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Old 23 October 2019, 09:58   #1
MicroDave
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Amiga 500 mechanical keyboard on Kickstarter now

Hi everyone,

Few months ago, I found my old Amiga 500. After all these years it still works perfectly and I had some good time playing my old games, however I realised that the keyboard is quite bad.
No, it's not broken, it's just I'm so used to mechanical keyboards now. So I decided to make my own mechanical keyboard.

Making the PCB was simple and it works without any problems. As you may guess, the problem is with key caps. They are not standard length, so I could not find anything off the shelf. It's not just F1-F10 keys, there are others.

What's the solution? Kickstarter campaign!
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects...ical-keyboard/

Your questions and comments are very welcome.

P.S. Yes I've seen the keyboard from AmigaOnTheLake, but:
- It's been in pre-order stage for many months
- Only offer brown switches, and they are soldered (not hot-swappable)
- It has its own keyboard controller. I want to reuse the one I already have (for authenticity reasons)
- Price ...
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Old 23 October 2019, 13:30   #2
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That is great news that there is another keyboard option for the A500!

From the campaign page it was not clear to me how the caps lock light would be handled. Could you explain how that would work - is it just a case of that Cherry MX switch having an LED in it?
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Old 23 October 2019, 15:44   #3
dalek
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backed

looks like fun!
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Old 24 October 2019, 00:01   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solarmon View Post
That is great news that there is another keyboard option for the A500!

From the campaign page it was not clear to me how the caps lock light would be handled. Could you explain how that would work - is it just a case of that Cherry MX switch having an LED in it?
It will be surface mount LED under it.
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Old 24 October 2019, 00:20   #5
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It will be surface mount LED under it.
OK, great! Can you provide some examples of how that would work - I.e what it would/could look like.
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Old 24 October 2019, 09:05   #6
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It will be similar to this
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Old 24 October 2019, 10:26   #7
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Thanks for the switch and SMD LED example. Will the CAPS LOCK key be similar to the original - i.e. a hole for the LED/light in the top right of the key?
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Old 24 October 2019, 11:43   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solarmon View Post
Thanks for the switch and SMD LED example. Will the CAPS LOCK key be similar to the original - i.e. a hole for the LED/light in the top right of the key?
Just a guess, no.

The A2000 cherry had it on the bottom of the key:
http://i.imgur.com/JIPKu91.jpg
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Old 24 October 2019, 14:28   #9
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Looking at the keyboard layout on the Kickstarter page, it doesn't show any hole for the LED:

https://www.themicronics.com/a500kb/amigaB.png
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Old 24 October 2019, 14:49   #10
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Top center then? :-) If you check out the attachment in post #6, the LED is in the middle. It seems the attachment is upside down.
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Old 25 October 2019, 00:12   #11
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The plan is to make the hole in the same location, i.e. top right.

LED doesn't need to be located directly under it. I will try to take some pictures and upload here a bit later.

Yes, attachment in post #6 is upside down.
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Old 25 October 2019, 01:05   #12
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Not interested in foreign layouts like UK/US.

I think you're also missing a large market share by being A500 specific and requiring sacrificing a functioning keyboard for the controller (not necessary on the A1200 where it's integrated in the motherboard).
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Old 25 October 2019, 09:36   #13
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Can you post a picture of your keyboard??
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Old 25 October 2019, 23:59   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by idrougge View Post
Not interested in foreign layouts like UK/US.

I think you're also missing a large market share by being A500 specific and requiring sacrificing a functioning keyboard for the controller (not necessary on the A1200 where it's integrated in the motherboard).
It is only a "foreign layout" if you are not from those countries lol. The UK layout is probably the best to produce as they probably had the largest market share along with Germany.

Also with the A500 being the best selling model it's also the best one to start with, as once the key moulds are done then you can easily produce the other models.

I'm holding out for an A600 version else I'd back myself
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Old 26 October 2019, 01:21   #15
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Speaking of Germany. Lot of backers ask for it, so we will probably do German caps as well. Is this the German layout?

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/c8/c7...9b691ec0a8.jpg
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Old 26 October 2019, 12:18   #16
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FYI, the various keyboard layouts are given in an appendix of the A500 user manual. I'm not sure how accurate they are though...
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Old 27 October 2019, 23:59   #17
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I'm tempted to back this project, though I must admit a little scepticism. Having hand-built Aeberbach's A1200 keyboard replacement (see here and here), I do struggle to see how you will be able to produce these at $100-$135 AUD.

Economies of scale and all, but I could not source the components for the A1200 project for that little, my time to assemble was free, and I had to accept non-custom keycaps. Also, while I agree that you need custom F keys, other keycaps are non-standard too, like the "tab", "~", the 9U space bar, "help" and "delete" and, of course, the "A" modifiers.

Who are you using for the custom keycaps, what what profile are you planning for them to be? I would probably spend up to $100 for just a decent set of Cherry keycaps, to be honest. But I'm a little weird like that.
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Old 28 October 2019, 02:12   #18
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Please tell us a little bit more about yourself and your team. I noticed that the following paragraph in your Kickstarter page, and it has piqued my curiosity.

"Even though this is our very first project, we are not amateur as we spent our entire life working as professionals on projects of very broad spectrum, and many orders of magnitude more complex than this one. Together as a team we have all the necessary expertise to bring a new product to life, from initial design to final delivery. We have extensive experience in electronics engineering, software development, procurement, risk management, supply chain management."
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Old 28 October 2019, 07:54   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpocksBeer View Post
I'm tempted to back this project, though I must admit a little scepticism. Having hand-built Aeberbach's A1200 keyboard replacement (see here and here), I do struggle to see how you will be able to produce these at $100-$135 AUD.

Economies of scale and all, but I could not source the components for the A1200 project for that little, my time to assemble was free, and I had to accept non-custom keycaps. Also, while I agree that you need custom F keys, other keycaps are non-standard too, like the "tab", "~", the 9U space bar, "help" and "delete" and, of course, the "A" modifiers.

Who are you using for the custom keycaps, what what profile are you planning for them to be? I would probably spend up to $100 for just a decent set of Cherry keycaps, to be honest. But I'm a little weird like that.
We will use keyboard manufacturer factory in China. After initial investment into the molds (five of them), price will be quite good as long as we have quantity. By the way, Amiga “A” keys are the standard size ones. We will use standard profile (aka OEM).

Attached are the custom molds we need to make (in red). Our manufacturer has all the others already.
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Last edited by MicroDave; 28 October 2019 at 08:08.
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Old 28 October 2019, 08:02   #20
MicroDave
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kirk_m View Post
Please tell us a little bit more about yourself and your team. I noticed that the following paragraph in your Kickstarter page, and it has piqued my curiosity.

"Even though this is our very first project, we are not amateur as we spent our entire life working as professionals on projects of very broad spectrum, and many orders of magnitude more complex than this one. Together as a team we have all the necessary expertise to bring a new product to life, from initial design to final delivery. We have extensive experience in electronics engineering, software development, procurement, risk management, supply chain management."
Ok, it means it's first our own project. Eveything before was working for "someone else". Nothing related to retro computing, obviously. Boring stuff, and mostly not for consumer use (industrial).
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