Author Topic: Any Model F xwhatsit owners tired of fighting with threshold values?  (Read 512 times)

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Offline mrb5217

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I'm not sure if this is already common knowledge or not, but there is new amazing firmware available for the xwhatsit controllers.  I just stumbled on the enormous deskthority thread about the new Model Fs and some firmware fixes that went with it.  After skimming through it, near the end I learned that DT user pandrew has created a beta of the QMK firmware that runs on not just the new keyboards and controllers, but the original IBM models (including the F122) and the xwhatsit controllers where it replaces the original firmware.  It supports the F122 standard, ISO, ANSI, and all pad layouts.

All I can say is after years of constantly fighting with my F122's threshold values (phantom keys, unresponsive keys, inconsistent performance with temperature, etc) I was seriously contemplating finally giving up on my F122 and selling it off as "not working" because it was a lemon.  I figured it was either the backplates, or the way it was bent, or not enough tension, or grounding problems, or possibly it needed a bolt mod.  Nothing I ever did improved the performance.  It felt and sounded amazing, but a keyboard that I couldn't type on is a (very) expensive paperweight that made me depressed every time I'd look at it.
The QMK firmware totally changed all of that for me.  pandrew's firmware breathed new life into my F122.  It uses a totally different method of auto-calibration where it auto-calibrates the the keys into multiple threshold groups and adjusts things dynamically eliminating the issues with the "one size fits all" method the original firmware used.  The concept behind it is that a simple on/off threshold value is insufficient to work reliably with the capacitive sensing as the values shift across the keyboard layout and with environmental changes.  It was also found that the always on/always off pads were very different in terms of their threshold values than the real pads with flippers on them, so they were essentially useless to try to calibrate against.

I believe it also brings improved debouncing and denoising routines compared to the original firmware.  It makes the xwhatsit and the F122 work like it always should have and like it deserves.

If you have a restored Model F with an xwhatsit, you definitely should check this out.  It now has a permanent place on my desk again.

Offline funkmon

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Re: Any Model F xwhatsit owners tired of fighting with threshold values?
« Reply #1 on: Fri, 12 February 2021, 21:45:43 »
I actually feel the opposite. When I apprehended one of Ellipse's model F repros, it had the QMK firmware on it and I wanted to die. I know and love the xwhatsit firmware and love capsense. I have no issues with voltage or any weirdness whatsoever with my Fs. I have some XTs, an AT, some 122s, a F107, and the new fake F77. It's all good and I love xwhatsit.

I flashed the normal firmware back on it shortly after.
« Last Edit: Mon, 15 February 2021, 23:40:52 by funkmon »

Offline mrb5217

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Re: Any Model F xwhatsit owners tired of fighting with threshold values?
« Reply #2 on: Fri, 12 February 2021, 21:53:23 »
What was the issue with the QMK firmware on your new model F?

Offline funkmon

  • Posts: 399
Re: Any Model F xwhatsit owners tired of fighting with threshold values?
« Reply #3 on: Fri, 12 February 2021, 22:32:02 »
I just don't like it, and I don't like the necessary step of having to ask a guy to be let into the beta firmware ****. Capsense is a built in tool with all the power right there at your fingertips, it's easy to use, and I have had no issues with it. For me, it's very much an if it ain't broke don't fix it thing.

Offline TheInverseKey

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Re: Any Model F xwhatsit owners tired of fighting with threshold values?
« Reply #4 on: Sat, 13 February 2021, 19:00:58 »
I had a 5251 that needed a new PCB and the old xwhatsit capsense did work at on it, only since I changed it over to QMK did it work flawlessly.

Offline Maledicted

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  • Location: Wisconsin, United States
Re: Any Model F xwhatsit owners tired of fighting with threshold values?
« Reply #5 on: Mon, 15 February 2021, 08:48:39 »
My F107, after many months of constant use, is just now finally having problems with random key presses. I imagine one of the previous owners replaced the foam when they tore it completely down for a refurb. It is running the standard xwhatsit firmware. I figure that's a good excuse for me to bother updating, changing debounce threshold, etc.

My F77 reproduction, which I bought second hand, has had no problems at all with the original firmware. Not sure what (if any) settings were tweaked to make it so.

Offline funkmon

  • Posts: 399
Re: Any Model F xwhatsit owners tired of fighting with threshold values?
« Reply #6 on: Mon, 15 February 2021, 23:42:02 »
My F107, after many months of constant use, is just now finally having problems with random key presses. I imagine one of the previous owners replaced the foam when they tore it completely down for a refurb. It is running the standard xwhatsit firmware. I figure that's a good excuse for me to bother updating, changing debounce threshold, etc.

My F77 reproduction, which I bought second hand, has had no problems at all with the original firmware. Not sure what (if any) settings were tweaked to make it so.

Have you played with the voltage on that? If you update it to QMK, let me know how it goes and how it works.

Offline Maledicted

  • Posts: 1560
  • Location: Wisconsin, United States
Re: Any Model F xwhatsit owners tired of fighting with threshold values?
« Reply #7 on: Tue, 16 February 2021, 08:40:32 »
My F107, after many months of constant use, is just now finally having problems with random key presses. I imagine one of the previous owners replaced the foam when they tore it completely down for a refurb. It is running the standard xwhatsit firmware. I figure that's a good excuse for me to bother updating, changing debounce threshold, etc.

My F77 reproduction, which I bought second hand, has had no problems at all with the original firmware. Not sure what (if any) settings were tweaked to make it so.

Have you played with the voltage on that? If you update it to QMK, let me know how it goes and how it works.

I have not, not yet anyway. I figured I would be lazy and take the board down to check that the controller is grounded right. I planned on replacing the USB cable with a short micro USB extension anyway and putting one of those magnetic adapters on it. It has a powder coating job that screams garage oven, so if I'm lucky it may just not be properly grounded.

I don't plan on switching to QMK unless all other options are exhausted. The xwhatsit software interface is so simple and user-friendly.