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General Category => Tutorials => Topic started by: W11cE on 09:05 AM - 08/05/16

Title: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: W11cE on 09:05 AM - 08/05/16
Modded N52te 2016 Edition


Introduction:

I know N52te is quite old already.
I know it is quite hard to get your hands on N52te nowadays.
I know there are other alternatives already and some of those even have cherry switches.

But I don't care. My N52te is starting to be a little worn out and I thought instead of doing hot glue fixes I would make a completely new modded one. I still had one N52te in unopened box, so why not. And as I have said, I never write anything twice. So that's why there is a new evolution this time also.

Here are some key points:
- Complete custom PCBs where needed with through hole preferred design.
- Custom redesigned 3D parts for 3D-printing.
- Near zero dremel usage for more "real" product look.

If you are still at least a little interested about modded N52te, make your voice heard on this thread. This is the last thread I will make about this, and after I'm done I won't revisit this anymore.


Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: W11cE on 09:06 AM - 08/05/16
Cherry conversion

1. Requirements

You need to buy the following parts:
 - Custom PCB [link (https://www.oshpark.com/shared_projects/PvKglivD)]
OSHpark is probably the easiest place to order these, but it is not cheap for this size boards ($47.80). I ordered mine from china for under 20Ä / 5 pieces. I can give gerber files and info about the shops if you want.

 - 3D printed frame [link (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1784054)]
If you have a 3d printer you can try to print these yourself. However I highly recommend you to not do it. These were not designed to be printed with filament printer. I ordered mine from i.materialise.com. Printed as polyamide and dyed black. All the dimensions seem to match, so I can recommend this to others.

 - x14 Cherry MX switches.
The switch type whatever you like.

 - x14 Diodes.
Pretty much any basic through hole diode like 1N4148 will work. I accidentally used zener diodes, don't do that yourself...

 - (optional) x14 3mm LEDs.
Any color you like. Check the current and voltage ratings for the leds. You will need those to calculate the correct resistors for those.

 - (optional) x14 resistors for the leds.
Use some resistor calculation tool to calculate the correct resistors (like this: http://ledcalc.com/). The supply voltage is 5V and the leds are connected parallel.


2. Open the N52te and remove the key board

There are screws on the back. One is under the thumb key rubber pad and another one is under joystick rubber pad. The rest are visible without removing anything extra.

Desolder the 10 wire ribbon cable that goes to the keypad pcb. After all this you should get this part off of the device:
(https://drive.google.com/uc?id=0B_0MQrj9_eGtVzU1TTVmMEl4V2M)
(https://drive.google.com/uc?id=0B_0MQrj9_eGtQU1ZMS1zTVIyUTQ)
NOTE: do not cut the ribbon cable like I did. You need it full length.

You got it? Good, now trow it away, because we are going to replace it.


3. Solder the diodes (and resistors)

Solder the diodes and resistors to the pcb. If you dont need the diodes, then dont solder the resistors. There are markings on the board. If you are in doubt, check the pic.
Important note: The legs of the components can not be longer than 1mm on the front side of the board. Otherwise those will hit the frame.
(https://drive.google.com/uc?id=0B_0MQrj9_eGtQ0JoYXB3OUVwcDQ)


4. Trim the printed frame

You can skip this step if you ordered the parts separately.

I have made a version where the frame and bottom parts are connected with struts. This is because usually there is a minimum price for a single print. This makes it cheaper to print.

The struts are in red on the render:
(https://drive.google.com/uc?id=0B_0MQrj9_eGtMGtramhIUFM4S1U)


5. Place switches

The switches are installed "upside down". Meaning the leds are on the top. If the holes are too small, use a file. Holes on my print were prefect size.
(https://drive.google.com/uc?id=0B_0MQrj9_eGtWElob0J0dWN5c1U)


6. Combine these two parts together

You should be able to fit these 2 together now. Make sure you press these together completely. If you didn't trim the legs of the resistors and diodes short enough, this is the part where it will be a problem.


7. Add leds

Next put 3mm leds to the switches. Cathode is on the right side, which I guess is also the opposite to the regular way. The max length for the legs is 2mm here.
(https://drive.google.com/uc?id=0B_0MQrj9_eGtR0JGVUM1bTdSa2s)


8. Solder the ribbon cable

After these steps you should have something like this:
(https://drive.google.com/uc?id=0B_0MQrj9_eGtNGxuVWNpUThBZnc)
(https://drive.google.com/uc?id=0B_0MQrj9_eGtaU1KNk1Qak93ZTA)

Make sure it fits inside the device before soldering the ribbon cable.

Next you need to solder the ribbon cable to the pcb. It is attached the same way as on the original board.
NOTE: On the picture the pads are through hole, but on the design I will give those are SMD pads on the backside. These are in my opinion easier to solder.

Here are pics of my tests:
(https://drive.google.com/uc?id=0B_0MQrj9_eGtbUxkd2I0QzlSRjA)
(https://drive.google.com/uc?id=0B_0MQrj9_eGta1VPeklITTZqREE)

9. Close up the device

Now you should be able to close the device. Polyamide is quite flexible, so you may need to press the case parts a little to get everything fit.
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: W11cE on 09:06 AM - 08/05/16
Joystick

(https://drive.google.com/uc?id=0B_0MQrj9_eGtUEJtWDF0ZjJFakk)
(https://drive.google.com/uc?id=0B_0MQrj9_eGteVJCRklvRlJ3NVk)
(https://drive.google.com/uc?id=0B_0MQrj9_eGtZnBHYzJiUkdWN3M)
(https://drive.google.com/uc?id=0B_0MQrj9_eGtM1dXZy1MdmxPVEk)
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: W11cE on 09:07 AM - 08/05/16
reserved
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: tails72 on 09:52 AM - 08/05/16
i want to see more, are you using a teesey to run this?
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: W11cE on 02:19 PM - 08/05/16
Cherry conversion can be done without changing anything else inside. For joystick I planned a separate teensy, which would then require external usb hub.

