X-Keys devicesI have several X-Keys USB programmable keypads.
I also own an [X-Keys Matrix board].
128 key keyboard - based on the matrix board:
This keyboard is made using Saia-Burgess G3 low force microswitches.
There's a page devoted to this device and its construction here.
My X-Keys desktop device has had major surgery. It too now uses low force microswitches.
Before this surgery, I had the keyboards set up something like this:
I nearly bought a second Kinesis keyboard - having been decidely converted to programmable keyboards by having cut/copy/paste/undo/redo/save along my top left row - and figuring that X-Keys couldn't be much better than more of what I already had.
I'm glad I didn't do that: the X-Keys devices are great.
If I had to criticise, I would say:
Lack of audio feedback when pressing keys can be dealt with to some extent by playing audio files manually when keys are pressed. I have a library of short keypress samples that I use for this purpose. I also use speech synthesis - so keys repeat their actions back to me verbally, confirming my intended actions.
However, this is a bit of a hack. Ideally, better support from the driver for playing audio files on each keypress seems desirable. Also, software feedback can be subject to delays with today's feeble parodies of multi-tasking.
I would like the hardware to have its own means of making small clicks on every keypress - like the Kinesis keyboard does.
I originally tried keyswitch surgery on one of my X-Keys devices. It was not successful. Unsoldering all the switches proved to be impractical. I considered cutting the tops off the switches to provide access - but did not attempt this. In the end, I replaced all the switches entirely.
Macro Works III'm currently using Macro Works II to program my X-keys devices.
AFAICS, you currently need to reprogram everything again from scratch, the first time you use it.
Macro Works II is a major rewrite - and represents a very useful upgrade.
Application-specific layers is a very useful feature - though if you are using macro software, you probably have this functionality already.
Drag-and-drop programming of execution of commands, programs and shortcuts also works well.
Bugs involving keystroke menu navigation seem to have been fixed.
The new software is also easier and less cumbersome to use.
I had some problems when the software was in beta test:
I'm not sure that the software is up to emulating a whole keyboard yet.
The original Macro Works software was more flexible in this respect - you could send key up and down events independently.
Anyway, the new Macro Works is a huge improvement over the original version.
Congratulations to the PI-Engineering programmers.
Memory resident mode tipsThe so-called 'Splat' mode has many advantages under Windows - but...
If you want to experiment with [memory resident mode], first make sure you have downloaded both the [Macro Recorder] and the [Splat Converter]. Without the [Splat Converter] there's no way to get out of memory resident mode again.
Memory resident mode works - but can take a while to figure out.
I found the Macro Recorder software was buggy, produced poor quality error messages - and had a hard time reading Macro Works files.
I contacted X-Keys technical support. They advised me that Macro Works files were not compatible with Macro Recorder - but that Macro Recorder files work with Macro Works - and recommended that I reprogram my device from scratch.
This siteFrom here you can go back to My keyboard page.
Relating to this pagePhotos of previous X-keys configurations are available.
The page about low force microswitches is related to this one.
Macro Works II (Beta)
techready.co.uk - UK supplier
keytools.co.uk - UK supplier
keytools-ergonomics.co.uk - UK supplier
tigerdirect.com - US supplier
amazon.com - US supplier
How to make your X-Keys glow
X-Keys matrix boardX-Keys matrix board
X-Keys electronic dartboard project
X-Keys matrix project photos
X-Keys matrix board with terminal blocks - photos
Other keyboard encodersKE USB 24 Keyboard Encoder Module
Keyboard Encoder Modules
audon.co.uk encoder - UK
List of keyboard encoders
Vetra "SmartWye" Series PC Keyboard Encoders
Vetra "SmartWye" VIP-312
KeyWiz Eco 2
KeyWiz Max 1.5
rowlandautomation.co.uk - UK
arcadecontrols.com - general info