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Korean Spring 55g 62g for Cherry MX Switches

Iwas fortunate to get my hands on some Korean springs for Cherry MX switches lately. These appear to be a high-demand commodity among keyboard enthusiasts outside South Korea.

These springs were acquired mainly for my Kinesis Model 100 project, in which I intend to have variably weighted switches in the key wells of my Kinesis contoured keyboard.

Korean springs for Cherry MX switches: 55g vs 62g

Korean springs for Cherry MX switches: 55g vs 62g

The difference in appearance between the two springs is subtle.

Korean springs for Cherry MX switches: 55g (left) vs 62g (right)

Korean springs for Cherry MX switches: 55g (left) vs 62g (right)

Besides the very small difference in the tone of the plating, the 62g version has fewer coils.

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Kinesis Model 100 Project: Thumb Key Clusters

My Kinesis Model 100 Project reached an important milestone today—I completed all planned modifications on the thumb keys of my Kinesis Model 100 keyboard.

Faulty Cherry MX Switch

The “Enter” key did not feel right, in that the resistance on the downstroke was higher than normal and higher than the other keys. This issue persisted even after changing the MX stem to another clear one and changing the spring. I thought the best thing to do was to simply change the entire switch. I replaced this switch with one of the Cherry MX black switches desoldered from a Cherry G80-11900 keyboard.

Cherry MX Switch Replacement

I originally planned to change all the switches in the thumb key clusters. But after replacing one switch—that of the left “Ctrl” key—I decided that it wasn’t worth the effort and that it was less risky if I left the original soldering work untouched. So I replaced the (clear) stems and springs of the remaining switches to ones from the same G80-11900 keyboard as above. Therefore, all the thumb keys now have Cherry vintage black switches.

Kinesis Model 100 Thumb Keys With Cherry MX Black Switches

Kinesis Model 100 Thumb Keys With Cherry MX Black Switches

Cherry Stabilizers

I previously documented the problems with using the Cherry stabilizers on the PCB. I desoldered the diodes associated with the four large keys and soldered them onto the other side of the PCB. Because the pins of the diode and the surrounding solder still protruded from the PCB on the side of the switches, I used a small file to shave off some plastic from the bases of the stabilizers. This allowed the bases to lie flat on the PCB.

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: Left Thumb Cluster With Stabilizers

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: Left Thumb Cluster With Stabilizers

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: Left Thumb Cluster With Stabilizers

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: Left Thumb Cluster With Stabilizers

For the part of the stabilizers that had some part protruding from the edge of the PCB, I used some hot glue to make it stay fixed on the PCB.

Right thumb key cluster: Stabilizer for "Space" key held by hot glue

Right thumb key cluster: Stabilizer for “Space” key held by hot glue

Left thumb key cluster: Stabilizer for "Back Space" key held by hot glue

Left thumb key cluster: Stabilizer for “Back Space” key held by hot glue

Structurally, everything looked sound. I placed keycaps on all the switches, and each key was tested for uniformity of feel. Everything seemed right.

One base of the stabilizer for the “Enter” key came off when I pulled its keycap, so I applied more hot glue to that stabilizer and the other. I subsequently tested the durability of the joint between the stabilizers and the PCB by putting on the keycaps again and pulling them off. The stabilizers appeared strong enough to withstand keycap pulling.

Testing of Electronics

I performed some desoldering and resoldering when I changed the switches and changed the placement of the diodes. Probably as a result of my training in healthcare quality, I first did the changes on the right thumb key cluster, reassembled the keyboard, and tested the changes to make sure everything worked. I could not find any problems; every key worked normally.

I then disassembled everything to make the changes (desoldering and resoldering) on the left thumb key cluster, reassembled the keyboard, and tested the changes to ensure that all the switches work normally. They did.

The process might sound tedious—and it was—but I prefer to discover problems as early as possible and fix them, instead of finding out about them at the end of the project.

Lubricating the Switches With Krytox GPL 205 Grease

The final step in modifying the thumb keys was lubricating the switches and the stabilizers. I applied grease to all sliders and ends of the springs of each switch. In addition, I spread a liberal amount of grease to all the friction points of the stabilizers.

