reseller can in theory get boards from the manufacturer and sell them.

Since I'm working with the manufacturers, many of the changes that I'm proposing will find their way into all of their designs. These are things like new molds for stabilizers, new controller boards, customizable layouts, etc.

Call me biased but I believe the "XMIT Edition" or whatever of these boards will be the best ones, since I'm working so closely with the manufacturers to incorporate all of the community and reviewer feedback I'm seeing.

Offline zslane

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #34 on: Sat, 10 September 2016, 09:55:33 »
One bit of concern I have is with the NKRO feature. In order to achieve this over USB, aren't they going to have to do some sort of "NKRO emulation" like Varmilo does? If so, I would request that it be off by default, enabled via DIP switch or something. Varmilo's NKRO emulation does not work with USB hubs, KVM switches, or Macintoshes, and worse yet, it is on by default and can't be turned off.

Offline blighty

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #35 on: Sat, 10 September 2016, 09:56:29 »
Did I misunderstand, or is this not a product that is already in production and out for retail sale?

I know that XMIT is working to tweak details and that the group buy will be a specialty customized setup(s), but won't there still be a stock version on the open market?


The aliexpress link above appears to use the same switch as the pictures above.  On sale now for about $36 USD shipped isn't a bad price to test it out.  What layouts is this proposed group buy going to have?  TKL and Full size?  60 and 75% too?

Offline XMIT

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #36 on: Sat, 10 September 2016, 10:12:39 »
One bit of concern I have is with the NKRO feature. In order to achieve this over USB, aren't they going to have to do some sort of "NKRO emulation" like Varmilo does? If so, I would request that it be off by default, enabled via DIP switch or something. Varmilo's NKRO emulation does not work with USB hubs, KVM switches, or Macintoshes, and worse yet, it is on by default and can't be turned off.

Ideally you'll be able to do whatever you want with a custom firmware.


Offline XMIT

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #37 on: Sat, 10 September 2016, 10:15:17 »
The aliexpress link above appears to use the same switch as the pictures above.  On sale now for about $36 USD shipped isn't a bad price to test it out.

The aforementioned keyboard uses the same sliders as the Hall effect board, but uses a different sensing mechanism that is not Hall effect based. I *think* it is conductive.

What layouts is this proposed group buy going to have?  TKL and Full size?  60 and 75% too?

The current thinking is to focus on TKL unless there is strong demand for full size. I don't want to offer 60% boards until we're able to offer them with a default firmware that contains rather more keys in the Fn layer.

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #38 on: Sat, 10 September 2016, 10:45:35 »
i want
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Offline blighty

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #39 on: Sat, 10 September 2016, 11:37:01 »
The aliexpress link above appears to use the same switch as the pictures above.  On sale now for about $36 USD shipped isn't a bad price to test it out.

The aforementioned keyboard uses the same sliders as the Hall effect board, but uses a different sensing mechanism that is not Hall effect based. I *think* it is conductive.


For $36, I'm curious what kind of sensor it is, given the pcb looks like it doesn't have a membrane covering it. (it claims to be waterproof too, but with mini-usb connection)


What layouts is this proposed group buy going to have?  TKL and Full size?  60 and 75% too?
The current thinking is to focus on TKL unless there is strong demand for full size. I don't want to offer 60% boards until we're able to offer them with a default firmware that contains rather more keys in the Fn layer.
Sounds good to me.  Looking forward to seeing what comes out of this. 
« Last Edit: Sat, 10 September 2016, 14:05:57 by blighty »

Offline chyros

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #40 on: Sat, 10 September 2016, 12:12:42 »
The current thinking is to focus on TKL
Seriously?! Oo
Check my keyboard video reviews:


Offline saxophone

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #41 on: Sat, 10 September 2016, 13:22:32 »
Since this is hall effect, at what point does the actual key actuate? Does it need to bottom to do so?

Offline XMIT

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #42 on: Sat, 10 September 2016, 13:23:54 »
Since this is hall effect, at what point does the actual key actuate? Does it need to bottom to do so?

The actuation point is "about 2mm" which is not bottoming out. This may be configurable in the future. It is uniform across the board in this implementation.

