Author Topic: Realforce R2 cable mod  (Read 1747 times)

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Offline phinix

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Realforce R2 cable mod
« on: Thu, 25 June 2020, 14:18:39 »
I'm trying to find out how to mod Realforce R2 keyboard, so it would have removable cable, or somehow USB socket, instead of stock cable.

Do you buys have any ideas?
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Offline ddrfraser1

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Re: Realforce R2 cable mod
« Reply #1 on: Thu, 25 June 2020, 15:17:36 »
Boom.

https://pexonpcs.co.uk/collections/usb-cables-new/products/realforce-cables-1

I've ordered several from these guys. They do the realforce numpads too.

245768-0


Alternatively, you could just solder a usb (any type) female end to the stock cable and plug in your own cable to it, either hiding it on the inside of the case or cutting a little hole in the case and super gluing the end so that you can plug in your own cable. .
« Last Edit: Thu, 25 June 2020, 15:21:26 by ddrfraser1 »

Offline phinix

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Re: Realforce R2 cable mod
« Reply #2 on: Thu, 25 June 2020, 17:25:15 »
Boom.

https://pexonpcs.co.uk/collections/usb-cables-new/products/realforce-cables-1

I've ordered several from these guys. They do the realforce numpads too.

(Attachment Link)


Alternatively, you could just solder a usb (any type) female end to the stock cable and plug in your own cable to it, either hiding it on the inside of the case or cutting a little hole in the case and super gluing the end so that you can plug in your own cable. .

I have pexons cables - I'm thinking of actual usb socket mod.
Pexon do those only with male USB-A plug at the end. They used to do female socket, but not anymore.

Best way would be to have a alu case with USB-C motherboard, but only one that is/was available was Norbaforce.
« Last Edit: Thu, 25 June 2020, 17:30:04 by phinix »
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Offline suicidal_orange

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Re: Realforce R2 cable mod
« Reply #3 on: Thu, 25 June 2020, 17:47:39 »
Do you want to mount the socket in/on the case or on the cable?  Either way you need to find the socket you want to use first, then it's just a matter of finding the connector for the other end and a dead USB cable.  Or as fraser suggested if it's internal and no-one will see it cutting the stock cable is easier still.
                               
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Offline phinix

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Re: Realforce R2 cable mod
« Reply #4 on: Fri, 26 June 2020, 02:28:55 »
Do you want to mount the socket in/on the case or on the cable?  Either way you need to find the socket you want to use first, then it's just a matter of finding the connector for the other end and a dead USB cable.  Or as fraser suggested if it's internal and no-one will see it cutting the stock cable is easier still.

Yeah, I was thinking doing this.
I hoped someone already done something like that already...

I would prefer not to do much damage to actual chassis, but some solutions would involve cutting, drilling etc.
Ideally I would place USB-C daughterboard inside or under the case, with socket coming out at the back. But would need to figure out how I'm going to cover that small board.

Why HHKB is only one that comes with detachable cable...
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Offline ddrfraser1

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Re: Realforce R2 cable mod
« Reply #5 on: Fri, 26 June 2020, 07:30:48 »
Do you want to mount the socket in/on the case or on the cable?  Either way you need to find the socket you want to use first, then it's just a matter of finding the connector for the other end and a dead USB cable.  Or as fraser suggested if it's internal and no-one will see it cutting the stock cable is easier still.

Yeah, I was thinking doing this.
I hoped someone already done something like that already...

I would prefer not to do much damage to actual chassis, but some solutions would involve cutting, drilling etc.
Ideally I would place USB-C daughterboard inside or under the case, with socket coming out at the back. But would need to figure out how I'm going to cover that small board.

Why HHKB is only one that comes with detachable cable...

Leopolds have detachable cables too.

Offline phinix

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Re: Realforce R2 cable mod
« Reply #6 on: Fri, 26 June 2020, 07:38:58 »
Do you want to mount the socket in/on the case or on the cable?  Either way you need to find the socket you want to use first, then it's just a matter of finding the connector for the other end and a dead USB cable.  Or as fraser suggested if it's internal and no-one will see it cutting the stock cable is easier still.

