Drop CTRL Barebones TKL Mechanical Keyboard
- Compact tenkeyless (TKL) layout
- Hot-Swappable switches
- RGB LED backlighting
- Note: keycaps and switches are not included
Drop CTRL Barebones is a compact 87-key tenkeyless barebones mechanical keyboard with per key RGB LED backlighting and hot-swap switch sockets.
To put it simply, the CTRL mechanical keyboard has it all. Constructed with a solid aluminum frame with a built-in switch plate, it’s stable and fortified. And thanks to the Kaihua switch sockets, it allows you to change switches whenever you want with no soldering required. It’s also fully programmable via QMK, meaning you can assign macros or custom keybinds to every key if you like. With dual USB-C connectors, the CTRL is outfitted with the fastest available connections. Aesthetically, the CTRL impresses, too. Featuring customizable RGB backlighting and underlighting, it puts on a show in myriad colors; or you can set it to a single color for a more subtle look.
- Anodized CNC machined aluminum frame
- Custom PCB
- Hot-swap switch sockets
- QMK firmware
- Plate-mounted Cherry-style stabilizers
- Floating key design
- Dual USB-C connectors
- PCB compatible with plate-mount switches and stabilizers only
Plate mount (3-pin) – Hot-Swappable
|Double shot PBT
|1 ms / 1000 Hz
|Full Key (NKRO)
|Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android
|14. 5 x 5.5 x 1.4 in (36.8 x 14 x 3.6 cm)
|34 oz (964 g)
- 56-inch USB cable
- Keycap puller
- Switch puller
- Plate-mount stabilizers
- 1-year Drop Warranty
Drop Keyboard Configurator
Typing my way down the mechanical keyboard rabbit hole with the Drop CTRL
Getting clicky with it —
Customizable, mechanical keyboards can be an expensive niche—this is a nice entry point.
Iljitsch van Beijnum
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As seen from the left. ..
Iljitsch van Beijnum
Iljitsch van Beijnum
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Each key has its own set of RGB LEDs that can create 16 million color combinations.
Iljitsch van Beijnum
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It’s a beauty: The Drop CTRL keyboard
Iljitsch van Beijnum
Even though it’s a customizable pre-built (versus a total custom job), you can of course change the aesthetic of the Drop CTRL…
Iljitsch van Beijnum
Connecting headphones to the second USB-C port (using Apple’s USB-C headphone adapter)
Iljitsch van Beijnum
The keyboard is one of the two parts of a computer setup where flesh and blood meet plastic and metal. (The other being the mouse or trackpad.) Using a keyboard effectively means moving fingers with the precision a computer can understand, often doing so faster than the speed of conscious thought. So although many people are fine with a cheap or default keyboard—as long as it registers keypresses reliably—others don’t mind spending a bit more on something better.
And then the real connoisseurs spend hundreds of dollars ordering parts from all over the world to build their own custom, dreamlike keyboard—a mechanical keyboard, of course, where each key has its own mechanical switch.
I didn’t want to go too far overboard when I recently, finally took the custom keyboard plunge. So I decided to get the pre-built but very customizable Drop CTRL instead. The Drop CTRL is a tenkeyless with 100 Hz individual RGB LEDs supporting hot-swappable Cherry MX style switches (plate-mount only) running the QMK firmware. It comes with OEM profile doubleshot PBT shine-through keycaps and a choice of switches. Phew. But, no, none of that is meaningless marketing talk.
I paid $225 for a high-profile black model with Cherry MX Brown switches installed (plus $15 shipping from the US to Europe; surprisingly cheap). And after 33 agonizing days of waiting, I finally started my journey down the custom keyboard rabbit hole.
- From $200 at Drop
- From $220 at Amazon
(Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.)
The first indication that the Drop CTRL is not an IBM Model M surviving since the PC AT era through sheer force of build quality is the fact that the CTRL connects to a computer using USB-C. And what could be better than a small, fits-in-either-orientation and future-looking USB-C port? Two USB-C ports. There’s one on the back left and one on the back right of the keyboard. You can use either to connect to a computer; the keyboard then acts as a one-port USB hub, so you can hook up an additional accessory through the other port.
