Tuesday, December 12, 2017

POS Macropad

The "Roy"

Some DSA POS keys from a grab bag, turns a 6 key macropad into 2. The top keycap covers 4 switches, the bottom 2 switches.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Stormtrooper Gherkin

Black and White Gherkin

Gherkin with blank (no legends) white PCB. The bottom is a sanded and dyed black PCB.

Gateron clear linear switches. LEGO Star Wars First Order Stormtrooper.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Black Pro Micro

Black Pro Micro from Aliexpress

Found these for sale on Aliexpress. Several sellers have them. They are also usually cheaper than the usual blue Pro Micros.

Other than having black soldermask, these are unusual as they use the larger ATmega32u4 package. It's the same chip as on the regular Pro Micro (44QFN), but in a larger form factor (44TQFP). They had to move the other components around to fit the larger chip.

The larger chip could make it easier to solder wires directly to the pins to make use of some of the extra io.

The power circuit seems to be identical to the blue Pro Micro's. It does not suffer from the problem the green Pro Micro does, and works fine in split keyboards.

 Top view. The chip barely fits on the board. This one has a green power LED and red TX/RX LEDs.

 Bottom view. No components. I have not seen any 3.3v ones for sale. Only 5v, 16Mhz ones.

 This is how it was packaged. It came with two 12pin headers.

 Side by side with the usual blue Pro Micro clone.

Two installed in a foobar.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

All PCB order

$5 PCB order from AllPCB

AllPCB is currently having a promotion for ten 100mm x 100mm PCBs for $5 shipped.

I ordered some of my 5x5 macropad PCBs. The ordering process is much different than EasyEDA. There is no online preview. It just asks for the size of the board. You have options for different finishes and soldermask colors. There is an actual human that then reviews your design and either accepts it or rejects it. They can either reject it as not producible (errors in design) or add additional charges if you are exceeding the design limits for the base price.

The order arrived via DHL. They are definitely losing money doing these orders.

The packaging is similar to EasyEDA's. They use a shrink wrap with a bubble wrap layer on the bottom and a clear plastic top. The plastic used is much thicker than EasyEDA's.

AllPCB on the left and EasyEDA on the right. Other than the slightly different green color there is no quality difference between the two.

I assembled a set from AllPCB and it works fine.

Monday, December 4, 2017


Gherkin Of The Week #9

Another Frankenstein 30% Edward Gherkin. Uses the same aluminum plate as this one. This might actually make a good controller for something.

 2U POS keycaps from PMK grab bag. These all have double shot defects.

 M2 Spacers and screws.

 The aluminum is bare 5052 alloy. Very strong, but scratches easily.

 The handles provide some protection for the key caps. Sort of like roll bars.

Keycaps are a mix of DSA and DCS profile.