Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

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Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Tue May 01, 2012 1:19 am

It seems that after the RK-9000 mechanical keyboards went MIA for a few months then reappeared, it was with a slightly modified design. Now, instead of the captive braided cable with strain relief (like mine has), they have a mini-USB jack on the keyboard, and come with a generic USB cable. A user-replaceable cable may not sound like a bad thing (and many people might even consider it a plus); however, the mini-USB jack on the keyboard is not very sturdy. Lateral pressure on the protruding USB cable can fracture the solder on the tabs that help secure the connector to the internal PCB, causing the jack to push into the keyboard the next time the cable is plugged in. This renders the keyboard inoperable since it is impossible to properly seat the USB cable.

The RK-9000-BL my son has been using since late last year recently suffered this fate.

Rather than potentially pay the shipping for an RMA or run afoul of the recent issues Newegg apparently has with shipping keyboards to Illinois, I cracked the "warranty void if removed" sticker covering one of the screws, opened the sucker up, and repaired it myself. The connector is now soldered down using PROPER solder (60/40 tin/lead the way God intended, none of this lead-free crap... :lol:), and I also swapped the Rosewill-supplied cable for a right-angle one which should reduce the chances of a repeat.
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Tue May 01, 2012 1:55 am

Damn, are they cheaping out now? :o
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Tue May 01, 2012 2:05 am

Flying Fox wrote:Damn, are they cheaping out now? :o

Afraid so. While repairing the RK-9000-BL I also noted that the outer casing feels a little cheaper than my (older) RK-9000, and the fold-out feet don't have rubber pads on them.

I guess now I am less annoyed that we can't have them shipped to Illinois any more. If/when I want a new Cherry mechanical I'll probably just buy a Das instead...
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Tue May 01, 2012 2:17 am

just brew it! wrote:I guess now I am less annoyed that we can't have them shipped to Illinois any more. If/when I want a new Cherry mechanical I'll probably just buy a Das instead...

I don't think Das has all 4 spring types available as in the Rosewill. I like their choices of the spring types. Not that I am in a hurry to try Cherry springs since I am ok with Model M, but still... :-?
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Tue May 01, 2012 2:28 am

Flying Fox wrote:
just brew it! wrote:I guess now I am less annoyed that we can't have them shipped to Illinois any more. If/when I want a new Cherry mechanical I'll probably just buy a Das instead...

I don't think Das has all 4 spring types available as in the Rosewill. I like their choices of the spring types. Not that I am in a hurry to try Cherry springs since I am ok with Model M, but still... :-?

I believe that's correct -- Das only offers the blue and brown switches AFAIK, which is fine with me since I prefer the blues, and if I had to switch (for noise reasons in an office environment) I would go for the browns.

I suppose if my son ever needs another Cherry black/red 'board he'll have to look elsewhere (or have an RK-9000-BL/R shipped to an out-of-state friend...)

Given that they're individual mechanical switches it shouldn't be difficult to refurb our existing keyboards if the need ever arises though; IIRC Digi-Key sells bare Cherry switch mechanisms!
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Tue May 01, 2012 2:29 am

And they're rated for like a bajillion cycles so they're unlikely to break anytime soon.
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Tue May 01, 2012 2:32 am

ChronoReverse wrote:And they're rated for like a bajillion cycles so they're unlikely to break anytime soon.

They're not particularly spill resistant though, so an errant cola or beer could be problematic if the keyboard really gets drenched. I tend to be pretty careful with liquids around my keyboards, but some people (e.g. my son!) may not be...
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Tue May 01, 2012 12:56 pm

Not sure about Rosewill stuff, but I like the removable USB cable on my current keyboard. It is attached like this:

Image

There are 3 ways to route the detachable cable, and even when it is "routed" through the middle "slot", it has a pretty snug fit and is not easy to disconnect when moving keyboard around the desk... But then again, my keyboard is always stationary (I don't have those stupid "sliding trays", I just have large, flat surface on my desk). Does Rosewill make it different?
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Tue May 01, 2012 1:30 pm

JohnC wrote:Not sure about Rosewill stuff, but I like the removable USB cable on my current keyboard. It is attached like this:
...

That looks fine to me. Unfortunately, the (new) Rosewill design has the connector on the upper edge of the keyboard housing, where it is going to get bumped/bashed. You can kind of see it if you zoom in on the third picture on this product page.
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Tue May 01, 2012 1:39 pm

Yea, I just looked at Newegg's photos... That connector really looks bad, pretty disappointing for a $100 keyboard.
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Tue May 01, 2012 2:26 pm

Forgot to mention, for good measure I also stuck an adhesive cable tie base next to the jack, and zip tied the new right-angle USB cable in place. This should prevent any mechanical stress on the USB connector, yet still allows the cable to be replaced down the road if needed (just cut the zip tie).

