Install Caseless standalone keyboard in reform?

Just noticing the new standalone keyboard options of buying with out a case, but much more importantly, with clicky switches.

Is the standalone keyboard compatible with the reform? Does the pcb match? Will the mounting holes allow this? Would it be a simple swap plug n play affair, or would it require more advanced skills like soldering (which I’m not great at) or driver stuff (which I’m struggling to learn…this is my first linux machine).

It was honestly a pretty major disappointment to realize that my reform shipped with linear switches when I got it. I thought to myself, what even is the point of having all that space for fully mechanical keys, if they aren’t even clicky!

The idea that mechanical keyboards are clicky is simply erroneous. What type of switch you use is a matter of personal preference. It is highly subjective. I personally find mechanical switches that are as quite as possible to be very good. My personal favorite are cherry browns.

At a certain point you want to be able to use your computer without annoying everyone around you, or waking up your kids. Hahaha.

Still different strokes for different folks.

All this to say that I find the switches used in the Reform to be excellent. YMMV.

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To cut to the chase: yes, the PCB is identical, you can install the clicky version in Reform.

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I’m with you! I was very disappointed with the kailh choc browns. I assumed that they would be more tactile-y, like cherry browns (which I like). Is it an unfair assumption based on the branding? My fingers can’t find any feedback with the choc browns, pressing them down slowly- they feel linear. But sure, it comes down to preference.

In any case- yes, mntmn confirmed you can swap the boards between reform and standalone keyboards! It just requires flashing the firmware. I’ve got an order for the white switches myself :slight_smile:

Personal tastes aside, for lack of options, I see the sense in shipping non-clicky switches by default to consider sound pollution. In the kailh choc line-up, I’m not sure there’s an equivalent to the cherry browns? i.e. tactile with not much sound.

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I likewise prefer quiet mechnical keys with a solid tactile bump. I wear headphones all day, so the sound of my keyboard is entirely irrelevant to me and could only possibly serve to annoy others, but the bump makes it clear when the switch has actuated and helps keep me from bottoming out, which in turn helps save my wrists. Plus mechanical keyboards are a lot easier to repair than, e.g., Lenovo’s scissor switches.

The Kailh Choc Browns don’t have as noticeable a bump as the Cherry Browns on my desktop’s keyboard, but I can definitely feel one. Maybe it’s not as noticeable due to the shorter travel? They bump almost immediately. Either way, it looks like Browns are the heaviest tactile switches available in Kailh’s Choc lineup. The only other tactile switch they offer in that form factor are the Reds, and those require about a quarter less actuation force. AFAICT, going heavier generally makes the bump more noticeable (though I’m happy to be wrong on this).

So this might be obvious but if I wanted to use cherry browns specifically, could I just buy a bunch, desolder the old switches and solder in the new ones, and everything just works?

(I don’t want to do this, as they are working fine. I got some Kailh blues in a UHK first gen keyboard, and while they are great, they are super loud. I have a ZSA Moonlander and that is what turned me onto the browns. They are excellent to me. I found I didn’t miss the click that much at all.)

Cherry brown switches would be much too tall, and the pinout of choc switches is different. Instead you may want to look at the “thick click” versions of the choc switch . These have a stiffer click bar that both makes them noisy and gives a strong tactile feel.

I think the white clicky chocs feel more like a desktop brown than the choc browns, but I don’t like either type of brown, so I may be missing the important part.

Kalilh’s web page only lists about half the models that they sell on alibaba. stocks the light weight ones. You may have to search or go to aliexpress to find burnt orange and jade thick clicks.