Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Fri Oct 05, 2012 8:25 pm

ludi wrote: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.


I'm loving mine. Wish I could afford to buy ten and put them everywhere I need a keyboard.

Though some good white backlighting might be nice for some applications; I keep my gaming setup a little off-kilter, and finding the home row isn't always reflex, let alone finding specific keys.
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:26 pm

Disappointingly, the first thing to fail was the backspace key. In the course of one evening it began lagging, first a little bit and then a lot, and finally quit responding. Thereafter it would occasionally respond when struck from an extreme edge, but not reliably, and not always with predictable results.

So far the RMA process is mostly painless -- apply at Rosewill.com, receive prepaid UPS shipping label and instructions from Newegg the next day. I say "mostly" painless because in the meantime, I'm back on a Logitech K120. Oy vey, it's like typing on a wet sponge :-?
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:59 pm

ludi wrote:Disappointingly, the first thing to fail was the backspace key.
Wow, that is disappointing. I wonder how widespread such early failures are?
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Wed Nov 14, 2012 2:14 pm

Hopefully not too widespread, because I don't want to do this twice. Replacement is en route and supposed to be delivered tomorrow.

In the meantime, I noticed this keycap upgrade kit, which is kind of entertaining.
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:34 pm

The replacement arrived yesterday, and my fingers are happy once again.

Start to finish was roughly one full week including shipping, which is reasonable.
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:43 pm

That's a really decent time-frame. GJ on Newegg/Rosewill.

I already have a mechanical keyboard, but if I were purchasing one today I think it'd be a Leopold. I haven't heard many complaints about them. If someone would like to weigh in, feel free.

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

Postposted on Mon Dec 03, 2012 6:35 pm

Well now it looks like the '4' key on the numpad of my son's RK-9000BL has gone intermittent. No idea whether it's a random failure or if something (food/drink) got into it. Given that I already voided the warranty with the DIY USB connector repair (and it has been about a year since it was purchased so it would've probably been out of warranty anyhow), I guess I'm going to do a DIY switch replacement.

I figure I'll order a pile of spare Cherry MX switches (in both black and blue flavors) from Digi-Key; no point paying the shipping charges to buy a single 80 cent switch. I own two RK-9000s myself (which have both been trouble-free going on two years now), but I figure it's just a matter of time before I spill a soda or beer into one of them so having a few spare switches on hand would be a good idea!
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Tue Jan 01, 2013 4:14 pm

Heh. Turns out the key switch itself was just fine. The issue was a cracked solder joint where the switch was soldered to the PCB:
Image
Just re-soldered the switch and it works again. I re-soldered both pins; it looked like the other one (on the left) had the beginning of a fatigue crack as well.

I believe the underlying cause here was improper assembly -- it seemed like the switch was not mounted 100% flush to the PCB. This would've put extra stress on the solder joints every time the key was pressed, since the solder joints would take the entire impact. (With a properly mounted Cherry switch, all of the mechanical stress should be on the PCB and the metal face plate the switches are mounted through instead of on the solder joints.)

I made sure the switch was completely flush when I re-soldered it, and inspected the solder connections of all of the other switches for signs of damage.

I know a few other people have reported failure of individual keys on the RK-9000s. Perhaps these are also due to solder joint fatigue.
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Tue Jan 01, 2013 4:33 pm

This makes me want to disassemble mine and just reflow all the solder joints. Fun!
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Tue Jan 01, 2013 5:07 pm

FWIW I didn't just reflow the existing solder, I removed it and used fresh leaded solder. ROHS-compliant lead-free solder exacerbates solder joint fatigue issues, as it is more brittle than the traditional 60/40 tin/lead formulation.

Edit: If you do decide to reflow, I would press firmly on each key from the top (keyboard) side while reflowing its solder joints, to ensure that the switch is seated flush against the PCB. TBH I don't think there's much point opening it up just to reflow the connections unless you're already having problems.
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Tue Jan 01, 2013 6:29 pm

Yeah...wasn't going to actually do it, but if there is a problem it's nice to know I can check that before doing a return.

I do know about ROHS solder and the issues around it. I have some ROHS solder and some regular tin/lead...I do tend to use the latter for repairs or lower-temperature uses and the former when I can get away with the higher temps.
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Tue Jan 01, 2013 6:37 pm

MadManOriginal wrote:Yeah...wasn't going to actually do it, but if there is a problem it's nice to know I can check that before doing a return.

Unfortunately, in order to check you'll need to break the "warranty void if removed" sticker over one of the screws. So you're basically committing to a DIY repair at that point.
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Tue Jan 01, 2013 9:15 pm

Recently I bought a Razer Nostromo to play Mechwarrior Online, it's the first device I've ever had with mechanical switches.

Until I bought the Nostromo I never considered a mechanical keyboard. More and more I want to buy a new Keyboard but I'm afraid I may not like it after some time with it. MWO does not require a lot of quick key switching, it's more of a slow ballet when it comes to mech movement, so I have no idea how a mechanical KB will pan out when I'm playing more fast paced games like Space Marine and the like.

