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Keyboard: Membrane or GoldCrosspoint?

Phoenixx

Starfleet Member
Site Supporters
I have six keyboards here, all of them more or less crap, since each of them has another problem or disadvantage. In recent years i wound up buying a new one almost every year, (usually some mid-class one), but now i say enough of this, no more wasted money for short-lived crap products, i want a decent hi-end standard keyboard of all-around good quality which will last me longer than the usual 12 months.


What manufacturer it will be is already decided: Cherry!

The remaining question is will it be the G80-3000 or the G81-3000. The latter is 20 bucks cheaper and based on the so-called 'FTSC' Technology. This is some kind of 'hybrid' consisting of the usual contact-foil but instead of the usual rubber pad(s) it uses little elastic metal-blades (membranes) which sort of 'snap down' when pressed to connect the points on the foil. The keys are probably suspended on springs, i dont know, it cant be seen on the photo. (But i hope so.) Estimated MCBF (minimum per key) is 50 million presses. (Very high as the average mid-class one has 5-20 million tops.) Indestructible Key-Lettering made with Laser. Standard FullSize Layout with WinKeys and NumBlock, no extra Media or Office Keys, no knick-knacks, exactly like i want it. It is advertised as 'For Professional Use'.




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The G80 is older, costs 20 bucks more, but is based on 105 individual switches rather than a contact-foil. It uses so-called 'GoldCrosspoint' switches (Cherry MX Switches) with contacts made of real gold. This alledgedly results in extraordinary low resistance values and therefore in extremely fast-and-proper keypress recognition. (How much faster than the G81 foil-system is unknown.) Estimated MCBF is the same as with the G81, (50mio), it has the same indestructible laser-key-lettering, and the layout is exactly the same too. (In fact the chassis are exactly the same, only the technology inside is different.)




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Which one should i go for? The way i see it, if the G81 is good enough then i might as well save the extra 20 for something else. If on the other hand the GoldCrosspoint keys are really as good as they imply to be (meaning if the G80 would definitely be worth the extra money compared to the G81) then i would gladly shell out the 20 more.

Comments welcome,...if you actually own one of them or even had the chance to compare the two models please let me know what your experiences were/are,...
 
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Ike Savage

Froggy like robot
Staff member
Site Supporters
i find that keyboards tend to last me if i don't smash them. :)

i still have keyboards here that have been working for 10-15 years. other than the dust and grime, neither of us seem to mind.

one time i was playing a MMOG and i got frustrated by something and karate-chopped the keyboard, but all i needed to do was to solder a couple wire jumpers across the cracked IC and it went right on working...
 

Phoenixx

Starfleet Member
Site Supporters
i still have keyboards here that have been working for 10-15 years.
And these were the best ones too. Problem: You cant buy them anymore, if you could i would be the first in line. (Seriously.)

During the last year i used an old Mitsumi DIN keyboard (via adaptor) because it was the only one that was halfways good quality. (No, actually it was real good quality. The only one with spring suspension.) The others i have loose the lettering on the keys (or it has gotten so dark that you cant even clean it bright anymore), the corldless ones suck anyway because of the batteries always dying at just that right moment, another one didnt survive some oil that dripped in from a DoenerKebab, (that stuff literally corroded the traces away!), and so forth. Each one of the six i have has a problem or two, and now the Mitsumi finally retired too. I tried to clean it but apparently overdid it, now the outer keys often get stuck against the chassis because they are totally 'dry'. The A key and the 1 key are dead,...


Cherry seems to be the only manufacturer that still makes such high quality Standard Keyboards. Most others you can buy today are either total crap, have a terrible button-layout, (bent and twisted and whatnot), or are overloaded with tons of extra buttons and stuff no normal human ever needs. (Or all this together.) The G80 and G81 on the other hand seem to be a decent choice since they provide all i want in a keyboard. Long-lasting lettering, high quality contacts and key-suspension, and a normal standard layout like 15 years ago. Like i said, if one could still buy those old DIN models i would be the first in line,...i dont want to know how many of them ended up fully functional on the dumpster only because they were 'old',...
 

Ike Savage

Froggy like robot
Staff member
Site Supporters
...Like i said, if one could still buy those old DIN models i would be the first in line,...
i've been buying some stuff on ebay recently and it's worked out great.

do these help?
http://cgi.ebay.com/LOT-OF-6-MISC-K...5|66:2|65:12|39:1|240:1318|301:0|293:1|294:50
http://cgi.ebay.com/Memorex-Telex-A...5|66:2|65:12|39:1|240:1318|301:0|293:1|294:50
http://cgi.ebay.com/Memorex-Telex-A...5|66:2|65:12|39:1|240:1318|301:0|293:1|294:50

(three examples)

or find some place in europe that collects old hardware to recycle?
 

Phoenixx

Starfleet Member
Site Supporters
Yeah, i thought about that, but then i thought id rather spend the money for a new one with warranty since nobody knows in what shape a used one would be and how long they would ultimately last.

