Cherry MX O-Rings

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Cherry MX O-Rings

Postposted on Fri Oct 04, 2013 10:32 pm

So I installed one of WASD's O-Ring kits on one of my mechanicals tonight. I used the 40A-L kit. I have not done a lot of typing on it yet (pretty much just this post), but I have to say, they do seem to work as advertised. The tactile character and "tick" of the Cherry blue switches at their actuation point is not affected, but the loud "clack" of the keys bottoming out is gone. The larger keys (spacebar, Enter, etc.) still make a bit of a "clack" if you release them quickly, but overall the keyboard is much quieter.

A few other thoughts and observations...

- Installing these things is pretty tedious since you've got to remove each keycap, slip the o-ring over the stem, put the cap back on, and depress it fully and firmly several times to properly seat the o-ring.

- I suggest pulling all of the caps off first (or at least doing them a row at a time) instead of singly. This will give you a chance to clean under the keycaps. Have some compressed air, tweezers, and Q-Tips handy. There was an incredible amount of "board chow" and hair (both mine and our dog's...) around the switch mechanisms. Yuck. (And how does dog hair get in there anyway, she doesn't climb on the desk like a cat does?)

- Use a keycap puller tool. Trying to pry the keycaps off with a screwdriver is a sure-fire way to damage some of your keycaps. The puller will work on all of the keys except for the spacebar; the spacebar can easily be removed by hand after the Alt keys on either side of it have been pulled.

- The larger keys (spacebar, Enter, etc.) have wire stabilizers under them to keep them level even when they are pressed off-center. You need to pull the cap off the switch stem carefully, then gently unhook the wire stabilizer from the keycap using needlenose pliers before removing the keycap the rest of the way.

- The o-rings should work on most makes and models of Cherry-based keyboards, not just WASD's own line of keyboards. (Mine is a Rosewill RK-9000.)

- I'm thinking that this mod may actually help reduce typing fatigue as well as reducing noise. I do tend to bottom the keys out sometimes, so the "soft landing" is probably better for my fingers.

- I will probably swap this keyboard for its twin at work on Monday (my co-workers will appreciate the noise reduction), then do the other one the next time I feel like spending an hour doing something mindless.
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Re: Cherry MX O-Rings

Postposted on Mon Oct 07, 2013 10:24 pm

Swapped the one I modded last Friday for the one at work today, and just finished modding the one I brought home. I'm quite happy with them. At work today I could even type while on a conference call without worrying about drowning out the call if I bottomed out any of the keys! :wink:
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Re: Cherry MX O-Rings

Postposted on Mon Oct 07, 2013 11:32 pm

Not sure how I missed your first post- must be working too much :).

But I'm definitely interested in putting these both on my shelved Blackwidow with Blues, and my RK-9000 with Browns (quiet as it already is). I tend to bottom out constantly due to having to use old, abused Quietkeys at work. They have to be beaten into submission, after all.
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Re: Cherry MX O-Rings

Postposted on Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:03 am

Well the conference call convinced me. I'm going to pick up a set for myself and see how different it feels/sounds. If it works nicely, I'll probably take a modded Rosewill to work. I think the Dell keyboard I'm using is at least 12 years old...and has never been cleaned...
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Re: Cherry MX O-Rings

Postposted on Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:08 am

superjawes wrote:I think the Dell keyboard I'm using is at least 12 years old...and has never been cleaned...

Image
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Re: Cherry MX O-Rings

Postposted on Tue Oct 08, 2013 8:17 am

I've tried these http://www.elitekeyboards.com/products.php?sub=access,slpads&pid=sl120_cs on an XArmor U9BL-S. They're more like pads punched from a sheet than o-rings. They were sort of a wash, with things I liked and things I didn't like. I wound up removing them after a week or so. They nearly completely silenced the MX-Brown click, but I'd say their greatest benefit was to as "training wheels" to help me to stop bottoming out the keys.
just brew it! wrote:I'm thinking that this mod may actually help reduce typing fatigue as well as reducing noise.
I think the length of the stroke and pressure needed both contribute to typing fatigue. O-rings (or pads, as above) reduce the length, but don't change the pressure noticeably. I wonder if (something like) heavier o-rings (or key-tops) could help with that (unless/until Cherry makes lighter weight Brown's).
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Re: Cherry MX O-Rings

Postposted on Tue Oct 08, 2013 8:24 am

Captain Ned wrote:<gross picture was here>
Looks like a lot of late nights hacking/debugging eating pizza. :-?
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Re: Cherry MX O-Rings

Postposted on Tue Oct 08, 2013 8:29 am

Captain Ned wrote:
superjawes wrote:I think the Dell keyboard I'm using is at least 12 years old...and has never been cleaned...

