“When is my keyboard shipping?” Plus setup/adjustment instructions and videos

I am getting many emails from eager Model F fans who have been patient with all the past factory delays – unfortunately I cannot estimate when everyone’s keyboard will ship!

As soon as it does ship, you will get a tracking confirmation email – check your junk folder daily as there have been some email deliverability issues in recent months.

Still need a couple months before printed keyboards start shipping as I am still working on the dye sublimation.  Unprinted keyboards started shipping last year.  Unfortunately I cannot split orders, change orders to unprinted keys, or ship some orders separately so you get part of your order earlier.  I have only ordered a certain number of each variation.

There is still time to order a Brand New Model F Keyboard in the early bird round, as well as First Aid Kits, extra key sets, and other parts.

Below is a gallery of all the unique variations of shipped keyboards (some have more than one photo and the photos are out of order, my apologies).  So far 76 of about 2,000 keyboards have shipped.  Given a number of factors explained on the project threads on the forums (see my posts there for more details), one cannot extrapolate based on the current pace of shipping – not to worry!

If you live near New York, I am hoping that maybe 10 or so people could help me as soon as the keys are sublimated – the pace can get a lot faster if many people can help on one or more Saturdays.  Even though the factory has done 95% of the work, each keyboard’s QC process still takes me about 20-30 minutes to ship an order.

 

I would like to remind everyone to read the included manual which contains important information about setting up your keyboard.  Before plugging in your keyboard, you should definitely test each key for functionality and you may need to re-seat keys, the space bar, or springs for full functionality.  Many of you are new to Model F keyboards and were not aware that you need to spend a little time to set it up.  If you are a perfectionist and want to fine tune the sound of each key, you may need to do additional adjustments with the springs, which I will make tutorial videos for later on.

 

The first two Model F instructional videos have been posted:

 

 

Below are some of my notes on Model F keyboard testing, which will be rewritten and reorganized for the manual later on:

Importance of testing the Model F after you get it but before you start using it on your main computer: Even though there is strong protective packaging, Model F springs are often dislodged during shipping which can result in a bad click sound or no click at all, and keys (and sometimes springs) may need to be reseated. I have found that carefully removing and flipping the spring upside down can fix most spring issues, and replacing the spring with another spring is a last resort. Keys don’t actuate/keys are not recognized in xwhatsit program when pressed, tizzing spring-removing and replacing-using tweezers, toothpick. Includes space bar removal and re-seating. Test with 1U key to make sure spring is good. Metal tab pressing down, scotch tape or heat shrink tubing application to reduce rattle if preferred. Please carefully remove and reseat the space bar. This key’s tabs are easily broken so please be careful. I need to make a video on doing all this when I have more time. Before reseating the space bar, install a 1U key in the space bar barrel with flipper/spring and see if it actuates and registers in xwhatsit. When installing the space bar back, follow the most recent YouTube video I posted for proper orientation of the keyboard.

Proper key installation (holding keyboard vertical etc.) – see above video.

Case removal-do not use the wrong tools – use the proper PH1 head. If driver is not a tight fit, do not use the driver and purchase the correct driver-otherwise the screw will strip.