I have designed a clone teensy (with wireless capabilities) which would replace N52te main board, but that is something I am not even sure I can get to work. However teensy 3.2 has enough pins for complete control of the device, so I can make a wiring diagram for those that truly want to deal with annoying wiring.
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: pdogg6 on 03:27 PM - 08/05/16
I'm interested in this thread.  I just recently acquired a n52te and have been reading the old analog joystick mod.  Bought some teensy boards years ago to start a project but never got to it.  Hopefully I can savage those.  Looking forward to the tutorial.
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: killawink64 on 04:28 PM - 08/05/16
I to am following this.
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: W11cE on 08:46 AM - 08/06/16
I dropped the extra button on the top. This made it possible to model the whole side as a one part instead of two. The printed models are not as shiny as I would have hoped.

The custom joystick cap is modified cap from the steam controller. It is same dimensions as a xbox 360 cap.
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: roads on 09:52 AM - 08/06/16
Why don't you do your own thing? Will the base plate and cable still be N52te?
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: W11cE on 10:27 AM - 08/06/16
The casing and arm rest are the only things left in the final version. No cable since its wireless.

There aren't enough things wrong with N52te. If I made my own version, it would not be that much different from N52te.
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: chad20 on 07:05 PM - 08/06/16
If you make the whole thing you can sell them. I'm sure a lot of us on here would buy one.
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: roads on 12:06 AM - 08/07/16
Quote
There aren't enough things wrong with N52te. If I made my own version, it would not be that much different from N52te.

Still it would be different and it would be yours. You could kickstart to mold the plastic, Obsiv would surely help you. People cant build this with a long gone keyboard.

You are past Mods.
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: Od1n on 06:11 AM - 08/07/16
how much pesos for a w11ce crafted piece? ;)

N52te's in acceptable condition or even new are harder to find than diamonds, unless this mod doesnt work with the new copycats from razer i dont see myself having the chance to go for a mod lol
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: roads on 02:54 AM - 08/08/16
150 Ä + Postage
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: Au1d Yin on 07:54 AM - 08/09/16
Really looking forward to seeing this W11cE  :)

Are you doing anything with the left over D Pad and button wiring?
A mini 5 way switch using these wires would be good.
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: R3MiX on 08:51 AM - 08/09/16
Following this. Nice 2016 mod but pictures look 2008. ;). Maybe upgrade that camera?  ;D
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: Od1n on 02:48 PM - 08/09/16
Following this. Nice 2016 mod but pictures look 2008. ;). Maybe upgrade that camera?  ;D

finland is a third tier country by microsoft and sony standards, you can be happy to have internet access there let alone digital cameras ;O ;O ;O


as for the mod id be fine with 3100 pesos aka 150Ä if it includes the infamous surstrŲmming version with a signature of w11ce! :)
(no joke!)
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: roads on 11:15 PM - 08/09/16
Some ideas for YOUR gaming keyboard:

- Teensy slot with ball connectors. This would be a great Project on ins own that you can sell separatedly to developpers. You just buy the Teensy and you just inject the Teensy into the device. Not easy to do for sure.
- Left and right version that forms full keyboard if you have both. not sure if possible.
- if BT allow several dongles so you can use the keyboard on several machines. XIM, PC, etc.
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: THE-MARAVINGY on 12:47 PM - 08/17/16
i'm in i have 2 1 still boxed....
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: roads on 12:00 AM - 08/18/16
Yeah me too but would be nice to see him start something of his own. As he is completely capable.
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: THE-MARAVINGY on 02:12 AM - 08/18/16
Yeah but you already have a good foundation to build off so why over complicate things to early little steps, just checked and i have one in boxed condition 0 modding done just light use, one i use on and off joystick mod only, a bare bones stripped to just all pcb's, and a razor one collecting dust.
Hotas is the key all buttons in positions easily reachable without having to re-position hand, you can load up a keyboard with as many cherries as you want but in the heat you will use only a very small percentage due to them being a little out of reach, so you keep your primary functions close, you really only need 3 rows of 4 to be in quick easy reach outside of that and its no longer Hotas as you have had to introduce another move its just human ergonomics.
I know Roads is going to cringe at this but i have often thought of using expensive pov hat switches not as joystick replacement but keys as with a 4 way hat switch placed at each finger would instantly give you 16 functions with one movement.
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: roads on 02:19 AM - 08/18/16
It's simply as he needs to do this for himself. I agree the his is nice in hands. CH throttle is great.
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: W11cE on 06:39 PM - 08/19/16
We will see in the future if I will make my own device. This mod also to practice some of the required things needed in a real own device. I have never gone this deep on circuits in the mods yet.

Are you doing anything with the left over D Pad and button wiring?
A mini 5 way switch using these wires would be good.
Believe me, I tried designing a dpad over the joystick, but there just isn't enough space for any kind of dpad.

