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Old 12-04-2017, 03:38 PM   #1
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Mechanical Keyboards

Do any of the writers here write on a mechanical keyboard? I would love to know because I've read so many recommendations for them that I've ordered a Cooler Master Masterkeys Pro S with white LEDs and Cherry MX Brown Switches.

I began considering this when several of my laptop keys stopped responding, notably the right shift, space bar and G. I'll eventually have the keyboard replaced, but for now I've got an A4 Tech KL 5 mini compact keyboard which just sits on top of my laptop's keyboard. It's okay, but rattly.

So I did some research and PING! thought a mechanical keyboard was the answer.

Does anyone have experience of writing, as opposed to gaming, with one of these? I would love to hear about this. Thanks.
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Old 12-04-2017, 04:31 PM   #2
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I used the original IBM Series M buckling spring keyboard and I've never used anything as good since. Now I'm using a Razer Blackwidow with Cherry blue switches and while it has been pretty good, I wouldn't recommend it.

The blue switches have fairly good response -- tactile and sound -- but not good enough. The keys are too sensitive to presses, printing when touched lightly instead of most of the way down the stroke. And some of the keys are doubling. I have enough typos of my own without having gratuitous ones thrown in.

I'm looking at Unicomp, which sells modern keyboards with buckling spring keys. While the Cherry blues already have people in the building commenting about the noise, I hope to reach the people in the street when I get my new keyboard.

Did you select browns because thet're less noisy than blues?
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Old 12-04-2017, 04:40 PM   #3
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Das Keyboard Ultimate with Cherry Blues is lovely. I tried one with Browns too, but they weren’t for me. The Das is a sturdy keyboard, heavy enough to stay put, and I like the angle of the keyboard.

The kid has a Razer with the “blues” but it does not compare with the Das. I think that version of Razer doesn’t have the genuine Cherry MX, but their own version of them, though.
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Old 12-04-2017, 04:46 PM   #4
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I'd been a user of the IBM clicky keyboards almost forever - even using an adapter to get them to work right on my Mac notebooks. When my last one finally bit the dust, I switched over to a Unicomp Model M and love it. My typing speed is significantly improved with it over the more typical keyboards.

Recommend them highly (although, if you're on a conference call, you will get complaints if you don't mute).

Rich
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Old 12-04-2017, 05:23 PM   #5
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arjaybee: I watched a video about Unicomp's version of the IBM buckling springs. The reviewer thought they'd done a reasonable job, but the build isn't as good as the original. I watched this because the best keyboard I've ever had was on a Smith Corona electric typewriter, but I've no idea what the mechanism was.

Which brings me on to why I chose browns. I thought the tactile feel would replicate that of an electric typewriter, but I write mostly at night. I have an elderly neighbour I don't wish to disturb, even though the houses are solid 1930's builds. Also, I think my cats would leave home if I bought blues!

As for your problem with repeat keystrokes, I'm ALMOST certain that I've read that you can set 'filter keys' on your computer. This sets up a slight mili-second delay until your next keystroke will be registered. I think the original intention of filter keys was for those with motor issues, but it also helps for over-sensitive keyboards. You'd need to ask a techie how to do this.

June: The Das Keyboard Ultimate is lovely, but has no legends on the keys. I think they make a Pro version with the letters etc printed. I've looked at this, but it's a bit more than I want to pay; also I couldn't find a tenkeyless version. I want the keyboard to sit on top of my laptop's keys, but this one looks too big and heavy.

mpeg2: Is the Unicomp model M the version with buckling springs? Have you ever used Cherry switches? How do they compare? I'm interested because of my former comment about how I loved the keyboard on my Smith Corona Electric typewriter (Electra Automatic; unfortunately, like the velveteen rabbit, this was loved to death and the A dropped off its bar; 'Mr Smith' was replaced by an electronic thing that I hated!)

More opinions welcome.

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Old 12-04-2017, 05:24 PM   #6
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The Cooler Master is a good 'board, but if you ever want to change the stock keycaps for better ones, you may have a problem with bottom row size compatibility.