[gross] /img

I think I just threw up a little...

But yes...without removing keys, it looks that bad.
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Re: Cherry MX O-Rings

Postposted on Tue Oct 08, 2013 9:39 am

I have a couple of additional tips related to the large keys with the stabilizer wires (Spacebar, Shift, Enter, etc.). This applies to the Rosewills, and any other makes/models which use the standard plate mount clip-and-stabilizer mechanisms (e.g. the ones WASD sells, I would assume the Filcos, etc.)

- You can do the o-ring installation without disconnecting the keycap from the stabilizer. This is a good thing, because it reduces the chances of damaging the stabilizer wires. With the adjacent keycaps removed, pop the keycap off the switch, but leave it hooked to the stabilizer. Use a pair of tweezers to slip the o-ring over the stem of the keycap. It helps to prop the keyboard up on its edge while doing this so that gravity isn't working against you.

- Be gentle when pulling the caps on the stabilized keys. Unlike the normal keys, it isn't safe to just yank straight up on the keycap puller. Work it gently until the cap pops free. It turns out I damaged one of the stabilizer clips on the keyboard I did Friday; I noticed the Enter key behaving oddly this morning. The symptom was that if I hit the Enter key really far off-center *and* bottomed it out, it would stick down until I hit it again on-center. What was happening was that the damaged clip was lifting partway out of the mounting plate when the key was hit off-center, and dropping back into place when the key was hit on-center. My temporary fix (just implemented a few minutes ago) was to swap the damaged clip for one from a less frequently used key; I used Right-Shift as the donor, since I already had that cap removed to get a better look at the Enter key mechanism. If you have a keyboard which uses the plate-mounted clips shown in the above link, I suggest ordering a few spare ones when you order your o-rings. Heck, they're only 35 cents each if you order a set of 5 so it's cheap insurance against this particular flavor of screwup.
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Re: Cherry MX O-Rings

Postposted on Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:26 am

I am going to have to order a set....The wife hates my Filco. LOL
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Re: Cherry MX O-Rings

Postposted on Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:50 am

tanker27 wrote:I am going to have to order a set....The wife hates my Filco. LOL

Fortunately for me, my home office is in a far corner of the basement so noise wasn't a huge issue there.

At work the noise was more of an issue, but my officemate had already gotten used to my old buckling spring Unicomp so it wasn't a show-stopper. The RK-9000 is definitely more workplace-friendly with the o-rings though.

As noted previously, ergonomics is also a consideration. As I've gotten older, I get a lot more random aches and pains in various joints. I figure anything that lessens the impact on my finger joints is probably a good thing!
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Re: Cherry MX O-Rings

Postposted on Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:20 pm

just brew it! wrote:...my home office is in a far corner of the basement so noise wasn't a huge issue...
In my last TeleCon, I actually felt the need to apologize (in advance) for the noise my keyboard was making as I took furious notes (mostly about how they were not-completely-correct (though no one admitted to hearing the/any clacking)).

Back on point, I think I'll try the real o-rings on my (white (eeek (though the unmodified USB connector has held up))) RK9000BRI. I find myself missing the Filco FKBN104MEB, so the Rosewill needs *something* if it hopes to reclaim first place :)
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Re: Cherry MX O-Rings

Postposted on Wed Oct 09, 2013 10:01 am

JBI: Thank you, thank you thank you!

Also, thank you! Did I mention I wanted to thank you? Thanks!

I've been looking everywhere for a detailed first hand report of the impact (pun unindented), pros, and cons of the O-Rings. I am considering eventually ordering a WASD tenkeyless with Green switches as I type with hammer-like strength, and people complain about the noise even if I'm typing on a rubber dome keyboard. I guess that playing guitar pays off somehow...

