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Split Kinesis Contour Classic (Advantage) Keyboard - 2 VGA mod

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
Kinesis Contour Classic (Advantage) Keyboard split in two discrete halves joined by two 15-pin D-sub VGA cables. Out of the 30 conductors from two VGA cables, 28 were used leaving 2 wires on the left-half for future use. F7 and F8 switch wires were relocated to the right-half allowing function key alignment to correspond with number row.
Quick demonstration[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDR0xroSR6s"] video[/ame]
Project completion:40%
Project progress in that order (1)=completed, (0)=incomplete:
(1)#1-Split Kinesis Contour Classic into two halves
(1)#2-Cherry MX Black's to replace membrane squishies, :smash:
(0)#3-Place IBM trackpoint KPD8923 between keys 'Enter' & 'Space' used for scrolling.
(0)#4-Integrate trackpoint in the center of keys, 'H-J-N-M'.
(0)#5-Fiberglass molds to replace the original keyboard plastic housing.
(0)#6-Brackets to bolt both halves to chair armrests respectively using welded steel stock.

Skill prerequisites:
  1. Fluent with your soldering technique but if not, don't sweat it. Here is a phenomenal [ame="www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_NU2ruzyc4"]youtube video[/ame] showing the proper procedure. (It's difficult to cause any doped silicon damage if your your iron = or < 25 watts unless temperature controlled (750-850F.) Ensure soldering iron tip is not contacting components longer than three seconds while soldering.)
  2. Check resistance/continuity/ohms (same thing) with DVOM
  3. Strip 26AWG wire insulation by hand with razor blade. (You are more then welcome to use wire strippers but I find them to be more hassle then it's worth on small diameter wire but if you find some that work well, by all means please let me know.)
  4. Patience with a Dremel and/or box cutter.
Tool list:
  1. DVOM (Digital Volt Ohm Meter) 'A pair of alligator clips that screw onto the leads will make life much easier.' ($10)
  2. Hot glue gun and glue sticks of high temperature. You probably will not be impressed how fast the low temp stuff cools down, especially for fastening shielded wires. 0_0 ($5)
  3. Soldering iron with tip preferably not much wider than 1.6mm (1/16") with brass wire tip cleaner, do not use a wet sponge 'water.' "Quenching metal over and over effects its metallurgy, prematurely degrading the tip's essential coating and the soldering iron must recover from heat loss." ($20)
  4. Dremel, box-cutter, or any tool to accomplish cutting and sculpting hard material (ex. plastic, fiberglass)
Parts list:
  1. Kinesis Contour Essential/Classic/Professional (AT\PS/2) or Advantage/Advantage Pro (USB) 'board. ($140-$200 on ebay)
  2. Male to Male 15-pin D-Sub VGA extension cable, = or > Fifteen Feet. ($10)
  3. (2) 15-pin D-Sub VGA female connectors. (RS part #276-1502, $4)
  4. VGA video card brackets or cut a dual VGA bracket in half. (<$4)
  5. (2) Metal or plastic strain reliefs (One place you can find these, devices I used to prevent cables from pulling loose, is take a tiny piece of VGA cable to your local hardware store, look for Heavy-Duty 3-Wire Replacement Female Electrical Plugs that have strain reliefs preferably of small size without 'tabs.'
  6. Tin/Lead Rosin core solder < or = .032" diameter, either 63/37(Sn/Pb) 'melting point @ 183 °C (361 °F,)' or 60/40(Sn/Pb) 'melting range @ 183–190 °C (361–374 °F.)' (Lead-free solder is garbage, hence the failing brittle Xbox 360 BGA cold solder joints using inadequate heat in the manufacturing process due to the Lead-free solder's higher melting temp along with mainboard flex. More importantly, acid core solder "plumber's solder" will destroy everything it touches so please stay away from buying solder at a hardware store." ($4-6)
  7. Activated (RA) Rosin Flux. 'No-clean' flux=Manufacturers attempt at cutting cost (some variations are harmfully conductive AND corrosive.) Since we want a product that will last forever, use 90% rubbing alcohol and brush after you are completely finished soldering. All of the flux residue should come off easily if you took my advice on soldering iron selection. Flux pen is probably most convenient in this application. ($5)
  8. De-soldering braid 'wick' ($4)
  9. Heat-shrink tubing of varying sizes for insulating wires. ($5)
  10. Electrical tape, 3M or equivalent. ($1)
  11. Razor blades 'box cutter style.' ($1)
Splitting Kinesis Contour keyboard into two halves tutorial
*under construction*
  1. Cut VGA Male to Male extension cable into three pieces, ends being the exact same length (mine are approx. four feet long but it really depends on a lot of environmental factors such as keyboard placement in regards to desk and/or chair dimensions.) For an example, if you are using a fifteen foot VGA cable and decide to cut the end cables to four feet in length, you will be left with seven foot long mid-section cable which should be more than adequate wire to complete this mod.
  2. Split the mid-section cable sheathing lengthwise with a box-cutter. Don't worry, you will not slice through the metal braided shielding but if you do, it would probably be a good time to practice using more finesse before going any further for obvious reasons.
    Note: If you start getting erratic output from the keyboard, run keyboard diagnostic program such as 'AquaKeyTest.' Need to extend the AT/PS-2/USB cable? Say you chair mount and the computer is far away, it wouldn't be a bad idea to add two pull-up resistors of 1KΩ between Clock and +5V, the other between Data and +5V. This will prevent the Clock and data lines from floating and be consistently pulled high but don't worry, one kilo ohm (1000Ω) reduces the current to almost null. What I've discovered from allowing function key wires to touch together 'short to switches,' a few keys in the bowl would not work until after I was finished testing the function key wiring and properly insulating them. Part 15 of FCC:This device may not cause harmful interference, must accept any interference received, including interference that may cause undesired operation. Should you suspect environmental interference as a culprit, two easy diagnosis come to mind allowing you to rule out wi-fi routers, EMI, AC sine waves, RF, etc. Move the keyboard to a remote location or be lazy, completely wrap your keyboard in a single layer of aluminum foil and press keys through it. If you indeed have electronics that emit a lot of interference in the vicinity of the keyboard halves, the