Leopold FC980m Replacement PCB (works w/VIA)

Stumbled across an open sourced PCB files on GitHub for Leopold FC980m. This PCB supports QMK. That has peak my interests as it is my biggest gripe with the Leopolds.

By chance someone is trying out some prototypes this week. If/When they succeed I will order a batch of prototypes from https://jlcpcb.com/.

Why?

  • I really like my Leopold minus QMK (layers are very useful and I don’t love the alternative ways to get them)
  • Different aspect of the hobby I know little about (PCB fabrication, SMD components etc.)
  • Having a custom PCB fabricated just for my keyboard. That sounds pretty bad ass…
  • 5 Pin Switches
  • PCB stabs (with custom plate)

PCB: https://github.com/evyd13/nt-series/tree/main/nt-980
Designer website: https://AnyKeys.eu

KEEP IN MIND YOU NEED TO KEEP THE ORIGINAL USB and Daughter/Middle board to use this PCB!

Also they have the other models FC660m, FC750r

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Well this keeps getting more appealing. I had a brief Discord with the designer they were super nice and helpful…

It is compatible with VIA. evyd13_nt980_via.hex: https://caniusevia.com/docs/download_firmware/

I was hoping to customize the color to not green but looks like that would cost too much for the super small amount I would order.

This is my first adventure into custom PCBs. You can chose the finish on PCB. Does anyone have a recommendation on this for keyboard usage? https://jlcpcb.com//quote/pcbOrderFaq/PCB%20Surface%20Finish?_ga=2.155887352.2125266422.1615684632-1362811209.1615569037

Also any tips on options to chose when having PCBs prototyped? (this is more then a bit out of my comfort zone)

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I would definitely go for ENIG if the cost is not too high (it shouldn’t be much more expensive but idk with these super cheap vendors). The gold looks much nicer, and is usually more durable.

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Thanks for the heads up it will be around a $5 charge per board. I think that is the best way to go.

Getting further in the options there seems to be a $1.67 charge per board to put a piece of paper between each PCB in the batch to prevent scratching. I mean I will probably go for it but I see how this is going to go lol.

Seems like these would be a dream pairing with the Heavy-9

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Yep. I’m still howling out hope for @hineybush who is working on one of these as well.

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I wasn’t aware that was something he was working on.

With it’s own FR-4 plate and alps support, I assume?

This is an old link but I know he mentioned working on it a few months ago on his discord. His design at least what I know of it has a few advantages over this one, mainly not needing intermediate PCB and potentially more RGB. Let me know if anyone finds a plate file for this though.

https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=95444.0

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Good news these PCB designs have been merged into VIA.

Someone from the designers discord ordered prototypes from JLCPCB that worked successfully with VIA! He was kind enough to share his parts list. I am double checking it for my own sanity. Looks like I will only have to solder one part which I should be able to handle.

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yeah I am in 100%, I wonder if we can add a poly carb plate to it as well. Now if only it came with a usb c interface.

I ordered a batch yesterday from JLCPCB and the pin headers I will need to solder on. I think I will be able to do it with traditional soldering iron instead of hot air.

I haven’t done the USB-C conversion myself but it should be doable with a breakout board. The case would need to be modified slightly as USB-C is slightly wider. Change USB Connector Type

I would like to make a PolyCarb plate as well. I haven’t seen anyone with the plate files for this model.
There are sites to help generate plate files but trying to hold myself back and only do one experimental thing at a time. My plan is to make this PCB hot swap with Holtite sockets so it will be quick to changeout.

Consider adding ISO. That would be a huuuge hit as Leopold has stopped making ISOs for some reason.
Would absolutely love to buy a few of these PCBs.

@theMan
The designer accounted for ISO and split left shift. Both of which would require a custom plate or some next level pro Dremel skills I don’t have :wink:

The KiCAD files from GitHub show this but it is overwhelming to look at for a while till you get used to it (also tip it took me a day to figure out how to look at the tip view of the board, View -> Flip Board View) .

Kicad file with many of the layers turned off.

thanks… thanks!
Guess this is gonna be a quick swap for the PCB in my FC980M ISO then!
It sure would beat desoldering my the horrible blue switches from the original pcb. (Also have a version with red keys and it’s soooo good)

Ugh… seems I’d have to desolder the switches to get to the plate…oh well… would be nice to be able to order a plate to go with the pcb. But at least I don’t have to be afraid of f’in up the desoldering job and be left with a non functioning keyboard since I would switch to the new pcb anyways =)

Also, a litt bit more expensive white pcbs would be reeaal nice.

I like the Blue PCB but didn’t like to do the minimum 30 unit order from JLCPCB. Green had a minimum of 5 units which was more inline with the cost/risk I wanted to assume.

When this comes in and I have it confirmed working, I will add the production design and part files to this post that way anyone can try it out.

Here is a sample of the different PCB colors

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I like the white PCB

Would love to combine an ISO & per key light PCB with a Heavy-9 housing.

Sir, you read my mind.

Well definitely one to follow then, I’d love to see how you go once you reach the final stages.

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This project is amazing. Very interested in how this turns out.

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