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Thread: LED Keyboard - I've gotta get me one of these!

  1. #1
    *Flashaholic* Darell's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED Keyboard - I\'ve gotta get me one of these!

    Sweet. All they need to do is give it the "split and hump" ergo treatment, and I'm there!

    Oh wait... I don't need to see the keys when I type. But it has LEDs, so what the heck...

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    *Retired* The_LED_Museum's Avatar
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    Default LED Keyboard - I\'ve gotta get me one of these!

    Check this out... http://www.tg3electronics.com/backlit.htm

    I've got to get me one of these. Perfect for when I've got everything dark for photometrics; no more having to hold a flashlight in my mouth to type in commands.
    The keys can either have lighted letters, or lighted backgrounds. (Lighted letters on black would look so cool!)

  3. #3
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    Default Re: LED Keyboard - I\'ve gotta get me one of these!

    I have a Panasonic USB powered 3-LED light for my laptop. It becomes my most used LED light since I got it 6 months ago.

    Alan

  4. #4

    Default Re: LED Keyboard - I\'ve gotta get me one of these!

    Now if they would offer a version with a scratchpad {mouse} laid out like the APC AR8250...

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    Flashaholic* Chris M.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: LED Keyboard - I\'ve gotta get me one of these!

    Even regular boring arrow keys/numeric pad would be good! I`m lost without those...


    I do remember seeing a company who posted in the LED Museum guest bok ages ago, that had produced an EL backlit keybored called Night-Surfer. That one looked good too and even if the life of EL is less than LEDs, round here keyboards don`t last 2 years so it would be no big deal. Possibly there`d be an option to turen the backlight off too so it could be turned off in the day or when not used to extend the life.

    No idea if they ever went into production, since there`s been no mention of them here and I havn`t found them on the web.


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    Flashaholic aso's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED Keyboard - I\'ve gotta get me one of these!

    Chris M

    The EL keyboard can be modded at home. The hardest part is finding somewhere inside the keyboard to stash the inverter. There is a how to on one of the computer modding sites, can't remember which one . A search on google should find it.

    Found it:
    EL keyboard mod

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* Chris M.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: LED Keyboard - I\'ve gotta get me one of these!

    Hey that`s a pretty good idea, worth trying one day. Looks good!

    Trouble is, it won`t light the tops of the keys, only the spaces inbetween them. And as it`s almost always really dark in here at night, the glow of 3 or 4 CRTs being the only light source, I`d find something like that LED backlit one handy. This thing I saw in Craig`s visitor log had translucent keys that glowed.

    Normally I`ll find my Energizer folding LED light and stand that up to give me light, if I need it to be really dark and turn most of the screens off (burntests, measuring beam brightness...). It`s just not quite so cool as a glowing keyboard!


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    Flashaholic* Sean's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED Keyboard - I\'ve gotta get me one of these!

    How much do they cost?

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    Flashaholic* Chris M.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: LED Keyboard - I\'ve gotta get me one of these!

    No idea, sorry. There was the beginnings of a web site, but the product was only at prototype stage when I saw it.

    If anyone fancies digging through all the pages in the LED Museum guest book, there`s a link in there...somewhere!

    [img]images/icons/tongue.gif[/img]

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    Default Re: LED Keyboard - I\'ve gotta get me one of these!

    If you are looking for a high tech keyboard, this is the one to go for:


    More info at http://www.t3.co.uk/news1.asp?news_id=1398

  11. #11
    *Retired* The_LED_Museum's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED Keyboard - I\'ve gotta get me one of these!

    And here it is...


    It's an 84-key, full-stroke keyboard with normal sized keycaps. Keys are rated for 50,000,000 keystrokes. The compact size was originally meant to squeeze into already full cop cars for their mobile in-car computers, but it fits equally well onto a crowded, overflowing workbench.



    Here is is in subdued light.
    Its 87 red LEDs and 1 Nichia green LED (caps lock) can be set directly from the keyboard to 7 intensity levels plus off.



    Closeup of some of the keys, showing them lit up.

