Tag Archives: cherry mx brown

How To Make Cherry MX Switches Quieter On Mechanical Keyboards

When I did my unboxing and first impression- of my new Leopold Tenkeyless Brown keyboard, I mentioned that the keys seemed kind of loud. Turns out, I was right. Well, the Cherry MX В brown switches may be quieter than the Cherry MX blues, but they are still loud enough to bother my girlfriend while shes sleeping. The first night, I couldnt avoid annoying her. I just got my new keyboard and I was banging away. It took me about a day to get use to the engagement points and that made the second night of my typing moreВ bearable. I could type lightly and quietly fine but it was a chore and I didnt enjoy the feeling. It was too much work. instead of typing away, I was too busy worrying about how loud my keyboard was. I looked on Elite Keyboards and they sell soft-landing pads that you can put under the key caps which reduces the noise of the keys bottoming out. I read reviews on both the soft and the firm pads and the consensus seems to favor the firm pads. they were only $12 for a set and I made the mistake of not picking them up with my order. I wasnt going to wait for shipping so I decided to try the O-Ring Mod.



O-Ring Mod

O-Rings LabelThe O-Ring Mod seems to be a popular modification on the Geek Hack forums. Basically, you get a bunch of o-rings at the hardware store and put it under your key caps. The idea is that the rubber o-rings muffles the *Clacking* sound when you bottom out the keys. The plastic caps hitting the plastic base creates a harsh and loud clacking sound. Personally, I like the sound but for the sake of a good sleep, I decided to go through with this mod.



I went to my local hardware store and headed down to the plumbing section. The forum saidВ to look for size -008 standard o-rings but I could not find them anywhere. The o-rings I found used OD(Outer Diameter) and ID(Inner Diameter) measurements. I settle for 4 little boxed of #36 O-Rings which were 5/16 OD, 3/16 ID, and 1/16 in thickness. These o-rings were rather expensive at $2 per box and it only came with 10 o-rings each. If you can get it cheaper online, I would suggest you do that if you dont mind the wait.



Installing The Silencers

Installation was easy. First, remove your key caps. Either use a special tool or improvise. I used the wire from a pair of cheap headphones and a nail clipper. I pushed the wire under the key cap with the help of the nail clipper. Then I spaced the wires evenly and carefully pulled upwards until the key caps popped out. Pay special care when doing wide keys like the spacebar, shift, enter, and backspace. I then placed one o-ring for each Cherry MX switch. Wider keys haveВ stabilizersВ which needВ moreВ o-rings for even distribution. For example, the spacebar has the Cherry MX switch in the center and two stabilizer pylons so I used 3 o-rings. Same goes for the backspace and shift keys. Refer to the picture for an idea of how I do this. Then, repeat. I only had 40 o-rings so I wasnt able to do my complete keyboard. I will probably finish that up in the weekend. For now, I have o-rings under my most used keys omitting the numbers, F-keys, arrow keys, and right-side keys.