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: Lubrication of Right Thumb Key Switches With Krytox GPL 205

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: Lubrication of Right Thumb Key Switches With Krytox GPL 205

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: Lubrication of Right Thumb Key Switches With Krytox GPL 205 (Alternative View #1)

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: Lubrication of Right Thumb Key Switches With Krytox GPL 205 (Alternative View #1)

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: Lubrication of Right Thumb Key Switches With Krytox GPL 205 (Alternative View #2)

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: Lubrication of Right Thumb Key Switches With Krytox GPL 205 (Alternative View #2)

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: Lubrication of Right Thumb Key Switches With Krytox GPL 205 (Alternative View #3)

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: Lubrication of Right Thumb Key Switches With Krytox GPL 205 (Alternative View #3)

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: Lubrication of Left Thumb Key Switches With Krytox GPL 205

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: Lubrication of Left Thumb Key Switches With Krytox GPL 205

The result was a set of smooth switches, which I am very happy with. They aren’t Topre switch-smooth, but certainly better than the average Cherry MX switch.

Creating Space for the Stabilizers

Before I applied the hot glue to the Cherry stabilizers, I placed the PCB on the keyboard to see if everything fit. Unfortunately, the plastic plates of the two key wells are in the way of the stabilizers. The required room is not much (marked out in pencil in the photos below).

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: Stabilizer Under Left Key Well

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: Stabilizer Under Left Key Well

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: Stabilizer Under Right Key Well

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: Stabilizer Under Right Key Well

I intend to use a round file and/or a mini diagonal plier to take off some plastic (about 2 mm) from the plates to allow room for the stabilizers to pass and therefore the PCB to fit nicely in the keyboard.

Taking a Break From Kinesis Model 100 Project

This project will be placed on hold for at least a couple of weeks as I have some important work to do. The next step will be to work on one of the keywells. I have decided to make the switches of the keywells variably weighted, which will be discussed in a future article.

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IBM Model M 1391401 Keyboard [SOLD]

Manufacturer: International Business Machines (IBM)
Model: Model M 1391401 Gray label
Serial Number: 3755550
Condition: Very Good
Cosmetics: Very good. A few minor signs of wear, no deep scratches, no major scuffs, no yellowing. Two-piece keycaps. The SDL-to-PS/2 cable is the original IBM cable that came with the keyboard—it has kept its coils very well despite its age.
Operation: Works perfectly. Classic Model M clicky sound from each key. Occasionally, Model Ms, even brand new ones, have broken plastic rivets. This keyboard has no broken rivets.
Price: Update November 2, 2012: SOLD!
Shipping: Free of charge. This keyboard will be sold to anyone residing in Penang or Singapore. Pick-up at any time for residents of Penang, and the first week of November 2012 for residents of Singapore.
Contact: modelm4sale@gmail.com

This is another IBM Model M keyboard, in superb condition, for sale.

The keyboard was manufactured on February 28, 1989. Consistent with its date of manufacture, this keyboard features old school metal stabilizers under the big keys, e.g., “Enter” and “+” of the numeric pad. Model M manufactured from late 1988 have plastic stabilizers instead of the metal ones that you see on this keyboard.

Each key was tested both via a PS/2 port as well as a USB port with a Blue Cube USB-to-PS/2 adapter, and works perfectly.

I guarantee that you will not find any other IBM Model M in this condition with all the special features (gray IBM badge; made by IBM USA and not Lexmark or Unicomp; non-stretched original IBM SDL-to-PS/2 cable; metal stabilizers under larger keycaps instead of plastic ones; no broken plastic rivets, etc.) for sale at this price (or lower) anywhere in Singapore or Malaysia, and quite possibly the rest of Southeast Asia.

External Reviews of the IBM Model M Keyboard

Many people in Asia are unfamiliar with this legendary keyboard. So I’ve included some links to reviews of this keyboard below. If you are new to buckling springs keyboards, you should probably have a look at these reviews and do your own Google search.

Video of IBM Model M Keyboard

To get an idea of the clickiness of typing on an IBM Model M keyboard, watch the following video:

This keyboard will be sold to anyone who can collect it in Penang or Singapore. Send an e-mail to modelm4sale@gmail.com if you’d like to purchase this keyboard.

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A couple of months back, I repainted one of my CH Products DT225 trackballs using Krylon Fusion for Plastic. Although I was satisfied with the result on the trackball, I discovered that Krylon Fusion for Plastic is not designed for use on flexible surfaces such as trackball, mouse, or keyboard cables—the paint never dries!