But i do thank you for the tip,...if there were offers for new ones like these at ebay germany id order 3 units on the spot,...
 

faralos

Faralos
I've had mine for about 5 years, now...

and it still works great! It is a Saitek with backlite. You can either have it lit bright, dim or off, works great for late-night pinball playing with the lights out and just the keyboard lit all the letters light up NOT the entire keypad, another nice thing about it. I bought it at Best Buy for $35 (half price!)
 

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yogiholzer

Pinball Wizard
I still have my 3rd keyboard in life. I always got the cheapest ones available. Actually I have a M$ Wired Keyboard model RT2300. I don't exactly remember when bought and what price, but I mean it was under 10 (€ or still DM?). Nothing great, but functional. I'm sure there are still compareable keyboards out there.
 

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m4paws

Inserted Coin
I've always hated that particular MS layout because of what they did to the Insert/Home/Delete/End/PgUp/PgDn block.

I use the one that came with my HP Pavilion a1600n, and I really like it. It's pretty basic. The multimedia keys are nice, they make it so I can control my media player without having to see the PC, very useful when I'm using the PS3 with the PC providing the background music.

 

Phoenixx

Starfleet Member
Site Supporters
I've always hated that particular MS layout because of what they did to the Insert/Home/Delete/End/PgUp/PgDn block.
Funny, exactly the same here. You mean the two-rows/three-keys layout, right? I hate that too. One reason why i dont consider any MS boards,...

The board on your pic looks exactly like my silver cordless one. Even the F keys are smaller. Only difference is the upper part, mine has a long row of small media and office buttons along the center. But i must say i like yours better,...wouldnt mind to check it out,...
 

m4paws

Inserted Coin
Funny, exactly the same here. You mean the two-rows/three-keys layout, right? I hate that too. One reason why i dont consider any MS boards,...
Yep.

The board on your pic looks exactly like my silver cordless one. Even the F keys are smaller. Only difference is the upper part, mine has a long row of small media and office buttons along the center. But i must say i like yours better,...wouldnt mind to check it out,...
HP part number 5187-7583 if you feel like searching for it.
 

mrschultz

Inserted Coin
and it still works great! It is a Saitek with backlite. You can either have it lit bright, dim or off, works great for late-night pinball playing with the lights out and just the keyboard lit all the letters light up NOT the entire keypad, another nice thing about it. I bought it at Best Buy for $35 (half price!)
We've got that Saitek on our portable planetarium, really nice keyboard, always thought about getting one for home.

I'm not sure paying extra for better contacts is worth it, most of the time it's abuse that kills a keyboard, not the number of keystrokes. You can get industrial keyboards, made to work out in chemical plants and such, not sure how they would be for everyday typing.
 

Phoenixx

Starfleet Member
Site Supporters
I'm not sure paying extra for better contacts is worth it,
Did you ever have the chance to compare the two technologies?

Would be nice to hear some first hand experiences.

My mind is still not set but im currently leaning towards the G81 too,...
 

mrschultz

Inserted Coin
Did you ever have the chance to compare the two technologies?

Would be nice to hear some first hand experiences.

My mind is still not set but im currently leaning towards the G81 too,...
I've seen both types go bad if that's what you mean... And always from dirt, liquids, corrosive environment, etc. So it all comes down to how well sealed the individual contacts are.

You would think membrane would be better against dirt but what can happen is the membrane gets deformed by larger dirt particles. And for liquids they can wick in from the edges.

On the switch type it all depends on how well each key is sealed, each one acts like a little piston moving air in and out so they need good seals to keep dirt out of each switch. But of the few keyboards I've ever fixed the switch types were the easiest, so there's an advantage there.

Best keyboard I ever saw as far as resistance to contamination was a really old one that used sealed reed switches and each key had a magnet on it to close the switch. But the switches were sealed in glass and didn't take well to being dropped....

Later,
Marty
 

mrschultz

Inserted Coin
wow, portable planetarium... i love the sound of that!
A few picts:

http://www.science.widener.edu/~schultz/planetarium/microdome432.jpg

http://www.science.widener.edu/~schultz/planetarium/microdomedark.jpg

Uses the same computer system used in most of the big planetariums that seat hundreds so we can do all the same type of shows.

The screen is a 4 foot diameter dome, projecting into a domed screen gives a very 3 dimensional feeling to the images.

Disadvantage of the domed screen is the limited viewing angle:

http://www.science.widener.edu/~schultz/planetarium/microdome432b.jpg

Later,
Marty
 

Phoenixx

Starfleet Member
Site Supporters
Best keyboard I ever saw as far as resistance to contamination was a really old one that used sealed reed switches and each key had a magnet on it to close the switch.
Last time i went to my electronics shop they had one totally enveloped in rubber. In fact it didnt even have a chassis or buttons, it was simply a contact-foil enclosed in a flexible rubber mat with a flat underside and a 'buttonized' topside. 100% airtight and water proof,...since the electronic was inside the rubber envelope too you could seriously use this thing to type under water.

(Not a bad thing in itself but definitely not something youd want to use every day. The 'buttons' are terribly mushy and the 'typing' felt more like hitting buttons on a StreetFighter arcade machine...)
 
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