Following this. Nice 2016 mod but pictures look 2008. ;). Maybe upgrade that camera?  ;D
Lol, yeah. After taking the pictures, thats what was on my mind too. I hate taking pictures in general, but maybe I need to try improve.
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: roads on 12:09 AM - 08/23/16
You mean you cant do your own without the N52te bottom plate and hand rest?
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: Grebs on 09:33 AM - 08/23/16
I have the 52te so I'll be watching.  Had this beauty for years with zero trouble
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: ScopeLoc on 01:13 PM - 08/23/16
Hi great work. Please post links to where I can get the parts from.  Or if you want put a package together with a price and I can just buy from you that way you can save on your production of it. Add some in for your time.  You guys here at xim forum can be a real team of manufactures because you solve the problems people have and you listen to what we want.
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: W11cE on 12:04 PM - 09/02/16
I will post the links during this weekend. Meanwhile here is my own custom teensy LC board for replacing the main board:
(https://drive.google.com/uc?id=0B_0MQrj9_eGtRk9MRTEtS2N4NXc)
Boots up and flashes nicely so far. Dont ask if you can buy these. You cant. I can share oshpark link and bom if someone thinks he can solder together something like this.
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: W11cE on 04:04 PM - 09/21/16
Added links for the parts. Please comment back if you ordered those. I made some small fixes to those after the first ones.
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: THE-MARAVINGY on 12:26 PM - 09/24/16
Awesome i shall be ordering you have rescued me from the nav been waiting so long for this any news on joystick casing mod.
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: ScopeLoc on 10:35 PM - 10/08/16
Hi can you post the size of the frame. I thought I seen it but now I cant find it. Thank you
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: W11cE on 10:49 AM - 10/09/16
Ordered new version of the joystick parts some time ago. I will get those in 3 weeks.

Hi can you post the size of the frame. I thought I seen it but now I cant find it. Thank you
What do you mean with the size?
Title: scopeloc
Post by: ScopeLoc on 09:03 AM - 10/11/16
When I go to order at I.materials the size is not there but I can see 3d model. I know it's about 3 inches width, but I would like to make sure I am getting what he designed. 
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: W11cE on 01:06 PM - 10/12/16
Ok, the size of the combined version is:
72.643 mm x 99.664 mm x 14.50 mm
Title: scopeloc
Post by: ScopeLoc on 06:57 PM - 10/13/16
Thank you   I will try to get it
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: roads on 11:36 AM - 10/16/16
Please don't forget at least one  place for magnet if you redo the hull. This one is holding well.
https://www.magnetversand.de/neodym-magnete/ringmagnete-mit-senkung/neodym-magnete-mit-senkung-d-14-mm/a-181/
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: THE-MARAVINGY on 10:34 AM - 10/18/16
I am puzzled please do tell Roads why the magnet.
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: roads on 10:37 AM - 10/18/16
Oh for the Gduck lapdesk see thread in member projects. It holds the device in place when you dont use it and put the lapdesk vertically somewhere. For thos not using the lapdesk the hollow part will not disturb as its on the bottom.
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: W11cE on 02:45 PM - 10/18/16
I am not redoing the hull, so you have to invent the magnet there yourself.
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: roads on 06:05 PM - 10/18/16
Sure just in case you do think magnet.
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: THE-MARAVINGY on 12:13 AM - 10/19/16
Thought so but for a little while i studied mine thinking why.
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: roads on 01:21 AM - 10/19/16
there isnt a good place to screw it on really as all lies flat on table. Inside Magnet gets weak. Wont hold device on Gduck.
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: roads on 12:22 AM - 10/23/16
W11ce the pics are broken. Pic-upload works fine lately if you register they stay and its still free.
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: roads on 12:34 AM - 10/23/16
it would not be bad to redo the bottom plate as a cherry wont fit the thumb plate as its not high enough. A cherry works perfectly there. I use it al the time as shift key to double the N52te keys.
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: nasko on 04:12 AM - 10/25/16
If you make the whole thing you can sell them. I'm sure a lot of us on here would buy one.

YES I do :D

I have already written a pn to W11cE.
Hopefully I get an answer.
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: THE-MARAVINGY on 08:06 AM - 11/19/16
All my parts have arrived, now onto the build pics to follow instead of going for black in the print i went for blue looks nice too.
Any updates on the joystick housing....
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: ScopeLoc on 01:40 PM - 11/22/16
Hi I have a question about the frame to be printed at I.materialize. the lower part of the frame to be more specific. I sent the files as combine and size was good and everything, after placing the order I got an email saying parts of the wall was to thin for printing. in the model they show it seems that most of the areas red are where the frame snaps in place " the relief for the prong to hold it" but other area is next to where the cherry pins are. Did anyone else get this email? and if so any help in fixxing the problem would be great. Thank You.

Update:    it seems to be the areas where the diods set at.
Title: Scopeloc
Post by: ScopeLoc on 03:53 PM - 11/22/16
Is it possible for you to redo the design and just cut the groove out all the way?
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: THE-MARAVINGY on 07:48 PM - 11/22/16
Hi I have a question about the frame to be printed at I.materialize. the lower part of the frame to be more specific. I sent the files as combine and size was good and everything, after placing the order I got an email saying parts of the wall was to thin for printing. in the model they show it seems that most of the areas red are where the frame snaps in place " the relief for the prong to hold it" but other area is next to where the cherry pins are. Did anyone else get this email? and if so any help in fixxing the problem would be great. Thank You.

Update:    it seems to be the areas where the diods set at.

no probs here an no emails, popped all my cherries in an all fine haven't completed it yet just dry runs no soldering yet its on my list to do.
Title: Scopeloc
Post by: ScopeLoc on 08:03 AM - 11/23/16
Did you order as combined or separately. Also did you use I.materailize?
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: W11cE on 03:11 PM - 11/23/16
What material did you use for the order? With polyamide there has not been any problems. Yes, I saw also that there are some spots where the thickness is quite low, but it still prints just nice.