Because I was busy completing consecutive projects (work, not any of my hobbies), I chose not to deal with the problem. Leaving the trackball cable as it was wasn’t an option because black paint was being left on anything that came into contact with the cable. I considered getting rid of the DT225 but that would have been wasteful especially when it functions well.

Therefore, I decided to keep the trackball but fix the problem of the wet paint on its cable.

I considered:

  • Changing the cable. But finding this spare part is impossible without buying a whole trackball. And I hate the idea of having to desolder and resolder the parts inside the trackball for fear of spoiling the electronics.
  • Covering it with heat shrink tubing. This would have been a viable alternative but I wasn’t willing to cut the cable to fit the tubing—its PS/2 plug is quite large. If I did not cut the trackball cable, I would have needed tubing that would shrink by a ratio of 6:1 to allow the plug to pass through. Such heat shrink tubing isn’t cheap.
  • Repainting the cable with a product that will stick to the cable.

Plasti Dip Spray

Plasti Dip Spray

I knew there would be something I could use to paint the cable, but I wasn’t sure what. I wondered if there was liquid rubber that I could paint the cable with. The solution was Plasti Dip, which I found at the local Ace hardware store. Plasti Dip is essentially liquid rubber that can be painted. I picked up a can of red Plasti Dip Spray.

Removing the Krylon Fusion paint from the cable was quite easy; I used a cheap paint remover that was lying around. I then cleaned the cable with some alcohol wipes. The cable looked like it was back to its pre-painted state with areas being filled in with dried Tamiya epoxy putty.

The Plasti Dip sprayed on easily and dried quickly but it required about five layers to achieve an opacity that would mask the original colour of the cable.

Performix Plasti Dip Spray for Keyboard and Mouse Cables

Performix Plasti Dip Spray for Keyboard and Mouse Cables

Despite my best efforts, I struggled to keep the thickness of the Plasti Dip uniform:

Performix Plasti Dip Spray for Keyboard and Mouse Cables

The final result looks somewhat like rubber band (with patches of discoloration, like a patina), but Plasti Dip solved my issue and the appearance of the cable is “good enough.” The red is a nice contrast to the duller colours of the other cables on my desk.

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New Shipment of Keyboards Just Arrived!

I received two keyboards from the States a couple of days ago. I thought I’d share how well the keyboards were packed. Needless to say, none was damaged while being transported travelled halfway around the world.

New Shipment of Keyboards Just Arrived!

New Shipment of Keyboards Just Arrived!

New Shipment of Keyboards Just Arrived!

New Shipment of Keyboards Just Arrived!

New Shipment of Keyboards Just Arrived!

New Shipment of Keyboards Just Arrived!

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As mentioned in an earlier article on the donor board for Cherry MX vintage black switches, I am considering transplanting the stabilizers under the large keys of the Cherry G80-11900 to the Kinesis Model 100 keyboard.

This is the Kinesis PCB that supports the thumb key clusters:

Kinesis Model 100 PCB Supporting Thumb Key Clusters

Kinesis Model 100 PCB Supporting Thumb Key Clusters

To describe what I am trying to do, I will concentrate only on two keys—”Space” and “Enter”. The relevant area of the PCB is here:

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: Area of PCB under "Space" and "Enter" keys

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: Area of PCB under “Space” and “Enter” keys

In the photo below, the holes on the PCB that would take the stabilizer of the “Space” key are circled in purple, and the holes for the stabilizer of the “Enter” key are indicated with yellow dots.

Holes for Stabilizers of "Space" and "Enter" keys on the PCB of Kinesis Model 100 keyboard

Holes for Stabilizers of “Space” and “Enter” keys on the PCB of Kinesis Model 100 keyboard

Holes of CB to Accommodate Stabilizers (MX Switch Side)

Holes in PCB to Accommodate Stabilizers (MX Switch Side)

Holes in PCB to Accommodate Stabilizers (MX Switch Side)

Holes in PCB to Accommodate Stabilizers (MX Switch Side): Holes for Stabilizer of “Space” Key (Dark Pink); Holes for Stabilizer of “Enter” Key (Yellow)

This is what the stabilizer looks like:

Cherry Stabilizer

Cherry Stabilizer

And here is an example of how the stabilizer fits into a Cherry board:

Stabilizer in Cherry Donor Board

Stabilizer in Cherry Donor Board

The parts indicated by the orange arrows snap onto the board whereas the parts indicated by the light blue arrows hook under the board.