However, much like anyone, I hate keyboard noise, so now I'm more or less convinced that my idea is clicking all the keys just right (pun intended). I just hope it doesn't bottom out (groan).
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Re: Cherry MX O-Rings

Postposted on Fri Oct 11, 2013 3:41 pm

morphine wrote:JBI: Thank you, thank you thank you!

You're welcome!

Also just wanted to give WASD a shout-out here. On Wednesday afternoon I ordered spare stabilizer clips, some other spare parts (as a hedge against future mishaps), and an extra keycap puller tool (one for home, one for work). I opted for the cheapest shipping option (USPS, at $2.07). The order arrived today! :o

The damaged clip under the Right-Shift key has been replaced, and the keyboard is 100% again.
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Re: Cherry MX O-Rings

Postposted on Fri Oct 11, 2013 4:34 pm

Which thickness of O-Rings did you use, 0.2mm or 0.4 ?
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Re: Cherry MX O-Rings

Postposted on Fri Oct 11, 2013 4:45 pm

0.2 mm

The rings themselves actually look thicker than that. I'm assuming the 0.2 mm refers to the thickness when they compress as you bottom the key out.
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Re: Cherry MX O-Rings

Postposted on Sun Oct 20, 2013 9:18 pm

All right, add one more person concurring on the awesomeness of these rings. Takes some patience to get them all installed, especially on any keys with stabilizing bars, but once they're in. the keyboard is MUCH quieter.

So I am going to look at new mechanical keyboards and transplant one with such rings to my work computer so I can enjoy the same typing experience at work.
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Re: Cherry MX O-Rings

Postposted on Sun Oct 20, 2013 10:23 pm

superjawes wrote:All right, add one more person concurring on the awesomeness of these rings. Takes some patience to get them all installed, especially on any keys with stabilizing bars, but once they're in. the keyboard is MUCH quieter.

As long as you're gentle pulling the caps on the stabilized keys it isn't a big deal. Of course, I wasn't gentle enough on the first keyboard I modded, resulting in the busted plastic stabilizer clip I mentioned previously. If this is the first time you're installing o-rings, just make sure you order a few spare stabilizer clips along with the o-rings.

superjawes wrote:So I am going to look at new mechanical keyboards and transplant one with such rings to my work computer so I can enjoy the same typing experience at work.

If you're willing to pay their prices, you can order one from WASD with the o-rings pre-installed. It all depends on how much you're willing to spend to avoid the hassle of DIY o-ring installation. If I was ordering a new mechanical today I would consider it; but given that I already owned a pair of RK-9000s the retrofit was definitely the way to go for me.
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Re: Cherry MX O-Rings

Postposted on Mon Oct 21, 2013 6:15 am

I didn't order any extra stabilizers, but since I knew about them beforehand (thanks to this thread), I was careful and didn't damage any.

As for the new one, I'll probably just end up with another Rosewill like the one I got my wife last year and have to mod it. I can probably mod hers at the same time, too.
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Re: Cherry MX O-Rings

Postposted on Mon Oct 21, 2013 8:47 am

I've contacted WASD and sucks that for the time being they don't have Green models or a timeframe, though they want to. Seems that switch shipments from Cherry are kinda erratic.
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Re: Cherry MX O-Rings

Postposted on Mon Oct 21, 2013 8:50 am

morphine wrote:I've contacted WASD and sucks that for the time being they don't have Green models or a timeframe, though they want to. Seems that switch shipments from Cherry are kinda erratic.


:( Green switches + O-rings + standard no frills, no media keys, no backlight, ten key included is what I want at this point. I'm willing to pay for it too. Be sure to post if you hear anything!
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Re: Cherry MX O-Rings

Postposted on Mon Oct 21, 2013 9:04 am

Captain Ned wrote:
superjawes wrote:I think the Dell keyboard I'm using is at least 12 years old...and has never been cleaned...

Image


that's not too bad, but still nasty.

even though i don't have a mechanical and i don't eat/drink over mine i still take it apart once every months or so
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Re: Cherry MX O-Rings

Postposted on Mon Oct 21, 2013 10:17 am

morphine wrote:I've contacted WASD and sucks that for the time being they don't have Green models or a timeframe, though they want to. Seems that switch shipments from Cherry are kinda erratic.