Joystick part is ready, but I am still not completely satisfied with the model. It goes to its place, but you need to force it a little. Maybe I have to just say its good enough and write the tutorial.
Title: Scopeloc
Post by: ScopeLoc on 05:03 PM - 11/23/16
Hi the email said that some of the spots were less than 0.8mm and it had to be more by the regulations... But now I got an email saying that they sent it to printing so I am not sure what went on.... I chose polyamide dyed red. So unless color matters there should be no diff.  Any way I will wait to see what I get.   Thanks for your help
Title: Re: Scopeloc
Post by: THE-MARAVINGY on 07:43 PM - 11/23/16
Did you order as combined or separately. Also did you use I.materailize?

Sorry late reply.
Yes and Yes, polyamide and colour blue.

@ W11cE
No worries you crack on i can wait no need to rush perfection, i'm sure i can kibosh something in its place until you are ready.
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: THE-MARAVINGY on 06:56 AM - 12/05/16
Mine is all built, made a few mistakes along the way like i miss understood which way the cathode was for led's.

The pic you have displayed says cathode to the right which i thought was right side looking as the pic wrong on my part right side from top down doh had to de-solder them all an re-do.

The i discovered a non working key had spares swapped it still not working, an then there it is one of those little orange/black thingys wrong way round popped it out switched it round all good now.

One thing i noticed is the back gets quite hot now does yours i just don't remember it getting that warm....

Joystick what a pita that was, got it all in an was off centre took me all day to figure out it was cause i had put the VCC pins from stick in to teensy V in 3.6v to 6v and not in the V 3.3v....

Stick button mine seems to be permanently on which i think is my stick so will ignore that for now not needed...

How are you connecting to Xim are you using a powered usb hub, i have got it working using a hub but for some reason my Xim will not connect via BT when hub is in with or without power makes no difference, had it working briefly but went into game and it lost connection and could not get it back even the pairing any help on this would be appreciated...

For stick mounting i used this  http://www.shapeways.com/product/62H9B2TMV/thumb-stick-mount-for-suncom-sfs?optionId=60407819

Which works nicely just need to cut away all the little bits that held the d-pad in place and widen the hole for stick then drill 4 small holes to match the pillars on the holder, its tight but got it all inside including the teensy just remember to flash it before closing it up doh
Title: Scopeloc
Post by: ScopeLoc on 03:03 PM - 12/05/16
Thanks for the post. I will try the stick holder if I have to change mine for any reason.
Title: Scopeloc
Post by: ScopeLoc on 04:14 PM - 12/05/16
Hey I have a question.  I am not putting lights on my board. Will i still need the doors and resistors?
Title: Scopeloc
Post by: ScopeLoc on 06:46 AM - 12/07/16
Diods not doors.
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: THE-MARAVINGY on 09:06 AM - 12/07/16
Not sure on that does say if you don't need them but i have no idea what a diode does i'm sure W11cE will chime in when he is around.
Title: Scopeloc
Post by: ScopeLoc on 05:26 PM - 12/08/16
Well I know they stop the current from back flowing. If I don't need them then I will not put them however I do have them already so I may do it in case I want to add lights later.
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: W11cE on 05:29 PM - 12/08/16
Yes, you need the diodes. If you are not installing lights, then you don't need resistors.
Title: Scopeloc
Post by: ScopeLoc on 07:54 AM - 12/09/16
OK thank you. I will get started on it. Nice job on the design.
Title: Scopeloc
Post by: ScopeLoc on 09:48 PM - 12/09/16
Together and working. Nice design it fit in perfect and is much steadier than before. I Thank you for work.
Title: Scopeloc
Post by: ScopeLoc on 02:27 PM - 12/10/16
I wanted to say once again thanks for your time making the files for this. I had done the old mod which worked but the buttons felt mushy at times. Now it is perfect and I think it already increased my abilities in COD "wall running jumping that kind of stuff.
Now to start my second unit so I can have 2.
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: ScopeLoc on 11:59 PM - 03/28/17
Hi i was wondering how the teensy board worked out, and if you are going to post the files for it?
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: Grizz on 03:13 PM - 02/11/19
Hi i was wondering how the teensy board worked out, and if you are going to post the files for it?

Also curious about this. I just picked up an N52te and would love to add an analog stick in place of the current dpad.
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: W11cE on 06:59 PM - 02/12/19
Oh, I had to edit the files and it took some time to get the new 3d printed parts. So when I got those, ended up not writing a continuation. I will post the 3d model files at one point when I find all.
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: THE-MARAVINGY on 06:05 AM - 02/16/19
Oh, I had to edit the files and it took some time to get the new 3d printed parts. So when I got those, ended up not writing a continuation. I will post the 3d model files at one point when I find all.

Awesome been waiting for this for quite sometime.
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: Grizz on 04:10 AM - 02/19/19
Oh, I had to edit the files and it took some time to get the new 3d printed parts. So when I got those, ended up not writing a continuation. I will post the 3d model files at one point when I find all.

That'd be great, we'd really appreciate it.

(Mainly the joystick mod! :) )
Title: Tut Modded N52te 2016 Edition
Post by: Barrysauch on 08:35 PM - 07/06/19
i hadnt finished my response part, and people seemed to want a tut, so i posted what i had, if you had read the bottom of my post you would have known that.
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: Scarface on 10:56 AM - 08/08/19
Amazing mod. I still have mine with wire mod and epoxy. I might redo the mod with proper pcb some day..
It would be awesome if the PCB had hot swap sockets.
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: ScopeLoc on 04:07 PM - 02/25/21
Hello everyone, I know this is an older post but being you guys are better at this than I am, I have a question. do any of you know where I could get the top plate milled or cut in stainless or aluminum? I am going to use a teensy to wire it and want to have it be sturdy. Any help would be nice.
 
