Author Topic: [IC] The Corne-ish Zen – A low profile wireless split keyboard  (Read 2987 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline darryldh

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 3
  • Location: CA
    • z
[IC] The Corne-ish Zen – A low profile wireless split keyboard
« on: Sat, 21 November 2020, 12:00:21 »
Hello fellow Geeks and Geekettes,
Here for your consideration is my personal Covid lockdown project that I have been working on for around 8 months.

I call it the Corne-ish Zen.



It has been (obviously) inspired by @Foostan’s awesome Corne (CRKB) keyboard, but with a bunch of twists added to make it unique.

Project goals:

The goals of this project are to provide an affordable, but premium split keyboard, and to lower the barriers-of-entry by offering a fully assembled, and fully operational (minus switches and keycaps) keyboard.
No soldering, no firmware hacking (unless you want to) and no tools. Just add your favorite choc switches and keycaps, and start typing.

Features/Details:

I have spent a lot of time designing, re-designing (and even re-re-designing) this keyboard in an attempt to create something that has all the features I wanted, in a small, low package.
Here are some of the special things about this keyboard that might be of interest:

  • Works exclusively with Kailh Choc v1 (pg1350) switches.
  • Choc key spacing. This is perfect for the awesome upcoming MBK Legend keycaps. (nice keyboard btw)
  • Pre-installed hotswap sockets FTW!
  • Fully assembled PCBs
  • Ships with ZMK firmware pre-installed
  • Externally  available power and reset switches
  • The PCBs feature snap-able pinky rows to allow 5x3 layouts for those who want that
  • Tiny upward facing status LED indicators for charging status and bootloader status
  • USB C port with ESD protection on data and power lines
  • Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) 5.0 module with CE, FCC, and RoHS Certifications. This module uses the Nordic NRF52840 SOC which has a 32-bit ARM Cortex-M4 CPU on board running at 64MHz
  • 1.05” E-paper screen on each half. The display driver and power components are built into the main PCB allowing a super thin case
  • 180mAh lithium polymer batteries built in. To use the largest possible battery, while keeping the case profile low, I cut a hole through the PCB to allow the battery to be sandwiched between the top and bottom plates, rather than between the PCB and either of the plates. Early estimates for battery life are around 3 weeks for the left hand, and about 3 months for the right… depending on usage
  • Speaking of charging, the keyboard has a built-in charger that that functions automatically when the USB cable is plugged in. The keyboard works over USB while the battery is charging
  • SW debug/programming pads are positioned on the top of the PCB to allow flashing and debugging if needed/desired
  • Dedicated battery management IC built in. This allow you to accurately monitory the status and performance of the batteries, and display that info on the e-ink screens
Please Note:

- This keyboard will NOT accept MX switches or keycaps. Low profile is a primary goal for this keyboard, and MX switches do not fit into that category.
- This case will NOT fit existing Corne/CRKBD/Heliodox keyboards. The key spacing and entire shape is different.

About Bluetooth Certifications:

The Bluetooth certifications are an important part of this package. By being fully certified, you can be assured that this keyboard will not negatively affect other devices around you, and that it stays within the Bluetooth frequencies it's designed for. It is a costly (and mandatory) process to have all Bluetooth devices certified, and by using a module that contains its own antenna, and is pre-certified from the manufacturer, we get the best of both worlds… a well designed antenna and no additional certifications required.

About ZMK:

Some may wonder why choose ZMK over other available firmwares? The fact is, ZMK has been built from the ground up as a “wireless first” firmware. It is very new, but has a lot of energy currently being put into its development. For a current list of features, and a comparison to other firmwares, please see this page: https://zmkfirmware.dev/docs/

To get involved with ZMK or to learn more, join us on their friendly ZMK Discord server

About battery life:

You may be wondering why there is a discrepancy between the battery life of the right and left halves. This is due to what each half does, functionality wise. In ZMK, the left half is referred to as the “Central” half, that is it is central between the host (your computer) and the right half of the keyboard. The Central half does all the communication to the host, and accepts all the keypresses from the right half and translates those to the host. The right half is referred to as the “peripheral” half. Its only function is to send its keypresses to the Central half. Because of these functionality differences, the Central half consumes more energy than the peripheral half, and hence uses up available battery capacity faster.