    The whole thing runs off the USB port; a PS/2 version (the little round plug) is also made. Uses 225mA at +5 volts. Keys have sublimated legends that won't wear off. UV resistant, "shake & bake" tested. They have a 3 year track record so far. A "map light" is present on the bottom of the keyboard under the left shift key for police use. I have a couple of suggestions for the manufacturer (one of which is changing the map light to either all-white, or keeping two reds & adding a low-intensity green), but overall I really like this keyboard.

    It doesn't have anyplace to stash flashlights, batteries, screws, LEDs and other junk like a regular one, but that's alright. The keyboard for my lab computer normally stands on edge on the floor anyway, for lack of anywhere else to put it. With something this small, finding a space for it will be far easier. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    This is a keyboard for the geek who has everything, and I may be selling these on my site this summer.

  12. #12
    Flashaholic* Chris M.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: LED Keyboard - I\'ve gotta get me one of these!

    and I may be selling these on my site this summer

    Cool! Looks great, put me down for one [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img]


    BTW Darell- when you got your first egromonic keyboard, how long`d it take to get used to it? I just got one today, this is my first time using one and it`s, er, different to say the least. I was bad typing on a regular one so thought this thing would make things better. Hopefully it will, but only time will tell.


    [img]images/icons/shocked.gif[/img]

  13. #13
    *Retired* The_LED_Museum's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED Keyboard - I\'ve gotta get me one of these!

    I'm going to put it to the first real test hopefully tonight, if I can "re-embowel" the lab computer before darkness hits.

    One problem I have with using the ProMetric is that I can't see what the $*^&* I'm typing into the various data fields while testing is in progress. Using another flashlight to illuminate a keyboard can spoil the test if I'm not really careful, and the monitor brightness is turned down so low that it doesn't illuminate the keys either. So the new keyboard will be used for this purpose, and I'll see just how much easier it is to work in this environment. Even at the brightest setting, the light coming from it isn't enough to affect the photometric readings from any tested source, bright or dim.

    The compact size and relatively light weight (when compared to a full-sized desktop keyboard) means I can just plop it anywhere between measurements, and nothing gets crushed or knocked off the table by it.

    Here are the suggestions (so far) I'm e-mailing to the manufacturer today:<UL TYPE=SQUARE><LI>The map light has 3 reds. Either replace the center red with a low-intensity green, or replace them all with white. Red lines on a map will vanish when viewed in only red light.
    <LI>Either make the cord longer, or use a curly cord. (I would opt for a longer, straight cord). At 3 feet from plug to keyboard, the existing cord is simply too short without finding & using an extension, especially if you're one of those who keeps the computer on the floor or under the desk.
    <LI>Make short black "chimmneys" for the two LEDs under the space bar, so they aren't visible between the space bar & the case at near-normal (not bizarre or impractical) viewing angles.[/list]

    The fact that you can see many of the LEDs when you hold the keyboard backwards (top row of keys towards you and then tilt it at a shallow angle is insignificant; as *nobody* uses, or even could use, a keyboard from that angle. Even at full intensity, the total amount of light escaping from this narrow angle is inconsequential and inoffensive (IMO).

    I pried off one of the keycaps to see how the LEDs were mounted, and they're actually incorporated into each individual switch housing. No mickey mouse job here. (Oh great, I've just pissed off a disney character! [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]) Only the two under the space bar and the green CAPS LOCK light are mounted right on the PCB, and the green one isn't directly visible. So the chimmneys only need to go on the two spacebar LEDs.

    Although their website says the keyboard lights turn off automatically after 10 minutes, mine stay on all the time. (Which I really like, BTW). If I really must "can the lights" for whatever reason, I can easily do it by holding down the "FN" key and using the arrow keys to change the intensity or turn them off altogether; this activity is totally transparent and no keyhits are registered by the computer. The total power draw is just over 1 watt at full intensity, and nobody is going to see that on their electric bill. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    Visibility of the backlit keytops ranges from "visible in normal room light if you look" at maximum intensity to "very dim, but visible in total darkness" at its lowest setting. At maximum brightness, they're not offensively bright (to the point of wrecking night vision) even in total darkness, but you can see some glow coming from the thin spaces between keys and reflecting off the PCB. For this to become offensive though, you have to position your head directly over the keyboard and look straight down at it, the way Peanuts character Schroder leans over his piano keys. Most people I know of don't type this way, so I don't believe this will become a serious issue.

