Author Topic: BEWARE of N00b questions here...  (Read 1738 times)

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Offline Kitty Stark

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BEWARE of N00b questions here...
« on: Tue, 21 July 2020, 13:26:00 »
Apologies if there's a better subforum but this one made the most sense to me at a glance.

I am currently using a Corsair RGB Strife keyboard but it has recently begun to have some faulty LEDs and isn't taking input from my left ALT key. I reached out to support but of course the warranty expired a couple of months ago and the cost to RMA it probably isn't worth the effort, especially because I kind of hate the silent switches on this. PSA: I didn't know nearly as much about different switches when I bought this, and I was coming off of a Razer keyboard and believed that all mechanical keyboards were nice and clicky.

At this point if I bought a new one I'd probably still get another Corsair just because I like the iCue program and it matches my RGB mouse and RAM, but to get the one I'd want with blue switches is going to be $150 and still isn't exactly what I want. I'm not against a prebuilt if that ends up being my best option, but I'm clueless as to what brands are actually good and I don't want to sift through dozens of keyboards and hundreds of reviews to try and find one that is a good quality and has everything I want. Feel free to suggest some here as long as they meet all of the MUSTS.

I have arrived to GeekHack with the hopes that some of you can help inform me on what the best actions will be to make something more customized that I will enjoy using without shelling out a ton of money, at least right away. Since I have a very limited knowledge of the finer points of keyboards (I only just learned today about different percentage sizes) I'm going to describe what I would love to have and hope that it translates well enough that you can help me. I have basically no experience with soldering, and I'm willing to learn how to do it to assemble a keyboard but am concerned at the amount of time that might take and the damage I might cause. I am willing to pay someone to do the soldering part for me if that's a thing that people are willing to do, but I have a very limited budget and the prices I have seen for some custom online boards is way over it.

I like lists, so let's start there and see what happens!

The new keyboard MUST:

  • Be mechanical and have removable/replacable keycaps
  • Use a standard switch-type that is easier to find keycaps for
  • Be full-size, as I use the numpad often
  • Have backlighting LEDs
  • Be programmable for macros
  • Have tactile clicky switches, such as the Cherry MX blue or the classic Razer green
  • Use the ANSI key layout

The new keyboard PREFERABLY:

P.S. I forgot how miserable it is to HTML format things, so apologies for the 72 edits it took me to figure things out. *glares at obvious Preview button*
« Last Edit: Thu, 23 July 2020, 15:07:37 by Kitty Stark »

Offline -Jerry-

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Re: Lots of N00b questions here...
« Reply #1 on: Tue, 21 July 2020, 14:02:52 »
Nope, this is the perfect place for questions, no worries there!

Off the bat, I can tell you that $150 is pretty low on the budget scale when you consider anything custom. A typical parts and price list for a basic custom keyboard from a company reputable seller like KBDFans or from a known seller like YMDK on Aliexpress would look something like this:
  • Case: $80-150 depending on size
  • PCB: $30-60 depending on features (RGB, hotswap sockets, etc)
  • Plate: $20-50 depending on whether it's aluminium or brass
  • Stabalisers: $10-20 depending on brand
  • Switches: $25-100 varying highly on brand
  • Keycaps: $26-150 for a full set from the low end to the high end GMK sets

I say this not to put you off in any way, but just to give you an idea of the typical budget range for entry level custom boards and make it clear that unlike with PC building (for example) it's not often cheaper to self build. Quite the opposite in fact, it's often much cheaper to get premade boards and there are plenty of good quality ones that fit your price range. If you do want to get into custom building and are concerned about soldering, there are many PCBs that feature hot-sockets, allowing you to slot switches in and swap them over as needed. They have downsides in that you need to be a bit careful about how you insert the switches and they are more likely to wear over time, but they're good if you're trying to get used to different key switches.

I won't try and re-invent the wheel, as the folks over at /r/mechanicalkeyboards on reddit have a fairly good keyboard buying guide split into sections based on price and size, which gives you quite a lot of information. From the list of requirements you give though, there's one board that stands out to me as ticking all of your boxes and being extremely budget friendly. The GMMK full-size keyboard - it's not the fanciest, but it's pretty good value for the features: hot-swap sockets as I describe above, per-key RGB, full-size, programmable, ANSI, standard cherry-style switches (most keycaps are for cherry-style switches), has software, switches aren't recessed (we'd call this a floating keycap design), has the option of clicky Gateron Blue switches as stock, but you can put any switches you like in so long as they're cherry-style ones. The cicker? It looks to only be about $122 for the full board, in ANSI, with blue switches, and your choice of keycaps. The only thing it doesn't match on your list is being ortholinear - there are very few pre-made ortholiear keyboards and I can't think off of my head of many full size equivalent ones

I shall have a think about full-size custom kits and come back if can think of any that are floating key design. I can't think of any in general that meet all of your MUSTS, since backlighting is less common than underlighting.

Edit: The one I can think of, that I've just reminded myself by googling for ten minutes, is the YMDK 96-key sandwich case kit - you can get it with a hot-swap PCB (need to choose that as an upgrade) and your choice of colour for about $70 by the looks of it, though you can expect to pay about $37 shipping, so call it $107. It ticks your boxes as having all the features of the GMMK, but in a fully metal case, with some lovely RGB underglow. It doesn't tick your box regarding backlight htough, because while it DOES support backlighting, you have to order the LEDS with it and solder them yourself. I've done it myself on one of their other boards and it's not particularly hard, just time-consuming. You'd need to order switches, stablisers, and keycaps seperately and you'd be looking at about $35 for Cherry Blue switches for example and between $25 and $50 for some cheapish keycaps that they sell. So all-told you'd be looking at about $170-200 for it. They do offer an assembly service for about $18 which can do the LED soldering for you and fully assemble.

« Last Edit: Tue, 21 July 2020, 14:27:44 by -Jerry- »
     
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Offline Maledicted

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Re: BEWARE of N00b questions here...
« Reply #2 on: Tue, 21 July 2020, 15:38:17 »
How long have you owned that Corsair? Have you cleaned it? There might just be some crud working its way into the switch housing that's preventing it from actuating. It happens from time to time with my K70. It currently is for F4, but I rarely use that key at all, even to issue commands in Mount and Blade. Maybe if my PBT corsair cap sets eventually arrive from China I'll bother to clean it again.

I would pull the caps and clean the board if you use left alt enough. That may resolve the actuation problem. I don't own a strafe, so I'm not sure if the RGB LEDs are SMD or through-hole. If they're through-hole you could take the case apart and check the solder points to make sure the ones in question are nice and shiny and don't look cracked or separated from the surface of the PCB. If any are like that, reflowing them with a $15 Weller iron may be all you need (adding fresh leaded solder can help). If that doesn't work, and they're through-hole, you could try to replace the LEDs, which should literally cost you a few bucks shipped to your door. If the LEDs are SMD/Not visible from above when you look at the switch (if the switch housing is transparent, they're SMD), you would need to desolder the switches just to get a look at the LEDs, which is probably not worth it for a beginner who has no desire to put time into fixing/modifying the board, like swapping in switches you prefer.

