Author Topic: Hello Geekhack!  (Read 1055 times)

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Offline bliss

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Hello Geekhack!
« on: Sat, 21 March 2020, 09:25:09 »
Hello, it is about time that I introduce myself here :rolleyes:

It started all because I could not find any decent UK aftermarket keycaps through normal, convenient retail channels (I did not want to buy a whole board and harvest the keycaps). The plan was to upgrade from ISO-DE to UK keycaps, because the latter were more appropiate for programming.

In the meantime, I have joined  three keycap GBs here on geekhack.

What I like to do is modify retail Cherry MX equipped keyboards (both gamer- and non-gamer) with different switches and keycaps. I like the sleeper / Q-car inspired look :thumb:

I like ABS.
I like PBT.
I like Cherry.
I like ANSI.
I like ISO.
I like yellowed  keycaps.
I like pristine white keycaps.
I like things being built to last an eternity.

My other interests are EMC (electromagnetic compatibility), designing amplifiers and high performance computing.
I'm in Austria.

Thanks for your interest, I'll be seeing you all in the forums!

Offline Maledicted

  • Posts: 643
  • Location: Wisconsin, United States
Re: Hello Geekhack!
« Reply #1 on: Mon, 23 March 2020, 20:14:47 »
Hello, it is about time that I introduce myself here :rolleyes:

It started all because I could not find any decent UK aftermarket keycaps through normal, convenient retail channels (I did not want to buy a whole board and harvest the keycaps). The plan was to upgrade from ISO-DE to UK keycaps, because the latter were more appropiate for programming.

In the meantime, I have joined  three keycap GBs here on geekhack.

What I like to do is modify retail Cherry MX equipped keyboards (both gamer- and non-gamer) with different switches and keycaps. I like the sleeper / Q-car inspired look :thumb:

I like ABS.
I like PBT.
I like Cherry.
I like ANSI.
I like ISO.
I like yellowed  keycaps.
I like pristine white keycaps.
I like things being built to last an eternity.

My other interests are EMC (electromagnetic compatibility), designing amplifiers and high performance computing.
I'm in Austria.

Thanks for your interest, I'll be seeing you all in the forums!

Welcome to Geekhack, bliss. I very much like modifying existing keyboards myself.

I'm typing on a TG3 "cop keyboard" with box jades in it at this very moment, and I modded an aviator connector into the case. With a TG3 BL82 I modded a 5 pin din jack into the case (to use regular MIDI cables with PS/2 adapters to connect it to computers) and swapped in more jades. That K65 in my profile picture has navies and another aviator connector. I put jades into an old Unitek K151L as well. More recently, I modded an aviator connector into my new F77.

What sort of mods have you done, or are interested in?

Offline bliss

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Re: Hello Geekhack!
« Reply #2 on: Wed, 25 March 2020, 06:21:34 »
Hello, it is about time that I introduce myself here :rolleyes:

It started all because I could not find any decent UK aftermarket keycaps through normal, convenient retail channels (I did not want to buy a whole board and harvest the keycaps). The plan was to upgrade from ISO-DE to UK keycaps, because the latter were more appropiate for programming.

In the meantime, I have joined  three keycap GBs here on geekhack.

What I like to do is modify retail Cherry MX equipped keyboards (both gamer- and non-gamer) with different switches and keycaps. I like the sleeper / Q-car inspired look :thumb:

I like ABS.
I like PBT.
I like Cherry.
I like ANSI.
I like ISO.
I like yellowed  keycaps.
I like pristine white keycaps.
I like things being built to last an eternity.

My other interests are EMC (electromagnetic compatibility), designing amplifiers and high performance computing.
I'm in Austria.

Thanks for your interest, I'll be seeing you all in the forums!

Welcome to Geekhack, bliss. I very much like modifying existing keyboards myself.

I'm typing on a TG3 "cop keyboard" with box jades in it at this very moment, and I modded an aviator connector into the case. With a TG3 BL82 I modded a 5 pin din jack into the case (to use regular MIDI cables with PS/2 adapters to connect it to computers) and swapped in more jades. That K65 in my profile picture has navies and another aviator connector. I put jades into an old Unitek K151L as well. More recently, I modded an aviator connector into my new F77.

