Keyboard, Opinion

Custom Keyboard – Always Get Extra PCB

Whenever you join a group buy for a custom keyboard, consider getting an extra PCB. Yes, it will increase the overall cost of the keyboard, but you never know when you might need one a couple of years down the road.

After all, there’s always a chance for electronics to break after years of use, and the PCBs of custom keyboards are no different. If you’re still in the fence about buying an extra PCB for your custom keyboard, keep on reading – you might change your mind.

For Peace of Mind

As mentioned, as you use your custom keyboard, there is always a chance of it breaking. Maybe the PCB is not as well-designed as it should be, or maybe you accidentally spilled your favourite beverage onto the keyboard.

Truth be told, the latter actually happened to me, but fortunately enough, it was just plain water. After drying it for a day or two, the PCB (thankfully) still works as intended. However, if you spilled a soda or coffee onto your keyboard, the PCB may not survive that mishap.

Basically, getting an extra PCB is a nice insurance in case anything happens – get it for peace of mind, or you’ll be left with an expensive paperweight if the original PCB stopped working.

It’s (Usually) Hard to Find Replacement PCBs for Custom Keyboards

More often than not, a custom keyboard uses a PCB that is designed specifically for it. If your original PCB breaks, it will not be easy to find for a replacement, especially if it’s been a while since the keyboard initially went up for sale.

Of course, there are a number of exceptions to this. Take the Wilba.tech Salvation custom keyboard: it is designed to work with most PCBs made for a 60% keyboard, thanks to its different mounting points. That being said, not many custom keyboards feature this kind of flexibility.

Unless you’re purchasing a custom keyboard like the Salvation, it’s highly recommended to get an extra PCB in the event of a mishap or breakage in the future. Otherwise, it may prove to be difficult (or almost impossible) to find for a replacement PCB for your custom keyboard.

Sure, you can always try your luck in the aftermarket scene, but be prepared to pay a premium; assuming you can even find one, that is.

Save on Shipping Cost & Time

Say your custom keyboard’s PCB suddenly stopped working, but fortunately enough, the vendor you got the keyboard from has extra PCBs for sale. But depending on where the vendor is located, you may have to pay quite a bit for shipping alone, incurring more cost than just getting an extra PCB in the initial order of your keyboard.

Yes, getting extra parts for a custom keyboard in a group buy may increase the shipping cost slightly, but it’s nowhere near as much as getting said parts in a separate order in the future. Plus, you’ll also have to wait for the order to be shipped to you, which could take several days or weeks, depending on the courier service.

Really, on the off chance you need to replace the PCB of your custom keyboard, you will be glad you bought an extra PCB from the very beginning. Not only will you be saving time, you won’t have to pay for shipping costs again either.

Can’t I Just Get One PCB?

Well, of course you can! If you’re careful with your custom keyboard – which you really should be – and the PCB is manufactured by a reputable party, you only need one PCB for the keyboard to continue functioning for many, many years.

It’s not necessarily the end of the world either if your PCB breaks; a responsible manufacturer should have replacement PCBs for sale. But as mentioned, if the group buy for the keyboard took place some time ago, there’s a possibility the manufacturer no longer sells the PCB for your particular keyboard.

Personally, whenever I join a group buy for a custom keyboard, I always, always get an extra PCB. I even did so for the Salvation, even if it’s compatible with most PCBs made for a 60% keyboard. If the keyboard has a daughterboard – such as the Mode SixtyFive – I’ll even get an extra unit of that just in case.

To me, it’s worth it to pay more for these extra parts outright, even if there’s only a small chance of the PCB breaking somewhere down the road. I’d rather do this than having to worry about finding for replacements parts in the future.