I would skip the board shopping until you know exactly what switches you want. What is this board specifically for? Typing? If so, and you know you like clickies more than alternatives (it is not unlikely that you don't even know that for sure yet), and you must have mx-compatible stems, I would look at the Kailh box family of switches. I recommend the box jades, specifically, but some people prefer different variants.

This switch tester is a good investment. It would help you decide what sorts of switches you like, and what characteristics of a given type you prefer, before you start pumping more money into another board's worth of switches you may eventually outgrow.

Gateron blues are probably the best of the best of MX and clones though, for clickies, in my opinion.

Also, the Corsair has MX reds, I imagine? If so, and you give up on it, I'll give you $40 for it, shipped. I have wanted to try those switches on a real board forever and they keep eluding me.

Offline Kitty Stark

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Re: Lots of N00b questions here...
« Reply #3 on: Tue, 21 July 2020, 21:04:56 »
Quote
I won't try and re-invent the wheel, as the folks over at /r/mechanicalkeyboards on reddit have a fairly good keyboard buying guide split into sections based on price and size, which gives you quite a lot of information.
Actually I found you guys through the subreddit, but I'm much more familiar with this website's forum style and I just can't seem to like using Reddit so I'd rather post and ask for help here  ;D

Quote
From the list of requirements you give though, there's one board that stands out to me as ticking all of your boxes and being extremely budget friendly. The GMMK full-size keyboard. The only thing it doesn't match on your list is being ortholinear - there are very few pre-made ortholiear keyboards and I can't think off of my head of many full size equivalent ones.
So if I ordered this through the customization section, I would be choosing "Full, Gateron Blue" and skip the keycaps and the o-rings, correct? I would like to try and find some more colorful pudding-style RGB caps but I'll be doing searches for that using some of the other tools you guys have here. For the keyboard it says that there will be some assembly required which I'm guessing is just basically popping the switches in? I did read in the reviews and some people mentioned a difference between 3-pin and 5-pin switches that required clipping, but I'm not sure if I understand what that means or if it's something I need to worry about dealing with.

Quote
I can't think of any in general that meet all of your MUSTS, since backlighting is less common than underlighting.
I didn't know there was a difference and Google is not being the most helpful at explaining it to me. Would you mind giving it to me in the most basic caveman-brain terms just to be safe? I've had a long day...

Quote
The one I can think of, that I've just reminded myself by googling for ten minutes, is the YMDK 96-key sandwich case kit
I looked at this and while I appreciate the information I'm really not a fan of how cramped it looks. I don't feel like everything needs to be staggered, but I definitely don't want to have my arrow keys and numpad immediately next to my enter/shift/ctrl keys on the right side. However, I did some browsing just for fun and found these cool keycaps which are like pudding caps except better! I'd be fine manually labeling these with a black permanent marker or paint pen, and the idea of a whole key lighting up with the letters blacked out, instead of the normal vice-versa, is a nifty idea to me. But I digress...

Quote
How long have you owned that Corsair? Have you cleaned it? There might just be some crud working its way into the switch housing that's preventing it from actuating.
After learning this lesson with my first mechanical keyboard, I pop off my keycaps and give it a good cleaning every 2-3 months with rubbing alcohol and some very tightly-woven qtips. I'm not sure if dirt could also cause the faulty LEDs but when I contacted Corsair and explained my troubleshooting they said the only thing they could offer was an out-of-pocket RMA, which I am still waiting to hear the cost of.

Quote
I'm not sure if the RGB LEDs are SMD or through-hole... you could take the case apart and check the solder points... reflowing them with a $15 Weller iron may be all you need (adding fresh leaded solder can help)... If the LEDs are SMD/Not visible from above when you look at the switch you would need to desolder the switches just to get a look at the LEDs, which is probably not worth it for a beginner...
I definitely don't have a desire to get involved with soldering or desoldering at this point because I know I would be impatient about it and I'm a very anxious person who stresses over ruining everything I touch sometimes. The switches are transparent, just as an FYI.

Quote
I would skip the board shopping until you know exactly what switches you want.
I definitely want tactile clicky switches, and I have tested everything on display at Best Buy (a paltry sample size I know) and from that I definitely want the Cherry MX Blue, or any other brand of equivalent switches, such as the Gateron blues. I wouldn't mind having the Razer green switches again, except that I would need to get a Razer keyboard and I'm basically sick of Razer at this point in my life and thus refuse to give them any of my money. I still have my old Blackwidow board but, again, I'm not confident or patient enough to desolder all of those switches and transfuse them onto a different PCB at this time. I'm also not even sure of the quality of them at this point given their age and abuse at my formerly juvenile hands.

Quote
Also, the Corsair has MX reds, I imagine? If so, and you give up on it, I'll give you $40 for it, shipped. I have wanted to try those switches on a real board forever and they keep eluding me.
I'm totally open to offers on this board once I have a replacement, and even on my old Razer board (although I have much bigger doubts that anyone would want it lol). However, after a little bit of Googling I've found that to get at least 100 of the Cherry MX Silent Red RGB switches that this uses would cost +$110, before including quick shipping within the USA during COVID which is about $13 from my zip code to Green Bay, WI. I know my keyboard isn't brand new but the switches themselves are fully functional, as well as all of the keycaps, and you clearly have the knowledge to replace a couple of faulty LEDs should you choose. If you want to discuss this more we can use private messages but know that I'm not just going to give this thing away.  ;D

Thank you to both of you for the in-depth replies that already make me feel a little bit more capable of figuring this out! I do have a friend who builds his own keyboards that originally planted this idea in my head, and I might reach out to him and see what he would charge to perform the PCB soldering on the LEDs/switches and then send me that to add my own keycaps and case to. I can see why the hot-swapping board would be beneficial to some, but I'd prefer the durability of soldering if that can be an option with my budget.

Offline jamster

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Re: BEWARE of N00b questions here...
« Reply #4 on: Tue, 21 July 2020, 21:19:03 »
Only a very short comment here, but don't plan on having anything from Aliexpress arrive quickly. I have outstanding orders back from April and May.

So if you plan to get aftermarket keycaps, make sure you have stock ones to use in the meantime.

Offline Leslieann

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Re: BEWARE of N00b questions here...
« Reply #5 on: Tue, 21 July 2020, 21:30:05 »
The GMMK does miss a few things as mentioned, but it's a good, cheap board that meets most of your wants. And yes, order it with no o-rings and no keycaps.

