The Ultimate Hacking Keyboard

This post contains no affiliate links, I bought the keyboard myself two months ago.

Back in January, right after releasing Redbriar, I started shopping around for a new keyboard for my computer. There wasn’t anything super wrong with the old one save for a few broken keycaps, so I shopped around for something that would work well enough for my own use. My previous Razer keyboard was a seven mile long beast with extra keys and gaming macro options that I never used. Small keyboards like the ones on laptops have always been my favorite kind since I never needed volume controls or buttons mapped to my shaman’s totems or anything crazy.

So I began shopping around and looked at the DasKeyboards like my husband uses, the Ducky, and WASD. All of which had the options and price range I was looking into until one of my husband’s workmates told him I should check out this cool split keyboard out of Hungary. We’ve all seen the bonkers looking split keyboards from the early 2000’s where the middle arches up and the keys are shaped like a wave on your desk. I don’t have any physical limitations to typing on a standard keyboard so why get a split board? The other split keyboards are on a base, you can’t adjust the space between your hands, with this style of keyboard you can still have straight keys but you can spread them out to where your elbows aren’t touching while trying to type. You can switch between a standard keyboard and a split setup as both halves join together. My favorite part is that the two halves are joined by an old school curly phone cord like we had growing up.

Not this kind of split keyboard.

Now, I ordered the keyboard at the end of January knowing it would take some time to be produced and get to me. They had a supply issue in February (plus we all know about what happens to overseas shipping in the middle of Feb) so it got pushed back a little further. None-issues compared to the quality of the keyboard I got in the mail yesterday. The only thing I had to do was install the risers as it’s a hackable keyboard you can make it what you want, and place them in various spots to make them rise in the middle or at the top. One of the biggest reasons for the new keyboard was getting something without blue switches. My old keyboard was so loud (even with o-rings installed) that you couldn’t do much else in the room if I was writing because the sound was a major distraction. I got the brown switch option and it’s a world of difference as I’m a bit of a heavy typer.

Both sides together.
separated

With this split keyboard set up the space bar is split as you’d expect, but the right one is a type of shift key for a mode that turns the jkli buttons into directional arrows that would otherwise be on a full-size keyboard. This takes ten minutes to get used to unless you are a left-handed spacebar user, in which case you can swap the keys in the software it comes with. I ordered the ISO key layout and found the left shift button just a little too far away for my liking so I remapped the |\ key to a second shift. Easy enough to do. Another thing you can do is change the entire keyboard layout to one of a few other formats like Dvorak and Colemak with the function key. There is also an option for mouse use via a key where capslock usually is and if you don’t feel like using it you can easily remap it to such.

the arrow keys
action shot

Now I’m sure all the other keyboards have key remapping software and stuff as well, I’m just telling you what this one has that I haven’t used before. Looking around online you’ll see most folks have put a custom set of keycaps on their UHK‘s but since the right side buttons and the shift keys are non-standard sizes it gets very expensive very quickly to get a full set printed so I’ll be sticking with the stock keys for a long time. I’m sure someone on massdrop will come out with a custom set option once the demand appears. I also pre-ordered one of their modules coming out later, another thing I liked from old laptops is the red directional nubbin in the middle of the keyboard, UHK has a module for the keyboard that attaches near the spacebar that has two little mouse buttons and a red nubbin just like the olden days. 😀 They have several other options as well as wooden palm rests for those of yall who somehow type with your wrists on the table. So far so good with typing last night. I did notice it was a little awkward to have it split while doing photoshop shortcuts but it’s super easy to slide the halves back together. Super great keyboard so far.

Florenheit: NodeMCU Weather Station

I put together a little weather station this weekend using the basic setup from this website: https://blog.squix.org which uses a basic humidity and temp sensor along with a NodeMCU ESP8266 board. I plan to upgrade the sensor to one that includes barometric pressure once I learn how the code works and can swap it out for the different library.

The first part of the station has a fun little weather ticker program that pulls data from weatherunderground and shows it on a tiny little screen. It was fun to have running for a few weeks while I waited on the temp sensor to arrive.

With the temp sensor added and only local outdoor temps being stored on thingspeak, I ran into some API issues that my husband helped me troubleshoot until we got it tweeting properly this morning. I moved it outside to test it properly and with the sun hitting the front porch directly the temps ran too high and I had to move it to the back yard. For the next few days it will live inside the outdoor plug cover until I can work out a waterproof enclosure.

You can follow the tweets being sent from the data here:

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Some of the stuff I’d like to do with the station besides add barometric pressure are to tweet an image of the sky once an hour via something. Easiest way to do it at the moment is to hook up my webcam to one of the raspberry pi’s and enclose it in a clear case. I did purchase a solar battery power bank but after a few days of testing it’s charging ability I don’t think it can run the NodeMCU and raspi all day without summertime levels of sunlight. With the power drops being covered I don’t mind it being wired to the house since if the power goes out so does the wifi and it won’t be able to log data anyway.