Case options:

To make the Corne-ish Zen more affordable, have decided to open source the case designs and offer the PCBs separately for purchase. This will allow folks to ether print their own cases, or have a local printer print a set for them. It will also allow people with the means, to design their own case for this PCB.

The premium case option will be in two pieces. The top will be anodized aluminum, CNC machined out of a solid billet of 6061 stock. The base will be custom injection molded smoke grey acrylic. The standard colors available for anodizing are black, red, silver, grey, gold and rose gold. The GB will likely consist of the two most popular colors from the IC, plus black. Custom colors are a possibility, for a small fee, but there would have to be enough support for the colors chosen.

Please note about 5x3 option: those who opt for 5x3 cases will not get the acrylic base. The molds are too costly to produce both styles. I will provide a 3d printed base, or you can opt to print one yourself.

Photos/Renders:

Colors are estimations, and will be determined by this IC











Pricing: (Estimated. May change slightly still)

  • PCBs (pair): $125
    • Fully assembled with all components and hot swap sockets
    • PCB functionality tested
    • Firmware pre-loaded and tested
    • Includes battery and e-paper screen
  • Complete (6x3): $320
    • All of the above plus CNC aluminum case and acrylic base, preassembled
  • Complete (5x3): $280
    • Same as 6x3, but without the pinky row
    • Acrylic base will be substituted with a black PLA 3D printed base
Prices exclude shipping and any duty/taxes your respective governments decide to charge.

Current Status:

  • [Nov 14] - Prototype PCBs are in hand and are currently being tested.
  • [Nov 21] - IC released
  • Case prototypes are ordered and will be manufactured shortly. GB will not happen until I have them in-hand and am happy with the quality/fit
  • Firmware development has started

Group Buy info:

The Group Buy will be limited to 100 units for this run. I am just one guy, and want to ensure success for everyone. The only way I can see pulling that off is by having a manageable number in the first run. If everything goes well, and if demand is there, I can do a second run relatively quickly.

As I mentioned earlier the GB will not happen until I am happy with the quality of production from the suppliers.

---------------------------

At any rate, please fill out my IC form here: INTEREST CHECK FORM


To get all the details, and ask me questions, join me on Discord to discuss in real time: LOW PROFILE KEYBOARDS DISCORD


Imgur photo gallery


Thanks for taking the time to read my IC, have a great day!

-Darryl

« Last Edit: Sat, 21 November 2020, 15:56:14 by darryldh »

Offline Rossman360

  • Posts: 8
  • Location: Asheville, NC
    • Montsinger
Re: [IC] The Corne-ish Zen – A low profile wireless split keyboard
« Reply #1 on: Sat, 21 November 2020, 12:10:04 »
great name  :))

Offline darryldh

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 3
  • Location: CA
    • z
Re: [IC] The Corne-ish Zen – A low profile wireless split keyboard
« Reply #2 on: Sat, 21 November 2020, 12:17:04 »
great name  :))

Ha! thanks. Who doesn't like a little play on words?

Offline kwhilden

  • Posts: 20
Re: [IC] The Corne-ish Zen – A low profile wireless split keyboard
« Reply #3 on: Sat, 21 November 2020, 12:27:55 »
Cool concept. Although RGBKB already has a split keyboard called the Zen. Your name is a bit confusing on that account.

Offline aikilink

  • Posts: 18
  • Location: Wisconsin
Re: [IC] The Corne-ish Zen – A low profile wireless split keyboard
« Reply #4 on: Sat, 21 November 2020, 14:15:19 »
I can't say I'm set on getting a low-pro board, but this looks amazing! It'd probably be 5x3 for me, but I'm pretty sure the thing that would get me to jump in would be that green case being made. That color is  :thumb:

IC responded!

Offline tdubya

  • Posts: 13
  • Location: TX
Re: [IC] The Corne-ish Zen – A low profile wireless split keyboard
« Reply #5 on: Sat, 21 November 2020, 22:15:26 »
e-ink, ZMK, BLE, split ortho - this ticks a lot of "interesting/want to try out" boxes for me

how's the refresh rate on the e-ink display?

Offline darryldh

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 3
  • Location: CA
    • z
Re: [IC] The Corne-ish Zen – A low profile wireless split keyboard
« Reply #6 on: Sat, 21 November 2020, 22:29:45 »
e-ink, ZMK, BLE, split ortho - this ticks a lot of "interesting/want to try out" boxes for me

how's the refresh rate on the e-ink display?