What sort of mods have you done, or are interested in?

Thanks mate!!

You've got a cool collection and it seems you found your favorite switch :thumb: Looking forward to try box switches, too, but at the moment I have got enough switches to try and break-in.

I am on the verge of building the following, let's go:
  • CM Storm Quickfire Rapid Red (ISO): gets a Zilents V2 62g treatment all over instead of the stock MX Reds, except for the spacebar (NovelKeys Cream) and shift keys (not decided yet, either keep the stock MX Reds, different weight Cream or MX Speed Silver). The Zilents 62g are genius for the alphas, but I prefer linear switches at some mods positions. Keycaps are most likely going to be Shark Bait @US ISO, but I will try KAT also (Milkshake!).
  • G80-3000 #1 (ANSI):MX Blues give way to Cream Switches. Curious how this turns out with the wire jumpers. I intend to use Peaches N Cream keycaps for a double dose of cream - they are not exactly understated, but looking forward to them!
  • G80-3000 #2 (ANSI):MX Clears. I contemplate softer springs, but not as light as Ergo Clears. Due to the PCB mounting, it should be easy enough to try that out without desoldering. However, MX Clears are great switches @stock, that's why I'm just going to experiment with that. Keycaps remain stock (lasered PBT).

Next up is trying different spring weights in different switches with my little hot-swap board, and I got myself 50 MX Greens for my birthday to be used as alphas ;)

Offline Maledicted

  • Posts: 643
  • Location: Wisconsin, United States
Re: Hello Geekhack!
« Reply #3 on: Wed, 25 March 2020, 22:53:23 »
Thanks mate!!

You've got a cool collection and it seems you found your favorite switch :thumb: Looking forward to try box switches, too, but at the moment I have got enough switches to try and break-in.

I am on the verge of building the following, let's go:
  • CM Storm Quickfire Rapid Red (ISO): gets a Zilents V2 62g treatment all over instead of the stock MX Reds, except for the spacebar (NovelKeys Cream) and shift keys (not decided yet, either keep the stock MX Reds, different weight Cream or MX Speed Silver). The Zilents 62g are genius for the alphas, but I prefer linear switches at some mods positions. Keycaps are most likely going to be Shark Bait @US ISO, but I will try KAT also (Milkshake!).
  • G80-3000 #1 (ANSI):MX Blues give way to Cream Switches. Curious how this turns out with the wire jumpers. I intend to use Peaches N Cream keycaps for a double dose of cream - they are not exactly understated, but looking forward to them!
  • G80-3000 #2 (ANSI):MX Clears. I contemplate softer springs, but not as light as Ergo Clears. Due to the PCB mounting, it should be easy enough to try that out without desoldering. However, MX Clears are great switches @stock, that's why I'm just going to experiment with that. Keycaps remain stock (lasered PBT).

Next up is trying different spring weights in different switches with my little hot-swap board, and I got myself 50 MX Greens for my birthday to be used as alphas ;)

Thank you very much. I have way more keyboards than I listed, or have in my signature ... not that that's a good thing. lol

Nice choice to mod, that Quickfire Rapid. I imagine I'll do something with mine eventually too. I always liked those boards, especially the oldschool lock light windows in the caps. Speaking of which, by swapping the caps, are you going to just cover the lock lights, or modify the replacement caps somehow?

I do want to try creams myself some time. Might be a good gaming switch. I wouldn't mind trying zilents either, but I'm a clicky guy.

Might as well mod the heck out of those boring old Cherry boards.

Great ideas. I hope you post about them when you finish.