Stabilizer for “Enter” Key

This is what the stabilizer looks like when I try to fit it in the holes around the “Enter” key:

Under "Enter" key

Under “Enter” key

The hooks fit perfectly (red arrows). However, only one of the two snap-ons can enter its hole (blue arrow). The other one (yellow arrow) cannot enter its hole because of the presence of a diode on the other side:

Diode Preventing Placement of Base of Stabilizer

Diode Preventing Placement of Base of Stabilizer

The stabilizer, otherwise, looks good.

Stabilizer of "Enter" Key (Alternative View #1)

Stabilizer of “Enter” Key (Alternative View #1)

Stabilizer of "Enter" Key (Alternative View #2)

Stabilizer of “Enter” Key (Alternative View #2)

This view shows how one base of the stabilizer fits really snugly on the PCB:

Stabilizer of "Enter" Key (Alternative View #3)

Stabilizer of “Enter” Key (Alternative View #3)

Stabilizer of "Enter" Key (Alternative View #4)

Stabilizer of “Enter” Key (Alternative View #4)

Stabilizer for “Space” Key

Trying to fit the stabilizer for the “Space” key was even more interesting.

This is what it looks like from the top of the switch:

Stabilizer for "Enter" Key (Alternative View #1)

Stabilizer for “Space” Key (Alternative View #1)

These two photos shows that, like the “Enter” key, one base fits while the other is obstructed by a diode:

Stabilizer for "Enter" Key (Alternative View #2)

Stabilizer for “Space” Key (Alternative View #2)

Stabilizer for "Enter" Key (Alternative View #3)

Stabilizer for “Space” Key (Alternative View #3)

However, an additional problem is that there is no hole for one of the snap-ons of the base that is unobstructed by a diode.

Stabilizer for "Enter" Key (Alternative View #4)

Stabilizer for “Space” Key (Alternative View #4)

Stabilizer for "Enter" Key (Alternative View #5)

Stabilizer for “Space” Key (Alternative View #5)

Stabilizer for "Enter" Key (Alternative View #6)

Stabilizer for “Space” Key (Alternative View #6)

Stabilizer for "Enter" Key (Alternative View #7)

Stabilizer for “Space” Key (Alternative View #7)

Stabilizer for "Enter" Key (Alternative View #8)

Stabilizer for “Space” Key (Alternative View #8)

Stabilizer for "Enter" Key (Alternative View #9)

Stabilizer for “Space” Key (Alternative View #9)

Stabilizer for "Enter" Key (Alternative View #10)

Stabilizer for “Space” Key (Alternative View #10)

Stabilizer for "Enter" Key (Alternative View #11)

Stabilizer for “Space” Key (Alternative View #11)

Like the “Enter” key, a diode is in the way of a stabilizer base:

Stabilizer for "Enter" Key (Alternative View #12)

Stabilizer for “Space” Key (Alternative View #12)

The diode is indicated by the arrow in the shot below:

Stabilizer for "Enter" Key (Alternative View #13)

Stabilizer for “Space” Key (Alternative View #13)

Plan

This is the tentative plan:

  1. Desolder the diodes
  2. Solder the diodes on the other side of the PCB
  3. Extend the PCB to support the base of the stabilizer that is currently protruding off the edge of the PCB. This extension will need a hole, so if I can cut a piece of the donor board, that would be ideal. Otherwise, I will use a combination of hot glue and epoxy putty (usually used for plastic models) to create the structure.
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Between waiting for parts for my project to modify my Kinesis Model 100 keyboard, waiting for the arrival of my back-up Kinesis Contoured Keyboard, and plenty of work, I’ve had a lot of time to think about using the Kinesis keyboard without typing on it.

Before dismantling the Model 100, I managed to spend some time on the Model 100. Typing was slow, which was expected, but I also disliked several other things (see the diagram of the Kinesis keyboard US default layout below):

  1. Using my little fingers, especially the right one. Surprisingly, on this keyboard, a disproportionately large number of keys (18 in total) are dedicated to the pinkies.
  2. Stretching the little fingers laterally to reach for the “Shift” and “" '” keys, which I use quite a lot.
  3. Stretching the index fingers medially to reach for the middle column of keys—“5”, “T”, “G”, “B” on the left, and “6”, “Y”, “H”, “N” on the right.
Kinesis Contoured Keyboard US Default Layout

Kinesis Contoured Keyboard US Default Layout. (Click on the image to enlarge it.)