It is quite a bit slower than oled, but it draws almost no power when not updating the screen. Tough to measure, but I would say it takes less than 2 seconds to refresh. I havent gotten deep into the graphics yet, the screen supports partial refresh, which means I can update part of the screen without having to refresh teh rest of it... in this situation the refresh is basically instantaneous.

Offline paperassgasket

  • Posts: 150
Re: [IC] The Corne-ish Zen – A low profile wireless split keyboard
« Reply #7 on: Tue, 24 November 2020, 11:20:59 »
I showed it to a friend who is interested except for the lack of tenting or adjustable typing angle. I told him to just get taller bumpons but is there perhaps a more elegant solution?
e: are there like... stick-on adjustable tenting feet? Because I think that would work nicely.

I filled out the IC and I'm definitely in for this. I think it's a very neat idea and love the inclusion of so many interesting features.
Also I'm always down to support a ZMK project where I can.  Count me in.
« Last Edit: Tue, 24 November 2020, 11:40:28 by paperassgasket »

Offline easy_rider

  • Posts: 12
  • Location: Spain
Re: [IC] The Corne-ish Zen – A low profile wireless split keyboard
« Reply #8 on: Fri, 27 November 2020, 16:39:04 »
Yupp this looks like one awesome BT lopro corne, would buy.

Offline hottrout

  • Posts: 799
  • Location: Norn Iron
  • I'd Hit Dat Key
Re: [IC] The Corne-ish Zen – A low profile wireless split keyboard
« Reply #9 on: Sat, 28 November 2020, 03:58:49 »
Would love to try this as my gaming board.  Interested.
Current Daily Driver : Maja Ergo - Kiwi

Systems
More
Work |i9-7940x@4.8ghz|32GB(3600)|RTX 2080Ti|Bespoke Water, 360m Rad|X299 Prime Deluxe|EK x299 Monoblock|Optane 900p|2x1TB 960 Pro|2x10TB Helium|Dell U3415W + Dell UP2116Q
Home |i9-9900k@5GHz|16GB(3200)|STRIX-RTX2080Ti|EK Closed Water Loop|Z390-F|1TB 960 Pro|1TB 980 Pro|Dell AW3418DW|NEC MultiSync|Rode NT1&AI-1|Drobo16TB
Mining |i5-7500|16GB(2400)|H110 Pro BTC+|8x1080Ti|2x1650Watt PSU

Plus 35 years of collecting retro computers, consoles, games, peripherals, mainframes and mini's as well as their software, games and manuals. 100's of systems including every Amiga model made

Keyboards
More
IBM 3101  |  IBM 3276  |  IBM 5150  |  IBM ModelM  |  Dictaphone Dual Display  |  Vintage Cherrys (1982 onwards, just about all of them)  |  Commodore (all of them)  |  Nixdorf  |  Siemens  |  ICL  |  Filco Majistouch - Cherry Brown  |  KBDFans 5degree - Zilents  |  Rama M6-B - Healios  |  CA66 - Tealios v1  |  ClueBoard - Zealios v1  |  Varmilo VA69M - Cherry Black  |  E7-V1 SE - Tealios v2  |  Rama U-80 - Ink Blacks 205g0  |  VN66  |  BOCC  |  Rama M10-C  |  FLX Virgo  |  Rama M60-A LYN  |  2 x Space65 CyberVoyager  |  Clarabelle  |  Elongate Mini 1800  |  Petrichor 1800 - TKC Tangerine v1 Relubed 205g  |  Vulcan Maja Ergo - TKC Kiwi  |  Think6.5v2  |  Jacky Bear 65%  |  Sakabato CB87 TKL - TKC Banana Split  |  KCK KY-01  |  Jae J-01 F&F  |  S7.7  |  The Adélie  |  NIX OxalyS80 LE  |  Mesa TKL  |  F&F Smith & Rune IRON180 Graen/Brass  |  Skog Reboot  |

Offline Jaysus

  • Posts: 1
  • Location: Switzerland
Re: [IC] The Corne-ish Zen – A low profile wireless split keyboard
« Reply #10 on: Sat, 28 November 2020, 08:23:29 »
Exactly what I am looking for, mainly bc of BT.
It looks amazing.