The MechBoard64 is a brand new mechanical keyboard for the Commodore 64. It is made from Gateron microswitches, a black PCB and a rigid black powder coated aluminum bracket. The keyboard supports all versions of the Commodore 64 including the newly produced motherboards (C64 Reloaded & Ultimate64). A detailed description of the MechBoard64 along with heaps of images can be found here (link). The keyboards are made in batches based on demand. The name and status of the current batch can be found here:
As of now, all those who have signed up for the next pre-order list have been offered a keyboard from the 2019 Winter Batch. I have not made plans for future batches just yet. If you still want to be added to the non-binding pre-order list, regardless that I don’t know when it may happen, you are very welcome to send me an e-mail (here).
What’s in the Box?
A MechBoard64 consists of the following parts:
- A rigid laser cut aluminum bracket with a silky smooth black powder coated finish
- A shiny black 1.6mm Printed Circuit Board with white silk screen writing
- 66 Gateron microswitches of your choice (red, yellows, browns or blues)
- Black 3D printed keycap adapters fot attaching your original Commodore 64 keycaps (keycaps not included!)
- 20 cm rainbow colored ribbon cable for attaching the MechBoard64 to the Commodore 64 motherboard
- Keycap puller for easy removal of your original Commodore 64 keycaps
- Custom keyboard stabilizers for the Space bar (9u size) and Return key (2u size).
- Costar plate mounted clips
- Costar keycap insterts
- Two spare microswitches
- Shift Lock circuit with bright red LED for indicating the key state (on or off)
- Spare green LED for exchanging the color of the Shift Lock LED
- Printed installation manual (an in-depth digital version can be found here)
- Some Danish Candy
- Optional: 10 cm ribbon cable extender for long boards (e.g. Assy 250425 & 250466) installed in a C64C slim case (link)
- Optional: Pre-installed Cherry Locking switch for the Shift Lock key
- Optional: A ‘switchless’ version without microswitches at a reduced price
The MechBoard64 comes with microswitches from Gateron. Three options are available: Gateron yellows (55 g linear), Gateron Browns (45 g tactile) and Gateron blues (55 g clicky). The Gateron yellows resemble the original C64 keys the best.
Some people may want to use their own microswitches. Check out the current batch for more info on this option. Please note that only Cherry mx style microswitches (e.g. Gateron and Cherry mx) have been tested with the MechBoard64.
3D Printed Keycap Adapters
The MechBoard64 comes with 3D printed key adapters that fits the stems of the Gateron switches and the original C64 keycaps. The keycap adapters are made from Shapeways in a material called Strong and Flexible which is also known as Nylon Plastic, PA12 or Polyamide. Please note that the 3D printed key adapters only work with Cherry mx style switches (e.g. Gateron) and the standard Commodore 64 keycaps. Other C64 keycaps, like the strange ones shown below, will not work and hence cannot be used with the 3D printed key adapters!
Commodore 64’s with a Long Board in a C64C Slim Case
If you plan to install the MechBoard64 in a Commodore 64 with a long board (e.g. Assy 250425 or 250466) in a C64C slim case, you will need to order a 10 cm extender cable for it to fit! Otherwise the keyboard cannot be connected to the motherboard!
Want to use the MechBoard64 with a Keyrah?
Some people may want to use the keyboard with a Keyrah from Individual Computers (link) in order to connect the MechBoard64 to a modern day computer or a RaspberryPi. In those cases it should be noted that the Keyrah does not provide +5V to the pin powering the Shift Lock circuit. Therefore, neither the Shift Lock key nor the LED will function with the Keyrah. To overcome this, a locking switch can be installed instead of the non-latching standard switch. How to do this mod can be found in the installation manual found here (link). Please note that any modding will void your warranty of the keyboard!
The producer of the Keyrah, Jens Schönfeld of Individual Computers, has explained why there is no +5V line connected to the Keyrah: The +5V line is not wired up on any version of Keyrah. Reason is that the USB descriptors also include a value that tells the computer how much power the device consumes. The operating system then makes a decision about leaving power on or switching it off for safety reasons. With the +5V line being “open” for any additional device, the entry in the USB descriptors would not be correct, and the USB port may get overloaded. Thus, to ensure that the device abide by the documentation so no customer can claim that the product endangers their host computer, the +5V line is “NC” on the Keyrah. However, you can wire it up to the +5V source of the USB by adding a jumper wire. Performing this mod obviously voids the warranty of the Keyrah.
Prices & How to Place an Order
The price for a MechBoard64 is 155 Euros + 16 Euros for tracked shipping worldwide. Instructions on how to show your interest in getting one or more keyboards can be found on top of this page. To balance the risk and cost, a batch will not run until enough people have shown their general interest in getting a keyboard.
When a batch is starting, I will send out emails with ordering info. I will need a reply within 5 working days. After that time, I have to cancel the reservation to serve the next in line. When I have your reply, I will send a confirmation email with payment instructions, list of parts, all the legal stuff, shipment information etc.
Orders must then be paid within five working days after the confirmation email. After that time, any unpaid orders will be deleted. Orders are queued in a first order first served order.
Running af Batch
When all keyboards for a batch have been paid, the production of the keyboards will commence. A batch usually takes 10-12 weeks to produce from the last payment has been received to all the keyboards have been shipped. The time frame is conservative but may be extended if parts take longer to get get than anticipated. Any delay will be annouced on top of the current batch page. Included in the production time is the assembly of the keyboards which is all done by hand in my basement. When a keyboard is done, it will be shipped out in the order they were ordered. Thus, a batch may be shipped during a time period of several weeks and not all at once.
The keyboards are all shipped from Denmark using the Danish postal services, PostNord. All keyboard shipments will have a tracking number. People living outside of the European Union may be charged with custom fees and import taxes which are not included in the above price. So please keep this in mind before ordering. According to PostNord, the delivery time is usually: 2-5 working days to EU countries, 4-6 working days to North America, 7-10 working days to South America, 4-7 working days to Asia including Japan and South Korea, 2-8 working days to Africa and 3-15 working days to Russia. Some local variations in delivery times may be expected.
A printed intallation manual is included with the MechBoard64. However, the latest in-depth digital version can be found here (link).
Danish Politically Incorrect Candy
Back in the 80’s we used to eat Skipper’s liqorice Pipes while sweating bullets during some exhausting games of Daley Thompson’s Decathlon 1500 m dash. Each MechBoard64 comes with a liqorice pipe for your enjoyment. Please consume the pipe before the EU law makers make them illegal contraband!
…Since the 1930’s the delicious liqorice pipe has been the Skipper’s steady companion on the long journeys on the seven seas. Every time the ship is in a friendly port the Skipper makes sure to pile up with enough Skipper’s Pipes so the crew can make their next journey without worrying about running out of their favorite companion…
Allergic to Skipper’s Pipes? The content of the candy can be found in the images below.
Terms and Conditions
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