Removing Key Caps Step 1
Step 1: Get string or wire under key cap



Removing Key Caps Step 2
Step 2: Center string and pull up carefully


Removing Key Caps Step 3
Step 3: Get O-Ring



Removing Key Caps Step 4
Step 4: Slide o-ring deep into key cap



Removing Key Caps Step 5
Step 5: Firmly reinstall key cap

Results(Sound Byte)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

At first, the results were underwhelming. They only appeared to muffle the sound slightly. Almost as if it was still the same volume, just at another pitch. It was a lower sound. After a few day, I did notice it was noticeably quieter. I suppose, during the daytime, there was a lot white noise in the background which distracted from the performance. At night, the slightest sounds are amplified. At first, I wasnt too sure if the mod was worth the effort and cost. Now, I can say for sure that theyre worth it. The keys bottom out sooner. About 1/16th of an inch sooner but it is barely noticeable. This mod does not change the switch activation point, just the bottoming point. The keys do feel slightly different. The unmodded keys feel lighter while the silenced keys feels a bit mushy. Its not bad. I think the audible *clack* had aВ psychologicalВ impact on the feeling. Overall, I think this was a good mod. If you dont want to wake up a collegeВ roommateВ or want to be moreВ discreetВ while typing, then this mod is worth the time and effort. If you can, order or buy in bulk. It should save you more money. I also noticed that I typed a bit faster. Maybe I was getting used to the keyboard but when taking a typing test, I scored higher than average. This mod is fairly easy to do. If you want to make your mechanical keyboard quieter, give this mod a chance. You will like the results.


Leopold Tenkeyless Brown Keyboard: First Impressions

Leopold Tenkeyless Box

About a week ago, I had an accident that involved coffee and my Microsoft NaturalВ ErgonomicВ Keyboard 4000. Lets just say, the keyboard didnt survive. I decided to try something different. This was my second Natural Ergonomic keyboard in 3 years. The first one died from beer. Pretty much the same story. Ive learned my lesson. Dont get your keyboards wet. After this keyboard died, I was on the web and YouTube looking for some keyboard reviews. I found a niche of keyboards that easily sell for over $100. At first, I thought that was crazy. Who pays that much money for a regular keyboard? They keyboards dont really do anything special. They dont have tons of feature. Why should I pay that much money for a keyboard that does less? Before I dismissed the claims, I was curious to see why these mechanical keyboards were so popular. People seem to swear by them. After doing some research, IВ pulled the trigger and purchaseed my first mechanical switch keyboard. The Leopold TenkeylessВ FC200RT/AB. AKA, the Leopold Tenkeyless Browns.






During my research, I learned a few thing about keyboards. Apparently all the cool kids rate keyboards by their switches. By cool kids I mean geeks. Basically, there are many types of mechanical switches. The de-facto standard when it comes to mechanical keyboards are Cherry MX switches. These switches come in different colors. Blue, brown, clear, and red. Each color switch have their own unique characteristics. For example, Blues are the clicky switches which have very good tactile feedback. Blacks, however, are not clicky nor do they have good feedback. These areВ good for gaming. Brown switches are considered a goodВ middle-ground. They are not clicky but they do have good tactile feedback. I was struggle between this Leopold and the TypeMatrix keyboard but in the end, myВ curiosityВ of the mechanical feel won my money. I purchased mine for $109 before shipping and handling at Elite Keyboards.



Leopold TenkeylessThe packaging was pretty bare. It was a box in another box. This was fine. There was no sign of damage and it came in one piece. The box was simple and clean. It came with the keyboard, a USB to mini-USB plug, and a USB to PS/2В adapter. When I plugged it the keyboard, it didnt work. The scroll lock and caps lock LEDs would turn on briefly but then nothing. At first, I thought this was a Linux problem. Searching the web didnt give me any answers. This keyboard is fairly new. I tried it on my girlfriends Windows machine but the same thing happened. I tried every USB port I had but no luck. I thought I might have purchased a dud but then I decided to try it on the PS3. It worked! It worked perfectly on the PlayStation 3 but not my computer. I thought my computers USB ports werentВ deliveringВ enough power. It turns out, the mighty PS3 fixed this problem. Now it works fine on my laptop.



The typing experience was a bit strange at first. I think I may have gotten too used to the split keyboard design. I tried toВ acclimateВ myself with the traditional style by using my laptop keys as much as I could but its only been a few days. I wasnt too confident typing with these at first but I В took a typing test and beat my Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard record. I quickly got used to it and it feels great. If I press the keys slowly, I can feel when the letters input. They keyboard is also heavier than I expected. It has a high-quality feel to it. The letters are laser etched with white paint filled in. Most keyboards have a cheaper sticker placed on the keys. This is a much nicer keyboard overall. First impressions are good so far. Stay tuned for a full review.


Full review is up. Click here to read it.

Leopold Tenkeyless 2