Currently I have a Logitech G510 and frankly I like it, it's a great KB, but if I did buy a new KB what would you guys point me to? I do need Macros, Media/volume buttons, and backlighting are a must. Noise is not an issue because my Corsaire 1500 Headset blocks out everything.
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Thu Jan 03, 2013 1:47 pm

In retrospect, I'll bet the unit I RMA'd had the same problem. The switch never changed its "feel" and since it was the backspace key, operating it from an extreme side (i.e., torquing the switch ever so slightly) would sometimes trigger a response. That would be reasonably consistent with an intermittent solder joint.
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Thu Jan 03, 2013 3:55 pm

ludi wrote:In retrospect, I'll bet the unit I RMA'd had the same problem. The switch never changed its "feel" and since it was the backspace key, operating it from an extreme side (i.e., torquing the switch ever so slightly) would sometimes trigger a response. That would be reasonably consistent with an intermittent solder joint.

Yup, I'd bet money that it was the exact same issue.
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Sun Mar 03, 2013 6:01 pm

Mission accomplished, with thanks to JBI!

I just finished doing exactly the same repair shown above, and have returned my all-time favorite keyboard to service.
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:24 am

Had to re-solder the right arrow switch last night. In this case the switch seemed to be seated properly; but when I reheated the existing joints the solder wicked down into the holes around the pins until there was almost none left on the surface of the PCB. That shouldn't happen if a sufficient quantity of solder was used in the first place. So it looks like I've found yet another QA issue for RK-9000s manufactured towards the end of 2011.
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Fri Sep 06, 2013 5:24 am

Annoyingly, I now have this issue.

I am trying to unscrew it, because my Warranty is out, and I found three screws, but can't get it off. Is there a final screw under the Serial # part? What do I have to do to fix it? I don't have a Solder tool.


*Having taken the sticker off, it is a sealed plastic hole...no screw or way of entry. Nothing I can do.

I took the 3 screws off that are visable...? What can I do.

I got it open...however, without a solder tool, how can I do this?

The more I read, the more I see I need one. Can anyone recommend me a decent priced one, that comes with all I need? at the same time, a better USB cable that doesn't add tension?

Or could I just somehow glue it down? Probably not, eh?

This be good?

http://www.amazon.com/StarTech-com-Mini ... cable+left

I like to use PS/2 mode though for full NKRO....
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Fri Sep 06, 2013 9:06 am

Yes, you will need a soldering iron and some solder. A basic set of soldering tools for this type of component-level electronics repair would include:

1. 40W pencil-style iron
2. rosin-core solder
3a. desoldering braid
-or-
3b. vacuum desoldering tool

Many local Radio Shack stores stock these. Or order them online if you don't have a local Radio Shack.

The solder I linked above is "old school" lead-based solder. You can substitute lead-free if you'd like, but leaded solder is more durable (that's what we want here!) and flows at a lower temperature (making it easier to work with).

The cable you linked looks like the one I used as a replacement; one of the pictures earlier in this thread shows how I tied it down to eliminate stress on the USB connector. I would not recommend glue, since the glue could get into the electrical contacts and screw things up.
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Fri Sep 06, 2013 2:32 pm

Hmm, I like ordering online really, Amazon always has great prices and free shipping. Most Solder I've looked up however, is lead free.


Also is there like a video guide showing how to solder? use the s older braid, ect? I don't want to mess this up.
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Fri Sep 06, 2013 7:30 pm

I signed up at this site mostly to say thanks to JBI for the directions and pics that got my favorite keyboard working again.

There are a whole bunch of videos on YouTube showing how to solder. But you may want to practice on some scrap wires etc. to get the feel for it. The smallest quantities of solder/flux/braid you can buy would be enough to do ~100 of these repair jobs...

In my case, the connector has pins that stick through, and were soldered to, the board. Those pins broke free from the solder, causing the connector to angle up, breaking the ground contact. All the smaller wires/pins that carry the USB signals were stressed, but otherwise fine, so I didn't have to mess with those. As a test, if I held the connector such that the pins made contact, the keyboard would work again.

I had blobs of solder that stayed with the board, but the connector pins were clean, telling me that the connector never got enough flux/heat for the solder to stick to them. Desoldering meant removing the blobs from the board, so was fairly easy. All I had to do was put the solder wick over the blobs, with the soldering iron above the wick, and wait a bit. I repeated this two or three times till the board was relatively clean.

Then I clamped (with a needle-nose Vice Grip) the connector in place with the pins through the holes, painted some flux over pins, hit it with the pointy tip of the soldering iron mostly on the connector's pins, till the flux started to sizzle (and lightly smoke). Then fed the solder into right where the iron tip contacted the pin until it formed a shiny blob that covered the pins. Then moved to the other pin. If the joint is shiny and smooth after it cools, you've done a great job. If dull/gray/lumpy/pitted, you didn't use enough heat.