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: Pistol451 on 03:38 AM - 06/14/21
Does anyone have the gerber files for the PCB? I've got the .brd file from the OSHPark link, but need gerbers to get it made elsewhere.
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: tuffrabit on 09:25 AM - 06/15/21
Sorry feller. Just poking around online it seems like there might be some conversion tools, but they seem iffy.
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: Pistol451 on 01:57 PM - 06/15/21
Itís ok, I managed to get a version of Eagle installed and have generated gerber files; the PCB fab house accepted them, when I get the boards Iíll let you know if they worked ok!

Also ordering the 3D printed parts; the upper frame is fine, but the lower part I donít think is going to turn out that great as I had to make all the cutouts into through holes to eliminate all the <0.8mm bits they reckoned they couldnít print. I think itís gonna be rather flimsy. Just getting them printed cheaply in resin for now, once Iíve got them, if I think it needs tweaking I might get them reprinted in polyamide.

I think the lower part needs to be thicker but without parts in hand I donít know if that can work, so need the cheap prototypes before I commit to a more expensive print.
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: tuffrabit on 02:06 PM - 06/15/21
good news on the gerbers.

and you know... you could just buy yourself a 3D printer. $200-ish gets something really quite decent these days.
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: Pistol451 on 08:36 AM - 06/18/21
Here are the gerber files for the PCB, bear in mind I haven't got them printed yet, only that the PCB fab house have accepted them. Should be fine, but I'll confirm once I have PCBs in hand.

https://1drv.ms/u/s!Av_FyZZxIrKV30-bYffiIgUj9eb7?e=t8xwBg
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: Pistol451 on 07:25 AM - 07/22/21
Well, progress!

I decided I wanted to make the switches and LEDs in my device hot-swappable; I currently have a batch of cheap Gateron yellows, which are allegedly somewhere near a Cherry MX Red switch. But if I don't like them, I'd like the ability to try something else without too much hassle. I also wanted to be able to change the LED colours on a whim. So, I looked into hot swap sockets. Seems the main ones favoured by mechanical keyboard afficionados are MillMax or Holtite; however, getting hold of them in the UK is not cheap. And the LED sized ones are just not available.

So, I hit Aliexpress, and found exactly what I wanted! They look like copies of the MillMax type, and come in just the right quantity to do an N52te. But, I was pretty sure they wouldn't fit the holes in W11cE's PCB. Took me long enough to figure out how to confirm how large the holes were, but when I eventually did, they were indeed too small. So, I tried to enlarge them. There continued my epic struggles with Eagle. But, I got there in the end! So, I now have a PCB designed to accept the Aliexpress hotswap sockets.

I also eventually managed to get the bottom part of the 3D printed assembly to pass the manufacturability test! It looks like a slice of swiss cheese now, but the fab house reckon they can print it so we'll just have to see how it turns out. All parts are now ordered, so once I have them I'll let you know how it goes!
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: Pistol451 on 11:12 AM - 08/07/21
Parts have arrived, everything seems to fit - next step is assembly!
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: Pistol451 on 07:32 AM - 08/16/21
Well, I did it! And it all worked!

I ordered my PCBs and 3D printed parts from PCBWay, for two reasons: 1) they were cheap and 2) they were one of the only PCB fab houses I found that also offered a 3D printing service. Figured if you're going to source cheap parts from China, might as well just pay one lot of postage. I found PCBWay to be very good - they let you know if there are any problems with your data files, and are generally pretty quick at re-evaluating resubmitted files. On a couple of occasions when reviews of designs appeared to be stalled, a quick email to them got a response quickly to get things moving again.

I wanted to get everything as cheap as possible, because I wasn't entirely certain my amendments to W11cE's parts would work, and didn't want to throw money away - so I opted for the cheapest 3D printing method they offered, which was resin printing using UTR3100 white resin. I wanted to go for white anyway; one thing I always really liked about the N52te was the uniform lighting you got from the PCB-mounted SMD LEDs. With the new PCB and mechanical switches, the LEDS are now above the PCB, and I was worried that the light dispersion wouldn't be as uniform; going for white would reflect more light, I figured, so keep it more like the un-modded appearance. When I received the parts, I was impressed by the quality - they were totally smooth, tough enough for the purpose, and dimensionally accurate! So if you don't mind the white look, I'd definitely recommend the UTR3100 manufacturing process.

I was a little concerned that the switch hotswap sockets would be a very tight fit in the PCB holes, because when I managed to modify the holes in Eagle, the standard drill sizes available included 1.4mm and 2.0mm. The LED sockets are 1.38mm diameter so I was sure they'd be OK, but the switch sockets are 2mm dia, so I thought they might stick in a 2mm hole; however, they went in just fine!

I inserted all the sockets then taped them in place, to solder from the back side:

(https://db3pap003files.storage.live.com/y4mDcnYM-S-CyJUkeRPiaKBSOR8xA5L4lQnnvB4k1TokBAv2xA41rzKlYSOCLM1YElI0hfabLVGsYNE7qcBTBkU30avQP2wI9TgUzsevAv3KjFb7v0g1bvhlFnGkHEiMFlOTQYD_0G47-EKHKXvsSo-ZmSksbazY23GEESS5-_0tACk2p-e-KySx0LRL6F1JM3W?width=768&height=1024&cropmode=none)

Soldering the switch sockets was OK, in most cases I got a nice flow around the base of the socket. But the LED ones were harder; because they're so small I guess, the solder didn't flow as nicely and most ended up quite blobby. But it worked!

(https://db3pap003files.storage.live.com/y4m9vUzohsPgCpPPbsdoajuvx5xutKeSWRonqhDMLvKe1_Vel1nvT-g02Zh0wgossMltRvNqoTqaE-DXkCS3tgLDujHAHpmpcp1Y8s1NQ_7XVVbVf8qxuChLIlVRyTFkjpTHWi2HUb2OnxbJv1Hz6Jx_POa7oTxHPsiUhTE-Vm9osrJu1W2Zl8TGZK0m4u15r0T?width=1024&height=768&cropmode=none)

(Yes, I did clean up the flux residue with IPA afterwards!)

