Helidox
V2.

behind the board

My reasoning for building this boar was to get to grips with SMD soldering in keyboards. While I had done SMD before in light fittings and other things like that, I was yet to try it in a board. Overall I must say I do now prefer SMD soldering, it feels more satisfying to me. However, I can’t say I’m a fan of SMD LEDs, they weren’t as much fun as the sockets or diodes, not by a long shot.

As far as the board goes, the practicality of split boards is growing on me, even if though you tend to lose the functionality of a number row.

Parts

For this build, I bought the Helidox hot-swap kit from Mechboards UK. this kit includes all the components you need for the build as well as an acrylic sandwich case and OLED cover. Within the hot-swap kit you will get 42X Kailh hot-swap sockets, 42X SMD LEDs, 42X SMD diodes, 2X PCBS, the case and all the mounting hardware. It also includes an OLED and TRRS jacks/cable and a selection of controllers for you to choose from. As for the keycaps, I’m using my CandyBar WoB set once again.  

Build Process

This board was definitely an interesting build. As I said already this was the first time I had tried SMD on a keyboard so i wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. The experience as a whole was pretty enjoyable though the process of soldering the LEDs was certainly not my favourite. Once I got passed the ill-fitting LEDs came chose I soldered the diodes. using a set of angled tweezers to hold them to one pad with solder while I re-flowed I to hold it down before soldering the other side seemed to be the easiest way to go about this stage. When I came to the hot-swap sockets I found that tinning one of the pads before pressing the socket into the corresponding holes before re-flowing and soldering both sides was once again the simplest way. Now that the board was starting to look functional, I soldered down my controller sockets to the PCBs and the pins into the controllers. With that step complete, all that was left to do was solder down the components that would allow the 2 halves to communicate with one another by placing and soldering the TRRS jacks and then finally the reset switches. While the kit does include 2 OLEDs, I didn’t use them as the legs of them were not long enough to use with the controller sockets I chose to use.

Review

I like splits. That’s really all I can say now. From the first week of using them, they have continued to grow on me and this board was no different. Having the ability to move half of the board ou of the way for more mouse space is surprisingly handy, not to mention the added ergonomic benefits of being able to adjust the 2 halves to ensure they are as comfortable as they can be when typing. 

The only tigs I wasn’t entirely happy with was the extremely flat typing angle but this could easily be fixed with a tented case and the weighting of the switches. I feel as though 67g Tangerines were a little on the heavy side for such a flat board, I resolved this with some banana splits though and now it feels perfect to type on.

Sound Test

If you would like to hear how this board sounds, Click below!