Repairing Mechanical Keyboards & Why I'm Never Buying a Razer Again

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Repairing Mechanical Keyboards & Why I'm Never Buying a Razer Again

#1 Post by Administrator » Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:27 pm

A bit over a year ago, some switches in my keyboard started acting up. Either they would not trigger when I pressed them or would double-trigger (that is, as if you pressed the key twice). That simply will not do so I bought a new keyboard. I wanted another mechanical keyboard, something that wasn't 10-keyless this time, and my options were pretty limited. I went with a Razer Blackwidow Ultimate.

When I first got this Razer keyboard, some of the switches were fucky. Again, I was getting a lot of key-chattering. Turns out it's a pretty common thing in Razer keyboards, even when they are brand new. I did some research and it recommended cleaning the switches with isopropyl alcohol and just giving the switch some time to work in. Sure enough, after awhile, the chattering calmed down and the keyboard just worked. Great!

Fast forward to last week. For no explicable reason, the R key started exhibiting some key-chattering again. I was trying to work but the random insertion of extra Rs was making things rather frustrating. I can't really afford another $150 keyboard so I decided to just fix it myself for a few bucks; just rip out the switch and replace it with a new one. I rip it apart and discovered that, unfortunately, the switches didn't have a backplate. Instead, they were soldered directly to the logic board. That's a mild annoyance, will take a lot longer than I wanted to spend on it, but I can handle it. So, then I decide to order a replacement switch!
It's going to be awhile, so bring a friend

Unfortunately, Razer refuses to sell replacement switches. Why would they sell you a 10 cent piece to fix these problems when they can sell another over-priced model that has the same broken switches? So, off to Ebay to buy some used switches. Yeah... not much there and they were again pretty expensive ($2/switch, plus shipping. No thanks). Sure, you could instead get a blue switch and have a pretty close match, but it's not exact, and probably wouldn't have the LED. And if it did, it wouldn't match! New idea: Swap the screwy switch with an unused switch on my own keyboard and there would be no need to buy any parts, plus it would be a 100% match and I don't have to wait for it to be delivered!

So now I have a plan: desolder the R switch and the Scroll Lock switch and switch them (no pun intended) around. Except I misplaced my soldering iron when I moved so I had to go to the store to get a new one. Not much selection, so I was stuck with a crappy propane-powered soldering iron, and it sucked just as much as you imagine. Still, I can't fault Razer for that. Point is, I was finally ready to rip those switches out! But first, the LEDs had to come out. They were on the tiniest little solder pads you've ever seen! That sure didn't make things fun; especially when stuck with such a crappy soldering iron that took like 2 minutes to warm up a pad enough to melt the solder, at which point it would then run out of fuel and need to be refilled.
Yup. These two fuckers.
IMG_20180305_184318.jpg (49.98 KiB) Viewed 2583 times

Slowly but surely, I was able to desolder everything, then swap the switches around, resolder them in place, and get it all back together. It's like new again. My R key no longer double-triggers. Still, I learned some things:
  • Never buy a mechanical keyboard that uses some dumb proprietary switches; stick to your standard Cherry MX reds, blues, browns, blacks, etc.
  • Try to avoid a keyboard that solders the switches to the board if possible. Backplated switches will make fixes quick and easy!
  • Don't lose your soldering iron.
  • If you do lose it anyways, don't go to the store and get a crappy propane soldering iron. Electric all the way! It'll literally save you hours
  • Avoid Razer unless you're OK with misbehaving keys
  • When you do have misbehaving keys, just replace the switches, not the whole keyboard, and save a ton of money.

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Re: Repairing Mechanical Keyboards & Why I'm Never Buying a Razer Again

#2 Post by beanybabe » Thu Mar 08, 2018 12:58 pm

lol razor stuff just looked cheep to me but not the price. Logitech and Microsoft puts really bad switches in there under 20.00 mice you are very lucky if you game on one and it lasts 6 months. With all the advances in tech you think they could make a keyboard and mouse that works for 2 years. back in early days of pc some company called Chicony used to make good keyboards and mice I often wonder were they went. ok i googled them and found a url now to see were i can order them again.

Sad news Chicony only sells in volume now. I called the usa rep for them. I guess the dell and hp and other company's re-brand them and sell them as there brand.

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