Xwhatsit firmware installation, testing each key registers, then programming-go through most of the QC steps on video. The extra typed characters is a result of the debounce filter as well as the voltage threshold. Agreed that the keyboard needs to reach room temperature and should be unplugged and plugged back in after warming up. First I would flash the alternative debounce filter threshold 6 (uploaded in the below link). In some of the keyboards I flashed threshold 11 which turned out to be not enough to prevent the extra characters. Then I would set the voltage threshold to 126 for any F62 and 122 for any F77. Click store to EEPROM (auto-voltage does not work for some reason). Then set column skips 9 to 15 for F62 and 11 to 15 for the F77. Click store to EEPROM. Link to layout files and updated firmware: https://www.modelfkeyboards.com/code/ To install the firmware using Windows (I don’t know about the other OS installation procedures), after assembly you would install atmel flip, plug in the USB on the controller and plug it into the computer, then go to device manager, right click the “Atmel” device, click have disk, go to the Atmel Flip installation folder, allow searching subfolders, and install the driver, then load atmel Flip 3.4.7, click the chip icon “select a target device” and pick atmega32U2, click OK, then click the USB icon, click USB, click Open, then click File, Load HEX file and select Joc’s firmware hex file (alternative debounce threshold 6), then click run. After it says verified/pass then unplug the cable, wait 10 seconds, plug it back in, wait another 10 seconds, then open xwhatsit’s newest version of the GUI (0.9.0?) and if it opens then you were successful! If you have never installed atmel firmware before on your current computer installation, you need to open the xwhatsit software utility, click tools – enter GUI bootloader, click Yes, and then do the above Control Panel – Devices and Printers for the Unknown device. unplug and plug in again if not detected first time after flashing. if can’t install, can also try shorting PROG on the xwhatsit controller and keeping it shorted, then connecting it to USB, wait 1-2 seconds MAXIMUM, then release prog. will cause error device descriptor failed if you hold it too long. The ghosting issue was taken care of with the improved debounce filter implemented in DT user Joc’s firmware about 3-4 years ago. I have seen no new Model F ghosting with a properly configured xwhatsit with the new firmware. Setting the voltage threshold a few numbers too high results in ghosting or some keys not recognized when pressed. I recommend voltage threshold 122 for all F77’s and between 122 and 126 for all F62’s. Always click store to EEPROM after adjusting; the auto voltage doesn’t work too well for me. For the F62’s, start with 126 and if a key in the rightmost or leftmost column of physical keys flickers in the xwhatsit GUI (as opposed to being solid) when a leftmost or rightmost key is pressed down fully, lower the threshold from 126 to 124. If there are still issues, lower to 122. The column skips (columns 9-15 skipped) must be stored to the EEPROM before adjusting the voltage threshold.
Show how to fix keys and the space bar to avoid buzzing/squeaking. As a note when you are ready to review these hopefully in a few months, I’d recommend emphasizing that some users may require changing settings on the xwhatsit controller or there will be problems like keys not registering or key “spamming” – plus I’d note that problems like non-clicking keys and a sometimes bad buzzing key sound upon actuation are easily fixable by the user, just like on the originals (I’ll be making videos at some point to show how to fix the various issues with Model F keyboards in general). Nearly all of the dozens of the original F’s I’ve restored over the past 5 years (XT, AT, F104 Unsaver, F107, F122) have had some key issues like buzzing or requiring to re-seat the keys but those who are new to the world of Model F may not realize that. Maybe I’m more sensitive to the correct Model F sound but I’ve had to replace or reseat a few springs on each keyboard so far but others may be even more sensitive and may require some adjustment by the end user (I’ve asked others to listen in a silent room and they could not reliably tell the difference between good and not as good).

I believe that the nice space bar thud sound (and minimizing rattle) is highly contingent on the proper placement of the metal tabs – bending the stabilizer wire slightly away from the metal tab ends results in a more rattly space bar with a lighter actuation force that some people prefer (more like many original F122’s), while pushing too much towards the metal tab ends can slightly increase actuation force for the space bar. Optimally the back of the metal tab should touch the space bar stabilizer wire. For now one can bend the space bar wire to get a better sound. The factory will be stamping the holes for the metal tabs with a CNC type machine for improved accuracy with the final round towards the end of this year. the space bar would sometimes stick. It seems like the left barrel (the empty one) on the space bar was binding a bit. I solved it by cutting a thin foam disk (about 2mm thick) and sticking that into the outer barrel on the bottom of the space bar. This limited the travel just enough to avoid binding.Once that was done, the keyboard was perfect.  A “squeaking” or stuck space bar is often due to a bad spring combined with the need to slightly adjust the bend of the space bar stabilizer wire – you can replace the spring without opening up the keyboard by using tweezers – will post a video later.
For those who did not order installed keys:  To avoid the keyboard sending all the keys to the computer it is shipped so that you have to adjust the voltage threshold setting before it will work. This is done for all keyboards with no installed keys to prevent potential unwanted key presses on a computer.