Yeah, I was thinking doing this.
I hoped someone already done something like that already...

I would prefer not to do much damage to actual chassis, but some solutions would involve cutting, drilling etc.
Ideally I would place USB-C daughterboard inside or under the case, with socket coming out at the back. But would need to figure out how I'm going to cover that small board.

Why HHKB is only one that comes with detachable cable...

Leopolds have detachable cables too.

Yeah, thats the thing, so why other Realforce keyboards cannot be the same?
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Offline Maledicted

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Re: Realforce R2 cable mod
« Reply #7 on: Fri, 26 June 2020, 23:09:45 »
If I bother to customize something, I usually try to go through the trouble to make sure it is better than anything I can just buy, and like my things to be invincible to begin with if I can. When I add a removable cable to an existing keyboard, I drill a hole for a female GX12 aviator socket, rig it up to whatever the corresponding internal pins are, and make my own cable for it from male aviator connector to USB type A.

If the hole doesn't need to cut through a seam in the case, I use blue loctite to clamp the nut that holds the socket in place really snugly with a wrench, so that it shouldn't really ever come loose again unless I want it to. With the F77 I had to sort of resort to a bunch of high temperature hot glue.

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« Last Edit: Fri, 26 June 2020, 23:13:16 by Maledicted »

Offline phinix

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Re: Realforce R2 cable mod
« Reply #8 on: Sat, 27 June 2020, 08:11:12 »
Yes, my plan is very similar, only I'm going to use USB-C daugther board.

OR

make it simple, drill a hole in back panel and mount this, then somehow convert that rear plug to JST connector:



Question to our electronic geekhackers - how can I connect that usb-c plug with R2 JST connector inside the keyboard?
« Last Edit: Sat, 27 June 2020, 08:34:52 by phinix »
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Offline suicidal_orange

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Re: Realforce R2 cable mod
« Reply #9 on: Sat, 27 June 2020, 09:34:29 »
USB specifications give each wire a specific colour, unfortunately USB-C has so many wires the colours are re-used.  If you use a similar mini or micro USB cable there will only be four wires and it will be much easier to cut the connector off and know where they go in the keyboard socket.

Are you planning to unplug it often while drunk so USBC has an advantage?  I don't think you'll be ripping the port of in the middle of a lump of moulded plastic so durability isn't an issue...
                               
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Offline tp4tissue

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Re: Realforce R2 cable mod
« Reply #10 on: Sat, 27 June 2020, 10:41:20 »
USB specifications give each wire a specific colour, unfortunately USB-C has so many wires the colours are re-used.  If you use a similar mini or micro USB cable there will only be four wires and it will be much easier to cut the connector off and know where they go in the keyboard socket.

Are you planning to unplug it often while drunk so USBC has an advantage?  I don't think you'll be ripping the port of in the middle of a lump of moulded plastic so durability isn't an issue...

Here's what's going to happen.

When USB C becomes the new ubiquitous plug,  Everyone will request Mods for USB A, because that's the NEW cool-Retro plug.

Just as the retro-keepsake of PS/2 on mobos.

Offline phinix

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Re: Realforce R2 cable mod
« Reply #11 on: Sat, 27 June 2020, 16:17:46 »
USB specifications give each wire a specific colour, unfortunately USB-C has so many wires the colours are re-used.  If you use a similar mini or micro USB cable there will only be four wires and it will be much easier to cut the connector off and know where they go in the keyboard socket.

Are you planning to unplug it often while drunk so USBC has an advantage?  I don't think you'll be ripping the port of in the middle of a lump of moulded plastic so durability isn't an issue...

I want USB-C to have all my keyboards sue one cable.

I'm thinking of using USB-C daughter board - think is those I can find hav 4 wires - so 5th - ground - is missing.
RF R1 had ground separated, now R2 has it in.
I would need a breakout board with 5 pin JST...

Norbauer has those mini USB boards - but I prefer USB-C :(

« Last Edit: Sat, 27 June 2020, 16:29:42 by phinix »
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Offline suicidal_orange

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Re: Realforce R2 cable mod
« Reply #12 on: Sat, 27 June 2020, 16:53:14 »
What about this one then, is there room inside the case for the 'motherboard' end?
                               