I also posted an updated review at Newegg (it hasn't shown up yet) knocking my original 5-egg review (from last year) down to 3. They lose one egg for the crappy new connector design, and another one for refusing to do whatever it is they need to do to legally sell them in IL.
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Tue May 01, 2012 3:05 pm

just brew it! wrote:I also posted an updated review at Newegg (it hasn't shown up yet) knocking my original 5-egg review (from last year) down to 3. They lose one egg for the crappy new connector design, and another one for refusing to do whatever it is they need to do to legally sell them in IL.


Eh, I don't think they really care about those review thingies, especially considering that the overall score is still perfect "5 eggs" for this model...
Anyway, if you'll be looking for another mechanical keyboard - you should look at Ducky keyboards too. I got one, with Cherry Blacks and backlighting, it seems very well-built with a heavy weight and thick plastic everywhere, and they make keyboards with all sorts of switches - Black/Blue/Brown/Red, even with ALPS switches. They sell both "regular" and backlit models. The only issue is that they're all somewhat expensive, since there's not many retailers selling these (I got mine from www.tigerimports.net)
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Tue May 01, 2012 9:17 pm

do you think you could perhaps post a guide/information as to how you repaired yours? currently in the same boat and i'd rather do the repairs myself as opposed to RMAing it for another timebomb. i likie the keyboard very much, would appreciate some guidance on doing these repairs/soldering so as I go about it properly.
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Tue May 01, 2012 9:29 pm

im assuming ripsters guide here:
http://geekhack.org/showwiki.php?title=Island:6342

can be applied in this situation?
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Tue May 01, 2012 9:51 pm

tailspin wrote:im assuming ripsters guide here:
http://geekhack.org/showwiki.php?title=Island:6342

can be applied in this situation?

Yeah, that'll work for getting it apart.

The connector is held down by two tiny tabs that go through the PCB and are soldered to the reverse side. Not very strong. The failure mode is that the solder fractures, and the tabs pull through the PCB.

You need to bend the connector back into place, and re-solder the tabs. I used some solder wick to remove the old (presumably lead-free) solder first, then used 60/40 leaded solder to reattach the tabs. (Leaded solder is less prone to stress fractures than lead-free.)

Hopefully the wires running into the connector from the PCB are just bent, but still intact; if they're broken, your job just got a lot harder.

Then I replaced the stock cable with one of these, and tied the cable down so that the plug can't move.

I've got a couple of pics but they're on my camera at home (I am still at the office tonight).

Edit: I actually thought about epoxying the connector down for even more mechanical stability, but decided against it in case I ever need to remove or replace the connector entirely. I was also a little concerned about possibly getting epoxy inside the connector, which would ruin it.
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Wed May 02, 2012 3:17 pm

Found a review comparing the "first gen" and the "new gen":
http://www.pcper.com/reviews/General-Te ... BR-RK-9000

So the change may be based on feedback?
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Wed May 02, 2012 3:39 pm

Flying Fox wrote:Found a review comparing the "first gen" and the "new gen":
http://www.pcper.com/reviews/General-Te ... BR-RK-9000

So the change may be based on feedback?


Perhaps, but it was done in a cheapest way possible, with 0 thinking about durability of the connection area over the time. There are much more better solutions available, from companies who employ the intelligent human beings as designers:
1) The way that Ducky keyboard maker does it (see my photo).
2) The way that Deck keyboards have it (the separate PS2 and USB connectors are both inside the keyboard and not visible/accessible from outside, you just select which one you want to use BEFORE ordering the keyboard and Deck does all connections before sending it out... or you can simply open up the keyboard and switch to whatever connector you prefer AFTER you receive it - opening up the keyboard does NOT void the warranty).

Both ways put a "strain" on cable itself, not on the connector.
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Wed May 02, 2012 4:02 pm

Yes, detachable/replaceable cables are usually a good thing. But not when they're done the way Rosewill did it on the new RK-9000s. Too exposed, and too fragile.

They could've at least used a sturdier full-sized USB connector instead of a fragile mini-USB...
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Wed May 02, 2012 9:41 pm

Some pics from the repair...

The loose connector:
Image

Underside of PCB, where you can see that the retention tabs have pulled out of the solder that was used to secure them:
Image

Old solder has been cleaned off:
Image

Connector bent back into place and re-soldered:
Image

Replacement right-angle cable with cable ties securing it to the keyboard (wish I'd had a black cable tie base, but oh well):
Image
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Thu May 03, 2012 5:35 pm

The Ducky arrangement JohnC shows is the right way to do it, IMHO, as it removes strain from the connector and allows you to route the cable in whichever direction is appropriate for your setup without having a stupid rigid connector sticking out, but the cable routing options for the sides should go all the way to the edge of the keyboard. The perfect arrangement for me, though I've never seen it, would be to have that style of recessed USB connector at the back and also at the left and right edges, with an internal hub set up so that whichever two connectors are free can still be used to connect other USB devices (a mouse or wireless USB mouse transceiver, compact thumb drive, etc). That would add to the price, of course, but I'm already willing to pay over $50 for a mechanical keyboard so...
just brew it! wrote:Edit: I actually thought about epoxying the connector down for even more mechanical stability, but decided against it in case I ever need to remove or replace the connector entirely. I was also a little concerned about possibly getting epoxy inside the connector, which would ruin it.
That was exactly my first idea, but that's a good point. I think I still would've gone ahead and surrounded it with something like plumber's putty or caulk, which help hold it in place without being as permanent as glue.
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Thu May 03, 2012 5:59 pm

