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Peripherals New to mechanical keyboards

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by forquare, 19 Jun 2014.

  1. forquare

    forquare What's a Dremel?

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    Good morning all,

    I'm new to mechanical keyboards, and I'm looking for one for work. I've been issued with two laptops and I'm just not getting on with the keyboards (Dell Latitude E5400 and Levovo B5400).
    I'm mostly going to be using the keyboard for typing, and a fair amount of that will be done on the command line (SSH to linux boxes). The laptops are fairly locked down, to the poit I can't install software, or change keyboard layouts :/

    Having had a limited chat to someone at work who is fairly new to this area also, I think that I'm looking for Cherry brown switches, full sized keyboard, with broadly a UK layout (it's always handy being able to easily print £, but I'm mainly a Mac user, so am used to @ being on the 2, etc). One thing I would really like is for Ctrl to be next to A, either as standard, or via a dip switch (the ability to switch alt/winkey would also be nice as I could later use it on a Mac, should I wish).

    I've had a look around, but I need advice as I've stumbled across Ducky keyboards, and I now have tunnel vision...The Ducky Premier Green/Cream keyboard is really appealing visually to me, but doesn't allow me to swap ctrl/caps. I've also seen the Ducky Shine 2, but it's probably more flashy than I need for work :p

    I'm happy to put £100 down for a keyboard, and if a really good suggestion comes along I might be tempted to add a bit to that, but probably no more than £50. Can anyone suggest something that, currently to me, fits my odd wishes?

    Many thanks,
    Ben
     
  2. Margo Baggins

    Margo Baggins I'm good at Soldering Super Moderator

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    There isn't that many keyboards that you can swap ctrl and caps with - lots of 60% boards do it, or are programmable and have a programmable layer so that you can have whatever on them - but they are not fullsize.

    CM Trigger Z or CM Mech are fully programmable full size boards, and they have 5 different program layers you can switch between, the trade off for these features is boards that are quite gamer focused - you can set the maps to whatever you want on your home computer and i'm pretty sure they save them onto the board (will test at some point with my trigger z). The KUL 87 board from EK has quite a few different swaps with dip switches, but is an ANSI (US Layout) board, and only available from the states so would be probably right at the top end of your budget after all fees are squared.

    it's not really a feature that they have started putting on the big boards yet.

    Off the top of my head that's all I can think of.
     
  3. forquare

    forquare What's a Dremel?

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    Hi Margon,

    Thanks for the reply. I'll go and have a look at those boards :)

    I have been wondering - how easy is mod'ing a keyboard? I can't see a time when I'd want Ctrl back in the 'normal' position, how easy (sweeping generalisation probably!) might it be to move it permanently on a board that doesn't have the dip switch functionality??
     
  4. jinq-sea

    jinq-sea 'write that down in your copy book' Super Moderator

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    You can just do a wire mod, probably! I think Margon has actually done it ;)

    I am looking to get one of the KUL boards eventually - so many layout swaps with all those DIPs.
     
  5. Margo Baggins

    Margo Baggins I'm good at Soldering Super Moderator

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    It really depends on the pcb - single sided PCB it's easy (well relatively speaking, depends how good you are with electronics and tools!), double sided pcb can be harder but it's not impossible. You just cut the traces surrounding the switch on the pcb and use wires from the switch legs or diodes to re do the matrix differently.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. forquare

    forquare What's a Dremel?

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    The KUL looks sweet! Alas, I'm quite a heavy user of the num pad.

    I might relook at the Ducky Premier, with the potential to mod it at some point (though I think it's double-sided PCB).

    I'm finding it quite difficult to find reviews on some of the less flashy gaming keyboards, does anyone here have any views on Ducky products? I've not heard anything bad, it's just I've only heard limited good stuff...

    Margon, jinq-sea, thanks very much for your comments :)
     
  7. jinq-sea

    jinq-sea 'write that down in your copy book' Super Moderator

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    Ducky, you say? Give Shirty a shout ;)

    There are plenty of Ducky users on here though, me included. Mine is a very basic board, mind, and has none of the fancy bells and whistles of newer Ducky boards. Build quality is solid though, and stock Ducky caps are pretty decent.

    BUT - if you are a heavy numpad user, quite a few people (also me included) use an external numpad ;) (see here and here).
     