There is two things to to watch out for on it, the first is the cable, get a magnetic USB cable it will protect the port which is quite fragile on the GMMK, it's a micro USB that just hangs out the back. You can get these for a few bucks, worth every penny. 

A second (minor issue) is that it doesn't support PCB mount switches, these have extra "legs" compared to plate mount switches (not an issue if you order aftermarket switches such as Zeal). You can clip these off with side cutters, nail clippers, whatever. Not a big deal unless you decide to build a keyboard that has no plate (not common today) and re-use the switches (this was a dumb decision on their part to not support since it would help with the hot swap alignment).


The early Razer Green switches are just a rebranded Kailh blues, on later versions they sourced some from Greetech as well (again, blues). Gaterons or Cherry would be your best choice here (Cherry will have slightly softer springs).
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 -Jerry-

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Re: Lots of N00b questions here...
« Reply #6 on: Wed, 22 July 2020, 03:24:26 »
Quote
Quote
I can't think of any in general that meet all of your MUSTS, since backlighting is less common than underlighting.
I didn't know there was a difference and Google is not being the most helpful at explaining it to me. Would you mind giving it to me in the most basic caveman-brain terms just to be safe? I've had a long day...

Sure thing!

It's more common for keyboard PCBs to have underglow (LEDs on the bottom of the circuit board designed to shine light either out the sides or the bottom) than to have backlighting (LEDs either on top of the board, under or inside the switches) that lights up the top of the board. There are some that do, but they're more common for PCBs made for smaller 60% size keyboards than for full size. There are a couple of reasons for this as I see it. Firstly you need a lot more LEDs to light up the top of the board evenly, more or less one LED per switch, and therefore it's more expensive to do that than put underglow on (which is often only a dozen LEDs) and secondly the most popular after market keycaps are solid, rather than shine-through, so you get a better visual effect from a case with an acrylic bottom and some underglow than shining up. Regardless of the reasons, it's also much harder to add RGB backlight to a keyboard than underglow after the fact. Most PCBs only come with holes for putting single-colour LEDs.

My little Hub16 macro pad on the left side here has underglow whereas my 60% board has a HS60 PCB that has built in backlight LEDs.


Quote
Quote
The one I can think of, that I've just reminded myself by googling for ten minutes, is the YMDK 96-key sandwich case kit
I looked at this and while I appreciate the information I'm really not a fan of how cramped it looks. I don't feel like everything needs to be staggered, but I definitely don't want to have my arrow keys and numpad immediately next to my enter/shift/ctrl keys on the right side.

Yeah, it's not for everyone - it's described as being a 96% layout and some people prefer it because it's more compact than a full size keyboard. You'll usually find more custom 96% boards than full size ones (at least in DIY kits) because it's easier to make a keyboard case and plate where everything is together than having to machine a case to seperate out the arrow cluster, navigation cluster, and numpad into separate blocks. One of the only ones I can think of off the top of my head is the KBD19X, but it's more expensive and only intermittently available. Still cheaper than a full custom though.

There is two things to to watch out for on it, the first is the cable, get a magnetic USB cable it will protect the port which is quite fragile on the GMMK, it's a micro USB that just hangs out the back. You can get these for a few bucks, worth every penny. 

I second Leslieann on that and indeed for any keyboard - magnetic cables both make it easier to unplug the keyboard and significantly reduce port wear and tear :)
     
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Offline Maledicted

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Re: Lots of N00b questions here...
« Reply #7 on: Wed, 22 July 2020, 11:24:07 »
Quote
From the list of requirements you give though, there's one board that stands out to me as ticking all of your boxes and being extremely budget friendly. The GMMK full-size keyboard. The only thing it doesn't match on your list is being ortholinear - there are very few pre-made ortholiear keyboards and I can't think off of my head of many full size equivalent ones.
So if I ordered this through the customization section, I would be choosing "Full, Gateron Blue" and skip the keycaps and the o-rings, correct? I would like to try and find some more colorful pudding-style RGB caps but I'll be doing searches for that using some of the other tools you guys have here. For the keyboard it says that there will be some assembly required which I'm guessing is just basically popping the switches in? I did read in the reviews and some people mentioned a difference between 3-pin and 5-pin switches that required clipping, but I'm not sure if I understand what that means or if it's something I need to worry about dealing with.

Are you talking about the GMMK in the quote you're commenting on? Those boards look to have the switches installed already. The difference between 3 and 5 pin is what Leslieann was touching on. Some switches are meant to be plate-mounted (3 pin), and some are meant to be PCB-mounted (5 pin). The extra pins are just plastic nubs that are meant to help with alignment and reinforcement in the absence of a plate:



The extra nubs on either side are what you would clip off for a PCB that doesn't support them.

Quote
The one I can think of, that I've just reminded myself by googling for ten minutes, is the YMDK 96-key sandwich case kit
I looked at this and while I appreciate the information I'm really not a fan of how cramped it looks. I don't feel like everything needs to be staggered, but I definitely don't want to have my arrow keys and numpad immediately next to my enter/shift/ctrl keys on the right side. However, I did some browsing just for fun and found these cool keycaps which are like pudding caps except better! I'd be fine manually labeling these with a black permanent marker or paint pen, and the idea of a whole key lighting up with the letters blacked out, instead of the normal vice-versa, is a nifty idea to me. But I digress...

I'm not sure about paint pens, but permanent marker is less permanent than most people think. It will wear off faster than you expect.

Quote
I'm not sure if the RGB LEDs are SMD or through-hole... you could take the case apart and check the solder points... reflowing them with a $15 Weller iron may be all you need (adding fresh leaded solder can help)... If the LEDs are SMD/Not visible from above when you look at the switch you would need to desolder the switches just to get a look at the LEDs, which is probably not worth it for a beginner...
I definitely don't have a desire to get involved with soldering or desoldering at this point because I know I would be impatient about it and I'm a very anxious person who stresses over ruining everything I touch sometimes. The switches are transparent, just as an FYI.

If the housings are transparent, then the LEDs are SMD (this just means they're mounted flush with the PCB) and you would have to desolder each switch with a dead LED beneath it just to replace them.

Quote
I would skip the board shopping until you know exactly what switches you want.
I definitely want tactile clicky switches, and I have tested everything on display at Best Buy (a paltry sample size I know) and from that I definitely want the Cherry MX Blue, or any other brand of equivalent switches, such as the Gateron blues. I wouldn't mind having the Razer green switches again, except that I would need to get a Razer keyboard and I'm basically sick of Razer at this point in my life and thus refuse to give them any of my money. I still have my old Blackwidow board but, again, I'm not confident or patient enough to desolder all of those switches and transfuse them onto a different PCB at this time. I'm also not even sure of the quality of them at this point given their age and abuse at my formerly juvenile hands.