At this point I realised I'd made a mistake with the 3D printed bottom plate - although I'd made many attempts at modifying the design to remove all the <0.1mm thickness parts, I had completely forgotten that the holes for the switch and LED contacts would need to be bigger to accommodate my hotswap sockets! Bit of a facepalm moment there. Easily solved by reaming the holes out with a small drill bit, and a bit of filing to countersink them a bit to allow for the solder. I have NOT been back to the 3D model to correct this - if I did, I would use a cone-shaped hole to allow for the solder around the base of the sockets. I do not plan to go back to the design myself any time soon as I don't have the time, but if someone else needs help with it I'll help out then. Or, just do what I did and drill & file it :p

Next I soldered the diodes and resistors into place. This was easy enough, but a note on the resistors: hotswap LEDs are all very well, but different colour LEDs require different resistors. I had two types of LED in mind: plain blue, to match the original style; and slow-cycling RGB LEDS, because RGB wooo. I basically chose my resistors (100ohm 1/8W) based on the blue LEDs' forward voltage, which also happened to be compatible with the forward voltage range of the RGB LEDs. So, just be careful choosing your resistors if you want to change LED colours!

Next step was fitting! Here's a shot of the inside of my device, because it shows the tiny USB hub I use to only have one cable coming out of the controller (well, the underside of it, at least). Also an excess of wire from the USB hub to the Teensy; it ended up like this because when I did the analogue joystick mod, I only took the dpad-module off, rather than disassemble the whole unit, and needed excess wire to be able to solder it all up and get it back together. Looking back, it would have been much better to fully disassemble, and by doing so I could've used much less wire. Not planning on changing this now, as I'm a great believer in "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".

(https://db3pap003files.storage.live.com/y4mLC6K8os15I7SQN0AekHwR7LILdTk_bTPzNbdhomvYor5_c-fU8GIP_Bk-Ci1Zksgmq6KqemLtvL90yCABgeYLDFt5NgYfXGaDccpkc6MoPomD9LQlRUJbzw3b4lhHm3OUViOdYa6-x7s2X2ioLvWSE9ybyFvYsCuX8D8SRqP_4Z3rnIJP1xVxHEjhcHCZgo5?width=768&height=1024&cropmode=none)

Here's the inside with the keypad inserted; I managed to desolder the entire ribbon cable from the original keypad, once I'd resoldered it to the new PCB (and tested everything!) I applied hot glue to strengthen the connections and insulate any bits of bare wire.

(https://db3pap003files.storage.live.com/y4mmC0FgiYaiWROswGWnrjXmkzAcTzmAwRAVj2ou7-xzkNJoTiOCMy7N6wh-b5n7VLKuNOMuFQKAIOeKXep8eZX6404OCTkzVWDTR1nm6KcVR2tq0g_dW8ncn7p9xUoGCk76JyNHQrkoQ_xFqz0CJGrms6VBHPMRlJoCREzR5PIi0l8pPDRTuyLsTTAApODZA-k?width=768&height=1024&cropmode=none)

This is what it looks like from above:

(https://db3pap003files.storage.live.com/y4mhR5lJRlfoxXN2yybo4sFzMEnrfw6v2fMtKBHHp-FuB9OQolt0Gb1QPF-aOoHdjTfV1rASH9W_3_KuIZDO1b_ltReWeP9A05GOHLR2u_pZpXFGd7I_Tbv_4k59KRL6HHqwXLhnHkt2LpVU4_DmvD5WbTH3G0HJe2WBqbDta63aIQzVjwDYk4UZemox59qxVEE?width=768&height=1024&cropmode=none)

Throughout the process, I had been testing it using an old laptop; once I had reassembled the case, I plugged it into the gaming PC, and was pretty gutted when it started constantly connecting and disconnecting :( I imagined I must have damaged a connection or something during reassembly. However I re-tried it on the laptop before ripping it apart again, and it worked perfectly... so for some reason or another, a Windows problem had arisen and must be at fault. Before I got too technical on trying to resolve it, I tried the old trick of plugging it into a different USB port - and that worked perfectly, phew!

Once assembled, the keys feel amazing compared to the old rubber membrane efforts. And the lighting effect is just as good as the original, which I had been worried wouldn't be the case with switch-mounted LEDs! My choice of LEDs certainly wouldn't be to everyone's taste - I had a good idea that the colour-cycling LEDs wouldn't stay in sync for long, and I was right about that. When you first power on they all start off red, then green, and so on... but quite quickly they start to go out of sync, and you end up with technicolour unicorn vomit on your keypad lol. I actually kind of like it though, heh. So I might keep it, rather than return it to blue. Nice to have the option though!

(https://db3pap003files.storage.live.com/y4msIZWmmJzzmT2ra-s51rkzAnZ_KeR5VN4GX3aCfr9MyUtq1LPVCYOB2GmEo-S3hrRUbuVp0-wRyX7MfBNhOhc8FyW34ISOiYbLj9vSWOc5thtAWXiwC4iY4gE61214xwO1ZGObJ3ZXfsFNbIMNjAZHQnDcsn91b7Arfw2fdmaa26hAnPE-HT0IkDsmAWYHBuq?width=768&height=1024&cropmode=none)

In use, it's fantastic. A massive improvement. The only thing I might change, is that I think I preferred the feel of the original keycaps. I may in future convert the original keycaps to Cherry MX fittings by taking the pegs from donor keycaps, like Diesector did (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGwiPFXg_e4). Or, I may just see if I adjust to the difference.

