Update on Mechanical Keyboards

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All keyboards are “mechanical” in some sense, or at least most of them, in that something moves. But what we call a “mechanical keyboard” is one that has individual switches under each key cap, instead of some sort of silly squishy membrane. This gives the keys a different tactile sense, and often, a sound.

This post — Mechanical Keyboards What Are They And Which One Do You Want — is a little, but not too much, out of date. The basic information is correct. There are one or two more kinds of keys than described, and there are emerging manufacturers that may or may not be making good switches, and there are many more offerings of el-cheapo keyboards. And, still, the DasKeyboard is still one of the better (and more expensive) options.

My Avant Stellar keyboard finally broke in enough places (I’m tough on keyboards) to require major repair or replacement. I looked briefly at really old Northgates (20-30 years old?) on ebay, bid on a few, but was outbid and decided not to spend an exorbitant amount of money on a decades old untested machine. I also realized that I have two computers sitting next to each other, and when I change between them, it feels wrong, because they have two entirely different kinds of keyboards. But, I realized, if I get a new DasKeyboard for my Linux machine, since I have a Mac DasKeyboard on the Mac, then I would quickly become accustomed to switching back and forth and all would be well. So, I got the Das Keyboard Model S Professional Cherry MX Blue for the Linux to match the Das Keyboard Model S Pro for Mac, and now everything is good.

Except possibly one thing. You may recal that I had earlier complained about the font used on the key caps on the DasKeyboards. At the time, I used stick on labels to upgrade the DasKeyboard to how I like it. For some reason, as I sit here typing on the new DasKeyboard with the small typeface that I don’t like much, I’m not bothered by it, so I may not make that change. We’ll see.

So now all is well in keyboard land, and my pile of no longer in use keyboards available for spare parts grows.

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7 thoughts on “Update on Mechanical Keyboards

  1. There are many options for replacement keycaps out there: ABS, POM, etc. Plus dye sublimated, printed or double shot symbols. Plus colors and fonts galore. Try looking at Massdrop for various keycaps sets or check out the keyboard reddits.

  2. On the Win PC I am using an MS product which has the main keypad on an annoying curve, been using it for years but still results in more typos than I would like. Also the character legends totally wore of on the most struck keys. I manage to find a replica font and print out a character set on photo-paper, but once again wear will need these to be replaced again shortly.

    On mechanical keyboard I was once in a post where I frequently had to replace key switches by desoldering the faulty ones and replacing, this once the switch failed to respond to cleaning with IPA and application of contact enhancer (Stabilant or Electrolube, which are also good for board and component sockets especially if dissimilar metals are involved at the union). The mapping of the key groups is interesting and not what one would expect if not familiar with the concept of multiplexing.

  3. I have a Microsoft keyboard I bought for a PC I built in 2005. I can’t remember why I chose that keyboard but it has given me flawless service all these years and the keycaps have maintained their letters and symbols without fading in the least. I have a new computer I built in September 2017 and I chose a Kensington laptop style keyboard. It’s not clackity like the Microsoft keyboard. I have grown to like it better. It has a numeric keypad and keys to control the volume. That’s all I need.

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