Keyboard Maintenance

I’ve had my Mode 01 for half a year now, using it at least 8 hours most days. Recently, I’ve been plagued by sticky keys and common keys that strike twice unless I strike them exactly right. Much more, and the keyboard may become unusable.

Any maintenance hints that might help?

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Ive had the same issue with all mechanical keyboards in my home - I think dog dander gets in. For my custom bamboo Bluetooth T. E. C. K. Every 9-12 MO this I remove the PCB from the enclosure and soak it in 90% rubbing alcohol… Upside down and agitate/press all keys a few times. Let it soak for an hour, agitate it a fain, let it dry overnight and reassemble.
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For my office keyboardio M01 a weekly gentle blast of air seems to be enough.
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Email Jesse first… But I would pull the caps and use a syringe to apply a few drops of rubbing alcohol to each switch first.

Completely off-topic but I really have to ask if you have a photo of that?

T.E.C.K. Keyboard conversion to BT/Wireless and custom case

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That’s very nice indeed!

To be on topic a bit too I can also recommend applying a few drops of rubbing alcohol onto misbehaving keys, works for me whenever one of them becomes chatty.

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I removed the keycaps on the problem keys, and used an air blow to clean out the space. Problem solved, I’m happy to say.

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After eight months, I still enjoy typing on my Model 01. However, after six months, I am finding that, every 7-8 weeks, I have to remove the keycaps of a couple of keys and dab rubbing alcohol on them. Specifically, the keys are E and Space, which I suppose are among the most commonly used ones. About 8 weeks ago, I gave the same treatment to A and P, but so far they are holding.

Is anyone else finding similar maintenance routines necessary?

Yes, it’s something I have to do regularly as well on both of my Model 01s. Typically about two keys per month, regardless of whether it’s the keyboard I use daily or the one I use less. It’s annoying, but worth the overall experience.

I have the same problem with both my keyboards. It happens more often than every 7-8 weeks.

Yeah, I’m finding the same. Every month or so, I put it in the test mode, so I can test which keys are chattering & clean those out with rubbing alcohol.

I perform a similar routine except it’s always the right control key. I think the issue is exaggerated by the use of one shot modifiers.

I just stumbled upon this thread. I’ve been constantly cleaning switches by dissasembling them and cleaning them with alcohol, which does the trick at least for a while. But I wonder if I have to keep doing this on both my keyboardios or if there isn’t a better solution like setting the debounce time a bit higher in the firmware.

Would love to hear the opinion of @jesse or @algernon on this.

Would desoldering the switches and replacing them by a new set do the trick? Maybe you can also say a word on why you went from Matias switches to Kailh switches?

@michael - If you’re only seeing duplicate presses, then yes, more aggressive debouncing is a solution that should work for you. Updated attiny keyscanner firmware that does more aggressive debouncing is something you can find in git, though a build is here:
http://fsck.com/~jesse/tmp/2019-11-04/6fea3967-f29c-4a85-a049-550f6b6144a2/attiny_flasher-v1.13-389-g178f3b2.tar.gz

Inside, there’s an Arduino sketch you flash to your keyboard. It will then flash the keyscanners. (Output will be send to serial.)

Once it’s done, you’d just flash your keyboard firmware again.

Newer Matias switches (those used from MP3 forward) used a different lubricant, which dramatically reduces chatter. But a switch you’ve cleaned should be about the same on that front.

In terms of why we’re using MX style switches on the Atreus: Since we picked the Matias ALPS switches for the Model 01, the switch market has matured a whole bunch. Kailh and Gateron both offer high-quality switches with many, many different options for force curves, none of which were really there when we had to lock in the design of the Model 01. On top of that, the Atreus is designed to support hot-swap, which isn’t available for ALPS-style switches at this point.

-j

Thank you @jesse for your help and explanation. I just flashed the attiny keyscanner to one of my keyboardios (the other one is waiting at work).

I’m going to come back here in a week or two in order to report the results.

What I already am able to report is that I cannot provoke missed keystrokes, no matter how quickly I press and release a key.

And: If you should ever think about making a keyboardio with mx-style switches, count me in. I love the keyboardio but after well over a year of using it as my only input device I’m still missing the cherry brown switches of my previous keyboard.

Count me in as well. I love the Model 01, the key placement, the function keys, the flexibility… It really is a great keyboard, except for the switches. I really don’t like them. I swapped them out on both my keyboards (killed 1 pcb while doing so), but they still act up once every so often. I have a bottle of cleaning alcohol and a pipette next to both my keyboards to quickly solve the problem when it occurs. It works, but it’s far from optimal…

I would really love a Model 01 keyboard with Cherry MX Blue switches…

if you should ever think about making a keyboardio with mx-style switches, count me in. I love the keyboardio but after well over a year of using it as my only input device I’m still missing the cherry brown switches of my previous keyboard.

It has been a bit longer then a week or two but this way I had more time testing the changed firmware.

In the first place it made a change and I had no duplicate keys. But in the meantime I’m unfortunately back to chatty keys. So it seems it gets worse over time. Can you tell me where I can tweak the debounce time myself, so that I can try and find a value that prevents duplicates but doesn’t miss key-strokes?

The only other option I can think of is desoldering the keys or asking to buy two complete new boards for my two keyboardios.

@jesse: Can you tell me where I can tweak the debounce time myself, so that I can try and find a value that prevents duplicates but doesn’t miss key-strokes?

I’m currently struggling because my ‘e’-key on my work keyboardio is producing a lot of duplicates. Would be nice if if only was ‘j’ ;).

So are there official maintenance notes, videos, tutorials for the model-1?

If removing key caps, applying rubbing alcohol and soldering are all part of keeping your keyboard working then i feel that should be well documented and obvious from the main site in terms of setting expectations and helping people trouble shoot issues. I’m asking about this because i need to apply these solutions to fix my keyboard and i’m in the dark about how to do it.

I just had my space key fixed by support and now my “e” key is similarly broken. I can’t afford (mostly in terms of lost productivity) to lose my keyboard every 3 weeks everytime a key breaks (if there going to break 2-3 times a year).

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If you’re looking at the keyscanner firmware, you want to be looking inside debounce-split-counters.h

But for serious chatter, you’d really be better off either with alcohol cleaning or a switch swap. As of now, we’re happy to do a switch swap even out of warranty. You’d just pay the shipping. Feel free to drop us email at help@keyboard.io