My buddy from work (who incidentally is on the team I’m switching to…) had a spare keyboard that had seen better days. It’s good days ended when some beer was spilled on it making a bunch of the keys a bit sticky. Oh, and one key had been broken off in the cleaning attempt.
The good thing is that this was a good keyboard that had mechanical keys — Cherry Brown keys to be exact. The DAS Keyboard that had been replaced already will live once more.
I ordered up a bunch of keys from Taiwan… it wasn’t the fastest way to get some keys, but since I already had things to type on, speed wasn’t really an issue. For what amounted to just over $1.00 a key delivered I had 10 keys at my house in a couple of weeks.
The beauty of the mechanical keyboards is that they consist of a bunch of individual parts, each of which can be replaced. I took out the dozen or so 2.5mm cap-head allen screws from the bottom and the top metal part mostly came off. It was attached by a flat-flex ribbon cable but as long as I was careful I didn’t have to disconnect it. (Those things can be a mighty pain to plug back in) Another half dozen Phillips screws and the circuit board came out as well. Once this was done, the it was quick work to desolder the five beer-impregnated keys and swap in their replacements.
Assembly the the reverse. ;-)
At the end of it I have a perfectly good and working Das Keyboard!
For some reason I had never really tried the mechanical keyboards before… but since I’ve been typing on this, I have to say that I really understand why folks like this. It has a feel that’s a lot different from the run-of-the-mill keyboards out there. There is a crispness to the keys and I’m finding that I’m typing a bit quicker. I do have to get used to it though — there’s some bad habits that I’ve gotten myself into that I have to break — like not really pressing keys, but sliding my fingers over them to actuate the keys. This keyboard really is forcing me to have a much more precise keyboarding form.
(yes, I swapped the “Windows” and “Alt” keys on the keyboard pictured above — this is for a Mac so I don’t want top retrain my fingers between “Windows” and “Cmd” since I still need to type on my laptop keyboard.)