However, although the connector is the latest and greatest, the protocol is USB 1.1 full speed. That means only 12 Mbps, and the keyboard only draws 500 mA power. The second port charges my iPhone at about 2 W, and charging continues when the computer and the keyboard are asleep.
The included cable is a USB 3.0 type A to USB type C one. I tried some cables with USB-C at both ends, but that often didn’t work. Notably, Thunderbolt-compatible cables connected to a Thunderbolt-compatible port didn’t work. Some charging / USB 2.0 cables connected to a Thunderbolt port on the computer did work, and connecting to the USB-C port on my monitor also worked with several cables.
Enlarge / Legends on shine-through keycaps can be hard to make out with the RGB LEDs turned off.
Iljitsch van Beijnum
After connecting the cable, the LEDs under each key and surrounding the sides of the keyboard lit up in a rippling rainbow pattern. That colored lighting certainly adds flair, but it’s also functional: with the LED lighting turned off, it’s very hard to make out the legends on the keys.
Each key has its own set of RGB LEDs that can create 16 million color combinations. On cheaper keyboards with this feature, the LEDs may flicker to some degree, but the CTRL’s LEDs refresh at a rate of 100 Hz, which means that there is no perceptible flicker. You can change between a handful of animations and several solid colors, and you can change other settings for the LEDs with key combinations. I found that I didn’t mind the RGB animations happening in my peripheral vision, especially with the speed turned down a bit.
Iljitsch van Beijnum
Iljitsch is a contributing writer at Ars Technica, where he contributes articles about network protocols as well as Apple topics. He is currently finishing his Ph.D work at the telematics department at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) in Spain.
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How to remove keys from the keyboard: keycaps and 4 tips on how to change them | Technology | Reviews
Keycaps are the plastic covers on the top of the keyboard that sit between your fingers and the activation mechanism and represent a letter or symbol that you can insert into your computer. Regular users, commonly referred to as “keys”, are satisfied with the standards already included in mechanical peripherals, but enthusiasts usually change them and customize the keyboard to their liking. So, how to remove keys from the keyboard, so-called keycaps, without damaging the peripheral?
Peripheral heavy users, as professional gamers, for example, prefer to use mechanical keyboards instead of membrane keyboards because they are more advanced technology, with switches and individual contacts on each key, great durability and a pleasant feel to the touch.
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Keycaps are a common sight on mechanical keyboards (Image by Denner Perazzo.
Both mechanical and membrane keyboards are suitable for typing, but most users prefer a mechanical keyboard. The feel, sound of the switches, and style are ideal for fans of peripheral technology.
The mechanical boards also offer many different switches to choose from, allowing users to increase accuracy and speed based on switch preferences.
The distinction between these two types is important if you want to customize your keyboard in the future. Mechanical keyboards allow for more customization, such as taking keys. Regular wear will damage the keys over time, but most keyboards are relatively easy to replace.
The Complete Keyboard Cleaning Guide
Types of keycaps
Most keycaps are compatible with all keyboards, but there are some differences to be aware of. Typically, keycaps are made from ABS or PBT, two types of plastic with different chemical properties. Mechanical keyboards have traditionally used Cherry MX style switches, but some companies use their own switches.
For example, caps designed for MX switches may not fit correctly on different types of switches, so check which ones are installed on your board before purchasing a new set.
ABS Double Shot Keyboards (Image credit: Denner Perazzo) ABS Double Shot Keyboards (Image credit: Denner Perazzo)
In addition, keyboard layout is also an important factor when considering compatibility. When choosing keycaps, keep in mind whether your keyboard is full-size, keyless, 60%, or other. You must also consider the region in which you live. In Brazil, we have a layout called ABNT2 which contains the famous “ç” (cedilha) and a smaller “+” key, as well as number keys on the right side of the keyboard.
