Author Topic: Planning to get the YMDK 96 but have a some questions. Help is appreciated!  (Read 2837 times)

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Offline 5949

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 14
Hello, and thanks for popping in!

This is my first experience ordering a custom keyboard, so there are many things have no understanding of.
This is going to be a fairly long list... so I've inserted some images to make it a little nicer to read.

I am looking to buy myself a YMDK 96 keyboard, but the amount of information on the AliExpress page is pretty daunting. I've learn many things about it, but there are a few questions left unanswered.
Looking through the forums, I believe many people here are familiar with YMDK and their Melody96 keyboards, so I hope some of my questions can be answered!
(P.s. you don't need to answer all of them. Answering just one would be a lot of help!

1. Case:
     There exists two options I like: The Acrylic Sandwich and Aluminium (basically Melody96 w/o underglow). 
     What are the key differences between these two outside of material? Are their build qualities significantly different (e.g. flex)? Will the acrylic case make the keyboard louder?
      1a. For the acrylic, does keyboard underglow alone provide enough lighting to make the keys visible in the dark?

2. LED:
     If I want to install LEDs, will it also force the switches to be soldered in place too? Or can the LEDs simply be placed underneath?
     2a. If the answer is no, I'm given the choice from the large 3mm round to the medium 2x3x4mm square the small 1.8mm butterfly.
           I'd go for the butterfly for compatibility's sake, but is there any reason why I'd pick the others instead?

3. Switch:
     How unstable are 3 Pin switches for hotswapping vs the 5Pin switches?
     The YMDK PCBs support 5Pins, but in the case I want to replace them for 3-pin switches, I want to know how much I'm losing out on stability.
     3a. Anyone heard of Outemu Sky Blues and Ice Purples? AFAIK, they both seem to be varieties of "Zealios tactile clones", but what differs them?
     3b. Like the Zelios, the Ice Purples have 62g and 68g variations. What's the main difference between their feel? Would I feel more tactility with the 68 gram version?


4. Software:
     So the QMK software can adjust the underglow... but can it also adjust the LEDs? The manual doesn't seem to show how to do it. Also, is there a way to enable fancy key effects and whatnot?

5. Keycaps:
     Are there any 3rd Party keycap manufacturers that have identical/similar layouts to their options? YMDK's Dolch caps are very nice, but I'd like to have options.
     Like side prints for example; something more backlit-friendly. The following are what i have found so far in Aliexpress, but I'm sure there are more options out there.

The default option: Dolch keycaps. Very nice look but probably invisible in darkness.

"3rd" party option, with side prints! "More" Backlight friendly, but I'm not used to the cream colored keys.

Another option, fully black and backlit! But the numpad's keys aren't lit properly...

I'm sure there are many more! Just can't find them yet...

6. Stabilizers:
     I've seen some threads mentioning how YMDK's included stabilizers are not so good. Do you have any opinions on this claim? Heck, how bad can they be? I'm currently using the K70 for comparison.
Note that I'm using an assembly service, so it's likely they'll come lubed.


So... those will all be the questions so far.
You don't need to answer all of them! Answering a single question will still be very helpful.
Thank you for your time!

Offline HungerMechanic

  • Posts: 687
Re: Planning to get the YMDK 96 but have a some questions. Help is appreciated!
« Reply #1 on: Fri, 14 February 2020, 08:09:01 »
I don't know anything about the YMDK 96, so I can't help you there. But I have seen a few 96s in person, including the cheap Chinese ones. The ones that are really, really heavy with a thick aluminum case are just great. They make the switches feel sturdy.

In general, I have found that 3-pin switches are pretty stable in 3-pin sockets. BOX switches tend to do fine, for example. However, and it may just be me, but tactile switches like Zilents may get anchored for stronger tactility if they keep their original 5-pins.

OUTEMU Skies [no colour] are basically OUTEMU's attempt at making Ergo Clears. They are modeled after a Cherry MX Clear stem [but not identical], but with the lighter 62 or 68 gr springs.

These are actually very interesting switches. They keep getting upgraded, and what came before is forgotten about. They are currently on the Sky 2.2 base, but it's all been transitioned to "Silent Sky." So basically, OUTEMU Sky is now OUTEMU Silent Sky, and they are quieted switches. So they're silent Ergo Clears now.

I got a few test samples from MehKee. Like people say, the Skies have good parts and bad parts. The stem is great, nice and tactile. The bottom housing is okay. The top housings generate wobble, and the springs are bad.

But Skies aren't meant to be used in stock form. You can order them as parts and then assemble them. A decent Sky has the Sky stem, maybe Sky bottom, the Sky 'tight top,' and a lubed replacement spring. The 'tight top' reduces the wobble of the factory Sky, and the lubed aftermarket spring is vital for reducing ping and scratchiness. You can also mix-and-match parts with MX Clears.

If your YMDK is hot-swap, it might be a good candidate for testing Silent Skies. They are 5-pin switches.

OUTEMU Ice is an earlier tactile switch, and is now discontinued / deprecated.

I tried 62 and 68 gr Skies. I did not like the 68 gr so much, as I felt that the extra weight kind of smothered the tactility under just plain weight. The 62 gr have a distinct tactile bump, but light weight, so I found them to be a better execution of a tactile switch. But that's entirely subjective, and I see people using 68 gr Skies. [But people use a wide range of replacement springs anyway].

For keycaps, I would look to JTK if they start doing GBs again. I have tried JTK on a heavy 96 with BOX Jades, and it was great.

Offline Leslieann

  • * Elevated Elder
  • Posts: 3446
Re: Planning to get the YMDK 96 but have a some questions. Help is appreciated!
« Reply #2 on: Fri, 14 February 2020, 19:33:34 »
Get screw in or plate mounted stabs, I've seen at least one where the spacebar stab just flat out refused to stay in place causing it repeatedly become crooked and get stuck.
It's a cheap fix, but not an easy one once assembled.

The YMDK thick PBT caps are fantastic, not sure about legends (go side print if concerned).
Novelkeys NK65 Aluminum w/62g Zilents/39g springs
62g Zilents/lubed/Novelkeys 39g springs, HK Gaming Thick PBT caps, Netdot Gen10 magnetic cable, pic
| Filco MJ2 L.E. Vortex Case, Jailhouse Blues, heavily customized
Vortex case squared up/blasted finish removed/custom feet/paint/winkey blockoff plate, HID Liberator, stainless steel universal plate, 3d printed adapters, Type C, Netdot Gen10 magnetic cable, foam sound dampened, HK Gaming Thick PBT caps (o-ringed), Cherry Jailhouse Blues w/lubed/clipped Cherry light springs, 40g actuation
w/ Kailh Purple Pros/lubed/Novelkeys 39g springs, HK Gaming Thick PBT caps, Netdot Gen10 Magnetic cable
| 3d printed 65% w/LCD and hot swap
Box Jades, Interchangeable trim, mini lcd, QMK, underglow, HK Gaming Thick PBT caps, O-rings, Netdot Gen10 magnetic cable, in progress link
| Magicforce 68
MF68 pcb, Outemu Blues, in progress
| YMDK75 Jail Housed Gateron Blues
J-spacers, YMDK Thick PBT, O-rings, SIP sockets
| KBT Race S L.E.
Ergo Clears, custom WASD caps
| Das Pro
Costar model with browns
| GH60
Cherry Blacks, custom 3d printed case
| Logitech Illumininated | IBM Model M (x2)