This is an opinion, but a widely-held one: There are way better clicky switches than anything you're ever going to feel in a Best Buy. I would hope that there were at least some somewhat decent tactiles there ... but I doubt it. There are 3 main categories of switches: clicky (also tactile), tactile (tactile but not clicky, generally more quiet and not as crisp), and linear (like your silent reds). If you're anything like me, once you've had a chance to try good clickies, you won't ever want to go back to MX or clones (like Gateron) again. I may be wrong, and I don't want to artificially influence your decision, but it is a good possibility.

Quote
Also, the Corsair has MX reds, I imagine? If so, and you give up on it, I'll give you $40 for it, shipped. I have wanted to try those switches on a real board forever and they keep eluding me.
I'm totally open to offers on this board once I have a replacement, and even on my old Razer board (although I have much bigger doubts that anyone would want it lol). However, after a little bit of Googling I've found that to get at least 100 of the Cherry MX Silent Red RGB switches that this uses would cost +$110, before including quick shipping within the USA during COVID which is about $13 from my zip code to Green Bay, WI. I know my keyboard isn't brand new but the switches themselves are fully functional, as well as all of the keycaps, and you clearly have the knowledge to replace a couple of faulty LEDs should you choose. If you want to discuss this more we can use private messages but know that I'm not just going to give this thing away.  ;D

I'm not sure where you're looking. These are currently out of stock, but this is the going rate on NovelKeys. That's $3.50 per pack of 10, so 100 switches would be $35. I could go to my local Best Buy and pick up a TKL with an exposed aluminum plate with silent reds for $100. For $40, with a partially functional strafe, I would be more inclined to get a feel for the switches and just toss it in the trash if I didn't like them. I don't like Corsair's plastic boards and don't care about RGB. I just don't care enough about trying the switches to bother to buy loose ones to solder into a board I already have, and definitely don't care to desolder them from that board unless I decide they're the best thing since sliced bread.

My time in doing any modifications to that board, unless a quick reflow will fix the alt key, is worth more to me than the board is.

Thank you to both of you for the in-depth replies that already make me feel a little bit more capable of figuring this out! I do have a friend who builds his own keyboards that originally planted this idea in my head, and I might reach out to him and see what he would charge to perform the PCB soldering on the LEDs/switches and then send me that to add my own keycaps and case to. I can see why the hot-swapping board would be beneficial to some, but I'd prefer the durability of soldering if that can be an option with my budget.

You're welcome. Soldering switches is some of the easiest soldering you'll ever do, you may even find it therapeutic if you ever want to give it a try. Desoldering can be a pain, especially without some pretty expensive tools, and even then it can still take hours for a whole board. I have never had a need, but I think there are plenty of people on here who offer soldering services as well if your friend wants too much or is busy or something. I should take a look if only to see how much money I could make doing it.

Also, the magnetic cable thing is definitely a good idea sans heavy custom modification.

Offline Kitty Stark

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Re: Lots of N00b questions here...
« Reply #8 on: Thu, 23 July 2020, 13:32:53 »
Only a very short comment here, but don't plan on having anything from Aliexpress arrive quickly. I have outstanding orders back from April and May.

So if you plan to get aftermarket keycaps, make sure you have stock ones to use in the meantime.
I have some experience ordering (and waiting for) items that come from Japan or China, and I can only imagine at the increased delays as of late thanks to COVID. I suppose I could just borrow the keycaps from my current board, or use the ones from my old Razer, as long as the new switches I get are a similar style right? (i.e. Cherry-style switches)

There is two things to to watch out for on it, the first is the cable, get a magnetic USB cable it will protect the port which is quite fragile on the GMMK, it's a micro USB that just hangs out the back. You can get these for a few bucks, worth every penny.
Is this the right kind of magnetic micro-USB? I've never heard of these so I was unsure of what to look for, but the only other keyboard cables I've seen are the tightly-coiled ones that are shown frequently on r/MechanicalKeyboards.

Firstly you need a lot more LEDs to light up the top of the board evenly, more or less one LED per switch, and therefore it's more expensive to do that than put underglow on (which is often only a dozen LEDs) and secondly the most popular after market keycaps are solid, rather than shine-through, so you get a better visual effect from a case with an acrylic bottom and some underglow than shining up. Regardless of the reasons, it's also much harder to add RGB backlight to a keyboard than underglow after the fact. Most PCBs only come with holes for putting single-colour LEDs.
The more I fall into this rabbit hole the more I'm starting to question if I really MUST have per-key RGB. I'm so used to having it because of the retail boards I've used. Since I'm creative as well as tryhard-organized, it was satisfying to have custom lighting presets for each game I play that "matched" the in-game HUD and color schemes. However, I did notice that most keycap sets are entirely solid and that as cool as the pudding caps look, there are so many more options out there I could try. I feel really undecided on this for the moment, but I appreciate the information regardless!

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You'll usually find more custom 96% boards than full size ones (at least in DIY kits) because it's easier to make a keyboard case and plate where everything is together than having to machine a case to seperate out the arrow cluster, navigation cluster, and numpad into separate blocks. One of the only ones I can think of off the top of my head is the KBD19X, but it's more expensive and only intermittently available. Still cheaper than a full custom though.
I actually would love a keyboard with that sort of layout! I have small hands but I also am so used to a full keyboard that seeing everything on top of one another bothered me to look at.  That 96% with the very slight spacing would be a great balance I think, so it's a shame that they're a bit harder to find. Perhaps I could get used to the more compact design in time, especially with having the numpad so much closer to my hands' resting position, but I'm hesitant to invest too much into it without being able to see it in front of me if that makes sense? :confused:

Are you talking about the GMMK in the quote you're commenting on? Those boards look to have the switches installed already. The difference between 3 and 5 pin is what Leslieann was touching on. Some switches are meant to be plate-mounted (3 pin), and some are meant to be PCB-mounted (5 pin)... The extra nubs on either side are what you would clip off for a PCB that doesn't support them.
I was under the impression that if I ordered a custom GMMK instead of just buying the stock one that there would be "some assembly required". If that's my misunderstanding and I don't need to install the switches either way, then that's great!

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I'm not sure about paint pens, but permanent marker is less permanent than most people think. It will wear off faster than you expect.
Ordinarily yes, but I'm a multimedia artist and have a lot of different sealants and varnishes that I can use to protect the ink from wearing off on my fingers once it dries.

