Author Topic: How do half plates work?  (Read 819 times)

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Offline thestateofmay

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How do half plates work?
« on: Sun, 24 May 2020, 03:25:09 »
I'm gathering the parts for my next build and want to use holy pandas, which are plate mounted switches. But I really hate plates and the sound of hitting something on the bottom when I type. So it looks like half plates are my best option behind to plateless builds. But how do half plates work? Is the solder the only thing holding the switch and the pcb together? If that's the case, why can't I just take any case, throw out the plate and just solder the switch onto the pcb?

Offline eriatilox

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Re: How do half plates work?
« Reply #1 on: Sun, 24 May 2020, 03:42:10 »
you can do that (not using plate) for tray mount  because you can screw the pcb directly to the case. Otherwise, most mounting method (top mount/gasket mount) use the plate to hold the pcb and the switches to the case so you still need at least a half plate.
Some special mounting methods do mount the pcb directly to the case though like the 7V which you should technically be able to not use the plate I guess.

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Offline suicidal_orange

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Re: How do half plates work?
« Reply #2 on: Sun, 24 May 2020, 03:56:37 »
There are a couple of things here, not sure what you know so I'll start really basic.

First, you will always hit the same thing when you bottom out as the stem hits the bottom of the switch before the keycap hits the plate.

Not using a plate feels more bouncy as there's only a PCB so it bends more and it's a bit quieter  If the PCB mounts to the case (as in the original Poker and the many compatible cases) you're right - the plate is optional.  Original Cherry boards don't use plates.

With a half plate the plate attaches to the case round the edge and the PCB hangs from the switches, which lets the PCB bend a little bit on the keys in the middle which you use most.

It is possible to use plate mount switches without a plate but the problem is keeping them straight without the two extra pins.  Fitting all the switches and keycaps before soldering and carefully wedging some folded paper between the caps can get you close but whether it's close enough will depend how bothered you are by such things.  It's easier if the big centre pin is tight in the pcb too so they can't rotate.
                               
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Offline thestateofmay

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Re: How do half plates work?
« Reply #3 on: Sun, 24 May 2020, 04:19:31 »
Hmm, so I can just take a full plate and cut out the middle myself right? And aren't there tools that can help you solder straight?
« Last Edit: Sun, 24 May 2020, 04:21:18 by thestateofmay »

Offline Leslieann

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Re: How do half plates work?
« Reply #4 on: Sun, 24 May 2020, 04:32:35 »
PCB mount switches have 2 extra pegs, these keep it from twisting and moving around which will break the switch pins.

You can use pcb switches with or without a plate but you shouldn't use plate mount switches without a plate unless you like problems. Not all pcbs designed for a plate have the holes for pcb mount switches.
Filco MJ2 L.E. w/hand milled Vortex case, custom feet/paint/winkey blockoff plate, HID Liberator, stainless steel universal plate, 3d printed adapters, Type C, sound dampened,  Thick PBT caps (o-ringed), Cherry Jailhouse Blues w/lubed/clipped Cherry light springs | HMMK TKL | Magicforce 68 | YMDK75 | KBT Race S L.E. | Das Pro (Costar model) | GH60 | IBM Model M (x2)

Offline thestateofmay

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Re: How do half plates work?
« Reply #5 on: Sun, 24 May 2020, 04:51:07 »
I guess my question is if the plate is cut out in the middle. You’ll have to go through the trouble of aligning your plate mounted switches in the middle , right? There’s no special mechanisms in those pcb + half plate combos that fits plate mounted switches into the middle easily?

Offline ykill

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Re: How do half plates work?
« Reply #6 on: Sun, 24 May 2020, 09:29:04 »
Correct. There may be holes in the PCB for the extra pins, but since you don't have the extra pins on that switch, you would have to align the middle switches yourself.

This can involve like, partially melting the solder while tugging on the switch, so you can correct the attitude of the switch by eye.

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Offline Leslieann

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Re: How do half plates work?
« Reply #7 on: Sun, 24 May 2020, 21:00:27 »
Don't be fickle about alignment, just get it close, the lack of fixing pins will let you just twist the switch and align it.

