Author Topic: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions  (Read 39366 times)

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Offline XMIT

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #200 on: Thu, 10 November 2016, 08:21:25 »
Twitter account created: https://twitter.com/XMITKeyboards

Not sure who uses that here, but, it's a way for folks to get support when the keyboards start shipping.

Offline Niomosy

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #201 on: Thu, 10 November 2016, 12:36:00 »
The only [H] I know is HardOCP -- very old PC hardware community.

http://www.hardocp.com/

I wasn't aware that they dabbled in mechs.  I don't see a subforum for it.

They dabble a bit in them in the keyboard/mouse forum.  It's how I found Geekhack in the first place.  However, it's pretty small amounts of mech discussion there.  Overclock had a small bit more discussion on mech boards than Hard Forums going on to be honest.

Offline dwolvin

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #202 on: Thu, 10 November 2016, 20:44:15 »
Good call on Overclock- I lurk there but never post. ..

Sorry Xmit, for some silly reason I often forget that people might not know [H]ardOCP.  It's just been my central tech centric forum for...  Ever?

Oh, parting shot for the night, but on the black board, I know this is probably blasphemy but I like the font / stencil style keys.  (runs in a zig-zag to escape the stones)
« Last Edit: Thu, 10 November 2016, 20:51:12 by dwolvin »

Offline Slash Emperor

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #203 on: Fri, 11 November 2016, 08:09:47 »
Congrats on the MD launch! Just joined the drop!

Offline XMIT

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #204 on: Fri, 11 November 2016, 08:41:15 »

Offline XMIT

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #205 on: Fri, 11 November 2016, 08:53:26 »
Hey dwolvin - the Hardforum mods decided that I was a spammer and banned my account. That's really not very nice of them. I've e-mailed them asking to reverse the ban.

If you get a moment, I'd appreciate you sharing the Massdrop link over there too.

Offline Data

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #206 on: Fri, 11 November 2016, 09:24:37 »
I am so in.

Offline romevi

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #207 on: Fri, 11 November 2016, 09:33:02 »
Bamboo for me if I get to join in time.

Offline Data

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #208 on: Fri, 11 November 2016, 09:38:08 »
Can you tell us the size & length of the case screws?  I might want to swap them out for button heads.

Offline XMIT

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #209 on: Fri, 11 November 2016, 10:05:55 »
Can you tell us the size & length of the case screws?  I might want to swap them out for button heads.

I'm not sure this is meaningful, since the updated case screws go in from the back, are smaller, and are not visible from the front.

I don't have the final prototypes handy at the moment (they are with Massdrop for photography!). But given the Chinese manufacturing I all but guarantee these are an off the shelf Metric thread size and screw length.

Offline Erikdayo

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #210 on: Fri, 11 November 2016, 10:21:47 »
Looking at the drop and definitely considering it. On the 60% are there any preset arrow keys via Fn? If not, would it be easy enough to program via Sharpkeys? I haven't tried Sharpkeys much other than changing my Caps Lock. But having Fn + [ ; ' / for the different directions would be nice. Similar to HHKB, I suppose.

Offline XMIT

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #211 on: Fri, 11 November 2016, 10:37:27 »
Here's the near-final 60% key mapping.

152666-0

Offline Photoelectric

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #212 on: Fri, 11 November 2016, 11:09:19 »
Hmm, I thought the original idea was only to have the logo on the underside.  That has changed for the group buy on MD.  The minimalistic wood case of the bamboo version would have been nice without the top logo.

Also, if I understand the descriptions so far correctly, the acrylic case version is the best dampened/heaviest--does that mean the bamboo case is light and more hollow feeling?  I think I prefer the 70g switch version, and thus the bamboo case.

Offline XMIT

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #213 on: Fri, 11 November 2016, 11:15:10 »
Bamboo is less dense than acrylic, yes. They both feel pretty substantial.

Online zslane

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #214 on: Fri, 11 November 2016, 12:05:17 »
Here's the near-final 60% key mapping.