Quote
This is an opinion, but a widely-held one: There are way better clicky switches than anything you're ever going to feel in a Best Buy. There are 3 main categories of switches: clicky (also tactile), tactile (tactile but not clicky, generally more quiet and not as crisp), and linear (like your silent reds). If you're anything like me, once you've had a chance to try good clickies, you won't ever want to go back to MX or clones (like Gateron) again.
If I reference the guide on the GMMK page just for what they offer, it suggests Gateron Blue, Gateron Green, or Kalih Box White. I'm not sure what else is similar but I can't really invest in a switch-tester for the time-being if I also want to get a new keyboard before the holidays. I think for now I'm going to stick with the Cherry/Gateron Blue because I know that I do enjoy them at least compared to what else I've tried. Once I can seriously start the process of making myself a full custom I will get a switch tester to ensure I get exactly what I want from the huge selection available. I have many ambitiously creative ideas for my custom keyboard that may or may not be possible to even create, but I'll figure that out when the time comes. :D

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I'm not sure where you're looking. These are currently out of stock, but this is the going rate on NovelKeys. That's $3.50 per pack of 10, so 100 switches would be $35... I just don't care enough about trying the switches to bother to buy loose ones to solder into a board I already have, and definitely don't care to desolder them from that board unless I decide they're the best thing since sliced bread.
That's my bad then, since I only really used Google to get some search results for places that did have the reds in stock. When you put it that way I understand why it'd be a lot easier to just test mine for a couple days before you invest a lot of time and effort into putting them in your own keyboard. I will be continuing to update this thread as I go through this process and find my new board, and will let you know once I have it in case you are still interested.

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You're welcome. Soldering switches is some of the easiest soldering you'll ever do, you may even find it therapeutic if you ever want to give it a try. Desoldering can be a pain, especially without some pretty expensive tools, and even then it can still take hours for a whole board.
Ever since I got into refurbishing and customizing old Gameboy systems, I've been slightly interested in learning basic soldering. It's possible to add backlit screen mods to the older systems but it requires one soldering spot and I was too nervous at the time to try it. I do have an iron now and a few friends & family with experience, so I'll definitely be learning it eventually since I'm good with having steady hands and performing small detail work.

Offline -Jerry-

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Re: Lots of N00b questions here...
« Reply #9 on: Thu, 23 July 2020, 13:43:13 »
Is this the right kind of magnetic micro-USB? I've never heard of these so I was unsure of what to look for, but the only other keyboard cables I've seen are the tightly-coiled ones that are shown frequently on r/MechanicalKeyboards.

I can confirm the NetDot cables are good, that's what I use - though they've released some more up-to-date ones since then. I use the Gen10 ones and I think they have Gen12 how. It doesn't matter supper much for keyboards since they're only USB2 speeds, but since you can get them in three packs with three different tips for each cable, you may as well get the newer ones in case you want to use them for other stuff. Since my iPhone and iPad both fast charge, I don't use them for those any more, but they're great for things like wireless mice that you only have to plug in occasionally and for switching a keyboard between multiple computers should you want to :)
     
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Offline Maledicted

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Re: Lots of N00b questions here...
« Reply #10 on: Thu, 23 July 2020, 17:15:59 »
There is two things to to watch out for on it, the first is the cable, get a magnetic USB cable it will protect the port which is quite fragile on the GMMK, it's a micro USB that just hangs out the back. You can get these for a few bucks, worth every penny.
Is this the right kind of magnetic micro-USB? I've never heard of these so I was unsure of what to look for, but the only other keyboard cables I've seen are the tightly-coiled ones that are shown frequently on r/MechanicalKeyboards.

I have never used magnetic cables myself, but probably will get some for my Oculus Quest at some point, if nothing else. The only thing I would add is to be careful which ones you do get. Some do not support data transfer and are merely for charging. These appear to do both, and you've got Jerry vouching for them.

Firstly you need a lot more LEDs to light up the top of the board evenly, more or less one LED per switch, and therefore it's more expensive to do that than put underglow on (which is often only a dozen LEDs) and secondly the most popular after market keycaps are solid, rather than shine-through, so you get a better visual effect from a case with an acrylic bottom and some underglow than shining up. Regardless of the reasons, it's also much harder to add RGB backlight to a keyboard than underglow after the fact. Most PCBs only come with holes for putting single-colour LEDs.
The more I fall into this rabbit hole the more I'm starting to question if I really MUST have per-key RGB. I'm so used to having it because of the retail boards I've used. Since I'm creative as well as tryhard-organized, it was satisfying to have custom lighting presets for each game I play that "matched" the in-game HUD and color schemes. However, I did notice that most keycap sets are entirely solid and that as cool as the pudding caps look, there are so many more options out there I could try. I feel really undecided on this for the moment, but I appreciate the information regardless!

Others would know better than I, since I don't normally do the programmable and/or kit keyboard thing myself, but I don't know that you would have very many (if any) options for per-game RGB settings outside of the gaming board market. I have used my K70 since before that stuff even existed (to my knowledge), so I guess I have gotten by just fine without it. lol

Quote
You'll usually find more custom 96% boards than full size ones (at least in DIY kits) because it's easier to make a keyboard case and plate where everything is together than having to machine a case to seperate out the arrow cluster, navigation cluster, and numpad into separate blocks. One of the only ones I can think of off the top of my head is the KBD19X, but it's more expensive and only intermittently available. Still cheaper than a full custom though.
I actually would love a keyboard with that sort of layout! I have small hands but I also am so used to a full keyboard that seeing everything on top of one another bothered me to look at.  That 96% with the very slight spacing would be a great balance I think, so it's a shame that they're a bit harder to find. Perhaps I could get used to the more compact design in time, especially with having the numpad so much closer to my hands' resting position, but I'm hesitant to invest too much into it without being able to see it in front of me if that makes sense? :confused:

I routinely use a full-sized keyboard when gaming ... not because I particularly wanted that, but because I wanted that board and that's what it was. There are a lot of people who find merit in having a shorter keyboard to facilitate having your hands closer together when gaming. I'm not sure it makes any difference for me in limited testing, but that may be because of relatively broad shoulders. if you must have a number pad, and think that having your hands closer together may be a benefit, I could see that layout being a good contender.

Are you talking about the GMMK in the quote you're commenting on? Those boards look to have the switches installed already. The difference between 3 and 5 pin is what Leslieann was touching on. Some switches are meant to be plate-mounted (3 pin), and some are meant to be PCB-mounted (5 pin)... The extra nubs on either side are what you would clip off for a PCB that doesn't support them.
I was under the impression that if I ordered a custom GMMK instead of just buying the stock one that there would be "some assembly required". If that's my misunderstanding and I don't need to install the switches either way, then that's great!

The description for that keyboard says the following:

Quote from: Glorious GMMK marketing
The full sized, RGB, modular mechanical keyboard. Comes preinstalled with Gateron brown switches & black keycaps. Ready to go - requires no setup. Perfect for someone new to mechanical keyboards.

