My job has brought me and my team back to the office this year and I’ve gotten back into the swing of rotating in a new keyboard every couple of weeks so I end up using my whole collection. I’m having issues with the one I’m using right now, a Klippe T that I bought from @sarvopari last year. Nearly every time I get up from my desk and come back, I get a small static shock against the case which disconnects the keyboard and I have to unplug it and plug back in to get it working again.
So on to my question: Is there something I can do that would prevent the shock from reaching the PCB? This is a tray-mount case with an aluminum plate and I think a WT60-D PCB.
The best thing you can do is discharge the static electricity you have built up on your body before touching your keyboard (or any other electronics).
When you get back to your desk and sit down, touch something metal before touching your keyboard. Metal filing cabinets at my cube are my go-to, but the metal leg or frame on your desk should probably do the trick. At this point, it’s something I do both at home and work and feels like second nature. It works nearly 100% of the time.
I’ve said it before, but I always discharge my static on a usb charger as I’m sitting down. I always touch it before I touch my keyboard. I recently swapped to a wireless iphone charger but it has a metal ring on it that I can shock myself on. Before that, I just touched the tip of my mouse charging cable (micro usb cable).
Other than that, I haven’t found a way to prevent static buildup. I’ve tried anti-static mats under the chair, different shoes, and a humidifier. Nothing seemed to work for me as it is very dry inside my home during the winter.
Some cases and PCB combos do seem more sensitive to the shock though. I have a couple of keyboards that will disconnect due to shock while I’m seated and using them.
This was why I started buying more plastic cases. When I get sick of worrying about shocking my board, I’ll use a plastic board
Also, is that GMK TA? Love that classic look. I’ve been on the hunt for GMK Merlin because it has a similar vibe.
It is! TA 2015 was actually my first GMK set and despite all the issues that came with it being the first custom-color GMK run it’s still one of my favorites.
Anyway, I just did a couple of laps around the office to build up a charge (lol) and tried touching a bunch of stuff to discharge on before the board. No luck on drawer handles (drawers are wooden), and touching the metal part of my chair shocked me but apparently not enough to completely dissipate. I guess my next desk decoration is going to be something to discharge on
You have a wireless mouse, right? Don’t you have a charging cable for it?
Or you can mount a USB cable under the desk that just barely pokes out of the front where you could reach under and touch it.
The reason I resort to something plugged into the computer is that I find those components be be fairly well designed to handle the charge.
Oh nice, you’re right a USB cable would be perfect for grounding. Will test that out and see if it works better than the chair.
Some offices and/or clothing seem to particularly effective at building charges. Sometimes I’ll discharge before sitting down and once again after, but sometimes I need to discharge both hands in the most static-y of situations. Can be super annoying.
Is there a metal frame on your desk? Touching that may work better since your keyboard is on the same surface? If not, I’d go with @pixelpusher’s suggestion or even just a USB cable plugged into a wall charging adapter. Pretty much guaranteed to get discharged this way but no chance to fry your computer if it’s not perfectly shielded.
I’m also quite prone to static build up and shocks. Back when I was used an aluminum keyboard, I was also frequently getting a static shock when touching it. It would be enough to temporarily disable both the keyboard and wired mouse (it seems my computer would automatically disconnect the entire USB bus), but it would come back after a few seconds. I guess this sort of behavior would vary depending on the motherboard.
This is not a solution to your specific problem (where you want to continue use of a specific aluminum board), but I personally dealt with my issue by going with non-metallic keyboard cases.
I’m guessing that the aluminum case is connected to the ground plane of the PCB through the mounting standoffs. Maybe if you put a bit of electric tape between the PCB and standoffs that might help to electrically isolate the PCB from the case? There might be some other contact points that would also need to be insulated, but I’m not familiar with that specific keyboard.
Has anyone trying using an anti-static mat as a deskmat?
If you have a metal PC case and if that is conveniently reachable, then touching that should also dissipate static charge in a safe way, as the case should be properly grounded.
I found that to work, but it’s also annoying to me to have any static shocks at all. So, with non-metallic keyboard cases, I can just completely avoid shocks when I need to work at my PC.
I had my headset plugged in and charging just out of frame from the last photo, and I ended up just routing the cable under the desk to be a bit more of a permanent charging (& discharging) cable. Tentatively, it seems to work!
Mine seems to just disconnect the keyboard, though one time last week it somehow managed to also disable the built-in keyboard on my laptop. Bizarrely, the “e” key on my keyboard was still sort-of working but somehow sending the € character. Had to reboot to fix it.
I actually have some rubber O-rings sized perfectly for tray mount standoffs at home that I used for a different build I wanted to be more flexible, I think I’ll take this board home over the weekend and put a set of those in to see if that will help. Though this isn’t the only keyboard I’ve had this problem with so a discharge point is definitely going to be helpful in general.
As for non-metallic cases, probably about half of my keyboards are non-metallic but I don’t particularly want to get rid of or stop using the ones that are. Maybe I’ll just keep the metal ones at home where I don’t have static issues but I like bringing all of them into work so probably won’t stick to that.
Thanks for all the help guys
Ooh love build with TA!
Hmm, I don’t really ever get static buildup, but maybe you could try a modern PCB build that has ESD protection (I’m not sure if it’s the daughterboard or the PCB itself that typically has ESD protection).
Also, maybe a keyboard pad that ‘grounds’ the case might work?
its either, some pcb designs have it on the main pcb some have it on the daughterboard. Typically though it is on the main pcb itself.