Question Mechanical Keyboard is dead, can't find a similar replacement

Cyber_Akuma

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So, my keyboard appears to be completely dead.

It was a CM Storm Trigger Z, the older model that had a mini-USB plug instead of s full size USB-B.

I had some coffee splash (not outright spill) on it so I decided instead of just wipe it to take off all the keys and just completely clean it since it had been a while anyway. (No, I didn't dunk it in water or anything). Something I had done several times before over the years with no issues.

After all was said and done and I waited a few hours for the keys to dry before plugging them back into the keyboard and plugged it in....... and nothing. The status leds would turn on but no backlight, and my PC would not recognize it. Then it just completely went dead.

I would understand a key or two being unresponsive if fluid got in, but the entire keyboard appears to be completely dead now and showing no signs of getting power.

Going to see if maybe there is some fluid left in it by leaving it disconnected overnight, but I don't have much hopes for that, seems likely that it's dead, issue is I really liked it's design and when trying to find a replacement that is similar.... I can't find one. Cooler Master still lists the keyboard (at least the newer model) on their site as still being sold, but it's listed as discontinued in every retailer I can find.

Main parts that I liked was that it had Cherry MX Red switches, almost nothing seems to use Red switches anymore (even back then it was hard to get that model in Red), that the USB cable was detachable, and that it had macro keys.

Every one I see nowadays in keyboard guides and recommendations has just about every type of switch EXCEPT Red, none seem to have macro keys, and most don't have a detachable USB cable either..... and they tend to cost an arm and a leg, my old keyboard was $120, a lot of the recommended ones seem to be in the $200 range nowadays...

Any suggestions on what I can try?
 

Crowii

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Good keyboards with dedicated macro keys are rare. I wish you good luck, friend.
 
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Cyber_Akuma

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Thank you for the suggestions, but those are a little expensive.

Sorry, I should have clarified. I don't have much of a budget ATM so I was trying to get a keyboard that is just OK for cheap, preferably under $100 , but the less the better. I know I can't get everything I want on a budget, but I was trying to see WHAT out of those I can.

I would say that the most important part are the Red switches, second most important for me would be the cable, and last would be macro keys.

(Sadly, seems only the most expensive one in that list has a detachable cable, and that gimmick makes me worry about compatibility issues.... that and I highly doubt I would be able to use it properly, never could get the hang of the pressure sensitive buttons on a PS2 controller)

As for that G.Skill one by the way, that looks like a good one, though a little expensive, but not too bad at $90. I also noticed that there is a non-RGB variant for $65:


Any opinions about the non-RGB variant of that keyboard?
(I agree though, it does look obnoxious.... also not a fan of the Macro-1 key being to the left of the Esc key like that, I can see myself hitting G1 all the time when I meant to press Esc)

Also, I was trying to find some on my own and RTINGS of all places recommended a Red Dragon keyboard. I always assumed those were TOO cheap to not be a ripoff or scam, but they appear to be decent. Issue is, the one they recommended (which they didn't give great reviews for) has no numberpad:

https://www.rtings.com/keyboard/reviews/redragon/k552-rgb

However, there appears to be a variant that does:


Any advice or opinion on any of that? Rtings didn't have reviews on the numberpad model, I am not sure if it's exactly like the K552 or if it's different.
 
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Cyber_Akuma

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So, now that I have asked both here and on other places for recommendations, I have narrowed it down to four that seem the closest experience to my CM Storm Trigger Z (backlighting, “Red” style mechanical switches, macro keys, detachable USB, and around the same length physically) on a budget. I tried reading reviews on them, but still want to ask people's opinions between these four (Although as I explained, it's a bit blurry if a slightly different model number among the Redragon line would work better for me), as out of all the ones I could find for the feature set I wanted and within my budget, these four seemed to be the closest. But I am not sure about any of them (Especially the ones that are not red switch or are optical)

Redragon K556:
I am a bit skeptical about Redragon anything, as their prices generally seem too good to be true. And Rtings didn't have great reviews for the K552..... but they also had it on their list of recommended budget gaming mechanical keyboards. But the K552 does not have a numberpad, and the K556 appears to be the same as the K552 but with one. It has no macro keys (though seems you can set them in software) nor a detachable cable, but it (seems to?) have a red switch option. Most of the other reviews I looked up on the K556 appeared to be pretty favorable, main complaints I saw were from Rtings claiming that the spacebar is wobbly and that there is no software...... except that there is? I don't know if maybe the software came out after Rtings' review. (Another person in their review commented that one of his switches was duplicating keystrokes, but since the keyboard comes with several replacement switches the replacement worked).

Amazon a few days ago claimed the keyboard came with Brown and Red switches, but that the Red switch one was back-ordered until the 18th. When I checked today however, there was no option for anything other than a brown-switch version.

It's not even clear if the K556 IS supposed to come in multiple key versions or some other K55Whatever model is the Red switch version. One issue I had when trying to research this keyboard is that there was dozens of K5## models that all seemed to all be almost the exact same thing, and I couldn't tell what the difference was.

Also, personally, not a fan of the somewhat odd writing on the keycaps, namely, how keys that have different characters depending on if shift is held (such as the number keys) have both sets of characters to the SIDE of each other rather than the main character be on top and the shift-character be on the bottom like how most keyboards display it.


Redragon K580 VATA:
Function-wise it appears to be a K566 with some dedicated macro keys and multimedia keys, which is what drew me to it. Although, the macro keys are odd mini-keys at the top of the keyboard rather than normal sized keys among all the other regular keyboard's keys. It also does not appear to be a Red switch option, but instead blue and...... optical brown? Really not sure how I feel about optical keys at all, seem to be very hit-or-miss with people.... and I wish it had at least a Black key option if no Red. (Why do so many gaming keyboards seem to default to Blue switches? Non-gaming keyboards geared for typing/programming I get, but gaming?). Sadly, no detachable USB cable either.