I'm still not quite there; one thing I've learned is that you're never done with a mod lol! Apart from the keycaps, I'd like to mod the thumb button too. It's just not responsive enough; many times I don't press it firmly enough and it doesn't register the keypress. I have a low-profile mechanical switch to fit in its place - but that's for another day!

If you want to do the same, here are the parts you will need:

Hot-swap switch and LED sockets from AliExpress (https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32908826691.html?spm=a2g0o.productlist.0.0.59e94379QnNXT3&algo_pvid=4eca1c9e-d39d-4729-aeef-113b9faef29d&algo_exp_id=4eca1c9e-d39d-4729-aeef-113b9faef29d-16) (if you want both types, be sure to pick the "colour" as "led add switch")

PCB (https://1drv.ms/u/s!Av_FyZZxIrKV33ApDJvefL4ETCWF?e=EGeu7g) from wherever (if you do use PCBWay, I have a referral link (https://www.pcbway.com/setinvite.aspx?inviteid=479429)) EDIT: actually, I forgot - if youíre in the UK, I have four spare PCBs (the minimum order quantity was five), drop me a message on here if you want one.

Modded bottom plate (https://1drv.ms/u/s!Av_FyZZxIrKV4Ah6UgMqbbhlbIJo?e=smH2M7) - note this needs further tweaking for the hotswap connectors, I haven't had time to modify it yet.

Top plate (https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1784054)

Archive.org snapshot of the first page of this thread with pics intact (https://web.archive.org/web/20170807015331/https://community.xim.tech/index.php?topic=48266.0)
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: Pistol451 on 09:16 AM - 10/26/21
New developments :)


I started having some trouble with my analogue stick - when pushing forward in game, it would start to not work, or even start moving backwards! Tried squirting contact cleaner in there, no improvement. Figured I would have to replace the analogue stick, went as far as ordering replacements - until TuFFrabit pointed out that it sounded like a bad connection. Sure enough, when I was investigating fitting a new stick, I notice that disturbing the wiring caused one of my ground wires to detach from the pin it was soldered to. It clearly hadn't been a good connection, so may have been intermittently failing, which could have caused issues with the reading from the stick potentiometer if the common ground was glitching about. Resoldered the connection, and on reassembly all was well! So, if your stick starts misbehaving, check your wiring!


Also, I decided it was time to replace the rubbish thumb key. Low profile mechanical switches are best for this, but I was struggling to find Red ones in the UK for a sensible price. Aliexpress to the rescue again... there I found a set of six Kailh Chocolate low profile mechanical switches, which included Red and Yellow versions as well as four others, and also came with keycaps. That was pretty useful as I'd get to compare the Red and Yellow versions, as well as having keycaps for modding. Also, low profile keycaps are also had to find - so I picked up some Kailh ones from Aliexpress while I was about it. Ordered a 1.5u and 2.5u keycap as I wasn't sure which would suit best, and the price was negligible compared to the postage!


I didn't want to cut away the key PCB, as I always prefer to be able to restore things to default (usually 'cos I mess something up lol), so I was hoping there would be enough clearance for the switch to fit. Luckily there was, with the way I did it. I wanted to remove the bare minimum of plastic, so essentially I just widened the opening enough for the width of the switch, and cut away a bit at the back:

(https://db3pap003files.storage.live.com/y4m7yR5q3KxESY5JUqyruO123MdscIlD6bxkARBhMR8F2eB_EcY_zUaBjCSNnnuFn7IpTJZFTgUTCx43WAIjmfDPVZ8-CPLlX6-XEOJZ5YJNCgq5kVepSWvFx524mnY0r9zpZVe3cWLKkFLBp6khFRh1sgsjiaAEOE0cTZu5frAmJ0yJ07x2hEfnnSTjLDM0pUM?width=660&height=495&cropmode=none)

(https://db3pap003files.storage.live.com/y4mwwbkhEAne5XP4l234k7ITujlDNaphbDujR8OguxiVFCw3EaQARFq-tZ6s9V8lwSiM5nz1J81jZy7wBIBHCpej_IyYtc_58gUD1G5yMdU0ODUhATA1RUTgaO7tql8UXl9kVOVspvtDYVhYDOHJHkYWXh2StFM2ZVe39eiV0ZiscNEs0N9dXKNXzSrqi_238li?width=660&height=495&cropmode=none)

(https://db3pap003files.storage.live.com/y4mVo-Q60ObDQOWW5ub56JNgNH6ZglmVVNVJOD1PQWWrj2QW4XrPopCbiiqGTjkXgtlM1JLyincR6kSBMkw6QlAvVzgoTyeeXw4HCDH7aV78hrjaSn1aE2OGGS2fgI2Et8kFJo_ieyGZEo1Rn8VtAdd0AhV8CGoTLgTxFHrNot6VoOAER8jf0bwfl_NQxQ5oNt4?width=660&height=495&cropmode=none)

(https://db3pap003files.storage.live.com/y4mMMiTS73bZGsoVKb7CLosCOvxrJph9x41wn5MDmBD6b_7vmFkknLXfwkvWP15gYA9B6FYaKq_-2TUk84SpKgrV119E-RK8WCSwfT5LNWgByCcw9gx6LTV2CZEWQbdmFdh9jS30-Om_EEDAoDRUnH3RqgHqmEihhGgsQYGioDHQvdShPEcTnpZimr9BvESAMFS?width=660&height=495&cropmode=none)