Offline bliss

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  • Location: Austria
Re: Hello Geekhack!
« Reply #4 on: Fri, 27 March 2020, 06:42:21 »
Nice choice to mod, that Quickfire Rapid. I imagine I'll do something with mine eventually too. I always liked those boards, especially the oldschool lock light windows in the caps. Speaking of which, by swapping the caps, are you going to just cover the lock lights, or modify the replacement caps somehow?
TKL is such a great form factor for me. Yes, those lights are awesome! I had Varmilo blanks installed, and their windows are a perfect fit for this board; even though these windows seem to have a bluish tint, the LEDs shine through nice, bright, and red :) Recommended! I want this board a bit more versatile than just for touch typing though (blanks!), that's why I will go with the GMKs.
Shark Bait uses GMK stock colors, so there is maybe a chance to get windowed R1s in TU2 and TU1, and maybe even a windowed caps lock (TU1), the absolute cherry on top! There was recently a group buy for these parts in WoB and BoW... For the moment though, I just cover up the lock light - a clean look is more  important to me: The red markings/logos and plate of the quickfire are a nice fit for Shark Bait, and I plan to forego the (white) accents. The LEDs will then subtly highlight the red plate when lit :cool:

Imagine it as variation of this theme (just looking at the colors):


Really? Adding windows myself? No way, beyond my current skillset!! :eek:

Can't wait to finish this one -
Cheers!

Offline Maledicted

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  • Location: Wisconsin, United States
Re: Hello Geekhack!
« Reply #5 on: Fri, 27 March 2020, 06:58:03 »
TKL is such a great form factor for me. Yes, those lights are awesome! I had Varmilo blanks installed, and their windows are a perfect fit for this board; even though these windows seem to have a bluish tint, the LEDs shine through nice, bright, and red :) Recommended! I want this board a bit more versatile than just for touch typing though (blanks!), that's why I will go with the GMKs.
Shark Bait uses GMK stock colors, so there is maybe a chance to get windowed R1s in TU2 and TU1, and maybe even a windowed caps lock (TU1), the absolute cherry on top! There was recently a group buy for these parts in WoB and BoW... For the moment though, I just cover up the lock light - a clean look is more  important to me: The red markings/logos and plate of the quickfire are a nice fit for Shark Bait, and I plan to forego the (white) accents. The LEDs will then subtly highlight the red plate when lit :cool:

Imagine it as variation of this theme (just looking at the colors):
Show Image


Really? Adding windows myself? No way, beyond my current skillset!! :eek:

Can't wait to finish this one -
Cheers!

Cool. I'll have to look at some Varmilo sets. I'm not a big cap guy, but I appreciate something a little thicker than most OEMs.

Good idea, those colors would look great on a Quickfire Rapid.

Offline bliss

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Re: Hello Geekhack!
« Reply #6 on: Sat, 28 March 2020, 04:40:00 »
One thing about those Varmilo keycaps though, they are tight huggers and a bad match for switches with thicker stems than normal, for example Cherry MX Clear, and I would say first generation box switches, too. New (thinner) stem box switches should be fine.

Offline Maledicted

  • Posts: 643
  • Location: Wisconsin, United States
Re: Hello Geekhack!
« Reply #7 on: Mon, 30 March 2020, 13:40:43 »
One thing about those Varmilo keycaps though, they are tight huggers and a bad match for switches with thicker stems than normal, for example Cherry MX Clear, and I would say first generation box switches, too. New (thinner) stem box switches should be fine.

Box switches are all I have run on boards I have gotten around to resolving the Cherry problem on. Sounds good to me.

Offline bliss

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Re: Hello Geekhack!
« Reply #8 on: Fri, 03 April 2020, 04:59:01 »
One thing about those Varmilo keycaps though, they are tight huggers and a bad match for switches with thicker stems than normal, for example Cherry MX Clear, and I would say first generation box switches, too. New (thinner) stem box switches should be fine.

Box switches are all I have run on boards I have gotten around to resolving the Cherry problem on. Sounds good to me.
Cherry problem :D I see what you mean, but I was positively surprised by Speed Silvers (for typing) and also RGB Blacks in a Ducky Mini recently. The latter are reasonably smooth I must say.

Was the aviator connector mod worth it for you? Atm I am not big on cables, but interested to learn.

Offline Maledicted

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  • Location: Wisconsin, United States
Re: Hello Geekhack!
« Reply #9 on: Fri, 03 April 2020, 08:22:21 »
One thing about those Varmilo keycaps though, they are tight huggers and a bad match for switches with thicker stems than normal, for example Cherry MX Clear, and I would say first generation box switches, too. New (thinner) stem box switches should be fine.