Although I accept it will be impossible to eliminate using the middle column and far lateral keys completely, I wondered if I could minimise their use in some way.

I explored several options: Dvorak, Colemak, Carpalx, etc.

But I think I like the Workman layout, by OJ Bucao, the best:

Workman Keyboard Layout by OJ Bucao

Workman Layout by OJ Bucao. (Click on the image to enlarge it.)

For the details and rationale of this layout, I suggest you read OJ Bucao’s post.

Why I Like the Workman Layout on a Kinesis Contoured Keyboard

Below are the reasons why I am adopting the Workman keyboard layout:

  • It is particularly well-suited for an ortho-linear keyboard, such as the Kinesis Model 100, which will be my main driver in less than three months.
  • Use of the two middle columns is minimised. Therefore, less stretching of my index finger medially.
  • Small finger utilisation is acceptable. It is certainly not bad, and the fact that the designer of this layout even considered it translates to an improvement over the existing QWERTY layout. Use of the right little finger is less than most other common layouts.
  • The Workman keyboard layout is cross platform. I can use it both on Linux and Windows without having to do any reprogramming of keys.
  • The Workman keyboard layout is available free of charge and can be downloaded here.

Summary

The Workman keyboard layout addresses my issues with using the index and little fingers on a Kinesis Contoured Keyboard, and improves the usability of this keyboard.

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More keyboard stuff arrived this afternoon, including a donor board with Cherry MX vintage black switches from a Cherry G80-11900 keyboard, which I purchased for my Kinesis Model 100 project.

PCB-Mounted Cherry MX Black Switches From a Cherry G80-11900 Keyboard (Top)

PCB-Mounted Cherry MX Black Switches From a Cherry G80-11900 Keyboard (Top)

PCB-Mounted Cherry MX Black Switches From a Cherry G80-11900 Keyboard (Bottom)

PCB-Mounted Cherry MX Black Switches From a Cherry G80-11900 Keyboard (Bottom)

Cherry MX Vintage Black Switches

The Cherry MX black switches feel different from those on my Genovation 683 programmable keypad. This is probably because the former are “vintage” black switches, similar to those found in the older Wyse keyboards. Cherry MX vintage black switches are smoother and feel lighter. In case anyone thought my fingers were biased by knowledge of the source of the switches, I asked my wife (a total mechanical keyboard nOOb) to feel the two types of switches. Her immediate reaction was, “This one (a switch on the donor board) feels lighter.” (Nice to know I haven’t lost my mind yet.)

Cherry Stabilizers for Large Keys

I was wondering whether the stabilizers for the large keys can be transplanted onto the PCB of the Kinesis Model 100.

After I removed one of the “snap-on” stabilizers from the donor board, I see only one issue—the diode associated with each key is in the way of one base of the stabilizer. (Read my other article on stabilizers for the large keys.)

If I am able to move the diode to the other side of the PCB, there will be enough room for the stabilizers to be fixed. Doing this will eliminate another weakness of the Kinesis Contoured Keyboard, i.e., wobbly large keys (Space, Enter, Back Space, Delete). I tried fitting the “Space” keycap onto one of donor board’s switches with a stabilizer—not only did the keycap fit perfectly, it felt so much better than on the Kinesis keyboard.

Not surprisingly, there are already holes on the existing PCB of the Model 100 that will accommodate the Cherry stabilizers. Unfortunately, one of the stabilizer bases of the “Space” and “Back Space” keys does not have a corresponding hole in the Kinesis PCB. Instead, it protrudes off the edge of the PCB. Therefore, I will need something like hot glue to hold the stabilizer in place, I suspect. I suppose I could also “extend” the PCB a little with some epoxy putty I have lying around, so that there is enough supporting structure for the base of the stabilizer. (See my other article on stabilizers for the large keys for photos.)

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In my home office, I have a dual monitor setup—the laptop computer is held on a notebook tray, which in turn is on an Ergotron LX Desk Mount Arm. The external monitor is on the left side of the laptop computer, and is held by another Desk Mount Arm. Both arms share the same desk mounting pole.

Home Office Setup

My home office setup.

I have previously described how I automated the xrandr configuration on login.

A few days ago, my Samsung SyncMaster 943NWX 19″ external monitor was behaving erratically, with intermittent periods of turning all black and then returning to normal while being connected to my Lenovo T61 laptop computer. I thought it might have had something to do with the VGA connection between the computer and the monitor, so I turned off the computer and checked that there weren’t any loose connections. When I turned the computer back on, everything seemed to work normally for a few minutes, and then the monitor of the laptop computer went black. I rebooted the machine a few more times, and the same thing happened.