Values and where to buy
Unfortunately it’s still a bit difficult to find sellers specialized in keycaps in Brazil, making the best options to import from China via Aliexpress or from the US via BangGood and specialized websites. Some online stores have many options available in various designs and colors. But many artists create individual keycap sets, so-called artisanal, that are only available through group purchases and resales.
Custom Keyset (Omnitype Screenshot)
Special keys are available for purchase that can add textures to certain keys (such as WASD for gamers) or new colors to differentiate those keys from others. As with key pullers, some keyboard manufacturers include these extra features with their devices, but if not, you can check out online retailers that specialize in custom keys:
Depending on the quality and design, the price of keycaps can vary greatly. Exclusive or limited sets can cost hundreds of dollars, while stock keycaps are inexpensive.
Keycaps are a great way to customize the look of your installation configuration. Be sure to do a thorough research before purchasing a new set, and be careful when removing keycaps to avoid damaging them.
PorozyKey Constellation Set of 134. ..
Mugen DVA – Custom keys for games with…
Key set, key replacement…
How to remove keyboard keys and change keycaps
Removing keycaps is a simple and easy process. Keycaps sometimes wear out or break after heavy use, and replacing them is a necessary upgrade. It may take longer the first time, but over time you will learn.
Most mechanical keyboards come with a key puller, but these can also be purchased separately. There are different types of extractors, but all quality options are effective at removing keys.
There are several models of cap extractors (illustrated by Denner Perazzo).
I’m using a BlitzWolf BW-KB1 mechanical keyboard and it comes with a very easy to use extractor that allows me to accurately remove the keycaps without damaging it or the keyboard. If you want to recommend a good mechanical keyboard, you can already take advantage of this promotion below:
MOTOSPEED CK61 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, RGB, Switch Outemu Red, US – Black
- Mechanical Switch
- Teclado 60%
- Compatible Devices: PC
- Operating System: Windows 16
How to delete keys? While holding the keyboard firmly with one hand, press the instrument. Make sure the instrument is securely fastened under the keyboard cover. Pull up when the tool grabs the bottom of the keyboard cover. Do not pull the key diagonally as this may damage the key and shaft. Check out the images below:
Removing keycaps (Denner Perazzo image) Removing keycaps (Denner Perazzo image)
After removing the keycap, press the one you are going to use on the shaft until you feel it click into place.
Removing the keycaps also removes dust and other debris that can accumulate under the keys during everyday use. Be sure to gently wipe this area with a dry cloth after removing the keycaps. Follow this procedure regularly to keep your keyboard clean and hygienic.
Not all keys are compatible with all keyboards. Some keyboards use less common key switches and layouts that only fit certain keys. Please check your keyboard layout and key type before purchasing a new set and deleting the old one. There are hundreds of options and colors to suit any configuration, and there is no limit to customization. Keyboard layouts also vary by region, so make sure your new keys are compatible with your board’s layout. The most common layouts are ANSI and ISO.
How to remove keycaps without tools – Membrane keyboard
Membrane keyboards are one of the most popular keyboards today. Also called rubber dome keyboards, they rely on the rubber dome to provide responsiveness to keystrokes. One of the strongest factors that makes it a great choice is that they are best for consumers on a budget. Before you start cleaning your membrane keyboard and removing keys from your membrane keyboard, make sure you have the following things in place before checking out how to remove keys without tools.
- Your membrane keyboard.
- Credit card or paper clips.
Of course, the professional way to remove the caps from the keys involves the use of screwdrivers and key extractors. However, for the sake of this post, we will check how to remove keys without tools. That is why we will use household items for this purpose.
However, in the case of a membrane keyboard, you will need a screwdriver to disassemble the keycaps. We recommend using a Philips screwdriver for this purpose. Without unscrewing the screws on the back of the keyboard, it would not be possible to remove the keys on the membrane keyboard. Basically, you won’t be able to remove the keys on a membrane keyboard without using a small tool like a screwdriver, or at least some household item like a spoon!