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Offline phinix

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Re: Realforce R2 cable mod
« Reply #13 on: Sat, 27 June 2020, 18:19:02 »
What about this one then, is there room inside the case for the 'motherboard' end?

Nope, no space.
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Offline Maledicted

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Re: Realforce R2 cable mod
« Reply #14 on: Sun, 28 June 2020, 01:38:12 »
USB specifications give each wire a specific colour, unfortunately USB-C has so many wires the colours are re-used.  If you use a similar mini or micro USB cable there will only be four wires and it will be much easier to cut the connector off and know where they go in the keyboard socket.

Are you planning to unplug it often while drunk so USBC has an advantage?  I don't think you'll be ripping the port of in the middle of a lump of moulded plastic so durability isn't an issue...

Here's what's going to happen.

When USB C becomes the new ubiquitous plug,  Everyone will request Mods for USB A, because that's the NEW cool-Retro plug.

Just as the retro-keepsake of PS/2 on mobos.


Ps/2 had a purpose though, for N-key rollover, once upon a time. USB type A doesn't really offer any major benefits over alternatives, besides maybe durability if the female socket is relatively well-made. Type A to type A cables aren't common. I am curious to see that Unicomp Mini M though, since it apparently has a latching type A socket. I still wish we would have just stuck with mini USB for peripherals/charging.

What about this one then, is there room inside the case for the 'motherboard' end?

Nope, no space.

Are you trying really hard to avoid any soldering or something? I imagine with your first panel mount connector, you could just lob the original jst connector off, and the male type c connector of the panel mount connector, and splice them together with some pull-down resistors. Sometimes I just solder straight to contacts on the board myself. I haven't messed with type C at all, and plan to avoid it wherever possible.

I haven't used panel-mount USB connectors before, but I have purchased them with the intent to. Make sure you drill those holes as center as possible. It can be pretty annoying to try to make somewhat misaligned holes work, though it usually isn't too tough to just wallow out the holes a bit one way or another to adjust if you don't care too much about aesthetics.

Offline suicidal_orange

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Re: Realforce R2 cable mod
« Reply #15 on: Sun, 28 June 2020, 02:53:53 »
Are you trying really hard to avoid any soldering or something? I imagine with your first panel mount connector, you could just lob the original jst connector off, and the male type c connector of the panel mount connector, and splice them together with some pull-down resistors. Sometimes I just solder straight to contacts on the board myself. I haven't messed with type C at all, and plan to avoid it wherever possible.

It's not solderieg that's the problem it's USBC.  As you say chop off connector and solder or splice, should be easy.  Except when you chop and find 24 wires with more than one of each colour and then which wire goes where?  The motherboard connector has a known pinout, that's why I liked it.

The other alternative is a ]breakout PCB, does the job but how do you mount it on the back panel of a keyboard case when it's mounting holes are vertical.  I'm guessing there's a round hole where the cable exits that will need filling/covering as well that would have looked OK with a proper panel mounted socket behind.
                               
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Offline Maledicted

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Re: Realforce R2 cable mod
« Reply #16 on: Sun, 28 June 2020, 04:25:43 »
Are you trying really hard to avoid any soldering or something? I imagine with your first panel mount connector, you could just lob the original jst connector off, and the male type c connector of the panel mount connector, and splice them together with some pull-down resistors. Sometimes I just solder straight to contacts on the board myself. I haven't messed with type C at all, and plan to avoid it wherever possible.

It's not solderieg that's the problem it's USBC.  As you say chop off connector and solder or splice, should be easy.  Except when you chop and find 24 wires with more than one of each colour and then which wire goes where?  The motherboard connector has a known pinout, that's why I liked it.

The other alternative is a ]breakout PCB, does the job but how do you mount it on the back panel of a keyboard case when it's mounting holes are vertical.  I'm guessing there's a round hole where the cable exits that will need filling/covering as well that would have looked OK with a proper panel mounted socket behind.

I guess I usually assume that people have a continuity tester lying around. I have needed one many times for such situations when splicing cables. Old school USB color coding isn't always correct anyway, although if the standard colors are present, I don't know that I have seen them be wrong. I know I have seen plenty of cables that have had weird colors for the wiring inside.

