Author Topic: Tecware Phantom Hot-Swappability??? Halp plz.  (Read 5424 times)

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Offline ShredAgain

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Tecware Phantom Hot-Swappability??? Halp plz.
« on: Thu, 01 August 2019, 07:30:22 »
So I have been looking into many different routes for a custom keyboard. I have a very specific set of requirements I'm trying to satisfy, and a (probably ENTIRELY too small) budget I'm trying to keep to. For example: My perfect keyboard must have TRUE RGB. It must have keycaps with a legible font that I can use until I can buy some PBT Pudding caps. It must be full-size, or begrudgingly TKL if I have literally no other choice. And it must be clicky (white, blue, or green switches) so that I can still enjoy it until the project is complete. Now, in my research, I came across the VAST selection of Hot-Swappable keyboards available on Amazon. Lo and behold, I find this keyboard...

https://amzn.to/2K8BXgt

Now, this keyboard ticks all the boxes, but it would seem that the manufacturers (or at least the marketplace sellers, as they are likely just using an OEM keyboard) are adamant that the keyboard does not accept any switch except MX and their clones, such as Gateron or Outemu. So herein lies my question. Does anyone own this keyboard? And of those who do, have you ever managed to successfully swap in Kailh Box switches? I have fallen desperately in love with the sound of Kailh Box Jade Thick Clicks, and I am looking to complete this project under $100 US. Starting with a functional keyboard that meets all my requirements (save for the Box Jades) at $50 will be the thing that makes this project, or breaks it.

Now, alternatively, if you can't say you have this keyboard, or you are unsure whether I can use Kailh Box switches, I'd love to know if there is another inexpensive solution out there. I'm just so tired, honestly, of my options being limited to 60% (kill me now) or single color backlight, if any at all. I will gratefully accept ANY help you guys can give me.

Also first post here, so don't grill me too hard.

Offline nevin

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Re: Tecware Phantom Hot-Swappability??? Halp plz.
« Reply #1 on: Thu, 01 August 2019, 08:18:44 »
never tried that keyboard.

BOX is basically just a different stem/click mechanism, shell & electronic footprint is the same as MX.

Get the keyboard & a small pack of BOX switches and do a test fit before you buy enough BOX to populate the board. novelkeys has 10 packs for as little as $3.

if you get switches (going by the pictures on amazon) get plate mount switches. you'd have to clip the extra plastic pins on the bottom of a PCB mount switch to get it to fit.
223507-0

another thing to watch is LED compatibility. (again going by the amazon pictures) it looks like the LEDs are not flush with the PCB surface so you'd have to get BOXs that are compatible with this type of LED/mounting. (looks like most with the white bottoms/clear tops are this way, so you SHOULD be good)
223509-1

the only way to know for sure is to try it.
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Offline YellowHalo

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Re: Tecware Phantom Hot-Swappability??? Halp plz.
« Reply #2 on: Fri, 02 August 2019, 05:04:18 »
Hi I own the TKL version of that same keyboard, as well as the elite version (only available in SEA region). The regular Phantom has a pcb with outemu hotswap sockets, so it only accepts outemu switches as they have slimmer leg prongs. That includes outemu skys and ice as well. If you want to use other mx style switches you have to shave off the leg prongs so that it can fit the socket without bending.

If you do live in SEA, then chances are you are able to get the elite version, which uses the kailh hotswap sockets.

Edit: Why not get a GMMK? It is pretty much the same as the Phantom Elite; it has identical software but has a nicer body and removable usb cable. you can get the barebones version and buy switches and keycaps of your choice.
« Last Edit: Fri, 02 August 2019, 05:12:57 by YellowHalo »

Offline ShredAgain

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Re: Tecware Phantom Hot-Swappability??? Halp plz.
« Reply #3 on: Fri, 02 August 2019, 05:13:58 »
GMMK is far too expensive all in. It'll be in the neighborhood of $130-140 to put it together, and I won't be able to use it 8n the meantime. If you're referring to the PCB mount switches with the extra stabilizing pins on the bottom, Kailh Box switches are not. They are plate mount, so they don't have the extra pins. If the contact pins turn out to be too wide, I'm pretty sure I can file them down a bit to make them fit. I was just looking for first hand experience.

