Author Topic: Kinesis Advantage Contoured and replacing brown with blue Cherry MX  (Read 11154 times)

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Offline yetanothergeek

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 7
Hi,

I have a Kinesis Advantage Contoured Keyboard and I'd like to change the brown Cherrys to the blue ones to get back the feeling of my old Cherry G80-3000.

However, it's very hard to get to the switches for the two main keyfields. The thumb-keys are very easy, because they are not frame-mounted and I've replaced these. The other ones however are frame-mounted so you cannot easily access them.

I've made some pictures so you can get an idea of how it looks:
https://twice-irc.de/misc/Kinesis_Clicky/

Has anybody of you ever managed to change the switches? If yes, how?

Best regards

Offline itlnstln

  • Posts: 7054
Kinesis Advantage Contoured and replacing brown with blue Cherry MX
« Reply #1 on: Mon, 19 January 2009, 07:31:51 »
There are several keyboards that use similar mounting of the switches.  AFAIK, you can't change these out without desoldering each switch or otherwise damaging the 'board itself.


Offline lowpoly

  • Posts: 1749
Kinesis Advantage Contoured and replacing brown with blue Cherry MX
« Reply #2 on: Mon, 19 January 2009, 08:26:17 »
Someone here lately tried to pull the top of a frame mounted MX switch and broke all the clips.

De-soldering should be the way to go.

Miniguru thread at GH // The Apple M0110 Today

Offline sandy55

  • Posts: 201
Kinesis Advantage Contoured and replacing brown with blue Cherry MX
« Reply #3 on: Mon, 19 January 2009, 08:40:12 »
Quote from: yetanothergeek;18695
The other ones however are frame-mounted so you cannot easily access them.

You can not access them.  If you go further to try remove upper housing, you will break switches.


Quote from: yetanothergeek;18695
anybody of you ever managed to change the switches? If yes, how?
Did it on several boards but not on Kenesis Contoured.
Method; De-solder switches then solder replacements.
Yours is with LEDs, and ( through your pictures I can see ) most of leads were bent before soldering.  It will be rather tough and hard to straighten/de-solder those pins so that you can remove key modules. (I broke three LEDs when I did it on TG3 BL3 because I'm not so good at soldering.)  Another problem is material of curved PCB. I'm not sure if it is tough enough for de-soldering and soldering.  Overheating may cause fatal damages on copper traces and lands and PCB itself.
It seem to me that replacing MX key modeules on Contoured is very dangerouse adventure.

Offline lal

  • Posts: 360
Kinesis Advantage Contoured and replacing brown with blue Cherry MX
« Reply #4 on: Mon, 19 January 2009, 08:40:29 »
Quote from: lowpoly;18715
Someone here lately tried to pull the top of a frame mounted MX switch and broke all the clips.


That was me.

Quote
De-soldering should be the way to go.


Agreed!
BS: Customizer, Model Ms; Alps: CSK-2101, FK-2002, AT-101 (SGI & Dell), MCK-860, FKBN87Z/EB; Cherry: Poker X, FKBN87MC/EB, WY60, G80-3000, G84-4100, TDV 5010

Offline yetanothergeek

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 7
Kinesis Advantage Contoured and replacing brown with blue Cherry MX
« Reply #5 on: Mon, 19 January 2009, 11:14:42 »
Thanks for your answers.

I've recently (Saturday) contacted Kinesis whether they can offer me the two PCBs with blue switches but so far I did not get any reply. I'll try calling them tomorrow. Seems like the best solution, after all.

@sandy55: Just for clarification: These are diodes, not LEDs.

Best regards

Offline itlnstln

  • Posts: 7054
Kinesis Advantage Contoured and replacing brown with blue Cherry MX
« Reply #6 on: Mon, 19 January 2009, 11:42:25 »
Quote
These are diodes, not LEDs.


Unless I am missing something (I can't see the pics, because I am at work), LED = Light Emitting Diode.


Offline andb

  • Posts: 69
Kinesis Advantage Contoured and replacing brown with blue Cherry MX
« Reply #7 on: Mon, 19 January 2009, 12:05:29 »
Quote from: itlnstln;18742
Unless I am missing something (I can't see the pics, because I am at work), LED = Light Emitting Diode.

A square is a rectangle, but a rectangle isn't always a square...

About the bent pins, I found when repairing Alps switches with bent switches that it helped if I did it with the soldering iron on the pin, to heat the bent pin. However, I can confirm that too much heat will destroy the switch. I had about 10% destroyed switches, but whether it was this technique or the fact the keyboards had been in a wet garage over 5 years,  I can't say. I didn't test the switches prior to pulling. But my break rate without the heat was closer to 25%, so it was a win either way.

Offline Chloe

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  • Switch Kitten
Kinesis Advantage Contoured and replacing brown with blue Cherry MX
« Reply #8 on: Mon, 19 January 2009, 14:41:04 »
If you are going to do alot of desoldering I would recommend getting a good temperature controlled solder station and desolder pump.

Offline sandy55

  • Posts: 201
Kinesis Advantage Contoured and replacing brown with blue Cherry MX
« Reply #9 on: Mon, 19 January 2009, 18:44:08 »
Sorry , Diode  these are.  My mistake as usual.

Switch leads are generally tough but diode leads are thin and easy to be broken.
If there are some remains( solder) around leads of diode after de-soldering, those diodes wll be easily broken when we try to pull out switches from face plate/PCB aasy.

Better to get junk mechanical switch boards and practice de-soldering.
With  just A board, we can try 101 times(generaly) to remove switches.