I don't buy a lot of ... enthusiast things, unless they're 25+ years old, but that reads to me like it is a hot swappable board but comes with the switches preinstalled.

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I'm not sure about paint pens, but permanent marker is less permanent than most people think. It will wear off faster than you expect.
Ordinarily yes, but I'm a multimedia artist and have a lot of different sealants and varnishes that I can use to protect the ink from wearing off on my fingers once it dries.

Cool. I was just making sure. I have some caps I dyed, some people having claimed that it seeps beneath the surface of the plastic and does not wear off ... and it started wearing off in a week. I'm using a ton of hand sanitizer, so I imagine that doesn't help, but still. If you do embark on an adventure like that, it might be interesting/informative to post in the Keyboard Keycaps section. Maybe with some long-term durability updates.

Quote
This is an opinion, but a widely-held one: There are way better clicky switches than anything you're ever going to feel in a Best Buy. There are 3 main categories of switches: clicky (also tactile), tactile (tactile but not clicky, generally more quiet and not as crisp), and linear (like your silent reds). If you're anything like me, once you've had a chance to try good clickies, you won't ever want to go back to MX or clones (like Gateron) again.
If I reference the guide on the GMMK page just for what they offer, it suggests Gateron Blue, Gateron Green, or Kalih Box White. I'm not sure what else is similar but I can't really invest in a switch-tester for the time-being if I also want to get a new keyboard before the holidays. I think for now I'm going to stick with the Cherry/Gateron Blue because I know that I do enjoy them at least compared to what else I've tried. Once I can seriously start the process of making myself a full custom I will get a switch tester to ensure I get exactly what I want from the huge selection available. I have many ambitiously creative ideas for my custom keyboard that may or may not be possible to even create, but I'll figure that out when the time comes. :D

You may prefer the Gateron blues, between those three. The Gateron green will be very heavy if you're used to MX blue. Gateron blue is probably the best MX or clone clicky switch, followed closely by Outemu (that may be debated). Both the Gateron and Outemu blues are a bit more tactile, and definitely more consistent than MX. Box whites are an entirely different click mechanism, they use a click bar, like the jades I recommended. The box white click bar is very thin though ... I'm not sure why OEMs are pushing those when most people like pale blues, jades, pinks, and navies. Box click bar switches are very smooth and crisp, not at all crunchy/rattly and inconsistent in feel and sound like MX. Box whites are a very pleasant switch, but less tactile than you would be used to.

Fair warning: The clicky journey usually leads to 80s keyboards.

Good luck on your path to keyboard nirvana

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I'm not sure where you're looking. These are currently out of stock, but this is the going rate on NovelKeys. That's $3.50 per pack of 10, so 100 switches would be $35... I just don't care enough about trying the switches to bother to buy loose ones to solder into a board I already have, and definitely don't care to desolder them from that board unless I decide they're the best thing since sliced bread.
That's my bad then, since I only really used Google to get some search results for places that did have the reds in stock. When you put it that way I understand why it'd be a lot easier to just test mine for a couple days before you invest a lot of time and effort into putting them in your own keyboard. I will be continuing to update this thread as I go through this process and find my new board, and will let you know once I have it in case you are still interested.

Unless I find another cheap silent red board before then, or pull the old return switcheroo with Best Buy, I'll still be interested. I got the $100 board on Ebay at a steep discount, but it turned out the description was wrong and it had regular MX reds. That offer, of course, was only if you end up otherwise trashing the thing, etc. I'm in no hurry.

Quote
You're welcome. Soldering switches is some of the easiest soldering you'll ever do, you may even find it therapeutic if you ever want to give it a try. Desoldering can be a pain, especially without some pretty expensive tools, and even then it can still take hours for a whole board.
Ever since I got into refurbishing and customizing old Gameboy systems, I've been slightly interested in learning basic soldering. It's possible to add backlit screen mods to the older systems but it requires one soldering spot and I was too nervous at the time to try it. I do have an iron now and a few friends & family with experience, so I'll definitely be learning it eventually since I'm good with having steady hands and performing small detail work.

I have always thought about doing a backlight mod to a GBC ... I hesitate to modify the GB I played Pokemon Red on though. I still have my atomic purple GBC from the 90s. I have a Gameboy Pocket that needs some sort of screen repair. Do you happen to know what's most common to go wrong on that model? When I picked it up for almost nothing from a Goodwill, I didn't have the required proprietary tri wing screwdriver bits. I have a Sega Game Gear that probably needs a little attention too.

I'm surprised you've pulled off doing any refurbishment or modification without a soldering iron, but if the 3DS, etc, is any indication ... Nintendo does love a billion tiny fiddly little ribbon connectors, etc.

My hands are shaky as hell sometimes and draw some pretty terrible stick figures, I still get by just fine with some pretty precise soldering. Tips like this help a lot, if you do ever end up doing some soldering on some really tiny/close solder pads. The general tips are fine for most things in a keyboard, and I imagine an old Gameboy, but they're useless for anything relatively small ... like the micro USB solder pads I was trying to solder to this past weekend. Cheap irons usually don't have many options for tips either.

The important thing is to prevent from overheating the circuit. Better irons/stations have temperature controls, and either way you just don't want to hold the iron on anything for longer than you need to for a good clean connection. Besides that, the only thing that really matters is not jerking too hard on pads, etc. If you avoid both of those things, you can usually play around with an iron all you want without much problem.

There's no shortage of random old electronics nobody wants or cares about to practice with.

Offline Leslieann

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Re: Lots of N00b questions here...
« Reply #11 on: Thu, 23 July 2020, 21:34:19 »
Is this the right kind of magnetic micro-USB? I've never heard of these so I was unsure of what to look for, but the only other keyboard cables I've seen are the tightly-coiled ones that are shown frequently on r/MechanicalKeyboards.

I can confirm the NetDot cables are good, that's what I use - though they've released some more up-to-date ones since then. I use the Gen10 ones and I think they have Gen12 how. It doesn't matter supper much for keyboards since they're only USB2 speeds, but since you can get them in three packs with three different tips for each cable, you may as well get the newer ones in case you want to use them for other stuff. Since my iPhone and iPad both fast charge, I don't use them for those any more, but they're great for things like wireless mice that you only have to plug in occasionally and for switching a keyboard between multiple computers should you want to :)
I use the Netdot 2nd gen
They only have data on one side, but even one sided data is fine though. These are best used on mice, where the shape keeps them from dragging.


Later gens may be better option for keyboard, but like I said, I use the 2nd gen on everything and it's fine.
« Last Edit: Thu, 23 July 2020, 21:41:27 by Leslieann »
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 -Jerry-

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Re: Lots of N00b questions here...
« Reply #12 on: Fri, 24 July 2020, 02:55:43 »
I use the Netdot 2nd gen
They only have data on one side, but even one sided data is fine though. These are best used on mice, where the shape keeps them from dragging.