    These keyboards come with red, yellow, or yellow-green LEDs; and can have either black keytops with backlit legends, or transluscent white keytops with black legends. They come with or without splash guards, and either analogue style (256 level) or digital (8 level) brightness controls. They have multiple voltage options depending on the individual application; and also come with standard PS/2 and USB connectors to use directly with your computer with no other wires or power necessary (such as the model I'm testing).

    I guess I don't even need to put up a web page now that I've typed all this into CPF. [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]

  14. #14
    Flashaholic* Chris M.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: LED Keyboard - I\'ve gotta get me one of these!

    Impressive specs.

    The compact size and relatively light weight (when compared to a full-sized desktop keyboard) means I can just plop it anywhere between measurements, and nothing gets crushed or knocked off the table by it.

    You definately don`t want an Ergomonic one there- these things are huge!. I`ll have to extend the extension to the bench I made, so I can fit all my junk back on here as well as this beast!

    Damn, I need more space.

    [img]images/icons/rolleyes.gif[/img] [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img]

  15. #15
    *Flashaholic* Darell's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED Keyboard - I\'ve gotta get me one of these!

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Chris M.:

    BTW Darell- when you got your first egromonic keyboard, how long`d it take to get used to it? I just got one today, this is my first time using one and it`s, er, different to say the least. [img]images/icons/shocked.gif[/img]
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Great question, because it did NOT come "naturally" as the mfg would have you believe. I'll start off with saying that I simply cannot go back to using a flat keyboard anymore. You might as well ask me to burn gasoline in a car! [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] Seriously, it feels like my hands are crossed when I use a standard keyboard now.

    The fist day was tough, the second day was challenging, the third day was fun, the fourth day I was back to speed. By the end of the week, I was much happier at the keyboard than I'd ever been before.

    While working in the computer industry for a while (both in software develpment, and end-user) I managed to damage my wrists pretty bad. I'm right-handed but need to use my mouse left-handed these days, since my right wrist only lasts about 20 minutes before it screams in pain. This keyboard is the best thing to have happened to me in a long time. If I'd had it years ago (I've been using it for about three years now) I probably wouldn't have had the problems in the first place.

    Think positive thoughts, and keep at it for a few days. If you're at all like me (the horror!) you'll end up wondering how you ever used a flat keyboard in the past...

    Good luck.

  16. #16

    Default Re: LED Keyboard - I\'ve gotta get me one of these!

    How much was that LED keyboard?

  17. #17
    *Retired* The_LED_Museum's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED Keyboard - I\'ve gotta get me one of these!

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Arfo:
    How much was that LED keyboard?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    If and when I can start selling them (if I do, I'll the the *only* outside sales for them), I'll make a "no profit" deal just for CPF members. Expect a price of just under $140, plus the $5-$10 to have them drop-shipped to you. Please don't tell non-CPF'ers about this price.

    They're warranted for a year on everything but accidents (running over with office chair, the dog taking a leak in it, throwing it out a window, etc.), and I've been told the keyswitches may well outlast the LEDs, provided you aren't dumping Pepsi all over the thing or letting the dog pee on it. Crumbs from doughnuts or sandwiches or potato chips shouldn't do it in though, as the individual Cherry switches appear to be enclosed. Just dump or vacume (vaccum, vacumn, vaccuum, vaccume, etc.) the crumbs out when you start seeing ants. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  18. #18
    Flashaholic* Chris M.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: LED Keyboard - I\'ve gotta get me one of these!

    Think positive thoughts, and keep at it for a few days. If you're at all like me (the horror!) you'll end up wondering how you ever used a flat keyboard in the past...

    Thanks for the encouragement- I`ll definately stick at it. My improvised work surface doesn`t help things, neither my busted office-chair that won`t go back up any more (pneumatic column had a leak) so I`m a bit too low, but I`ll work on that soon enough. Goodness knows I need to sort it, as the new PC is still sitting propped on top of a big empty paint can on the floor while I get round to clearing a space for the enormous desktop case on the bench infront of me (and no, sadly I can`t buy it a nice small tower to slot in where the old one currently lives, it`s a custom IBM job that isn`t yer normal ATX layout.

    But it was cheap, and it works, and now with 160mb of Ram, it`s fast too!


    [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img]

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