Having been spoilt by a dual-monitor setup for years, the loss of screen real estate was frustrating. To make matters worse, although the laptop monitor was all-black, elements of the graphical user interface were still “there,” in that the operating system still behaved as if the space was usable. For example, when I tried to open folders and files, they sometimes opened in the “dead” space, and I therefore would not be able to see them and wonder whether there was something wrong with the system.

There are only three things that can cause this problem:

  1. LCD failure
  2. Problematic backlight Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamp (CCFL)
  3. Faulty inverter card

1. and 2. are essentially the same thing because the fix is a replacement of the LCD. I tried to salvage a CCFL from an old and nonfunctional T61 that was lying around but ended up accidentally breaking it—that thing is really fragile! I also changed the inverter card from the spare T61, and the problem with the monitor remained unchanged. Therefore, a busted inverter card is not the issue. In short, I need a new LCD. A brand new LCD, including shipping, will set me back about $120. A used but perfectly functional T61 will cost about $170, including shipping. I’d rather purchase a whole T61 because I may use the other parts, e.g. motherboard, in the future. It will also be a much easier to remove the entire LCD assembly than to replace the LCD.

Until the donor T61 turns up, I needed to make the current configuration workable. So I simply turned off the internal monitor and have everything on the external monitor. Things are lot better now compared to the last few days, but of course not as good as with two monitors.

There was only one thing I changed in /etc/X11/Xsession.d/45custom_xrandr-settings, i.e., from

xrandr --output $INTERNAL_OUTPUT --auto

to

xrandr --output $INTERNAL_OUTPUT --off

This is what the entire code in /etc/X11/Xsession.d/45custom_xrandr-settings looks like now:

# If an external monitor is connected, place it with xrandr
 
# External output may be "VGA" or "VGA1" or "VGA-0" or "DVI-0" or "TMDS-1"
EXTERNAL_OUTPUT="VGA1"
INTERNAL_OUTPUT="LVDS1"
# EXTERNAL_LOCATION may be one of: left, right, above, or below
EXTERNAL_LOCATION="left"
 
case "$EXTERNAL_LOCATION" in
       left|LEFT)
               EXTERNAL_LOCATION="--left-of $INTERNAL_OUTPUT"
               ;;
       right|RIGHT)
               EXTERNAL_LOCATION="--right-of $INTERNAL_OUTPUT"
               ;;
       top|TOP|above|ABOVE)
               EXTERNAL_LOCATION="--above $INTERNAL_OUTPUT"
               ;;
       bottom|BOTTOM|below|BELOW)
               EXTERNAL_LOCATION="--below $INTERNAL_OUTPUT"
               ;;
       *)
               EXTERNAL_LOCATION="--left-of $INTERNAL_OUTPUT"
               ;;
esac
 
xrandr |grep $EXTERNAL_OUTPUT | grep " connected "
if [ $? -eq 0 ]; then
    xrandr --output $INTERNAL_OUTPUT --off --output $EXTERNAL_OUTPUT --auto $EXTERNAL_LOCATION
    # Alternative command in case of trouble:
    # (sleep 2; xrandr --output $INTERNAL_OUTPUT --mode 1280x800 --output $EXTERNAL_OUTPUT --auto $EXTERNAL_LOCATION) &
else
    xrandr --output $INTERNAL_OUTPUT --auto --output $EXTERNAL_OUTPUT --off
fi

When I replace the LCD assembly in a few weeks’ time, I’ll simply change the xrandr internal output back to “auto”.

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Kinesis Model 100 Project: Disassembly Part 2

This article continues where I left off in the dismantling of my Kinesis Model 100 keyboard.

Because the thumb switches are under the “bottom” PCB and the two key wells hold the rest of the switches, I’ll have to remove all three parts, i.e., the two key wells plus the “bottom” PCB.

I decided to remove the “bottom” PCB first. I will then have the opportunity to change the 12 thumb switches (six on the left and six on the right) before working on the key wells.

Removing the Two Cables Connecting the Function Keys and the Bottom PCB

I first detached the two cables that join the function keys and the “bottom” PCB at both ends. I labelled them “Left” and “Right” and placed the cables with their respective label in separate small plastic bags.