Box switches are all I have run on boards I have gotten around to resolving the Cherry problem on. Sounds good to me.
Cherry problem :D I see what you mean, but I was positively surprised by Speed Silvers (for typing) and also RGB Blacks in a Ducky Mini recently. The latter are reasonably smooth I must say.

Was the aviator connector mod worth it for you? Atm I am not big on cables, but interested to learn.

And here I am, finding multiple cheap K70s lately with speed switches, and passing them up in the search for one with silent reds. Maybe I should give speed switches a try as well.

I mod beefy removable cables onto any board I care to use often. In the case of the TG3 boards, and the F77, they had no removable cables at all, so even if it had been a mini usb mod, I would have called that a win. I am leery of anything less durable than mini usb, and that's about the most robust of the smaller usb standard connectors ever designed. Even the cables that came after mini seemed to usually be made to much lower quality standard, and I'm tired of them failing. If I build my own cables, I know that they literally will never fail on me.

I love the look of class/industrial charm a huge aviator connector adds to a board. I know it won't ever disconnect unless I want to disconnect it, and it will never break. In the case of the F77, it sure seems way more at home there with its cloth-wrapped cable than a generic-looking, thin black wire, just snaking through a hole in the case.


Offline bliss

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Re: Hello Geekhack!
« Reply #10 on: Sat, 04 April 2020, 15:20:43 »
One thing about those Varmilo keycaps though, they are tight huggers and a bad match for switches with thicker stems than normal, for example Cherry MX Clear, and I would say first generation box switches, too. New (thinner) stem box switches should be fine.

Box switches are all I have run on boards I have gotten around to resolving the Cherry problem on. Sounds good to me.
Cherry problem :D I see what you mean, but I was positively surprised by Speed Silvers (for typing) and also RGB Blacks in a Ducky Mini recently. The latter are reasonably smooth I must say.

Was the aviator connector mod worth it for you? Atm I am not big on cables, but interested to learn.

And here I am, finding multiple cheap K70s lately with speed switches, and passing them up in the search for one with silent reds. Maybe I should give speed switches a try as well.

I mod beefy removable cables onto any board I care to use often. In the case of the TG3 boards, and the F77, they had no removable cables at all, so even if it had been a mini usb mod, I would have called that a win. I am leery of anything less durable than mini usb, and that's about the most robust of the smaller usb standard connectors ever designed. Even the cables that came after mini seemed to usually be made to much lower quality standard, and I'm tired of them failing. If I build my own cables, I know that they literally will never fail on me.

I love the look of class/industrial charm a huge aviator connector adds to a board. I know it won't ever disconnect unless I want to disconnect it, and it will never break. In the case of the F77, it sure seems way more at home there with its cloth-wrapped cable than a generic-looking, thin black wire, just snaking through a hole in the case.

Show Image


Wow that's good. I am going to get one of those with the short part plugged into the unmodded keyboard, which is to remain there. Then I can open the aviator connector to easily swap between keyboards. Normally I would not need this, as my keyboard rotation is maybe every few months, but I have this board for touch typing that I frequently use but do not want as my main device.

This will result in a much cleaner desk, without breaking some flimsy connectors. I don't know why I ignored this for so long... thank you for the inspiration :thumb:

USB C cables that have unreliable contact and become loose easily can sometimes be cured with cleaner spray for electric contacts, which basically removes dirt and leaves no residue. Concerning electric contact reliabilty, I had a colleague who owned a Cadillac Seville STS. The car would develop problems that were caused by bad contact in electric plugs. My colleague had this beautiful, beefy official repair manual and tracked down all connections, disconnecting plugs and cleaning them. After the procedure, everything was working nicely again! Nice car, too :cool:
« Last Edit: Sat, 04 April 2020, 15:26:34 by bliss »

Offline Maledicted

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Re: Hello Geekhack!
« Reply #11 on: Sat, 04 April 2020, 18:53:20 »
One thing about those Varmilo keycaps though, they are tight huggers and a bad match for switches with thicker stems than normal, for example Cherry MX Clear, and I would say first generation box switches, too. New (thinner) stem box switches should be fine.