(Attachment Link)

Is there only one fixed position for the Fn key? Chording for the arrow-keys with the right pinky would be frustrating; I'm used to using CapsLock for that on all my 60% boards.

Offline XMIT

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #215 on: Fri, 11 November 2016, 12:09:08 »
Is there only one fixed position for the Fn key? Chording for the arrow-keys with the right pinky would be frustrating; I'm used to using CapsLock for that on all my 60% boards.

In this version, yes. We're still exploring options for full remapping (which everyone wants for 60% boards) but I can't promise anything yet. (I only promise things I can actually deliver on - no vaporware here.)

Offline dwolvin

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #216 on: Fri, 11 November 2016, 13:48:58 »
Sure- I'll post it at [H] and overclock (just noticed that nobody had yet).

Offline XMIT

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #217 on: Fri, 11 November 2016, 14:06:06 »
Thanks! I e-mailed the mods to get myself un-banned over at [H] and haven't heard back. I won't hold my breath. I'll register some other handle if I really want to be active over there. I get that spam is probably a huge problem for them but I thought it was crude that they simply banned me with no notice.

Offline dwolvin

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #218 on: Fri, 11 November 2016, 14:15:52 »
Yea- that is strange.  Generally they answer back quickly and are nice.  In for a black'87, already wondering if I should plan on swapping springs down the road, and I 'ring them.

Offline Niomosy

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #219 on: Sat, 12 November 2016, 03:36:42 »
In.  Picked up the extra springs as I may want to throw the heavier springs just in case.  For $5 it's an easy decision.  Looking forward to this one.  Hall Effect switches have been high on the want list for a while now.

Offline captain

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #220 on: Sat, 12 November 2016, 22:01:01 »
Has anyone addressed the complaints about these switches in that board from ali?

"The switches are bad. After a month of use some keys stopped responding, so I've changed them with spares that came with the keyboard, but after a while they stopped responding as well. So be caucious."
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Offline menuhin

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #221 on: Sun, 13 November 2016, 05:04:00 »
Is there only one fixed position for the Fn key? Chording for the arrow-keys with the right pinky would be frustrating; I'm used to using CapsLock for that on all my 60% boards.

In this version, yes. We're still exploring options for full remapping (which everyone wants for 60% boards) but I can't promise anything yet. (I only promise things I can actually deliver on - no vaporware here.)

If that is the case, I hope it is possible to have a PCB that allow the split Backspace for a HHKB layout.
I know at the moment they don't sell individual switches but it seems like this mod can be easily done.
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Offline ander

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #222 on: Sun, 13 November 2016, 05:16:55 »
XMIT, congratulations on this swell and ingenious project! You've given us KB lovers a chance to own and enjoy legendary switch technology that, till now, we could only observe in obsolete boards and fantasize about actually using.

I've just joined the Drop for a 104-key bamboo, and am sure looking forward to it. Thank you!

Has anyone addressed the complaints about these switches in that board from ali? "The switches are bad. After a month of use some keys stopped responding..."

I don't think you have much to worry about. As XMIT mentioned, he's been using his earlier prototype daily, for several months. And he's told us here about the work he's done with the manufacturer to make the switches even better.

Besides, it'd be entirely too ironic to go to the trouble to make boards with Hall Effect switches—the most reliable, long-lasting switch technology in history—in a way that caused them to stop working. The very idea is mind-boggling.

Offline XMIT

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #223 on: Sun, 13 November 2016, 10:09:39 »
Has anyone addressed the complaints about these switches in that board from ali?

"The switches are bad. After a month of use some keys stopped responding, so I've changed them with spares that came with the keyboard, but after a while they stopped responding as well. So be caucious."

@captain can you please provide a link to this exact comment?

Recall that, from the manufacturer, there are two very different switches that use the same plastics and similar PCBs. One is a capacitive design - I can see springs getting worn or deformed or something. The other is this Hall design.

Some of the /very/ early prototypes had some soldering issues that were related to hastily-done hand soldering. Production boards won't have this problem.

