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Timwillhack
24
Oct 11, 2019
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I have this keyboard, its actually a 66 key keyboard (I thought it was 67 but I just counted twice). Been using it since they released it. I love it! I came from an Anne Pro (with gateron browns). I've always had some sort of wrist/finger pain and I'm pretty sure after switching to the Anne Pro from a Microsoft Natural Sculpt keyboard, my wrist was starting to hurt again. I wanted something in Mech world that was more ergonomic. The problem with all the crazy options out their (ergodox etc) is they are into remapping keys willy nilly. Like the right side needs a \| key above the enter key. I needed to keep the layout I'm used to... I'm a developer so doing code and having to pay attention to my keyboards layout is next to the worst thing to pull me out of my dev rabbit hole. Two things on the Anne Pro that I wanted to change: it doesn't have hot swap switches, which this keyboard has (how awesome is that). I wanted to have more programmability. On the Anne pro and a lot of other 'programmable' keyboards, you are stuck with some keys being setup as something specific like the 'anne' key which did NOTHING. It also didn't have dual use keys. I changed my caps lock to a dual use key on this split keyboard, if you tap it and don't touch any other key it toggles caps lock, but if you hit any other key its basically 'function->[key]' So you can have a full layer of keys like turning the number keys into Function/F Keys (which I've done). I also have stuff like function->enter to be basically highlight/select the line you're on (its home,shift+end). I have all kinds of stuff like that, including a function key that dumps my goto crappy password that I use for any site that I don't care about (which is still complex, its just that I don't want to remember what it is because its random chars). The only thing the programming interface doesn't have is mouse keys. And I wanted to do dual purpose keys for like tapping 4 + 5 to do f5, you can only make dual purpose keys caps lock and a couple other keys (like 4 in total, its not any keys on the keyboard). So it doesn't have leds installed but you can get hot swap posts and leds but then you have to take apart EVERY SWITCH by hand to install them. It will probably take 2 mins easy per key because you gotta be careful opening a switch, and you most likely will have to clip the legs on the led. I bought gateron white, brown, outemu red and blue. I really like the white switches (which I guess is weird) I also have a full set of silicone keycaps that feel very soft. I also put silicone rings on all the posts to soften the strokes further. Its like as close a mech can get to the feel of a laptop keyboards softness but still feels like a mech in size and still actuation to some degree. To answer a couple questions, as least with mine (which I bought off aliexpress like pretty much when they released it) it does not come with leds for the caps / num lock, scroll lock keys, but you can obviously install them. It did come with all the stabilizers though and 8 rubber feet, as well as the cable that connects the halves. One thing I wish was that they used something other than usb mini (blah). All the cables are usb mini. I wanted to use one of the magnetic cables so that it wouldn't pull it to the ground if like my cat ran through the cable like a bad kitty. Apparently no one has made a mini usb magnetic cable. The frame is very hefty and is really cnc'd aluminum. I'm pretty sure the silver color is just aluminum so you won't have to worry about scuffs to the surface showing the aluminum underneath (because its already the same color). The alternatives are painted according to the seller/creator (possibly anodized but they did not clarify for me and it doesn't look anodized to me from the pics.) One of the only issues I have with it is the pcbs are floating between the slices of case, the key switches become the glue that holds it in place - which is odd to me but it doesn't feel weird at all once all the switches are holding it in place and they are all sitting in a plate layer, so basically the pcb is floating but the switches are snapped into a plate, so I doubt you could tell. One last note: I wish it supported QMK firmware (it does supposedly) but they did not give me detailed info on how to transfer the firmware from bootmapper to QMK and I don't want to brick it trying, especially considering its a split board with two chips to flash (I think). If you don't know what QMK is google it, its amazing and does support mouse keys. For my purposes I wanted one key on the left to be left mouse and one on the right to be right mouse, I have a rollermouse in front of the keyboard and wanted to be able to just use my thumbs to move the mouse around and a key on the keyboard to control clicking - but can't. I can make it work with stuff like autohotkey. Oh one last positive: anything you program into it is permanent. It writes it to firmware. You can unplug it and plug it into another pc and it will act as though the same as the original that you programmed. Some keyboards the software to program it is sort of an intermediary to switch what is sent to what is programmed. If you don't have the software installed with those keyboards, it will just act like a regular keyboard. So with this one, once you have it programmed just how you like it, it stays that way until you reprogram it or reset it to defaults (assuming this). You can backup the layouts too, to a json file or some sort of hex file that is human unreadable. MUCH better than the Anne Pro, which the software was very very finicky. Other than missing leds per keys surface mount on the pcb (it has two holes each) reiterating - you have to open each switch without breaking them and put in two hot swap dip switch posts, and clip the leds legs that you slide into the post then re-cover each switch (what a pain). Then it only supports dual leg, so the closest you can get to rainbow colors is specific rainbow led that you choose at purchase whether to get slow switching colors or fast, its not controllable like you can't lock the rainbow led to purple or something. If you don't like the color of the leds you put in afterward, you have to reopen all the switches and start over again (oh my god). But I loved the led options of the anne pro, it looked like candy with my translucent silicone keycaps on. I'm going to attempt to install leds now though just got the slow fading rainbow leds and hot swap posts, I'm just leary of messing up the switch cover legs. End of story... my final note is that I LOVE THIS KEYBOARD. One last thing (edit): I reprogrammed the left function key where the spacebar ends, I changed the spacebar to function and the function key to spacebar because hitting whats supposed to be the spacebar feels awkward and tight and I kept hitting the function key instead. But luckily its fully programmable so no worries!
