Part 2.0 – Switch Installation
- 2.1 | Tools and Stuff…(again)
- 2.2 | TESTING YOUR PCB
- 2.3 | Initial Switch Alignment
- 2.4 | Quick Guide to Soldering Switches
- 2.5 | Soldering Remaining Switches
- 2.6 | SNck BreK
2.1 | Tools and Stuff…(again)
A hobbyist should, and probably already does, have these basic tools in their fanny-pack of wonders. But These are the ones I recommend and use daily.
- A Good Temperature-Controlled Soldering IronThe Hakko FX-888D is the hobbyist standard for many and has been the single best choice for some time now. Smart design, good construction, underrated colorway.
- Solder Wire My Newest Favorite Being an Absolute Unit of Kester 60/40 .5mm ID Wire recommended by most of the 40% Discord. This roll is enough to last most people a lifetime.
2.2 | TESTING YOUR PCB
This step is purely a good practice to have in assembling any keyboard kit that is new from the factory/partially assembled by you.
A.) Plug your PCB into your computer of choice. Your Indicator LED Should Illuminate In Some Non-Specific Color*.
*MacOS, Unix, or Windows all should work out of box with a clean soldering job
B.) Open your favorite Key Tester (If you Have VIA installed already you can just open VIA’s Key Tester Tab).
Take a pair of tweezers or any solid metal object (terminal wires, loose solder wire, small pliers, etc.) and go to each and every switch pin pair and short the two pins like you see in the image below. This does exactly what your switch does every time you press a key down.
Test all the positions and verify they all are recognized. The keymap is a little different than you may expect so keep that in mind. The actual keycode output isn’t so important for this step. You are looking for each pair of pins to output one single key. If multiple keys are being recognized at once, there may be a diode issue or an issue with the MCU pins.
*If there are issues found during testing, Head on over to the Help Channel in my Discord and we can see if we can find a solution to the issue.
Discord Channel Link: https://discord.gg/8btWxk5
My Discord Username for Direct DM: @The_Royal#3000
2.3 | Initial Switch Alignment
This step is important for a few reasons. It involves placing a few switches in a general perimeter around the PCB/Switch Plate, as well as a few on the interior of the setup.
This gets everything that needs to be spaced in the proper position. (i.e. Switches fully seated in PCB…Etc.)
This also helps to make placing the rest of the switches into the switch plate much easier. The Switches are the main thing holding the switch plate up while its disassembled. Clipping in a few starter switches lets you just pop-in the remaining ones without having to worry about the switch plate being pushed down or popping off some switches while installing others.
A.) Take a few switches on hand and place them in the locations Ive shown below (or roughly same area).
*THIS IS WHERE YOU MUST INSTALL YOU STABILIZERS/Decided on your prefered layout.
AGAIN, YOU MUST PREPARE/INSTALL STABILIZERS IN YOUR PREFERRED LOCATIONS NOW. If you forget this step, and finish your build, you will need to de-solder the entire mass of switches in order to swap stab locations.
B.) Press each switch down with your thumb/fingers to get them as flush to the PCB as possible. Make sure none of your switch pins are bent or damaged and your stabilizers line up to the positions you desire.
C.) Solder in your switches in a similar manner to how the diodes were soldered (more so for the THT diodes but part of the SMD technique can also apply here)
Here’s A Quick Tutorial On Soldering Your Switches…
2.4 | A QUICK GUIDE TO SOLDERING SWITCHES:
Take your Soldering iron, set to a temp somewhere between 380-410°C, and touch the tip to an area of a Switch Pin Hole, while also touching a leg of the protruding Switch Pin Leg.
Give it 2-4sec to get hot and then slowly lead-in some soldering wire (touch wire to leg, not to iron) till a small conical shape of solder holds itself around the Switch Leg.
Be confident in doing this. You probably have extra switches if you mess up.
– Hold Iron to both areas
– Lead-In Solder Wire
– Wait for Cone
– Let-Go & Let Cool
(don’t blow or fan solder to cool faster)
Annnnnd … Repeat for all Initial Switch Pins!
2.5 | Soldering Remaining Switches
Once again, just double check everything you just soldering with the initial alignment switches. Everything should be as flush as possible with the PCB and switches should be “clipped-in” to the switch plate.
Depending on Switch brand/variety this plate setting can be audibly heard as a “click” when the plate is fully seated in the switch clips.
A.) Now you can insert the remainder of you switches into there respective locations. Press them all the way in with a generous amount of force to ensure they are fully seated.
*Examine the side profile periodically in doing this just to make sure nothing is slipping out of place and everything is where it should be.
(*This is especially important if you are using switches that do not have PCB mounting pins such as Holy Pandas Many Kailh & Cherry Switch variants)
B.) Carefully get back over to the pin side of things, and…
2.6 | SNck BreK
Your neighbor got wind of your stash of prized Red Berry Capri-Sun. They are coming for the goods. Go get that old rubber mallet you’ve been saving for that “special occasion”. Take that mallet and demolish your fears you have had bottled up for all these years. The mallet symbolizes your strength. The Mallet is you. Your neighbor sees tears roll down your face as he struggles to get that damn coffee stir-sized straw into the underside of the Capri-sun. Mad respect.
*You gained experience from realizing your enemy was always your inner troubles. Your day is only as good as you can strive to make it.
Someone, somewhere, sees how beautiful you are.