The reviews I was able to find of this keyboard are more or less "Yeah, it's good" with no real glaring positives or negatives other than it's a bit messy if you have multiple profiles and move between PCs.

I am a bit skeptical however how the K580 appears to be newer and have more features than the K556..... yet is about the same price, makes me wonder what it's lacking compared to the K556, whether it's some features missing, or build quality.



(I know that both the Redragon K556 and K580 let you replace the switches with other Outemu switches without soldering, but it's not clear if the "optical" version of the K580 allows that too or only the mechanical one, the reviews I saw only mentioned the mechanical Blue switch version...... plus it would likely be far too expensive to replace all the switches with Red ones...)


G.Skill Ripjaws KM780R:
Originally this one was really pushing against how much I wanted to pay, but I noticed that there is a non-RGB version with just red backlighting (just like my Storm Trigger Z) and Red switches. It also has dedicated macro keys in a similar layout to my old keyboard too (Though I am not a fan that the first macro key is to the left of escape instead of below it, I can see myself pressing that by accident when I meant to hit escape) although still no detachable USB cable. However, one big issue I have right off the bat is that it's about two inches longer than my current keyboard (Around 18 inches vs 20). I just barely am fitting my current keyboard in its current tray, and that's still with it cutting off some space from my mouse, and with this I will have an additional 2 inches of space lost.... and from what I can see, it's due to those purely cosmetic "pipes" at the ends that you can't remove. Kind of annoying that it would take that much more space for something that is almost purely cosmetic that you can't detach.

According to reviews, apparently this was originally a $180-130 keyboard that has dropped in price significantly, which makes me wonder if this is an obsolete older model. The reviews for the most part seemed to say it was a pretty good keyboard with good build quality, but that it takes up a lot of space, and isn’t very repairable….. and is also quite ugly. They also complained about the software being complicated but I don’t really care about that much.

Also personally, on top of the it’s large size, the cable looks like an utter mess too. A hard-wired cable that ends in two USB-A and two 3.5mm AUX cables? If there was ANY keyboard that screamed for detachable cables, it would have been this one.


Razer Huntsman:
This one was a bit of a pain to try to get information/reviews on, since everything was trying to auto”correct” me to the Mini, Elite, or Tournament model instead of the normal model. I kinda wish they had some other name for the normal model so most search engines wouldn't assume I just forgot the last word of the mini/elite/tournament version. And yet again, no detachable USB cable… no dedicated macro or any other additional keys either. It does appear to have a “linear keys” (they don’t seem to clarify what type of Cherry switches they mimic) option…. but I could not find the normal version available in that, so I am not sure if it’s exclusive to the Mini, Elite, or Tournament edition. On top of that, it’s really hitting the edge of what I wanted to pay for a budget keyboard (and it only even fits that because it had a price cut, despite not being that old of a Keyboard… that’s a little concerning)…. and I am unsure about how well optical keys would work out, which is this keyboard’s main selling point.


Going by reviews, it seems like for the most part they loved the quality of the keyboard and feel it’s well-built and good to type on, but that it’s also very noisy…. very VERY noisy….. in fact just about every review was VERY adamant about pointing out how noisy it is (which surprises me for optical switches) and the keys can wobble a little, mostly due to the optical design requiring a stabilization bar.


So that’s pretty much the four I have narrowed it down to. I already asked about keyboards in general last time, now that I got advice I am just trying to get an opinion across these four (Or if there is a Redragon that is one or two model numbers off which is more or less the same thing but with a feature or switch I do want.)

What annoyed me is that none of these are even that close to what I am looking for. Half of them aren’t Red or any other type of linear switch, and none of them have a detachable USB cable. If only that G.Skill one didn’t have that annoyance of a metal tube around it or it’s mess of a USB cable it would have been the best pick. Likewise, if only that K556 had Red switches (and I am not sure on their quality yet do their price) it also would have been a pretty close pick.
 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator
There are many keyboards with MX Red switches or with copies of them (I like the Gateron ones). Macro keys are fallen out of favor, smaller keyboards are more popular and easier to find.

You're biggest issue is trying to find a keyboard with all of the features you want, removing one or two things will make it much easier. Say no macro keys or removable cable.

Redragon is fine to get, may be harder to get warranty support for it but not bad quality.
My son had a G.SKILL keyboard, was good quality, only reason it was swapped out was because he ruined it with dirt and spilling.

Logitech has pretty good feeling switches, the linear Romer G keys feel similar to Red

https://www.bestbuy.com/site/logitech-orion-spectrum-g910-wired-gaming-mechanical-romer-g-switch-keyboard-with-rgb-backlighting-black/5053501.p?skuId=5053501

https://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-CK552/dp/B07NPZKPH6/ref=asc_df_B07NPZKPH6/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=385599530796&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=13098676649345100016&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9001809&hvtargid=pla-848213626028&psc=1&tag=&ref=&adgrpid=76783608457&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvadid=385599530796&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=13098676649345100016&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9001809&hvtargid=pla-848213626028

https://www.bestbuy.com/site/corsair-k68-wired-gaming-mechanical-cherry-mx-red-switch-keyboard-with-rgb-backlighting-black/6167610.p?skuId=6167610

https://www.bestbuy.com/site/alloy-origins-wired-gaming-mechanical-hyperx-red-switch-keyboard-with-rgb-back-lighting-black/6371052.p?skuId=6371052
 
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