Keep in mind that this is exactly what will lead to them breaking as well and precisely why PCB mount switches need those pins but even if you get them perfect they will move during use. How long will they last, I can't say, it depends you mostly.
Filco MJ2 L.E. w/hand milled Vortex case, custom feet/paint/winkey blockoff plate, HID Liberator, stainless steel universal plate, 3d printed adapters, Type C, sound dampened,  Thick PBT caps (o-ringed), Cherry Jailhouse Blues w/lubed/clipped Cherry light springs | HMMK TKL | Magicforce 68 | YMDK75 | KBT Race S L.E. | Das Pro (Costar model) | GH60 | IBM Model M (x2)

Offline thestateofmay

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Re: How do half plates work?
« Reply #8 on: Mon, 25 May 2020, 01:14:35 »

^ this guy built a half plate but it looks like there's some material between the pcb and the plate, is that foam?

Offline Leslieann

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Re: How do half plates work?
« Reply #9 on: Mon, 25 May 2020, 01:58:24 »
It's a foam rubber gasket material that helps dampen noise, in this case it just fills the gap between switches.
Filco MJ2 L.E. w/hand milled Vortex case, custom feet/paint/winkey blockoff plate, HID Liberator, stainless steel universal plate, 3d printed adapters, Type C, sound dampened,  Thick PBT caps (o-ringed), Cherry Jailhouse Blues w/lubed/clipped Cherry light springs | HMMK TKL | Magicforce 68 | YMDK75 | KBT Race S L.E. | Das Pro (Costar model) | GH60 | IBM Model M (x2)

Offline thestateofmay

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Re: How do half plates work?
« Reply #10 on: Mon, 25 May 2020, 05:13:10 »
It's a foam rubber gasket material that helps dampen noise, in this case it just fills the gap between switches.

Hmm, is it only available for Polaris or can I buy one myself and put it on my own half plates?

Offline treeleaf64

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Re: How do half plates work?
« Reply #11 on: Mon, 25 May 2020, 19:01:48 »
It's a foam rubber gasket material that helps dampen noise, in this case it just fills the gap between switches.

Hmm, is it only available for Polaris or can I buy one myself and put it on my own half plates?

Need a special keyboard that allows the use of gasket. You can put o rings on the screws which will soften the feel.
This is usually exclusive to the mid-high end because it takes more work to design and CNC a case around gasket mount.

Offline Leslieann

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Re: How do half plates work?
« Reply #12 on: Mon, 25 May 2020, 20:21:42 »
The gasket between the plate and PCB can be used on pretty much any board except those with a plate support structure such as a 3d printed plate which fills the gap, just make sure you're not covering any electronics or they could overheat. Keep in mind that it does mean access the space between them, if you have an assembled keyboard with a plate this means pulling the switches.

The Polaris uses gaskets not just between the pcb and plate but also the case and the plate for noise isolation, a few cases use this or can be converted to it but most do not. O-rings as mentioned can work, it's not a method I'd recommend but it probably works okay.


As for how much all of this helps I don't know, it's relatively new and rare so it's hard to say.
My Filco plate is gasket mount, it helps but truth be told, lubing the heck out of your switches and stabs will do more. I have no plans of using it between the plate and PCB for the reasons mentioned earlier. I do intend to do that to my GMMK once I figure out a good source for the foam since it's easy to do, however it won't get gasket mounting as it won't support it.

 but I intend to take it a little further like the Polaris, but I have no intention of putting anything between the plate and pcb, it's far too much work and it doesn't need it. I will probably try the pcb-plate gasket on my GMMK but it won't support it on the plate without a new case.
Filco MJ2 L.E. w/hand milled Vortex case, custom feet/paint/winkey blockoff plate, HID Liberator, stainless steel universal plate, 3d printed adapters, Type C, sound dampened,  Thick PBT caps (o-ringed), Cherry Jailhouse Blues w/lubed/clipped Cherry light springs | HMMK TKL | Magicforce 68 | YMDK75 | KBT Race S L.E. | Das Pro (Costar model) | GH60 | IBM Model M (x2)