Here’s the keyboard as it first came in, dirt and all. Considering how long it was sitting in my cousin’s barn, it’s not bad. The dust cover lives up to its name.
As I took it apart, I noticed some rust on the mounting plate, mainly near the spacebar, escape key, and arrow keys. I looked into removing it, and decided to use Coke.
These keycaps are beautiful. They’re your standard Focus thin ABS doubleshots, with blue controls, green shifts, and red alt and escape legends. They’re thin, but they look gorgeous and sound great.
Look at that! Six rows of authentic SKCM white Alps, ready to be taken apart and cleaned. The PCB manufacture date is here too. This keyboard is almost eight years older than I am!
All the switches are deconstructed, and it’s time to desolder them.
Unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures of the board after this one until I put it back together, but the process was pretty easy.
I desoldered the entire board in about two hours, popped the switches off the mounting plate, then found a plastic container that was big enough to hold the plate. I soaked the plate in Coke overnight, then scrubbed away at it after I woke up. After I finished the day’s duties, I came back to my room to finish the job. Mask on, soldering iron hot, Breaking bad queued up, I was ready to go.
Another two hours later, the soldering job was done. I still hadn’t cleaned the case, so I grabbed disinfecting wipes and went to work. Another episode later, and the keyboard was back together and ready to be used, other than the fact that it has a 5-pin DIN plug for a connector.
We gaming now bois.
This board feels pretty great. My first impressions based on clicking it a bit when my cousin and I first found it were positive, but it wasn’t amazing. After cleaning everything out and putting it back together, the feel drastically improved. It’s still not the best feeling, that crown still goes to the second generation IBM Model M my cousin is now dailying, but it’s very nice.
Overall, I think this is my favorite keyboard in my collection so far. It’s smaller than the Unicomp M I’m using to type this part out, and it still feels amazing to boot. The 3.6mm switch travel distance is perfect for my fingers, and the sound is gorgeous.
I also ended up converting it to use a hotswap USB-C port on the back using a Pro Micro C with a pretty janky method including painter’s tape, solder pins that came with the microcontroller, and a few zip ties. It works though, so I can’t complain.
It’s great. If you find a variant of this board for cheap (under $70 USD), I’d pick it up in a heartbeat. It might not look like too much, but if you get your friend who thinks Cherry Browns are the shit to try them out, you win.
This has been a very sleepy gamer, signing out with love.