It wouldn't surprise me if the volume of MX switches sold has increased tenfold over the past couple of years. I'll bet Cherry is having trouble keeping up with demand.
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Re: Cherry MX O-Rings

Postposted on Mon Oct 21, 2013 10:30 am

just brew it! wrote:
morphine wrote:I've contacted WASD and sucks that for the time being they don't have Green models or a timeframe, though they want to. Seems that switch shipments from Cherry are kinda erratic.

It wouldn't surprise me if the volume of MX switches sold has increased tenfold over the past couple of years. I'll bet Cherry is having trouble keeping up with demand.

Well I think we've had this conversation before, but Cherry is the popular supplier of mechanical switches these days. There's Unicomp for Model M style switches, and Alps (maybe?) floating around here and there, but everything else is either rubber or Cherry.

I'm very happy that they exist, but having a virtual monopoly on mechanical switches is going to strain how many they can supply.
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Re: Cherry MX O-Rings

Postposted on Tue Oct 22, 2013 8:54 am

Well butts. Remember how Newegg wouldn't ship Rosewill keyboards to Illinois? Apparently that has now extended to the 9000I keyboards...which is really weird because I got my wife's keyboard shipped here last year.
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Re: Cherry MX O-Rings

Postposted on Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:30 am

superjawes wrote:Well butts. Remember how Newegg wouldn't ship Rosewill keyboards to Illinois? Apparently that has now extended to the 9000I keyboards...which is really weird because I got my wife's keyboard shipped here last year.

Allowing the 9000I to be shipped to you last year was probably a mistake on their part. Or maybe they switched contract manufacturers. IIRC it was unclear whether enforcement of the IL electronics recycling law is tied to the reseller/rebrander or the company they contract the manufacturing out to.
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Re: Cherry MX O-Rings

Postposted on Tue Oct 22, 2013 7:49 pm

While waiting for someone to actually ship the 'perfect' product for me, that being a standard 104-key layout with MX-Browns and white backlighting, I ordered a Max Keyboard Nighthawk X8 with the white backlighting option, and added the O-rings with installation. Nice thing is, that if you 'like' their page on Facebook (I understand if you're averse) and send them a message with a screenshot of their page as proof (as listed on their promotions page), they'll send you a 10% off coupon. The fact that they responded to my first emails for a quote and then responded to the FB message for the discount earned them my business.

I'll let y'all know how it feels- though I expect a better experience than my already excellent Rosewill with Browns, and the Blackwidow with Blues.
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Re: Cherry MX O-Rings

Postposted on Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:32 pm

Y'know... I've actually never used browns, and might not in the future. Blues + o-rings are "quiet enough" for me. I may give the browns a go if I ever need to buy another mechanical though.

I could imagine my existing pair of RK-9000s lasting a lifetime... or at least, until USB keyboard interfaces become obsolete, or Cherry stops making replacement switches. Even if I accidentally spill a beer into it and destroy a few of the switches, the mechanisms are individually replaceable. :D
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Re: Cherry MX O-Rings

Postposted on Wed Oct 23, 2013 12:41 am

The Blues in my Blackwidow come across as outright shrill- the Browns in my Rosewill are perfect, except for the bottoming out noise, of course. The X8 gives me dampening for bottoming out and white backlighting, so if it's not perfect, I'll let you know :).
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Re: Cherry MX O-Rings

Postposted on Wed Oct 23, 2013 3:08 am

Airmantharp wrote:While waiting for someone to actually ship the 'perfect' product for me, that being a standard 104-key layout with MX-Browns and white backlighting, I ordered a Max Keyboard Nighthawk X8 with the white backlighting option, and added the O-rings with installation.

That looks like an extremely overpriced product... Logitech's G710+ has a very good build quality, all MX Brown keys with very bright and adjustable white backlighting, already includes rubber rings for each key, has a separate USB connector for its built-in USB pass-through ports (so you get full current for these ports, not affected by keyboard's own power consumption), has a very useful volume scroll wheel and includes the (short but usable and easy to wash) wristpad- all that for about $120 (price varies slightly) with no rebates or Facebook spam :wink:
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