Later gens may be better option for keyboard, but like I said, I use the 2nd gen on everything and it's fine.

Oh definitely, no argument there - mice and keyboards, and really any peripheral usually, only needs that one sided 2.0 data anyway.

I was just saying that since (at least on UK amazon) the Gen10 and the Gen2 are nearly the same price and are almost exactly the same shape (unlike the Gen12, which has gone round, ruining that non-drag-ness) so you may as well get the Gen10 which supports 9V/2A fast charging, just in case you want to use them to charge something that supports it :)
     
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Offline Leslieann

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Re: BEWARE of N00b questions here...
« Reply #13 on: Fri, 24 July 2020, 05:54:05 »
I just meant there may be better (like the gen 10),  I don't even think gen 10 was out when I got my first ones.

I haven't looked at any updated models I think since the 5 or 7 (?), they've served me well. There's just too many to look at at this point.
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 -Jerry-

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Re: BEWARE of N00b questions here...
« Reply #14 on: Fri, 24 July 2020, 07:22:42 »
I just meant there may be better (like the gen 10),  I don't even think gen 10 was out when I got my first ones.

I haven't looked at any updated models I think since the 5 or 7 (?), they've served me well. There's just too many to look at at this point.

It doesn't help that they made each new generation incompatible with the old. I can understand them wanting to innovate on how they fit together, etc, but five iterations, each being incompatible with any other, is a bit much.
     
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Offline Kitty Stark

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Re: Lots of N00b questions here...
« Reply #15 on: Fri, 24 July 2020, 22:19:55 »
I can confirm the NetDot cables are good, that's what I use - though they've released some more up-to-date ones since then. I use the Gen10 ones and I think they have Gen12 how... they're great for things like wireless mice that you only have to plug in occasionally and for switching a keyboard between multiple computers should you want to :)
I use the Netdot 2nd gen
They only have data on one side, but even one sided data is fine though. These are best used on mice, where the shape keeps them from dragging.
I'm not the biggest fan of wireless devices but I will order at least two because I'm nothing if not overprepared, heh. However, I'm mildly confused because in the GMMK FAQs it says that the keyboard's USB is not detachable. Does it have a different design now than when it was first released, or am I just easily confused by words? :confused:

Others would know better than I, since I don't normally do the programmable and/or kit keyboard thing myself, but I don't know that you would have very many (if any) options for per-game RGB settings outside of the gaming board market. I have used my K70 since before that stuff even existed (to my knowledge), so I guess I have gotten by just fine without it.
I did some more digging through the keyboard subreddit wiki looking at prebuilts, but didn't really find anything new within my budget that has everything I want like the GMMK has. DasKeyboard caught my eye but they seem to only use quieter tactile switches, such as Cherry Browns. The Corsair K70 is a definite contender but I would still want to invest in pudding keycaps (~$25), and so it creates a price gap between the GMMK and K70 of almost $60. The only other keyboards that look the way I want them to are on Amazon and I'm extremely hesitant to try brands I've never heard of that aren't on that subreddit, such as Redragon and Eagletek. None of them seem to have a software to program the RGB and I'm not a big fan of most of the keyboard fonts they use either, so it would be a major compromise in favor of a sub-$100 board.

Really I just have to decide at this point if the completely prebuilt Corsair with a familiar RGB program and a 2-year warranty is worth the extra cost, versus a GMMK that I will have to do some minor assembly for and have a little less fun with color settings and a 1-year warranty.

Quote
If you do embark on an adventure like that, it might be interesting/informative to post in the Keyboard Keycaps section. Maybe with some long-term durability updates.
Will do!  ;)

Quote
I have a Gameboy Pocket that needs some sort of screen repair. Do you happen to know what's most common to go wrong on that model? When I picked it up for almost nothing from a Goodwill, I didn't have the required proprietary tri wing screwdriver bits. I have a Sega Game Gear that probably needs a little attention too... I'm surprised you've pulled off doing any refurbishment or modification without a soldering iron, but if the 3DS, etc, is any indication ... Nintendo does love a billion tiny fiddly little ribbon connectors, etc.
I don't know a lot about the tech-side of things especially for the Pocket, but if the screen isn't functional that's a sub-$20 DIY repair. Nintendo handhelds are actually relatively easy to exchange screens/motherboards/housing on and there's a ton of OEM and third-party parts available online for reasonable prices. That's how I've been able to do most of my refurbishing jobs, because I don't "fix" it so much as replace the defunct internals with working ones, or swap on a custom-painted housing for a working system with a cracked case. Unless of course you want an OEM backlit Gameboy Advance SD screen... Ribbon cables are a definite staple of Nintendo so if you hate touching those I can understand why you'd not wanna get really involved with self-repairs. PM me if you have any really specific questions and I'll do my best to point you in the right direction!


Offline Leslieann

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Re: Lots of N00b questions here...
« Reply #16 on: Sat, 25 July 2020, 05:24:32 »
I'm not the biggest fan of wireless devices but I will order at least two because I'm nothing if not overprepared, heh. However, I'm mildly confused because in the GMMK FAQs it says that the keyboard's USB is not detachable. Does it have a different design now than when it was first released, or am I just easily confused by words? :confused:

It's now a detachable micro B.


Really I just have to decide at this point if the completely prebuilt Corsair with a familiar RGB program and a 2-year warranty is worth the extra cost, versus a GMMK that I will have to do some minor assembly for and have a little less fun with color settings and a 1-year warranty.
Quote
All you have to do is pop in the switches, takes less than 5 minutes (just be careful not to bend pins).
If it breaks, you can buy a second and probably still be cheaper, so as long as each lasts a year it's a better deal.
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 -Jerry-

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Re: Lots of N00b questions here...
« Reply #17 on: Sat, 25 July 2020, 05:43:29 »
Really I just have to decide at this point if the completely prebuilt Corsair with a familiar RGB program and a 2-year warranty is worth the extra cost, versus a GMMK that I will have to do some minor assembly for and have a little less fun with color settings and a 1-year warranty.
All you have to do is pop in the switches, takes less than 5 minutes (just be careful not to bend pins).
If it breaks, you can buy a second and probably still be cheaper, so as long as each lasts a year it's a better deal.

What Leslieann said, plus the GMMK does seem to have software control for that RGB, the only thing you won’t have is iCUE compatibility. To be honest, I used to have a massive Corsair set up, the RGB mousepad, the RGB mouse, the RGB headphone stand, a dozen light strips, etc. I even made a video a couple of years ago about my ‘whole desk iCUE setup’, haha. When I got into mechanical keyboards and got rid of my K70 Lux, I slowly ramped down and while I still have a fairly large setup and more light strips than is healthy, I now run it all single colour for most part and so find setting the RGB of the keyboard separately a non-issue. So unless you run rainbow puke animations all the time, you may well be fine.

