Author Topic: Ducky 1008XM - rebuild  (Read 1038 times)

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Offline Hak Foo

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Ducky 1008XM - rebuild
« on: Mon, 07 April 2014, 01:15:05 »
A few years back, I was so excited to get a Ducky 1008XM; I ordered it in from Taiwan because they didn't have meaningful US distribution yet.  After years of waiting and $55, it was a modest disappointment.  The layout was okay, but the execution failed.  The Green XM switches are, simply, nothing to compare with old heavy White ALPS; the keycaps look awful and wear worse.  I begrudgingly accepted that Cherry MX as the future of enthusiast keyboards and boxed it up.

Until this weekend.  I ordered a bag of Matias Click switches, and decided "if I can build a Qazpad, I can get this done."

So I went and bought a desoldering pump for $9 from the local electronics shop.  (They also had a big stack of Qtronix Libra 35 PS/2 wrist-rest trackballs at $1 each, for what it's worth)

Of course, this managed to do a modest number on the board... not being meaningfully temperature controlled, it pulled up a few pads a bit.  Of course, nothing comes even close to the damage I did.  Not realizing that the lock LEDs were also through-the-plate components, I tried to pry the plate with switch-corpses away from the PCB, and developed a nasty set of cracks emanating from the Num Lock LED point.

I patched these with some conductive paint, and then sealed the joints with conformal coating Elmer's Glue-All.

The Matias switches are much less tolerant of caps with busted stems than the XMs, so I ended up having to scavenge replacements-- and then replacing almost everything with dyesubs from an old Monterrey-switch board.  It had Costar-style stabilizers, so I could cover Numpad +,0, enter, and Right Shift, but a bigass enter and the weirdest left shift I've ever seen.

Before and After

Finally, I tossed it all back together, and discovered that the Ducky case material is only slightly softer than a down pillow-- the screws stripped after only one or two uses, with fairly ordinary hand tools.  Fortunately, it holds together okay on snap fit alone.


1.  I'm not sure how they hope to do LED switches; you can't embed them inside the switch body like with Cherry or older ALPS -with-LED designs... so that means no lock lights without adding some jumper wires...maybe they just put it next to the switch.

2.  The feel of the switches-- or most notably, their sound-- is a significant improvement over the XMs.  They feel pretty sturdy-- accepting the keycaps with a more solid grip than the XMs and a resounding sound.  You can feel the difference, and hear it, going between a blue switch and the Matias  board.

3.  At 37.- for the switches, 10.- for the desoldering iron, and 12.- for a new spool of solder, having used my last on this project, we're rapidly approaching "just get a new board" territory

4.  I expect the number of pulled-up traces, weakened spots due to the PCB cracks, and m,y overall poor soldering will no doubt leave this board short-lived.  I will be keeping my eye open for a 100% sized ALPS PCB group buy, or possibly grabbing an AT101W to desolder and repeat the whole saga.

Honestly, Matias, I'd have bought one of your boards, except that the Tactile Pro 4 is completely unusable for me as a PC user.  I could live with no "Menu" key, albeit begrudingly, as my Quickfire XT is that way already, and I bound a Qazpad key to it... but the lack of Insert in its conventional positon is a deal-breaker, period.  I learned, many years ago, shift-insert as the paste shortcut and I'd be getting weirdness all day if it didn't work as expected.
« Last Edit: Mon, 07 April 2014, 01:24:17 by Hak Foo »
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