Box switches are all I have run on boards I have gotten around to resolving the Cherry problem on. Sounds good to me.
Cherry problem :D I see what you mean, but I was positively surprised by Speed Silvers (for typing) and also RGB Blacks in a Ducky Mini recently. The latter are reasonably smooth I must say.

Was the aviator connector mod worth it for you? Atm I am not big on cables, but interested to learn.

And here I am, finding multiple cheap K70s lately with speed switches, and passing them up in the search for one with silent reds. Maybe I should give speed switches a try as well.

I mod beefy removable cables onto any board I care to use often. In the case of the TG3 boards, and the F77, they had no removable cables at all, so even if it had been a mini usb mod, I would have called that a win. I am leery of anything less durable than mini usb, and that's about the most robust of the smaller usb standard connectors ever designed. Even the cables that came after mini seemed to usually be made to much lower quality standard, and I'm tired of them failing. If I build my own cables, I know that they literally will never fail on me.

I love the look of class/industrial charm a huge aviator connector adds to a board. I know it won't ever disconnect unless I want to disconnect it, and it will never break. In the case of the F77, it sure seems way more at home there with its cloth-wrapped cable than a generic-looking, thin black wire, just snaking through a hole in the case.

Show Image


Wow that's good. I am going to get one of those with the short part plugged into the unmodded keyboard, which is to remain there. Then I can open the aviator connector to easily swap between keyboards. Normally I would not need this, as my keyboard rotation is maybe every few months, but I have this board for touch typing that I frequently use but do not want as my main device.

This will result in a much cleaner desk, without breaking some flimsy connectors. I don't know why I ignored this for so long... thank you for the inspiration :thumb:

USB C cables that have unreliable contact and become loose easily can sometimes be cured with cleaner spray for electric contacts, which basically removes dirt and leaves no residue. Concerning electric contact reliabilty, I had a colleague who owned a Cadillac Seville STS. The car would develop problems that were caused by bad contact in electric plugs. My colleague had this beautiful, beefy official repair manual and tracked down all connections, disconnecting plugs and cleaning them. After the procedure, everything was working nicely again! Nice car, too :cool:

You mean the custom cables people sell online? Other than for having really fancy adapters for connecting devices with different USB interfaces, I never saw the purpose. It means not having to make your own cables and prevents substantial modification to the case though, that's for sure. It sure sounds like it fits your use case too.

I just make sure all of my aviator cables follow the usb standard pinout, since the aviator connectors also number their pins. Then I can use all 3 cables I have built with all 3 keyboards I have previously modified. In my previously modified K65, it still has the mini usb connector, just in case, since it is hidden entirely beneath the case anyway.

Honestly. I only own 1, maybe 2, electronic devices that have USB type c (including my Oculus Quest). I work in IT though, and I have already seen 2 type c connectors fail entirely when we just got laptops that use them last fall. One stopped outputting video, and one was irreparably damaged in a drop. So far, I consider it better than micro USB, but much inferior to mini USB.

I have always liked those cars.

Offline bliss

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  • Location: Austria
Re: Hello Geekhack!
« Reply #12 on: Mon, 06 April 2020, 08:32:01 »
You mean the custom cables people sell online? Other than for having really fancy adapters for connecting devices with different USB interfaces, I never saw the purpose. It means not having to make your own cables and prevents substantial modification to the case though, that's for sure. It sure sounds like it fits your use case too.
Yes, I mean those. Technically they are less reliable than standard cables because of the additional connector, but I plan to use the aviator 'quick release' a lot and therefore make sense for me. And a nice spiral cable does not hurt, either :thumb:

Offline Maledicted

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Re: Hello Geekhack!
« Reply #13 on: Mon, 06 April 2020, 11:49:43 »
You mean the custom cables people sell online? Other than for having really fancy adapters for connecting devices with different USB interfaces, I never saw the purpose. It means not having to make your own cables and prevents substantial modification to the case though, that's for sure. It sure sounds like it fits your use case too.
Yes, I mean those. Technically they are less reliable than standard cables because of the additional connector, but I plan to use the aviator 'quick release' a lot and therefore make sense for me. And a nice spiral cable does not hurt, either :thumb:

Aviators look nice however you use them. Braided and spiraled cables are timeless, agreed.