(Edited)
Oct 11, 2019
rodizzle
50
Oct 11, 2019
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Have you looked at the Keebio Quefrency? Though it's a diy kit it is not entirely hard to do. I made mines with zero soldering experience.
Oct 11, 2019
Timwillhack
24
Oct 11, 2019
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I actually did see that keyboard, but thanks for pointing it out to others. I really didn't want to have to solder anything, so this kit to me is all set with the kailh hot swap switch mounts, and I think I'd rather have the hot swap switches than different usb (micro vs mini) I didn't notice if the Keebio Quefrency is compatible with hot swapping but even then I'm super lazy so maybe if anything goes wrong with the one I have (matching this drop) I'll re check out the Keebio Quefrency. Thanks again though!
Oct 11, 2019
Vonsoo
45
Oct 11, 2019
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"pcbs are floating between the slices of case, the key switches become the glue that holds it in place" I'm not sure if I understand. Would this PCB take PCB-mount switches (Zaelios)? I don't want to snip 2 additional legs from the switch. Does PCB have 5 holes per switch (3 for legs and 2 pins)?
Oct 11, 2019
Timwillhack
24
Oct 11, 2019
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The case holds the pcb between the top/plate and the bottom + acrylic layer (for leds). The PCB isn't snug fitting to the inside though, if you shake it after screwing it all together without putting any switches in yet, the pcb will bounce around inside. But once you start snapping switches in to the case and the pins line up in the pcb, the pcb becomes attached to basically the top plate via all the pins of the switches (at least x/y, not sure of z down / up I think that was relatively tight. So yes it has hot swap switch backings, with 2 pins for leds (if you want) and 2 for the actual pins of the switch for completing a circuit and 3 for the legs to stabilize. I actually bought both 3pin switches and 5 pin and they all work fine. The switches snap into the plate so they are all really tight, there is no wiggle in the final product. I hope that clarifies your question on my description!
Oct 11, 2019
eponymous
546
Oct 12, 2019
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"On the Anne pro and a lot of other 'programmable' keyboards, you are stuck with some keys being setup as something specific like the 'anne' key which did NOTHING. It also didn't have dual use keys." FWIW, the Anne Pro 2 is a lot more flexible. There are four layers (base, FN1, FN2, and tap), each of which has useful default settings (for example, the tap layer by default turns your lower right modifier keys into an arrow cluster). Using the Obinslab utility, you can reprogram any key, create custom macros, etc. You can also now enable the "magic key" setting, which gives your capslock key a dual function of capslock (tap) or your preference of either FN1 or FN2 (hold).
Oct 12, 2019
rodizzle
50
Oct 12, 2019
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For others interested, the Quefrency can be made hot swappable with MillMax sockets (https://www.digikey.com/products/en?keywords=ED90584-ND). Also the USB connector can be whatever compatible micro controller you choose (micro or usb-c at time of writing).
Oct 12, 2019
Timwillhack
24
Oct 12, 2019
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Yeah thats nice about the Anne Pro 2, but I don't currently trust the company, due to all the promises of the first iteration having fixes that never came to fruition, with the rep pushing off and delaying communication until the 2 came out, check it out on reddit for how upset the userbase was/is. I also just wanted more ergonomics (split) which Anne Pro 1 or 2 does not have (nor hot swap).
Oct 12, 2019
Timwillhack
24
Oct 12, 2019
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Thats actually really cool, wish they would have a service to do all the solder work and I would have bought that for usb c. Thanks for pointing it out!
Oct 12, 2019
Aphoid
45
Oct 12, 2019
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Great post, but it looks like you might want to replace the switch on your return key. It doesn’t seem to be working. ;-)
Oct 12, 2019
Timwillhack
24
Oct 12, 2019
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Haha, I actually have a red switch on return so it can hold the return keycap up, white is just too light. I actually wrote it as a review for aliexpress, which I think parses out enters. Sorry, I should have gone back through and added them.
Oct 12, 2019
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