Offline yetanothergeek

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 7
Kinesis Advantage Contoured and replacing brown with blue Cherry MX
« Reply #10 on: Wed, 21 January 2009, 17:32:04 »
Hi,

I just wanted to let you know that Kinesis is a very cool company and they will send me the PCBs and plastic without keys so that I can solder in my favorite ones. This costs 30$ + shipping.

I will keep you up to date when they arrive and how it goes :).

Best regards

Offline yetanothergeek

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 7
Kinesis Advantage Contoured and replacing brown with blue Cherry MX
« Reply #11 on: Wed, 18 February 2009, 14:19:50 »
Hi,

today, the parts arrived :). I'm still waiting for the switches however, so I can start next week if everything goes well.

You can find pictures here:
http://twice-irc.de/misc/IMG_1802.JPG
http://twice-irc.de/misc/IMG_1803.JPG
http://twice-irc.de/misc/IMG_1804.JPG
http://twice-irc.de/misc/IMG_1805.JPG
http://twice-irc.de/misc/IMG_1806.JPG

Best regards

Offline tad

  • Posts: 29
Kinesis Advantage Contoured and replacing brown with blue Cherry MX
« Reply #12 on: Thu, 19 February 2009, 01:39:28 »
Wow, I had no idea the PCBs were separated like that. Someone could do a really nice M15-style mod with those.

Offline yetanothergeek

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 7
Kinesis Advantage Contoured and replacing brown with blue Cherry MX
« Reply #13 on: Fri, 20 February 2009, 16:43:27 »
Hi,

the keys already arrived and so I've made some new pictures and did some soldering :).

Pictures of the keys (Cherry MX1A-E1DW, clicky, with diode, with pins):

http://twice-irc.de/misc/IMG_1807.JPG
http://twice-irc.de/misc/IMG_1808.JPG
http://twice-irc.de/misc/IMG_1809.JPG
http://twice-irc.de/misc/IMG_1810.JPG
http://twice-irc.de/misc/IMG_1811.JPG
http://twice-irc.de/misc/IMG_1813.JPG
http://twice-irc.de/misc/IMG_1814.JPG
http://twice-irc.de/misc/IMG_1815.JPG
http://twice-irc.de/misc/IMG_1816.JPG
http://twice-irc.de/misc/IMG_1817.JPG
http://twice-irc.de/misc/IMG_1818.JPG
http://twice-irc.de/misc/IMG_1819.JPG

So, even though you see the keywells fully filled with keys, I've had to change that later on. Turns out, you can't really get the PCB to stick on all the keys when you have all of them in.

But, step for step, how to build your own keywells ;)
1) Place the first, third and fifth row of keys on the keywell
2) Stick the PCB onto it, start with the middle of it, then go downwards. After all those keys are in place (you can see all 4 pins clearly, double-check this as they tend to bend), fixate them with gaffer tape, then go upwards. Same procedure, fix them with gaffer tape.
3) When you got the whole PCB on it, take a breath and get ready. I strongly recommend you to solder this with another person, it will REALLY make things much easier, as someone has to press down the board, while the other one solders.
4) First solder the critical points. These are the most upper row and the row on the bottom. Of course, remove the particular piece of gaffer tape before soldering ;).
5) Solder all the other keys.
6) Insert the missing keys (row 2 and 4) and solder them.
7) Check if you soldered properly and insert the keywells into your Kinesis. You should be able to type as normally. If not, check the connector cable.

As you noticed, I did not mention any hot glue. Kinesis did this probably to be able to work a bit faster by first gluing the PCBs onto the keywells, but I did it the clean way.

Also, order yourself at least 10 keys more than you need (the kinesis has 6 * 4 + 4 keys on each keywell and 6 keys on each thumb, making 68 keys in total, so order 80. You will probably screw some up. (We replaced 4 keys)

So, let some pictures speak (I didnít make pictures of the process itself. If I do this again, I will ;)):
http://twice-irc.de/misc/IMG_1820.JPG
http://twice-irc.de/misc/IMG_1822.JPG
http://twice-irc.de/misc/IMG_1823.JPG (original keywell from Kinesis)
http://twice-irc.de/misc/IMG_1824.JPG (ours)
http://twice-irc.de/misc/IMG_1825.JPG

Best regards

Offline lal

  • Posts: 360
Kinesis Advantage Contoured and replacing brown with blue Cherry MX
« Reply #14 on: Sat, 21 February 2009, 13:18:47 »
Very interesting. Thanks. Where did you order the blue Cherry switches?
And maybe you could scale the images down before uploading. Takes a long time to download and switch between tabs.
BS: Customizer, Model Ms; Alps: CSK-2101, FK-2002, AT-101 (SGI & Dell), MCK-860, FKBN87Z/EB; Cherry: Poker X, FKBN87MC/EB, WY60, G80-3000, G84-4100, TDV 5010

Offline yetanothergeek

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 7
Kinesis Advantage Contoured and replacing brown with blue Cherry MX
« Reply #15 on: Sat, 21 February 2009, 18:27:13 »
Hi lal,

the images are unscaled on purpose to provide the highest possible quality. I think some of you might be interested in seeing all the details ;).

You can order the switches from http://www.aeri.com/search/MX1AE1DW

Best regards

Offline mr_walsh

  • Posts: 1
And...
« Reply #16 on: Sat, 28 August 2010, 13:02:55 »
Well, after all that do you like the 'Advantage' considerably better with the Cherry Blue switches?  I've been a Kinesis user for 8 years; I love it as-is but if it could be even better maybe I'll embark on the same project.