Offline YellowHalo

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Re: Tecware Phantom Hot-Swappability??? Halp plz.
« Reply #4 on: Fri, 02 August 2019, 07:09:30 »
GMMK is far too expensive all in. It'll be in the neighborhood of $130-140 to put it together, and I won't be able to use it 8n the meantime. If you're referring to the PCB mount switches with the extra stabilizing pins on the bottom, Kailh Box switches are not. They are plate mount, so they don't have the extra pins. If the contact pins turn out to be too wide, I'm pretty sure I can file them down a bit to make them fit. I was just looking for first hand experience.

I see. I was not referring to pcb mount switch at all. I was referring to the metal contact pins. And trust me when I say it will bend your pins, because it will, learned it the hard way. Bought some hako royal clears but it didn't fit, but I bought a new kit at the end so all is fine. Filing them down is fine as long as you are motivated.
« Last Edit: Fri, 02 August 2019, 07:16:35 by YellowHalo »

Offline nevin

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Re: Tecware Phantom Hot-Swappability??? Halp plz.
« Reply #5 on: Fri, 02 August 2019, 07:49:08 »
I've heard about not all switch contacts fitting in outemu hot swaps but didn't want to assume that's what was in the board. @YellowHalo - Thank you for your input/confirmation.

You could probably trim the contacts on the switches to be narrower so that they would fit in the sockets but it would be a tedious job.

$150 for a "custom" is still super cheap.

Are you looking at howswap's because you are unfamiliar with soldering? (to get the switches you want in a case you want)
It's really not hard at all to desolder switches if you have the right tools & techniques. Recently I picked up a cheap desoldering iron and was amazed at how easy it was to desolder the switches. (Realizing this after I had already pulled two other boards apart without one and it was a pain in the butt) Plus, holes in a PCB are going to be more forgiving/standard size than hotswap sockets. I can send you a link to the desoldering iron i bought if you decide to go that route.

Personally, I would only use a hotswap board as a switch tester, not in building my daily driver. (but that's only my opinion)

GMMK... Looked at pricing.... $60 for bare bones! That's crazy cheap if the board is good. Most fully populated PCBs are roughly that price. (cheap 60% PCB are at least $35+). That 60% Zeal LED PCB is roughly $100... They also have your pudding/Aura keycaps as a $25 add-on (which is also a good price for a full keyset)

Our wonderful resident Chyrosran22 did a review of the GMMK with box pinks
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Offline ShredAgain

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Re: Tecware Phantom Hot-Swappability??? Halp plz.
« Reply #6 on: Fri, 02 August 2019, 08:09:10 »
So I suppose I should state,  I don't mind the GMMK at all. I think it's a quite attractive keyboard, and I am pretty sure it natively supports Kailh's switches. Where the problem comes in is, believe it or not, I don't want to spend $60 on it. Hear me out.

Starting out with a pre-existing keyboard that is 100% complete and functioning allows me to give my old keyboard (a Rose will Apollo 9100kr I think) to my fiance's parents who desperately need a new keyboard. It also allows me to spread out the cost over time. Also, soldering ability doesn't play much into it; it's really more just my laziness and lack of a well sized work area. And I like my Apollo. I could just swap the switches out in it for the Kailh Box Jades, but that screws me over 2 ways. I won't have RGB, (elitist, I know), and I won't be able to hand it down.

Basically by spending $40-50 now on a competent, functioning keyboard, I reduce my overall cost, spread it out over time, and kill two birds with 1 stone.


Was that long-winded and ranty? That felt long-winded and ranty.