DNA75 Build – Hitch-Hiker Pv2 Box

Since building the PWM box, I’ve found the power to be a bit too warm for my tastes. Having a series mod only to turn it down to 55% power is pretty lame so I had been looking into making a new single battery or dual parallel box, mostly so I could run dual coils again in my RDA.

Then one day one of the box manufacturers I was following held a raffle with only ten tickets available for $5 a pop. Of course, I jumped on that with the assumption that if I won I’d go ahead and spring for the DNA chip I’d been drooling over.

Then I got the facebook notification telling me I’d won the kit.

Hitch-Hiker Box Mod Kit

Cut to a week or so later and I have myself a proper regulated mod in a very handsome green case. (raffle options were purple or green)

Above is a pic of everything that came in the kit, save for the magnets and DNA board holder. This was my first time using a 3D printed sled and I’ll probably never go back to those clunky nylon Keystone sleds. Probably my favorite part about the anodized box is that there are no big screw posts sticking into the enclosure area. Every ounce of space is fillable without having to compensate for them because they have the magnet holes within the rim of the box. Even other CNC enclosures have them, which is odd because they take up so much space.

Here is everything in place, as you can see it’s a pretty tight squeeze but if you think about it, the enclosure is only slightly larger than a standard credit card. Those are a pair of Samsung 25R’s that I wrapped. The hardest thing was getting the 510 wired, as I couldn’t (Not sure if it does?) get it to dissassemble. Normally I would take the 510 apart to solder the wire from it to the board then screw the positive pin assembly into the negative plate part. The FDV v5 is an all in one so I used two wires, one from the board and one from the 510 and combined them after assembly.

The Escribe software has settings you can adjust and presets you can create on your PC and upload to the board if you want to go the temp control route. It also allows you to customize the various alert screens, here I threw the Hitch-Hiker logo in so it would look nice when I posted the build on their Facebook page. Making custom themes is super easy in photoshop so hit that contact button if you are in the mood for something unique on your own DNA board.

And here is the finished piece. My only regulated mod before this was the Sig 150 which you could turn off by pressing the fire switch, so of course I spent a few seconds like a moron locking and unlocking the board because the DNA shuts down automatically. Other than that it’s been great knowing how much battery I have left, what my ohms are at, and how much power I’m throwing to the coils. Both coils.

PWM Box Mod

While waiting for all of the parts to my Game Boy Pi build, I threw together a PWM Box mod. While looking up how to build one I contemplated doing a DNA 200 board box but the price point on the PWM was something I couldn’t pass up.

Setup shown above:

LG He4 x2
Geekvape Tsunami
Double Helix Chiquita Tip
PWM + Mosfet

Mod internals below:

Normally custom box mods have the buttons and such on the side. I don’t like holding mods like that, even small ones I like having the button on the larger flat side. The original button, box, and 510 came [from this site](https://www.motleymods.com/collections/box-mod-diy-kits).  Given this was my fourth or so box mod I knew the ins and outs of soldering things to the sled terminals and the 510. However, my wire length and layout skills have a long way to go.

Unlike my first few boxes, this one fired up properly the first try. I’ve always had issues with the batteries not making a good connection but no issues this time. I used a premade board for the PWM + Mosfet setup

As for how it works, couldn’t be happier. It may not have a fancy screen or buttons but it gives me the power I need to run clapton builds without waiting for them to heat up.

GameBoy Zero Pt1

I haven’t had a chance to solder anything since before the baby arrived and have been itching to build something fun. It’s been a while since I played with the old Game Boy’s in the house and after stumbling upon the Game Boy Zero posts on reddit I decided to build one myself.

So far I’ve ordered most of the parts and am just waiting around for things to arrive from England and China. The first stuff to get here was my enclosure, buttons, and extra button PCB from Kitchbent. I’ve ordered buttons and cases from them before and I like how their DMG cases have extra space around the speaker section.

The plan for this GBZ build is to have the cool four button layout, but also make it a little more festive by opting for glow in the dark buttons and a clear case. You’ll be able to see the nightmare that is held within of hookup wire spaghetti and hot glue vomit holding things in place. I’m still contemplating a 6 button setup to play emulated GBA games but I have an actual GBA I can use with the only games I’d want to play on it on actual cartridges. Having messed around with emulators, attempting anything over a GBA game on a single board computer becomes lag city.

And yes, I managed to get a hold of a single Raspberry Pi Zero from The Pi Hut, I did pay the £4.00 price with shipping to the US that was only £5.00 came out to $13 US, still cheaper than the ones on Ebay.

I’ll keep taking shots of things as they come in and as I get them ready for assembly. Still contemplating my method of power supply, whether to go with a flat lipo or use one of my retired 18650’s.