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keyboard for programmers, any recommendations?

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dunkemhigh:
I am having a vague urge to make my own keyboard since one that suits perfectly either doesn't exist or costs a medium fortune. A lot of this (the urge) is down to the availability of resources for keyboard hackers, from keycaps through layout generators, but one of the things I would want it to be is wireless.

Coming at this from scratch I would think that the link between keyboard and dongle would be a custom protocol, with the USB handling of keycodes and stuff entirely within the dongle. The keyboard wants to be very low powered, which would normally suggest that power is only applied when a key is pressed, but it seems to me that doing it that way would lead to perceptible delays since the Tx (and whatever is encoding stuff) needs to wake up before anything is sent. Obviously, they could be left 'warm' but maybe that would drain the battery quite quickly.

I had the opportunity to try a Logitech MX keyboard and the battery in that lasted a reasonable time (despite having backlit keys!) and there was no delay that I noticed when playing Wreckfest or Trackmania. So it can be done. Anyone got any thoughts on this?

tszaboo:

--- Quote from: blacksheeplogic on November 03, 2021, 12:54:45 am ---I don't understand the trend for small keyboards that require complex key combinations to enter common text chars. They don't make you a programmer but if it makes you feel special OK I guess. My perspective is that people asking and especially posting about their programming keyboards are the type of people who crave conformation and really are copy-paste kiddies.

--- End quote ---
I didn't understand it either. Talked to some people about it, it is up to ergonomics. If you have a keyboard witch is 40% (see below) a lot of keys are missing, and you need to keep the combinations in head. They explained that they have used vim for a long time, so using characters  to move the cursor is second nature. And they can place their fingers on the middle row, and there is no hand movement is necessary for typing.
Same for layouts, like Ergodox, it is about reducing fatique. That being said, I use a 100% keyboard, because that's what Im used to, and I use numbers.



--- Quote from: dunkemhigh on November 03, 2021, 08:41:28 am ---I am having a vague urge to make my own keyboard since one that suits perfectly either doesn't exist or costs a medium fortune. A lot of this (the urge) is down to the availability of resources for keyboard hackers, from keycaps through layout generators, but one of the things I would want it to be is wireless.

--- End quote ---
Making your own keyboard will for sure cost more than something from the store. I say this from experience. That being said, I enjoy it as a hobby.  most custom boards are built around the QMK firmware, which started with Atmega32 and wireless is afterthought. it has the most support, like layout generators and lot of hardware for it.
For wireless, I would go with the ZMK : https://zmk.dev
They seem to have a power profiler on the website. I put in a 2400mAh battery size, that is a typical 18650, and resulted ~1 year battery life.
I haven't tried the ZMK yet.

dunkemhigh:

--- Quote ---For wireless, I would go with the ZMK : https://zmk.dev
--- End quote ---

Ah! Thank you  :-+


--- Quote ---Making your own keyboard will for sure cost more than something from the store.
--- End quote ---

Yes, I thought it might. I priced up a JLCPCB and I think that's reasonable - the laser-cut ally plate would be the killer price though. And that assumes it's right first time and doesn't need a respin or several. OTOH, since it would be paid in installments perhaps the extortionate cost wouldn't be noticed so readily :)

tszaboo:

--- Quote from: dunkemhigh on November 03, 2021, 11:48:47 am ---
--- Quote ---For wireless, I would go with the ZMK : https://zmk.dev
--- End quote ---

Ah! Thank you  :-+


--- Quote ---Making your own keyboard will for sure cost more than something from the store.
--- End quote ---

Yes, I thought it might. I priced up a JLCPCB and I think that's reasonable - the laser-cut ally plate would be the killer price though. And that assumes it's right first time and doesn't need a respin or several. OTOH, since it would be paid in installments perhaps the extortionate cost wouldn't be noticed so readily :)

--- End quote ---
FYI, JLCPCB charged me 20 EUR (if I recall) extra compared to their normal price for a plate. For "excessive milling".
The PCB was regular price.
I don't know what sort of layout you want to make, but probably the easiest is to start with an existing keyboard case, which comes with a plate. Keys on regular keyboard are supposed to be in a certain row, so you cannot replace a Q with a Z for example, because the angle of it is different. Unless you go with a DSA profile (there are others), where all the keys have the same shape. So there are some restrictions, and some ways around it.

dunkemhigh:

--- Quote ---I don't know what sort of layout you want to make
--- End quote ---

Similar to this one: 98-key layout

But ISO, so the left shift is shorter and the return key is two high instead of 2 across.


--- Quote ---probably the easiest is to start with an existing keyboard case
--- End quote ---

Yes, I figured the case would be the hardest so going with an existing one would make sense. In fact, going with existing anything where they exist is fine by me - got plenty of other projects to spend time on!

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