Das, Filco, and Ducky tend to use standard ANSI/ISO keycap sizing, so those are usually easier to replace the keycaps on.

There are a few forums dedicated to keyboard enthusiasts (yes, there is such a thing), like geekhack.org, deskthority.com, and reddit.com/r/mechanicalkeyboards. I'm not active in those communities anymore, but I still dabble in the design and creation of mechanical keyboards (see GH60, JD40, JD45, LJD61Up), myself.

-JD
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Old 12-04-2017, 05:38 PM   #7
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JD: I'm sure I've seen pictures of this model with pearlised etc key caps. This is the only example I could find quickly:
https://lanoc.org/review/input-devic...sterkeys-pro-s

To be honest, the only modding I might ever do is to put O rings on the keys to reduce key travel.

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Old 12-04-2017, 05:48 PM   #8
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Ah, looks like CoolerMaster got smart and started using standard layouts for their bottom row keys. Good for us and them!

Next, you will want to head over to pimpmykeyboard.com and check out some of the keycap sets that are available. I can recommend other sites, as well, if you're interested in this stuff. It's a rabbit hole, for sure.
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Old 12-04-2017, 07:53 PM   #9
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JD Do you know of a UK site similar to pimpmykeyboard? It would cost me masses in shipping to purchase from the US.
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Old 12-05-2017, 10:10 AM   #10
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Sure, BookCat. Here are a few sites in the UK for you:

http://www.mechsupply.co.uk/
https://mechboards.co.uk/
http://www.ukkeycaps.co.uk/
http://www.keyboardco.com/ (buy your keyboards from Bruce and co.!)
https://ctrlalt.io/ (inactive, but a great group of people)
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Old 12-05-2017, 10:18 AM   #11
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"mpeg2: Is the Unicomp model M the version with buckling springs? Have you ever used Cherry switches?"

Not sure - but I think it does use the buckling spring tech. It's quite similar in feel to the classic IBM keyboards which I used to use. No idea about the Cherry switches - when my last hoarded IBM keyboard died, I went to the Unicomp and have been happy.

Rich
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Old 12-05-2017, 11:40 AM   #12
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JD: Thanks for the links.

mpeg2: Yes, it is buckling springs. I found this review:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-A-vRZth7SI
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Old 12-05-2017, 09:11 PM   #13
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My kids are just learning how to type and I wanted them to learn on a regular shaped keyboard so I switched my home keyboard to one with Cherry MX Browns a couple months ago. I hate it. I much prefer my old MS ergonomic keyboard. The keys themselves aren't bad but they aren't enough better to me to make up for the noise and mostly the keyboard shape, although the backlighting is nice for some things. Mostly I really miss the ergonomics. I might set it up so that they can use the mech keyboard and I can keep using what I prefer, I just need to make the space I think.
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Old 12-06-2017, 01:51 AM   #14
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Here's one that's very popular with the guys at work, and we're all a bunch of really nerdy infosys geeks, so you know that if we say it's good, it's good. :P Myself, I prefer to find the old school Dell 101 keyboards or NMB brand keyboards, if you can find them. NMB only sells to OEM's, so you have to know someone who is a system builder if you want one. But let me tell you, they're an awesome keyboard, and so darned rugged and heavy you could beat someone to death. lol. But yeah those are the ones I typically use. But some might disagree with that. Myself, I like to have a keyboard which requires a little bit of work to press the keys. But that's a personal preference.
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Old 12-06-2017, 08:00 PM   #15
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Dazrin: Are you talking about the MS Sculpt ergonomic keyboard? I've never really felt the need for an ergonomic keyboard, but I'm sure that time will come. You can dampen the noise on the MX browns by putting O rings on them; but noise is a common factor of the MX switches (as opposed to membrane keyboards). Maybe you could buy your children membrane keyboards to save your sanity!

Steven: Thanks for the link, it goes to the Unicomp site. They're the people making copies of the old IBM buckling spring keyboards mentioned earlier in the thread. They do sound nice, but I settled for a keyboard with MX browns, though it looks like I have a long wait for it to be in stock! I just hate waiting for things!
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