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: The Two Cables That Join the Function Keys and the Bottom PCB

The Two Cables That Join the Function Keys and the Bottom PCB

This is what the keyboard looks like without the cables.

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: After Cables Removed

After Cables Removed

Note that I placed some pieces of styrofoam under the back edge of the keyboard. This was done to keep the switches off the supporting surface.

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: Switches Lifted Off Supporting Surface

Switches Lifted Off Supporting Surface

In retrospect, this was not necessary as I plan to replace those switches with ones from another keyboard. The incoming switches will take a few more days to arrive, which explains the pedestrian pace at which this project is moving.

Removing the Nine Screws That Hold the Bottom PCB to the Keyboard Case

There are altogether nine screws that hold the “bottom” PCB to the keyboard case.

I labelled each one (except the one in the middle) with a number, starting from the left side. Therefore, the one closest to the left edge is #1 and the one closest to the right edge is #8. Each screw was stored with its label in a compartmentalized box.

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: Screw #1 on Bottom PCB

Screw #1 on Bottom PCB

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: Screw #2 on Bottom PCB

Screw #2 on Bottom PCB

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: Screw #3 on Bottom PCB

Screw #3 on Bottom PCB

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: Screw #4 on Bottom PCB

Screw #4 on Bottom PCB

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: Screw #5 on Bottom PCB

Screw #5 on Bottom PCB

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: Screw #6 on Bottom PCB

Screw #6 on Bottom PCB

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: Screw #7 on Bottom PCB

Screw #7 on Bottom PCB

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: Screw #8 on Bottom PCB

Screw #8 on Bottom PCB

This is what the keyboard looked like after removal of the 8 screws.

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: 8 Screws Removed From Bottom PCB

8 Screws Removed From Bottom PCB

But I still could not lift the PCB off the case. This was the reason why:

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: Centre Screw on Bottom PCB

Centre Screw on Bottom PCB

There was a 9th screw “hiding” under the centre piece of foam that presses against the back internal surface of the keyboard case, which seems to be its only purpose.

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: Foam on Bottom PCB

Foam on Bottom PCB

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: Foam on Bottom PCB (Left)

Foam on Bottom PCB (Left)

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: Foam on Bottom PCB (Right)

Foam on Bottom PCB (Right)

The following photos give a closer view of the “bottom PCB” on the left side, especially the soldering points.

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: Left Side of Bottom PCB

Left Side of Bottom PCB

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: Left Side of Bottom PCB (Close-up)

Left Side of Bottom PCB (Close-up)

Note that the front corner of the PCB fits under the keywell. The same goes for the right corner.

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: Right Side of Bottom PCB

Right Side of Bottom PCB

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: Right Side of Bottom PCB (Close-up)

Right Side of Bottom PCB (Close-up)

Removal of Bottom PCB

The “bottom” PCB was easy to remove after unscrewing the centre (9th) screw.

This is what it looked like afterwards.

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: After Removal of Bottom PCB

After Removal of Bottom PCB

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: After Removal of Bottom PCB (Left Side)

After Removal of Bottom PCB (Left Side)

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: After Removal of Bottom PCB (Right Side)

After Removal of Bottom PCB (Right Side)

Bottom PCB

The following are photos of the “bottom” PCB after being detached from the keyboard:

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: Bottom PCB

Bottom PCB

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: Bottom PCB (Alternative View #1)

Bottom PCB (Alternative View #1)

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: Bottom PCB (Alternative View #2)

Bottom PCB (Alternative View #2)

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: Bottom PCB (Alternative View #3)

Bottom PCB (Alternative View #3)

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: Bottom PCB (Alternative View #4)

Bottom PCB (Alternative View #4)

Kinesis Model 100 Keyboard: Switches on Bottom PCB

Switches on Bottom PCB

There was some discussion at Geekhack about whether this keyboard was modded earlier. Besides the amount of hot glue that was used, the other significant piece of evidence that it had been modded is the Cherry MX Ergo White switches. The modder would have had to take out the Brown MX switches and replace them with MX switches that had Clear stems and springs from Brown/Blue/Red switches. That’s a significant amount of modding! And I strongly doubt that Kinesis thought of doing that to its first Contoured Keyboards twenty years ago.

I decided to leave the key wells on the keyboard case because I won’t be doing anything with them until I fix the thumb switches. The next item on the to-do list is desoldering the switches.

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