The only issues I've had with these boards with regards to key sensing, has always been related to a bad spring installation. It is a little tricky, when rebuilding, to get the springs and housings together just right. It can take a couple of tries.

Online FoxWolf1

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #224 on: Sun, 13 November 2016, 11:12:22 »
Has anyone addressed the complaints about these switches in that board from ali?

"The switches are bad. After a month of use some keys stopped responding, so I've changed them with spares that came with the keyboard, but after a while they stopped responding as well. So be caucious."

FWIW, I've got nearly 6 months on mine without any sign of these problems. And that's without any of XMIT's improvements to the switch, which can only make things even better.

Also, if that comment is about the Wellrui/Phoneix (sic) boards, keep in mind that some/many/all of those are NOT using the Hall Effect switch, but rather the super cheap double spring version that XMIT mentioned. Thus far, I've been unable to confirm that there are any Wellruis in the wild that actually use the HE switch, though it does occasionally seem to appear in their marketing materials.
Yeah, okay then.

Offline Sifo

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #225 on: Sun, 13 November 2016, 11:37:37 »
gonna have to pass on round 1 :(
(Forever) Illustrious.

Offline captain

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #226 on: Sun, 13 November 2016, 11:49:30 »
I think the comment was re. the non-HAL switches. Glad to hear these will work longer than any of us will. ;-)
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Offline Yabo

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #227 on: Sun, 13 November 2016, 13:10:46 »
This thing piqued my interest. Few questions: Is it 1000hz? How fast is the matrix scan rate? Really no debouncing needed at all?

Offline XMIT

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #228 on: Sun, 13 November 2016, 14:11:13 »
This thing piqued my interest. Few questions: Is it 1000hz? How fast is the matrix scan rate? Really no debouncing needed at all?

The manufacturer claims a 1000 Hz scan rate. I don't have the source code, so I don't know for sure. I guess I could put an oscilloscope to the Hall sense lines...

As for "debounce" - nope, not needed in the traditional way. The sensors themselves have a digital output with hysteresis. obra wrote a nice description about this a while ago, based on dorkvader's presentation. http://blog.keyboard.io/post/93901487184/what-you-and-i-missed-at-keycon-2014#hall-effect-switches

Offline vivalarevolución

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #229 on: Sun, 13 November 2016, 18:59:51 »
So this is where that Massdrop buy originated from.  Interesting.
Wish I had some gif or quote for this space, but I got nothing

Offline XMIT

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #230 on: Sun, 13 November 2016, 21:53:32 »
Good news! It looks like we’ll have some sort of re-programming option available in a couple of weeks - after the drop ends but well before shipping. So, if you want to remap Ctrl, or Fn, or Caps Lock, or Esc or any other key, this is now possible!

Back story: I worked with a design and manufacturing partner on the board. They, in turn, worked with another partner for firmwares and microcontrollers. In fact, we switched from a previous partner because there was /no/ programming option with their offering.

Below is the response I received from the manufacturer, with some minor edits:

“They're making the firmware ready for end-users to re-program the keyboards. The function will be ready by the end of this month, which is in about 2 weeks. They said the interface might not look good, but they'll open it so the end-users can make their own interface.”

This was the #1 piece of feedback I’ve received in the past few days, and now, it looks like we have a path forward here!

Offline dwolvin

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #231 on: Mon, 14 November 2016, 00:04:34 »
Nice!

Offline Niomosy

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #232 on: Mon, 14 November 2016, 01:44:53 »
Reprogramming?  Excellent.  Fn key remapping is a go!

Offline ander

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #233 on: Mon, 14 November 2016, 04:33:07 »
Has anyone addressed the complaints about these switches in that board from ali?

...The only issues I've had with these boards with regards to key sensing, has always been related to a bad spring installation. It is a little tricky, when rebuilding, to get the springs and housings together just right.

