My split keyboard (Part 1)
Although I am a fan of the Ultimate Hacking Keyboard. I want a smaller one for secondary use. One that’s easier to travel with that does not take up a lot of space. Yes without the palm rest it is quite small. But I do carry my UHK v1 in a hard-case in my bag. Which makes it quite bulky. But I can not travel light with it. And neither do I want to.
So I’ve come up with the idea of ultimately hacking the keyboard. Making a custom PCB for Kailh choc v1 switches (not hot-swap). Using for both halves a ARM Cortex M4 micro controller, where the original left half has a ARM Cortex M0.
Today I have 2 Bonsai C4 Micro controllers, running an ST ARM Cortex M4, in route. I still need to learn how to use KiCad to make the PCB. And before that can actually happen, I need to make the firmware compatible with the Bonsai C4. But when it is ready enough to show progress. I shall share this here. And also I will put my schematics on GitHub
Q: Why custom PCB?
A custom PCB that is for prototyping is the easiest to make and manufacture. If you take a close look into the electronic schemas of either V1 or V2 you’ll see alot of effort put into this keyboard. Although you can modify the PCB, getting the required semi-conductors during these times (Covid) is a pain.
Also not to forget, all lanes, resistors, transistors, LED’s and many more SMD’s are placed there for a purpose. One of witch is to reduce the amount of electronic noise. And Cherry MX or Kailh standard switches are not really small form factor.
Q: Why Kailh choc?
Because they are super small. Cherry MX and Kailh standard are bulky for my traveling use case. For example, take a look at the Ferris Sweep. It is quite small.
Q: Why not go for a Ferris Sweep?
I like the UHK that much. Also their software for configuration of the UHK is amazingly well put together. And for a daily keyboard UHK v2 and a traveling ferris, that’s not something i want. As the ferris is orthogonal the UHK is staggered. So it will take some time to get used to both formats.