I used less than an inch of the thinnest 60/40 rosin-core solder I could find at Radio Shack. The only real trick is to evenly heat both surfaces of the joint, which usually means getting more heat on the side with more thermal mass. Note that the 60/40 stuff melts at a lower temperature than the lead-free stuff.
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Fri Sep 06, 2013 9:35 pm

Makes no sense to me, but basically melt some lead solder so the connector stays down, I have the same problem as you, if I hold it down ,it works.
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Fri Sep 06, 2013 11:07 pm

The bottom line is, you want to bend it back into place, solder it down, and reduce potential stress on the connector going forward.

Think of solder as electrically conductive hot (very hot!) melt glue. The correct way to solder two pieces of metal together is to heat the pieces to be joined, so that the solder can "wet" both pieces decently and flow into the crevices before it cools and hardens.

Also... applying flux like MarkG509 suggested is optional, as long as you use rosin core solder like the stuff I recommended. Rosin core solder is an "all-in-one" product, which should not need additional flux. And don't use acid flux on electronics... rosin flux only!
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Sat Sep 07, 2013 2:13 am

I'm going to Radioshack tomorrow / today to pick up what I need, maybe watch a few YouTube videos of people soldering stuff so I can get an idea.

I noticed only the left side little solder bit has fallen off, but would it be a good idea to remove it, and solder one big solder holding both sides of it down?
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Sat Sep 07, 2013 9:10 am

Mkilbride wrote:I'm going to Radioshack tomorrow / today to pick up what I need, maybe watch a few YouTube videos of people soldering stuff so I can get an idea.

I noticed only the left side little solder bit has fallen off, but would it be a good idea to remove it, and solder one big solder holding both sides of it down?

It might be helpful if you could post a picture. If you are getting the leaded solder, then I would say yes definitely use some desoldering wick to remove the existing (probably unleaded) solder from the holes where the tabs of the connector housing are supposed to poke through. Then use fresh solder on both. That should give you the strongest joint.
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Sat Sep 07, 2013 2:18 pm

Radioshack was closed for some odd reason, so maybe go back tomorrow, or order online. Not sure.

http://www.amazon.com/60-Watts-Solderin ... older+iron

http://www.amazon.com/Alpha-AT-31604-60 ... _hi_text_y

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003E4 ... PDKIKX0DER

Would this all work? Cheaper, too.


To get free shipping, I need an order of 25$ though ,my Prime ran out...hrm. Maybe I can upgrade the Soldering Iron by a few bucks...cause the shipping cost brings it to 26$, but if I can bring it to anything below 26$, it'll be cheaper and I get more.
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Sat Sep 07, 2013 2:30 pm

Those should work. You will need to be careful with the 60W iron though, as an unregulated 60W iron can easily get hot enough to damage stuff. The 40W I mentioned before is a good compromise in that it is less likely to cause heat damage, but still has enough muscle to deal with the thermal mass of small connector housings and ground planes on the circuit board.

Just don't hold the iron on there any longer than necessary to get the solder to flow and you should be fine.
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Sat Sep 07, 2013 3:15 pm

just brew it! wrote:You will need to be careful with the 60W iron though, as an unregulated 60W iron can easily get hot enough to damage stuff.

At 60W, you'll need to be fast...don't linger anywhere for too long. I used the Radio Shack 40/20W Dual Heat set on 20W, which gave me time to be careful.
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Sat Sep 07, 2013 3:28 pm

MarkG509 wrote:
just brew it! wrote:You will need to be careful with the 60W iron though, as an unregulated 60W iron can easily get hot enough to damage stuff.

At 60W, you'll need to be fast...don't linger anywhere for too long. I used the Radio Shack 40/20W Dual Heat set on 20W, which gave me time to be careful.

Yeah, 20-25W is generally recommended for delicate electronics work, but I've found that when connectors and/or ground planes are involved you may not get enough heat to properly flow the solder. For years I've been meaning to get one of the fancy soldering stations with the temperature-controlled tip, but in the meantime I just use the Radio Shack 40W whenever I'm dealing with anything that has a non-trivial thermal mass. Works well for replacing blown capacitors too (you need the higher wattage because capacitors are typically soldered between the ground and power planes, which act as big heat sinks).
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Re: Rosewill RK-9000 caveat

Postposted on Sat Sep 07, 2013 6:31 pm

just brew it! wrote:Yeah, 20-25W is generally recommended for delicate electronics work....

This lead-free ROHS stuff is just not ready for prime time. I have a Dell U2713HM that first lost its DP connector, then its DVI connector. All I did was raise/lower the monitor one too many times and found that the monitor would disconnect and reconnect often with no, or bad, EDID info. It could be some other cause, but I think I'll RMA this one without opening it.

Your post showing the broken key solder joints makes me think that the right-hand shift key on both my RK9000BR and RK9000BRI need repair. Both now often miss my right-pinky shifts, just often enough to be annoying. The newer BRI started doing that after a week of heavy documentation writing. If I get some time over the weekend, I'll crack open the BR (warranty already void) and have a look with my magnifying glass.
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