Follow the instructions below:
Turn over the keyboard and use a screwdriver to remove the screws on the back of the keyboard. Your keyboard should now open in half. If they are not, you can use a credit card or similar wedge to get them. A popping sound should indicate that the two halves have been separated. Separate the two halves. The bottom part can be detached as you won’t need it to retrieve the keys.
Soft brush for cleaning the keyboard…
Cherry MX switch opener for keyboard…
BESPORTBLE 22 PCS Keychain & Tags…
Avoid touching the bottom or touching it in any way. It consists of important circuits that can be damaged. Before removing the keys, it is advisable to take a picture or save the user manual with a picture of the keys in place. You don’t want to be sure of the location of the keys after you’ve finished cleaning.
Use a credit card or paper clip to remove the keys one by one. Make sure you don’t press too hard to avoid damaging them or the components underneath. They should break easily with little effort. Once all the keycaps are removed, you can easily find dust and dirt. Clean them using the usual methods used when cleaning keyboards.
Can keys be deleted manually?
To extract keys efficiently, you need a handy key extractor. You can use your fingers if you like, but it will be a slow and painful process. We recommend purchasing a wire keycap extractor because it is less likely to scratch the sides of your keycaps.
Can the caps be removed without an extractor?
You could do this with a paperclip (probably won’t work with small ones), right? By simply bending it so that it has a flat edge, you can either place it under the key and hold both ends by gently pulling, or you can just do it with two paper clips that essentially mimic some keystrokes.
What is the easiest way to remove a key from the keyboard?
Insert a flat object such as a small screwdriver or a car key under the key. After placing it under the key, rotate the flat object or press down until the key is released. If you wish to remove more than one key, repeat this process until all keys have been removed.
Can all keys be deleted?
If you are using a membrane keyboard (such as the ones that come with most desktop computers), you may need to check with the manufacturer to see if the keycaps can be removed. All mechanical keyboards have removable keys. To remove the keycaps, you can remove them with a screwdriver or putty knife. You really shouldn’t though.
Now let us know if this procedure helped to clear the keyboard. What keyboard model are you using? Leave a comment and take the opportunity to learn more about hardware on our website.
How to turn off Sticky Keys in Windows
July 5, 2020
Three easy ways for those who are tired of this feature.
What is Sticky Keys
This is a special mode for users who, due to limited capabilities, find it difficult to hold down multiple keys at the same time. With it, they can use combinations like Ctrl + C or Ctrl + V by pressing the keys in sequence.
The problem is that the window with the suggestion to turn on the sticky mode can appear unnecessarily and terribly annoying. It is caused by pressing Shift five times. This happens especially often when playing games on the computer. But the instructions below will help you quickly disable this mode.
How to turn off Sticky Keys using the Settings menu
To open the Sticky Keys settings, click Start → Settings → Ease of Access → Keyboard. Or press Shift five times and click in the window that appears “Disable this keyboard shortcut in accessibility settings.”
To turn off Sticky Keys, deactivate the “Use Sticky Keys” feature. If you want Windows to no longer prompt you to enable this mode after pressing Shift in the future, uncheck “Allow turning on Sticky Keys using a keyboard shortcut.”
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How to turn off Sticky Keys using the Control Panel
There are two ways to get to the desired settings. If the Sticky Keys icon appears on the right side of the taskbar, double-click on it. Immediately after that, the necessary section “Control Panel” will open.
If you don’t see the Sticky Keys icon, search Windows for “Control Panel”. Open it and go to “Ease of Access Center” → “Make the keyboard easier to work with” → “Setting up Sticky Keys”. In this case, the same window will open.
To disable Sticky Keys, uncheck Enable Sticky Keys. And to prevent it from turning on in the future, also disable the option “Enable Sticky Keys when SHIFT key is pressed five times.” Don’t forget to click OK to save your changes.
How to disable sticky using keyboard shortcuts
To quickly disable sticky, just hold down any key simultaneously with Alt, Shift, Ctrl or Windows (with a flag). But this option will not save you from accidental activation. Sticky Keys will continue to turn on after pressing Shift five times. To prevent this, use one of the first two methods.