internal pull-up resistors could be too weak inside the MCU because it was never engineered with the signal wires traveling further than a few inches. Why German engineer something when you don't have to?:cough:Volkswagen. I'm half German, went to VW Academy, owned and worked on plenty of VDub's but would never personally own one after the air-cooled era ever since they paid Bosch royalty fees for every car made and became grotesquely over-engineered, I'm getting squeamish just thinking about their wire schematics. But hey, they look nice, make people in my profession a lot of money but more importantly, Volkswagen helped supply Adolf Hitler with Beetles. If you are offended due to the repetition of hypnotizing television (aka program executable) which updates your mind (aka your operating system,) you're full of malicious code via the Israeli Zionist Jew propaganda virus and it would be a good idea to reinstall your OS. I'll show you how hypothetically speaking, of course. Who is the enemy if Hitler is not you ask? Zionists created the most cleaver scam since recorded history people call "money" which is defined as something of value but contrarily, it is merely ink and paper created out of thin air on a printing press at the Private "Federal" Reserve Bank using a fraudulent scheme called, say it with me, "fractional-reserve banking," aka debt-based monetary system. Thus, since they artificially create over 95% of the world's money supply, this allows them to own almost the world in it's entirety enslaving the human race with artificial inflation. This is due to the private reserve bank charging lending banks 'ex. Bank of America' at interest "aka debt" for every dollar in circulation that must be paid back which does not exist in circulation to begin with! Therefore money=debt, get it? The exception is 3rd world countries such as Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Libya, etc. who do not use this fiat enslavement currency which is why we are at war with them to continue the New World Order agenda they envision because if you cannot control their money, you cannot control the people. I'm 26 so I'm most certainly preparing for the next collapse in the next years or decades, it's just a matter of when as nothing can inevitably grow forever because there would have be an infinite increase in human population to increase the supply of "money" to compensate for the increasing amount of debt hence inflation and that is simply impossible, get it? OR Adolf Hitler who discovered the Zionists ponzi scheme and attempted to stop the trampling of people's god given common law rights? Have you ever wondered why all legal law-abiding documents state your name in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS? That is because your mother unknowingly signed your birth CERTIFICATE creating a CORPORATION in your name that only applies to you in CAPS. For example, if your name is John Doe then you have a corporation in your name called JOHN DOE legally defines as, "artificial person" not to be confused with John Doe termed ,"natural person," effectively removing your god given common law rights via the social security act of 1935 because quite frankly, your fictional corporation has no rights. Unfortunately, if you sign the IRS form 4361 that will opt you out of "social security," IRS calls "Application for Exemption From Self-Employment Tax for Use by Ministers, Members of Religious Orders and Christian Science Practitioners," they only accept people with proper documentation to prove they are indeed in a religion that is against these fraudulent practices, effectively stopping most from being truly free by not accepting the application. I know because I tried! Even if you did opt out of this "social security" that was unscrupulously implemented after the Great Depression people were suckered into enabling them to get back on their feet from the scam of paying only 10% up front while the bank demands 100% of the loan back overnight, people did not have the funds for it to begin with because that's why they wanted the loan in the first place! You cannot do anything without a social security number if you are "locked into the grid" for lack of better words; no house, land, car, utilities, you get the idea... If one looks up words: Person, Employee, Employer, License, Certificate and Driver to name a few in a LAW dictionary and you will soon discover every bit of this is 100% true facts, use your imagination looking up words and I promise you will never view the world the same again. All of this would not be possible without television, for example being “forced” to watch Schindler’s list in grade school, thus this world would be for the people, not a tyrannical takeover. Too bad I didn't grow up in the 60's, consume all the cancer curing cannabis I want legally. There is a brief history lesson that would not dare be spoken of in education, media, and politics Israeli Zionist Jews dominate. You're welcome, peace, love, and let's get back on topic. All you have to do is reapply the shielding just like the VGA cable was before the dissecting demise, minus the braided shielding as it is simply unnecessary. Wrap the wires with foil 'non-conductive colored side inwards against the wires' shown as blue in the image above, periodically applying a small dab of tape to prevent foil from unraveling. Remove the bare braided wire from the mid-section cable, solder both ends immediately to prevent fraying and tape one end where the shielding begins away from the MCU. Use small dabs of electrical tape every inch or two applying it lengthwise across entire conductive shielding with three inch overhang only on end away from switches, towards MCU. Using electrical tape, completely wrap foil and braided wire. Solder the bare wire to the shielding earth ground wire of the PS/2 or USB cable, (should be the uninsulated wire but check continuity with DVOM 'one lead touching the metal casing of connector' just in case) not to be confused with DC ground (black wire.) Precautions must be made to ensure the earth ground shielding is not exposed and wires fastened securely to prevent component leads from 'wearing' through the electrical tape as permanent damage to MCU can result via short to ground.

Edited by Bluecar5556 - 5/7/11 at 2:29am
post #2 of 2
Thread Starter 
Right bowl external VGA connection view
Left bowl internal VGA connection view
Left bowl external VGA connection view
Right bowl internal view, VGA side
Right bowl internal view, top side (F-keys)
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