Here, just buy this one. It's the original IBM Model M, only rebranded, and with USB connector. I've been using mine for 4 years now, and expect another 20 to 30 years.

http://pckeyboard.com/page/Classic/UB4044A
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Thu May 03, 2012 6:42 pm

moresmarterthanspock wrote:Here, just buy this one. It's the original IBM Model M, only rebranded, and with USB connector. I've been using mine for 4 years now, and expect another 20 to 30 years.

http://pckeyboard.com/page/Classic/UB4044A

I own a couple of the PS/2 model. As I've mentioned in another thread, I got annoyed that the spring tension was very noticeably different between the two (one at home, one at work), so I decided to switch to something with Cherry blue switches.
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Thu May 03, 2012 7:35 pm

I suppose I will have to get a keyboard with the Cherry switches. I have no clue what they are even like. Are the clicks as audible as the Model M? Different feel?
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Thu May 03, 2012 8:23 pm

moresmarterthanspock wrote:I suppose I will have to get a keyboard with the Cherry switches. I have no clue what they are even like. Are the clicks as audible as the Model M? Different feel?


Find some local retail store like BestBuy which sells Corsair and Razer keyboards (or something else), go there and try out the models with mechanical switches. Different type of switches have different feedback/noise. If you want to read about different type of switches - here's a little guide about all of them:
http://www.overclock.net/t/491752/mecha ... oard-guide
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Fri May 04, 2012 11:38 am

moresmarterthanspock wrote:I suppose I will have to get a keyboard with the Cherry switches. I have no clue what they are even like. Are the clicks as audible as the Model M? Different feel?

Subjectively I'd say Cherry blue switches are about as loud as buckling springs, but the noise is a bit higher pitched (more of a "tick" than a "clack"). Like buckling spring, they can be quite loud if you bottom out the keys hard when you type.

They have a slightly softer touch than buckling spring, both in terms of the amount of pressure required to depress the keys and how pronounced the tactile "bump" is. Unlike buckling spring, the transmission of the key "release" event on the upstroke does not coincide exactly to the point of tactile feedback (though it is very close).

The profile of the key rows on all the Cherry-based 'boards I've seen is not be as deeply "scooped" as the classic Model M design.

Note that all of the above is for Cherry blue switches (which IMO are the best ones to type on); other types of Cherry switches have very different characteristics. Gamers, for example, often prefer black or red (non-tactile); and brown (still tactile but quieter) are better suited to quiet office environments.
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Fri May 04, 2012 11:57 am

just brew it! wrote:Subjectively I'd say Cherry blue switches are about as loud as buckling springs, but the noise is a bit higher pitched (more of a "tick" than a "clack"). Like buckling spring, they can be quite loud if you bottom out the keys hard when you type.


I have a RK-9000 with blue switches and I always bottom out the keys. I was thinking about trying out these O-Ring Switch Dampeners: http://www.wasdkeyboards.com/index.php/cherry-mx-rubber-switch-dampeners.html

I have seen mixed reviews so far. Has anyone used these with a RK-9000? Any thoughts?
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Fri May 04, 2012 12:47 pm

Hmmm I wonder who the oem is for rosewill?

Looks more like a leopold than a filco

http://www.diatec.co.jp/en/list.php?cate_c=1

http://elitekeyboards.com/products.php?sub=leopold
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Fri May 04, 2012 12:56 pm

The original RK-9000s were more like the Filcos. IIRC there was even a pic on a forum somewhere where someone opened up an original RK-9000 and the PCB had a Filco logo on it!

I suspect they have switched OEMs...
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Thu Oct 04, 2012 11:10 pm

After TR posted the Rosewill keyboard sale in the Weekend Deals, I ended up with the RK-9000BR (Cherry MX browns). Decision was mainly informed by the need to avoid excess noise. I had an actual buckling-spring keyboard for a while in the late '90s and can't deal with that kind of clatter anymore.

I had forgotten how nice it is to have a keyboard that doesn't feel like a tray of Jell-O. The position of the USB connector is (still) every bit as bad as indicated by JBI, but on my desk that shouldn't be much of an issue since the keyboard doesn't get moved around much. The only other annoyances are the blue LEDs for the (n)-LOCK indicators. At some point after the warranty expires, I might change those to a dim green or yellow.
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Fri Oct 05, 2012 8:38 am

Even if you're pretty careful with it, I'd still suggest swapping the cable for a right angle one (and maybe even tying it down like I did) to minimize the chances of a mishap.
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