(https://db3pap003files.storage.live.com/y4m_lthOhawTtoxpwbCiZ37FTwjUUiDfp-RJMD0ilSp28R45CYCMUCWMtfFw9n3npcA2gfUmmYVTBQ4zZ2Q9z1AFOeaXXTesQgU1pdOY5MafYUXV3fHFLzllR0onIIFteHXbdY3S94ldvnzt8OGn1dDZlS7A-veiOIenCLcrtxN0u7Fvdm2ycyZV68Gs-7r8gIH?width=495&height=660&cropmode=none)

(https://db3pap003files.storage.live.com/y4m787LKmDuzO7RLqLQwKRHUftHBZIuYOqUeVvP2RQ5i2QyF8iiSMrsZku-NwtRLFbCnDvd-5qYfxSW5zh1UHOdCiWceGi_kmqQxyLKm7EA1mFYp1RaaFkxp245-bNMdVXU32JwM1Gr5p1wVJcYNxE3JqODUCdC1st66RwySAJXHaGQjN5MWHQENu4oBw-hCaEp?width=660&height=495&cropmode=none)

The switch will "see-saw" a bit as it's unsupported at the back, so I when gluing it in place I put some hot glue under the back of it to stop that happening.


Next it's time to wire it up. I'd read previous posts about just using two of the wires from the main PCB, which sounded ideal as I hate soldering to pads - I'm always petrified I'll screw up the traces. If I could just solder directly to the point on the back of the PCB where the wires attached, that would save me a lot of work! However I misread the instructions, and couldn't get the signal for a keypress to register... turns out I was using the wrong points  ::)


I was soldering to the red wire, and wondering why connecting to the other points did nothing but make the device wig out in a way that didn't make me want to continue. So I bit the bullet, and soldered to the pads using very fine wire, which fortunately went much easier than I expected! Just checked, and I think it's the two wires furthest from the red wire that I should have tried - so for anyone else trying this mod, try that first lol. Applied some hot glue to strengthen the connections:

(https://db3pap003files.storage.live.com/y4mgfnl2n4JI-xlsaG_G7NPOv0prSFP0OeQ7mKxZaA70fWc7_XPn3WTrtUQg7HcHlVHScYK1-mqXwUVlP7hnlnKlzF9zVsqTZMi9acyuXoccRIh8XxgXrG1yv0b3Ise9zX5ijqpIG8H0rSwALjFWd-9CI-7yr-qM4aekpjl3n4RUHPovICQgeaFO64d3lYOJ9xc?width=660&height=495&cropmode=none)

Don't forget to pass the wires through the hole before you solder to the switch! I left my wires nice and long, as once the switch is glued in, you won't easily remove it if you need to remove the guts in future, so longer wires means less strain on the connections while you're moving the PCB about.

(https://db3pap003files.storage.live.com/y4mUYJSuVebhCX5Knw1esnGwF021DnotCOUkdmv6ixZeicl77UvWWexGmhH-tnoZDjoaENfvPuZeF5ltGtzlxjMMW9TD3RZnJD3FTeCDutqTBwE1FD43oU8h5GrRoAiw_i0F87jNA4a4G0MT8oWwM2cQOIKFBoPDP3FqDnPh1CBW46BIKWZBHKyeulM7L2ENX8v?width=495&height=660&cropmode=none)

Applied glue from above at the back for support, and from below to fix it in place and provide strain relief and insulation from the PCB:

(https://db3pap003files.storage.live.com/y4muboZNxzqT6qCzglajTmpe2In1I4l06VV7Z_zfIABM3lC_0gIrVWnl-HF_7bNocLFGo-iDNS1keoswpJPyAM5XpzGY6nSZnQNE-BmVPMwK4rjSPj2LYjbybwwh358GCpqazRBvRri4iDbaCK8v27nW2DfBL3BhjzJ2NuW5-oo0ipg52QZuOWptlG_wnHs53l_?width=495&height=660&cropmode=none)

PCB in place (so for future reference, try soldering to the two leftmost points, furthest from the red wire, which would be a lot easier than soldering to the pads!) showing the length of wire I left:

(https://db3pap003files.storage.live.com/y4mmsEIWv6M1lNJ4Z2rW-V0IRtOYf1pG8GkYNoF3KfPozhu7KquNu1-Bj5CEhe44jI44SWne9HKhZ_DNrHuHMQmSUlWs6Cx20EYDWdbhyJKV5ujlXtwUuv1l_ouEv1yiuerOuIwWMZsmvpdYuGOpihr7Zri5pQ1a3Z30kMTZ-l0StgHpvXmxOWd30V895N9uaPs?width=495&height=660&cropmode=none)

The device reassembled, with 1.5u width keycap in place!

(https://db3pap003files.storage.live.com/y4mE9glADjbBK2XrLlI7cj4MNs8MgulU-K9BmjzxuqbgqiQR7HrppZWm4aTisApHI9ntdOydQRtPA--3tcp-A1qK5dQJKwFKQX7Iy2L4uVyYksp7etttovtCJn6s8szzsuWfQxa1uoAwmCZ0RHgyllIZZ86RGHDjmfQp5pi1nop3zh69zhfogqHK2B_ZaiySdYA?width=495&height=660&cropmode=none)

I think it looks pretty awesome! In use, it is so much better than the crappy unresponsive rubber dome key, I haven't dropped a single input since I did the mod. The only thing I might change in future, is to re-use the original keycap, by gluing the pegs from one of my spares from the switch sampler to the underside of it; the original keycap is moulded to ergonomically align with your thumb. The one I have on now is slightly angled, and feels good, but could be better with the original keycap.
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: Od1n on 10:22 AM - 10/26/21
Oh wow Pistol451 that looks indeed awesome, great job! :)
Title: Re: Tut: Modded N52te, 2016 Edition
Post by: Pistol451 on 12:27 PM - 10/26/21
Oh wow Pistol451 that looks indeed awesome, great job! :)


Cheers @Od1n!