  8. Shirty

    Shirty W*nker! Super Moderator

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    Ducky keyboards are lovely. You basically have the DK1XXX which has been replaced by the Zero now, and then you have the G2/Shine models.

    The former two are their more budget friendly options made in China, the latter are their premium models made in Taiwan. The mini is also a premium model, but Margon will tell you more about that!

    Go for a PBT capped version if you're not getting a Shine though. The stock ABS caps are fine (like Filco) but will shine up and discolour quite quickly if you're a heavy user.

    I've not done a lot of Ducky modding so I can't comment on the PBC quality or complexity though.

    Alternatively, join the master race and use a 60% or TKL with a decent numpad that you can push out of the way when it's not needed. It's onbe of those things that sounds impractical in theory, then you try it and BOOM!
     
  9. Kronos

    Kronos Multimodder

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    + 1 for ducky. Cracking build quality.
     
  10. forquare

    forquare What's a Dremel?

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    In that case then, the Ducky 9008P looks like a good choice for the time being :)

    Thanks very much to everyone, I've been agonising over this for the past week or so and it's great to get some real advice.

    Ben
     
  11. jinq-sea

    jinq-sea 'write that down in your copy book' Super Moderator

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    Rumour has it, if you say 'Ducky' three times at the top of your voice, Shirty will appear right before your very eyes. I am scared to try it though...

    I know that the old DK1xxx that I have is a single-sided PCB, but can't comment on the Zero boards. Also - good call on the PBT!

    60% or TKL with a numpad really is good!
     
  12. Kronos

    Kronos Multimodder

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    I heard that to.
     
  13. forquare

    forquare What's a Dremel?

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    Well, after the advice yesterday I went ahead and bought the Ducky Premier. It arrive just before 11:00 this morning and I've been using it ever since. Unfortunately most of that has been typing in passwords and short commands, but for the few emails I've typed out I've relished using it.

    It is a joy to type on, and I'm very glad of the purchase :D Thank you all for your comments!

    Ben
     
    Last edited: 23 Jun 2014
  14. Darwin

    Darwin What's a Dremel?

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    @forquare, I just ordered ducky premier and will have to painfully wait 14 days to receive it...

    I recently bought ducky zero and had to resell it due to this very annoying pinging noise that some of the switches were making..

    Can you please go through the keys and listen for this potential nuisance... The easier way to test this is pressing each key, holding it down hard and then releasing it...

    In my ducky zero case, 10 keys or so had this flaw (very loud pinging spring noise) and now I'm anxiously waiting for this new board, worried it may have it too...

    So it would really help ease my mind if you could check your board and report the good news, hopefully...:)
     
  15. forquare

    forquare What's a Dremel?

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    Hi Darwin,

    I've just been through I can't hear anything like what you describe. What switches did your Ducky Zero have?
     
  16. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Swinging the banhammer Super Moderator

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    @forquare - could you resize your pictures please? We don't need 8mp pictures of your board...

    @Darwin - some boards do experience a 'ping' (just google "Filco ping" and you'll see what I mean). Unfortunately the only fix is desoldering the switch and reassembling the switch (not as hard as it sounds when you know what you're doing). If you have any further questions then feel free to ask (although the Mechanical Keyboards thread might be more appropriate...)

    GK
     
  17. Darwin

    Darwin What's a Dremel?

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    Brown... Just like the premier I ordered...

    To give you a better idea of what I'm talking about:


    This is Filco blue in the video, but it's similarly annoying sound.

    Anyway..Thanks.. I feel a bit better, although I know it's a kind of lottery and will just have to see how it turns out..

    @GeorgeK
    Yeah, I know all about it.. Been reading about all the different fixes from lubing to desoldering.. However I'm not a big fan of performing surgery on my brand new board for which I paid 150€, especially if half of the keys have this flaw to various degree....:wallbash:
     
  18. Margo Baggins

    Margo Baggins I'm good at Soldering Super Moderator

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    It isn't really a flaw, it's how mechanical things sound. Type faster, hear less :D
     
  19. Darwin

    Darwin What's a Dremel?

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    Sorry, I don't agree.. You have one button that is without this ping and the button right next to it that is pinging like mad..

    It's a production flaw...Must have something to do with the placement of the spring..

    I have a 25 year old Cherry G80 with blacks and no pinging whatsoever... You have to put your ear right next to it to hear the spring.. This I consider normal, but not when some keys ping so loud you can hear this metallic sound in the adjacent room.
     

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