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Trackpoint and Mechanical Keyboard Mods

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Alright. First and foremost, what I look for in a keyboard is: Trackpoint. Does it have a Trackpoint? If it does, then I move on, to such things as form, tactile response, etc.

I've got a rubber dome IBM keyboard with Trackpoint IV. Then I got an M13 with Trackpoint II. I don't like the Trackpoint II; it doesn't have linear detection. When you press lightly it's very slow, and then with moderate pressure it goes really fast.

So I was going to swap the Trackpoint II out with the Trackpoint IV, however the Trackpoint II is integrated into the main PCB on the M13. It ended up being a little trickier than I'd initially hoped, so now I'm back to my rubber dome Trackpoint IV.

My first question is: Does anyone have enough knowledge about Trackpoint to help me do a swap?

Also, regarding the M13, the clicking is nice, but not as satisfying as I'd like (that's what she said).

My second question is: Is there any way to increase the resistance of the keys, as well as create a greater hammer effect? Maybe perhaps some mods? Replacement springs?

I don't like the way the springs resonate after activating, and I'd like something that requires more pressure to activate.

I just looked at Unicomps page here, but I dunno what the generic Trackpoint has to offer. I'd also rather not spend $100 on a keyboard; I've spent too much on them.

EDIT: This guys woes mirror mine here. Doesn't like the "metallic" sound of the key release, and the trackpoint II sucks balls. I don't like a light touch though.
Edited by dzalias - 6/1/10 at 3:16pm
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post #2 of 8
- As long as the chips and stuff that control the trackpoint aren't integrated into the same IC as the keyboard controller it can be swapped. But I'd need to have the boards in front of me to be able to tell you anything (pictures aren't enough).

- Supposedly - though I don't know how true this is - the Model M 1390120 had the stiffest springs out of all of them. Maybe try and get one to swap the springs, they're cheap anyway. If that still isn't stiff enough for you then you'll need to get custom springs made I guess, using a stronger metal.

- There are a bunch of mods that can reduce the resonance, some better than others. You can stick silicone grease into the barrels, but that'll end up just seeping down into the membranes over time and you'll have to clean the board out pretty frequently and keep on adding more grease. Or you can put rubber bands around the barrels. And there are a couple of others I'm not thinking of right now.

- The trackpoints on Unicomp boards suck. I have one, and it acts just like the Trackpoint II. I can't really use it at all.
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post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manyak View Post
- As long as the chips and stuff that control the trackpoint aren't integrated into the same IC as the keyboard controller it can be swapped. But I'd need to have the boards in front of me to be able to tell you anything (pictures aren't enough).
I don't think so. From what I remember, there's separate IC's.
Meh-beh a schematic could help you? Or some documents that could point me in the right direction?

Quote:
- Supposedly - though I don't know how true this is - the Model M 1390120 had the stiffest springs out of all of them. Maybe try and get one to swap the springs, they're cheap anyway. If that still isn't stiff enough for you then you'll need to get custom springs made I guess, using a stronger metal.
I dunno if I like the springs, the way they click twice. They also resonate on the key release, which really drives me nuts. I might just be leaning toward an alternate mechanical keyboard altogether.

Quote:
- There are a bunch of mods that can reduce the resonance, some better than others. You can stick silicone grease into the barrels, but that'll end up just seeping down into the membranes over time and you'll have to clean the board out pretty frequently and keep on adding more grease. Or you can put rubber bands around the barrels. And there are a couple of others I'm not thinking of right now.
Would something inside the key cap work? Maybe a little rubber piece to help dampen the sound?

Quote:
- The trackpoints on Unicomp boards suck. I have one, and it acts just like the Trackpoint II. I can't really use it at all.
Oh noes . Perhaps it'd be easier to swap out the trackpoint though? I'd rather give it a go on my TRII keyboard first.

Thanks for helping!
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post #4 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by dzalias View Post
I don't think so. From what I remember, there's separate IC's.
Meh-beh a schematic could help you? Or some documents that could point me in the right direction?
If you've got a schematic of both boards, yeah that should at least give me most of what I need . Other than that all you'd need to check is to see if it can be physically removed and mounted onto the other PCB, or if there are traces in the way.


Quote:
Originally Posted by dzalias View Post
I dunno if I like the springs, the way they click twice. They also resonate on the key release, which really drives me nuts. I might just be leaning toward an alternate mechanical keyboard altogether.


Would something inside the key cap work? Maybe a little rubber piece to help dampen the sound?
Yeah there's another mod where someone put what I think are either foam or rubber inserts that fit perfectly into the spring. They made them about 0.5cm long. But I don't remember the result of the mod other than it wasn't a perfect outcome. It's somewhere under the keyboard mod section of geekhack.org if you want to look for it.

But I don't know of (nor can I think of) any way to stop it from clicking twice.
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post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manyak View Post
If you've got a schematic of both boards, yeah that should at least give me most of what I need . Other than that all you'd need to check is to see if it can be physically removed and mounted onto the other PCB, or if there are traces in the way.
I'll get looking for some.



Quote:
Yeah there's another mod where someone put what I think are either foam or rubber inserts that fit perfectly into the spring. They made them about 0.5cm long. But I don't remember the result of the mod other than it wasn't a perfect outcome. It's somewhere under the keyboard mod section of geekhack.org if you want to look for it.
It would have to be short enough so when the spring breaks it won't be obstructed. I will, thanks!

Quote:
But I don't know of (nor can I think of) any way to stop it from clicking twice.
Not with a spring mechanism, no .


Have you ever seen someone create custom key-switches?
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post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by dzalias View Post
Have you ever seen someone create custom key-switches?
I've seen plenty of mods to existing ones. Like spring swaps and tactile leaf removal and stuff like that. But no custom made switch from the ground up.
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post #7 of 8
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I'm going to bump this topic because, looking just now for a solution, this was at the top of my search results in Google.

http://geekhack.org/showthread.php?t=10327
http://geekhack.org/showthread.php?t=10330

There aren't any applicable springs and I still need a pinout diagram of the Trackpoint II stick so I know how to hook it up to a Trackpoint IV controller.
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