Loud spacebar on dampened keyboard

I’m building a quiet keyboard out of an Archon AK89, and it’s actually going pretty well.

I’m using Silent Sky stems in TTC housings, and the board has foam, so the switches are very quiet and pleasant.

I’ve been replacing the questionable stock stabilizers with genuine Cherry gold-plated ones. They are lubed with whatever stabilizer lube comes with the AK89.

All the new stabilizers are quiet, except for the spacebar. It slaps loud if you bottom out, which is what happens a lot using these switch type.

Is there a way to get the spacebar to become more quiet? I remember I locked it in there pretty hard when installing it, maybe I wasn’t supposed to do that. It’s relatively quiet even to the point of actuation, it’s just bottoming out where it THUNKS.

I am using a PBT spacebar from a Leopold FC900, as it has internal dampening, but I guess I could try a different one. Didn’t want to mess around with it too much.

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I’m only guessing, but it sounds like some part of the bar is actually striking something at bottom-out. The first thing I was going to suggest is foam, but it sounds like you’ve got that covered already. Are you able to see if the underside of the bar is striking either the switch or the stab housings?

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That’s a thought that occurred to me - I put that spacebar on pretty forcefully.

I can’t see under the hi-profile case, so I will have to remove the spacebar. I might as well test it with an alternative spacebar before moving forwards.

What about those silencing rings that go on the stems?

The switch itself is actually pretty quiet, it’s not where the noise is coming from.

I took the spacebar off and put it back only halfway down the stabilizer inserts. It sounded like it should have, just the rubber shuffling of a silenced switch.

But when down all the way, where it fully engages the stabilizer and bottoms-out with it, it gives the slamming sound.

So I just removed the spacebar stabilizer and carefully reinserted it, not jamming anything down. Still, when I pull up on the stabilizer inserts and let them fall, I can hear the stabilizer slapping down on the plate. Even though there is foam directly under the plate.

It seems as if the setup of the stabilizer is the problem. It bottoms out, and when it does it slaps the plate. I’m not sure what to do there, maybe I should try out the original stabilizer.

I’d try inserting some tissues into spacebar keycap stem holes, BluTack if you have it.

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I’ve done that before, to stabilize old keycaps!

Only difference here is, I think the slam-to-bottom is in the nature of these Gold-plated Cherry stabilizers I ordered. The OEM stabs, which use inserts in the spacebar, don’t do this [but they are much more wobbly.]

I also just tried out a generic unlubed Cherry-style stabilizer, and it doesn’t even operate, just gets stuck once you insert the spacebar!

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Well this is interesting - I’ve tried about 3 spacebar stabilizers in there so far, and spent time adjusting the Cherry gold-plated one.

After inserting this Cherry stab very carefully and evenly, and not pressing the spacebar too deep, it’s actually not as bad. There’s still a bit of that slam or rattle, but it’s about half the intensity now.

I’m kinda tempted to leave it for now, and maybe come back to it later if I’m feeling adventurous. The slam noise bothers me, but it’s not as obnoxious now. The rest of the board is so quiet - the AK89 is so amazingly good as a quiet board for being a factory board.

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If I’m understanding correctly, this sounds like a situation where thin foam or cloth tape (“band-aid mod”) could help. If that’s too dampened, you might try something like vinyl sticker material; just something to take the edge off of the stab inserts slapping the PCB.

I usually install them with tweezers with the keeb otherwise assembled if it’s hot-swap.

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My noisy spacebar remedy list:

  1. QMX clip - shortens key travel but pretty pleasant with heavy spacebars (extra heft makes spacebar move slower to move which somehow offsets loss in key travel).
  2. Tissues below PCB where spacebar is. Muffles the sound quite a bit, often enough to be tolerable.
  3. Band-aid under stab. Worst remedy due to mushy feel. Result varies wildly depending on the type of band-aid used.

If you don’t have QMX clip, check the spacebar ribs where the switch stem slots are. Unusually loud sound on bottom out may be caused by the ribbing edges striking the switch top. You can verify this placing some tape on the ripping edge where switch housing top would strike. If sound is softened, you have two options:

  1. Add more permanent tapes to cushion the fall.
  2. Grind out part of the ribbing that strikes the switch top (destructive).

I think most people would go with the first choice which has also the benefit of experimenting with material to change the sound the way you like it. The advantage of the destructive choice is it doesn’t change key travel distance.

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Thanks, I haven’t tried the ‘band-aid’ mod yet, having never performed it, but it seems to be something I’ll have to do down the line.

The QMX clip might actually be the ‘band-aid’ solution! I don’t need full travel with the spacebar.

I wonder why this only happened with the spacebar, and not the other stabilizers.

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