Yeah, that Adafruit PCB looks nice. It would be nicer if they had some sort of bracket for panel mounting it. I think that even this is probably too big.

Get the panel mount connector and the Adafruit PCB, plug the panel mount male connector into the PCB, solder the PCB to a JST connector? Sort of janky if you ask me, but it may be the least work.

Offline suicidal_orange

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Re: Realforce R2 cable mod
« Reply #17 on: Sun, 28 June 2020, 06:06:27 »
Another DIY unfriendliness of USBC - the pins in the connector are stupidly small and close together.  You would need bendy probes to get in there and I'd still be afraid of damaging the tiny pins.  I'm sure USBC is partly designed to stop things like this and make us buy new stuff...

Liking the brackets idea, just need smaller ones.  What about one of these and two of these - in stock and just down the road.
                               
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Offline phinix

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Re: Realforce R2 cable mod
« Reply #18 on: Sun, 28 June 2020, 06:38:48 »
Guys, soldering is not a problem - as suicidal_orange mentioned, USB-C has 24 wires, I don't have any electronic testers/equipment or knowledge to test and find out.
I can solder simple 5 wires as I know which ones are in JST plug.

ALso, don't worry about breakout board position - I will mod keyboard casing to accomodate it - I picked a place as well - it will be 2-3cm from the center cable channel. I will take apart my R2 and measure all things later on, but I can screw breakout board down to bottom piece of case, dremel out some plastic, then wire it up to pcb. I would drill a nice, long rounded hole out on the back of the top case, so it would look nice.

245954-0

245956-1

Only thing is to find out all electronic issues.
All USB-C breakout boards I find have 4 pin out socket for 4pin JST plub. How to connect them with R2's 5 pin?
« Last Edit: Sun, 28 June 2020, 06:44:28 by phinix »
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Offline suicidal_orange

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Re: Realforce R2 cable mod
« Reply #19 on: Sun, 28 June 2020, 07:49:49 »
It's using standard USB wire colours and Realforce are a quality company so no reason to think they wouldn't use the standard pinout leaving blue on the end as Shield (that's not supposed to be connected at the device)

If you look around the socket there are probably telltale capacitors on the power lines, a really fat ground trace and two parallel data traces heading off in the same direction for data - if you want to post a pic I'll have a look.
                               
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Offline Maledicted

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Re: Realforce R2 cable mod
« Reply #20 on: Mon, 29 June 2020, 11:40:49 »
Another DIY unfriendliness of USBC - the pins in the connector are stupidly small and close together.  You would need bendy probes to get in there and I'd still be afraid of damaging the tiny pins.  I'm sure USBC is partly designed to stop things like this and make us buy new stuff...

Liking the brackets idea, just need smaller ones.  What about one of these and two of these - in stock and just down the road.

There are plenty of times I have had to rig up some staples or paper clips to my probes in order to get inside of some tiny connectors. I imagine staples would work for type c. I have thought about making my own probes with really narrow ends ... partly because one of the probes on my tester fell off and I have now been using the copper wire that remains. lol

It is funny you mention the tiny pins inside because I actually just recently bent all of the pins back in a type c jack a student had mangled beyond belief. It is just on a Chromebook, so we really only use them for charging, which now works again. I'm not sure whether or not the rest of it does, like transmitting video. I know some of the pins snapped off partway down, but it was surprisingly easy to realign them all and get them relatively flat again. Easier than most times I have tried to do something similar with usb type A.

Offline phinix

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Re: Realforce R2 cable mod
« Reply #21 on: Tue, 30 June 2020, 06:24:03 »
It's using standard USB wire colours and Realforce are a quality company so no reason to think they wouldn't use the standard pinout leaving blue on the end as Shield (that's not supposed to be connected at the device)

If you look around the socket there are probably telltale capacitors on the power lines, a really fat ground trace and two parallel data traces heading off in the same direction for data - if you want to post a pic I'll have a look.

Cool, thanks.
I don't have that breakout boad yet, will order one once they get back in stock. I may go for this one:



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