That said, HE is actually quite straightforward—spring, magnet, sensor—thus its extraordinary robustness. So once you're tooled up right, there's little that could go wrong.

gonna have to pass on round 1 :(

Gotta stay married, by any chance? I know the feeling... XMIT's timing was just especially good this time.

I think the comment was re. the non-HAL switches. Glad to hear these will work longer than any of us will. ;-)

Indeed—as my wife's dad would've said, these boards should "see us out".

But then, my Model M's will undoubtedly see me out... When you're my age, even a membrane could. (As George Burns used to say, "I don't even buy green bananas anymore!")

“They're making the firmware ready for end-users to re-program the keyboards. The function will be ready by the end of this month, which is in about 2 weeks. They said the interface might not look good, but they'll open it so the end-users can make their own interface.”

So we can share those interfaces here, and discuss and collaborate on 'em... How cool is that? I don't see too many other KB makers open-sourcing their code.

Offline tomboy

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #234 on: Mon, 14 November 2016, 04:37:28 »
Good news! It looks like we’ll have some sort of re-programming option available in a couple of weeks - after the drop ends but well before shipping. So, if you want to remap Ctrl, or Fn, or Caps Lock, or Esc or any other key, this is now possible!

Back story: I worked with a design and manufacturing partner on the board. They, in turn, worked with another partner for firmwares and microcontrollers. In fact, we switched from a previous partner because there was /no/ programming option with their offering.

Below is the response I received from the manufacturer, with some minor edits:

“They're making the firmware ready for end-users to re-program the keyboards. The function will be ready by the end of this month, which is in about 2 weeks. They said the interface might not look good, but they'll open it so the end-users can make their own interface.”

This was the #1 piece of feedback I’ve received in the past few days, and now, it looks like we have a path forward here!

Sounds awesome, I hope there will be a second drop after the firmware is out in the open!
(I can't afford two boards right now, so I'm only buying a full-sized as a gift, but I'm looking forward to a programmable 60% in the future for myself.)

Offline dwolvin

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #235 on: Thu, 17 November 2016, 09:46:47 »
Jeebus- sixhunnert and four!  I wouldn't have guessed this would be that popular!  Heck, I tossed a link on my face book for the heck of it and somebody registered with Massdrop for the fist time to get it. 

Online zslane

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #236 on: Thu, 17 November 2016, 13:10:51 »
Since the springs are tied to the type of case, I wonder which of the two are driving people's choices. Are people getting the case they want and simply accepting the springs that are tied to it, or are they getting the spring resistance they want and settling for the case? Since they are inextricably tied together, there is no way to know which case type or spring resistance is more popular. And that means current sales data won't be (as) helpful for directing available options for future rounds.

Offline fohat.digs

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #237 on: Thu, 17 November 2016, 17:17:52 »
I am holding off for 3 months in anticipation of the tactile model.

If that never happens, I may be kicking myself.
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Offline Krogenar

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #238 on: Fri, 18 November 2016, 08:16:29 »
I am holding off for 3 months in anticipation of the tactile model.

If that never happens, I may be kicking myself.

Same boat as you. Very, very tempted now that fullsize is available on MD, but if tactile is future option I'll wait.
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Offline XMIT

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #239 on: Fri, 18 November 2016, 08:34:23 »
Since they are inextricably tied together, there is no way to know which case type or spring resistance is more popular. And that means current sales data won't be (as) helpful for directing available options for future rounds.

False. The data is incredibly helpful. A concrete example follows.

The "alternate springs" option allows people to clearly state a preference for switch weight. When they select it, they are saying, "I want to try the other spring weight, so much so that I'm willing to spend two hours doing it myself."

So far, something very near 50% of buyers have requested the "alternate springs" option. This is incredibly compelling data.

I'm chatting with the manufacturer to see if we can, behind the scenes, just offer more spring weight options. Think of it as having the "alternate weight" springs pre-installed. I don't want to bait and switch orders, but I don't want to make hundreds of people take their boards apart either.