     
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Offline Maledicted

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Re: Lots of N00b questions here...
« Reply #18 on: Mon, 27 July 2020, 17:28:23 »
Others would know better than I, since I don't normally do the programmable and/or kit keyboard thing myself, but I don't know that you would have very many (if any) options for per-game RGB settings outside of the gaming board market. I have used my K70 since before that stuff even existed (to my knowledge), so I guess I have gotten by just fine without it.
I did some more digging through the keyboard subreddit wiki looking at prebuilts, but didn't really find anything new within my budget that has everything I want like the GMMK has. DasKeyboard caught my eye but they seem to only use quieter tactile switches, such as Cherry Browns. The Corsair K70 is a definite contender but I would still want to invest in pudding keycaps (~$25), and so it creates a price gap between the GMMK and K70 of almost $60. The only other keyboards that look the way I want them to are on Amazon and I'm extremely hesitant to try brands I've never heard of that aren't on that subreddit, such as Redragon and Eagletek. None of them seem to have a software to program the RGB and I'm not a big fan of most of the keyboard fonts they use either, so it would be a major compromise in favor of a sub-$100 board.

Really I just have to decide at this point if the completely prebuilt Corsair with a familiar RGB program and a 2-year warranty is worth the extra cost, versus a GMMK that I will have to do some minor assembly for and have a little less fun with color settings and a 1-year warranty.

I don't know a whole lot about Das in general, but my Das Pro 4 came with MX blues. I don't think that that's a particularly uncommon option in their boards, but the Pro 4 was the only one I was interested in since most of theirs seem to be pretty much all plastic, and I like volume knobs.

One consideration with almost any board marketed to gamers is that the bottom row of caps will not follow the standard in size and spacing. Any Das I have heard of uses standard caps, Corsair does not. You can mostly get away with this on Corsair by cutting slits in the mounts with a razor for a standard space bar to fit, and by sticking with the stock Windows keys and menu keys, or find better matching alternatives, but even then the bottom row's control keys will no longer line up vertically with the rest of the rows.

Outside of this, you're looking at Corsair-specific sets, and your choices are very sparse in this category.


Quote
I have a Gameboy Pocket that needs some sort of screen repair. Do you happen to know what's most common to go wrong on that model? When I picked it up for almost nothing from a Goodwill, I didn't have the required proprietary tri wing screwdriver bits. I have a Sega Game Gear that probably needs a little attention too... I'm surprised you've pulled off doing any refurbishment or modification without a soldering iron, but if the 3DS, etc, is any indication ... Nintendo does love a billion tiny fiddly little ribbon connectors, etc.
I don't know a lot about the tech-side of things especially for the Pocket, but if the screen isn't functional that's a sub-$20 DIY repair. Nintendo handhelds are actually relatively easy to exchange screens/motherboards/housing on and there's a ton of OEM and third-party parts available online for reasonable prices. That's how I've been able to do most of my refurbishing jobs, because I don't "fix" it so much as replace the defunct internals with working ones, or swap on a custom-painted housing for a working system with a cracked case. Unless of course you want an OEM backlit Gameboy Advance SD screen... Ribbon cables are a definite staple of Nintendo so if you hate touching those I can understand why you'd not wanna get really involved with self-repairs. PM me if you have any really specific questions and I'll do my best to point you in the right direction!

I imagine the old Gameboys are easy to work on. I just figured you might know what commonly goes wrong in regards to screens. The DS variants I have taken apart have been nightmares. They're literally plastic and PCB sandwiches with 4-5+ layers and ribbon cables and wires strewn between them. I may hate taking those things apart more than iPhones.

I have an irrational hatred for tiny fiddly ribbon cables, since I work on laptops all day every day.

Offline Kitty Stark

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Re: Lots of N00b questions here...
« Reply #19 on: Thu, 30 July 2020, 11:56:00 »
Here with an update! I have decided for now to get the GMMK with the blue Gateron switches, as well as the magnetic cable and the PBT pudding caps from HyperX, since I don't hate the font on them and they match the layout. I will update here again once everything arrives and I am able to assemble it and hopefully have a fully functioning board that I built myself (sort of). Thanks again to everyone who helped me out in this thread and I don't think I'd have made this choice without you.

I imagine the old Gameboys are easy to work on. I just figured you might know what commonly goes wrong in regards to screens. The DS variants I have taken apart have been nightmares. They're literally plastic and PCB sandwiches with 4-5+ layers and ribbon cables and wires strewn between them. I may hate taking those things apart more than iPhones.
Unfortunately I've never had the chance to work on an original Pocket, so I wouldn't know for sure. I can promise that the ribbon cables go back at least as far as the Gameboy Color, for better or worse. A quick Google shows the Pocket is no different though, so I'm sorry in advance for your frustration. :-X

Offline Maledicted

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Re: Lots of N00b questions here...
« Reply #20 on: Thu, 30 July 2020, 12:19:17 »
Here with an update! I have decided for now to get the GMMK with the blue Gateron switches, as well as the magnetic cable and the PBT pudding caps from HyperX, since I don't hate the font on them and they match the layout. I will update here again once everything arrives and I am able to assemble it and hopefully have a fully functioning board that I built myself (sort of). Thanks again to everyone who helped me out in this thread and I don't think I'd have made this choice without you.

I think you'll be happy with that combination if you like MX blues. I suspect you'll immediately prefer the Gaterons, but maybe not. Let us know what you think. The good thing with that board is you can always buy different switches down the road.

I imagine the old Gameboys are easy to work on. I just figured you might know what commonly goes wrong in regards to screens. The DS variants I have taken apart have been nightmares. They're literally plastic and PCB sandwiches with 4-5+ layers and ribbon cables and wires strewn between them. I may hate taking those things apart more than iPhones.
Unfortunately I've never had the chance to work on an original Pocket, so I wouldn't know for sure. I can promise that the ribbon cables go back at least as far as the Gameboy Color, for better or worse. A quick Google shows the Pocket is no different though, so I'm sorry in advance for your frustration. :-X

Ribbon cables have been around forever. There are some in an IBM nursing terminal keyboard from the 80s that I got recently. I just mean that a lot of DS models have an excessive amount of them, all connecting like a spiderweb between 3-5 layers of plastic and random daughterboards, etc. My GBC and pocket are transparent ... they look extremely well laid-out inside by comparison. I'm not frustrated at all. That pocket has sat around for years and years, it can continue to do so or I may fix it as soon as I have parts at the door. I know it will sure beat trying to fix RROD Xbox 360s without a reball/reflow station.