The Endgame Keyboard

Leading Edge DC-2014

Leading Edge DC-2014

My new – old – keyboard is working, and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing? It’s always nice to mend something, but I meant to gut it. To harvest its innings, its blue Alps-switches. Blue Alps are considered the crème de la crème of vintage switches, and I can testify to the fact that they’re great! Nice, smooth, tactile, clicky and light. Lighter than the Model M, and not as loud.

However, I bought it untested, more or less hoping it wouldn’t work. That way I could have slaughtered it happily. Now, though… I’m not that sure. I don’t like destroying something that works (and I’m typing on it right now).

On the other hand, it probably won’t be my daily driver. I have better keyboards, particularly in ways of layout, and in smaller sizes. This layout is somewhat useful when I write in English, though. So I’ll keep tinkering with it for a while, maybe it’ll grow on me, or I might make the other decision… I certainly don’t need the switches by tomorrow.

Meanwhile

A freight company called me today, booking a delivery. I can’t be sure, but the only thing I’m waiting for right now are the switch plates I’ve commissioned. We’ll see.

A waiting game

I’m still waiting for some of the parts needed to make my first few prototypes. I need a couple of switch plates, they should be ready for delivery in week 9 (of 2019). I also need a couple of control boards, some cable and a few diodes (now that I write that, I realize I need more diodes than I’ve ordered…). Except for the switch plates (and 70-odd diodes) everything is in the mail.

First project

My first project will be to make a Soarer’s Converter for my Leading Edge DC-2014. I don’t want to brake that up for parts until I know if it works. I wont be using it, but if it works I’ll probably sell it on.

For a Soarer’s I will need a Teensy, and that is in the mail, I should be good to go in a couple of days. I will also try to post a YouTube video of that build, setting up some good lighting in the meantime.

In the mail

I’m still waiting for the switch plates I’ve ordered, but a few interesting things arrived the other day. Something new, and something old.

Zealios switches

Zealios switches from Zeal PC

Let’s start with the new. I got a bag full of Zealios switches. These are tactile switches, made to high specs. Smooth, and with a nice tactile bump, without much pre-travel. So far I’ve only tested one on a switch tester, and I can’t wait to put them on a complete board and start typing on them.

I originally thought of using them on one of the prototypes, but maybe they’re too nice (and too expensive) to be used like that. Also, they’re PCB mount, so maybe I should wait until I’ve started prototyping those?

Leading Edge DC-2014

This is the old, old stuff. A keyboard so old it has gone all vanilla brown. Not in very good nick, difficult to connect to a modern computer, unusual key layout. And rather expensive… So why?

The switches are Alps SKCM blue. A clicky switch refered to by some as simply the best switch ever. And boy are they nice. However, I’ve hardly used them at all yet, so I’ll have to reserve judgement.

Just a word of warning. If you’re looking for Alps switches, try to get as clean a specimen as possible. Some of these were rather scratchy. I hope I can mend them by opening them up and giving them a gust of compressed air. We’ll see.