Offline SpAmRaY

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #240 on: Fri, 18 November 2016, 09:07:45 »
I am holding off for 3 months in anticipation of the tactile model.

If that never happens, I may be kicking myself.

Same boat as you. Very, very tempted now that fullsize is available on MD, but if tactile is future option I'll wait.

Whoa....who is this guy? :eek:

Sup Krog long time no see man.

:spam:

Offline romevi

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #241 on: Fri, 18 November 2016, 09:17:46 »
Probably won't be able to join this drop, but I'd love to be able to get one secondhand if no more rounds will be run.

Offline Krogenar

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #242 on: Fri, 18 November 2016, 09:52:04 »

Whoa....who is this guy? :eek:

Sup Krog long time no see man.

:spam:

Sup Ray! Yeah, I still follow the forum. Mostly I just lurk, seeing as I have most of the 'boards I lusted after.
The Hall Effect switches though, very tempting. How've you been?
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Quote from: Samuel Adams
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Online zslane

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #243 on: Fri, 18 November 2016, 12:21:32 »
I'm chatting with the manufacturer to see if we can, behind the scenes, just offer more spring weight options. Think of it as having the "alternate weight" springs pre-installed.

I anxiously await the results of your chat with them. It would mean the difference between me buying two boards now or waiting for a future group buy when this option is made available.

Offline Niomosy

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #244 on: Fri, 18 November 2016, 12:56:28 »
Actually, on the spring weight data, it's good to proceed with perhaps a bit caution and consider some additional polls to get additional data.

Take me as an example.  For a mere $5 more, I get the springs on the off chance I might need or want them.  For that price, I'll take them as I might want to go variable weight and have heavier springs in certain locations.  That said, I wouldn't go full 70g springs as I already find MX blacks fatiguing on the fingers with prolonged use.

Offline fohat.digs

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #245 on: Fri, 18 November 2016, 13:05:47 »
Too many options for a group as opinionated as keyboard enthusiasts.

Personally, I want light springs and tactile switches. Bamboo would be fine since the screws don't show, but metal would be better. How's that?
James McGill Buchanan decided he needed to influence policy at a deeper level. In the ensuing years, he sought to lead an economic and political movement in which he stressed that “conspiratorial secrecy is at all times essential” to mask efforts to protect the wealthy elite from the will of the majority. In September 1973, Buchanan held the inaugural meeting of the International Atlantic Economic Society, arguing for the need to “create, support and activate an effective counterintelligentsia” to reshape the way people thought about government. He believed the center-left controlled academia and “effectively indoctrinated political actors in both parties,” MacLean writes. To fight back, conservatives needed to develop new surrogates who could be “indoctrinated” in turn with right-wing ideas, and then “mobilized, organized and directed” to disseminate them.
Seeing the name eventually led her to rooms full of documents that made clear how “operatives” had been trained “to staff the far-flung and purportedly separate, yet intricately connected, institutions funded by the Koch brothers and their now large network of fellow wealthy donors.” - Nancy McLean 2017

Online zslane

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #246 on: Fri, 18 November 2016, 14:24:21 »
That said, I wouldn't go full 70g springs as I already find MX blacks fatiguing on the fingers with prolonged use.

I do too. However, bear in mind that these 70g springs produce a resistance more like 50g, whereas MX blacks are around 65g. 50 is closer to 45 than 65...

Offline romevi

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #247 on: Fri, 18 November 2016, 14:33:03 »
That said, I wouldn't go full 70g springs as I already find MX blacks fatiguing on the fingers with prolonged use.

I do too. However, bear in mind that these 70g springs produce a resistance more like 50g, whereas MX blacks are around 65g. 50 is closer to 45 than 65...

Aren't MX Blacks closer to 80g bottoming out?

Offline XMIT

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Re: Chinese USB Hall Effect Keyboard - Review and Impressions
« Reply #248 on: Fri, 18 November 2016, 14:38:43 »
HaaTa's data shows MX Black bottoming out at 76-78g.


https://plot.ly/~haata/72

Offline XMIT

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