Offline XMIT

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #43 on: Sat, 10 September 2016, 13:26:39 »
The current thinking is to focus on TKL
Seriously?! Oo

...as opposed to? I'm guessing you would prefer one of the other sizes.

I'll say again: I don't want to offer the 60% board as is. The buttons on the side are poorly implemented and behave inconsistently, and, too many keys are missing from the Fn layer.

I may offer a full size board if a few things align but I need more information from the manufacturers about this. My preference is to offer just ABS cases for the time being since those are simple, work well, and have an adjustable angle. It would be easy to offer the acrylic boards but I don't yet know how excited folks are for that one. We're still working out some stabilizer fitment issues in the bamboo boards.

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #44 on: Sat, 10 September 2016, 13:26:54 »
Very nice.

You are absolutely right about the sound from the LEDs. This is something that I've already fixed in this revision of the boards. The latest version - what I have now - do not have a buzzing sound or a whine.

Did you find out anything about what it is that causes the sounds? I have the problem on something I bought from china and can't figure out any way to fix it yet.

Offline chyros

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #45 on: Sat, 10 September 2016, 13:29:20 »
The current thinking is to focus on TKL
Seriously?! Oo

...as opposed to? I'm guessing you would prefer one of the other sizes.
Yeah, fullsize! Are they really thinking of making a gaming keyboard out of this? Oo
Check my keyboard video reviews:


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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #46 on: Sat, 10 September 2016, 13:35:32 »
Whoa, thank you for the video review :eek:
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Offline XMIT

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #47 on: Sat, 10 September 2016, 13:37:29 »
You are absolutely right about the sound from the LEDs. This is something that I've already fixed in this revision of the boards. The latest version - what I have now - do not have a buzzing sound or a whine.

Did you find out anything about what it is that causes the sounds? I have the problem on something I bought from china and can't figure out any way to fix it yet.

tl;dr: change a capacitor. You just have to find the right one to change. There is usually something around 22uF, 47uF, or 100uF on the board. Replacing it with a different value may do the trick. It is different for each board.

Long story... click on "more" if you don't know what PWM is...

More
Recall that LEDs only have two full states - full on and full off. The brightness at full on is a function of the amount of current going through the LED (and NOT the voltage across it like an incandescent bulb).

Recall, too, that your eyes can only perceive up to so high a frequency, generally around 100Hz to 200Hz. Anything above that and you can't really tell that there is flicker.

Finally, recall that the range of most human hearing is about 20Hz to 20kHz.

So, pretty much any dimmable LED setup available uses PWM, or pulse width modulation, which is a fancy way of saying "turn the LED on and off faster than you can tell". The eye blends everything together and you see a dimmable LED. The eye is a "low pass filter", it averages light inputs over time.

The problem is that the board is using a PWM frequency that is above the flicker threshold but below the hearing threshold. So, you hear a buzz at the driving frequency. The frequency is often determined by an RC (resistor-capacitor) time constant somewhere. Changing the capacitor value changes the time constant and thus the frequency.

30-40kHz is usually a safe choice.

Offline saxophone

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #48 on: Sat, 10 September 2016, 13:55:08 »
So it's probably caused by http://puu.sh/r6CbQ/c11562e52b.jpg ?

doh.. this kananic dkd 82 I bought doesn't have any manufacturer website, much any firmware files I can use to reflash the thing with a different constant

I've no idea where I'll be able to buy suitable SMD cap to replace either

Offline XMIT

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #49 on: Sat, 10 September 2016, 14:06:00 »
So it's probably caused by http://puu.sh/r6CbQ/c11562e52b.jpg ?

doh.. this kananic dkd 82 I bought doesn't have any manufacturer website, much any firmware files I can use to reflash the thing with a different constant

I've no idea where I'll be able to buy suitable SMD cap to replace either

That might be it. It's hard to know for sure without tracing the whole board. Follow the power and ground lines back from an LED (presumably through a current limiting resistor by the looks of it) to try to see what is going on. Changing that to 47uF would about halve the time constant and double the frequency - it *might* work. Don't blame me if you destroy your board.

The time constant is a hardware value in many cases, flashing may be of no use.

As for SMD components try Digi-key. You can always ask a local electronics repair shop to just sell you a couple if they already have a reel of them.