Up, up, and out of the way.

June 13, 2009
Tags: ,

My keyboard stopped working.

Not the whole keyboard, mind you. Just some specific keys. I had taken the keyboard apart and cleaned the inside several times to get it to work again. It would work for a few weeks, but then stop working again. Apparently it wanted to retire.

It was a wireless keyboard that I had for a while. I REALLY liked the fact that it was wireless, because I often set the keyboard and mouse (also wireless) on a shelf when I want to use my entire desk surface. I like to have a lot of desk surface when I need to spread out schematics and other multi-page documents. This time, though, I decided that the thin replacement keyboard and lightweight mouse could be modified to “stick” on the wall at the back of my desk for when I wanted to put them away.

magnet0

I decided to use some strong magnets to keep them on that wall. The keyboard and mouse weight would rest, as you can see from the picture, on the “splash guard” on the back of my desk. (My desk is made from a counter top.) The magnets wouldn’t need to bear the weight of the keyboard and mouse, but only needed to keep it upright against the wall. In the picture below you can see the battery cover for the keyboard.

magnet1

I stuck a strong magnet in the area of the keyboard batteries just as a test. One magnet was a little weak to do the job, so I planned on two. In the picture below you can see that there is some space next to the batteries, but still behind the thin plastic of the cover. My plan was to drill a hole in the plastic there and insert the disk magnet.

magnet2

I also chose a spot in the inside of the keyboard to place a second magnet. I disassembled the keyboard and used a clear two-part epoxy to secure the larger disk magnet.
magnet3

The mouse was a candidate for the same treatment. Opening my mouse I discovered that there was just enough space for another small magnet on the bottom of the case front-and-center just ahead of the mouse wheel.
magnet4

The two-part epoxy that was supposed to take 20 minutes to cure was taking a long, long time. It was some clear epoxy I had purchased years ago to repair clear plastic, so I’m sure the trouble was that it was well beyond its use date. Below the magnet beneath the battery cover is stuck in place by some epoxy that is only tacky at this point.

magnet5

The wall behind my desk is wood covered with a thin layer of white PVC. It is NOT magnetic. So in the places where I need to have a magnetic material – immediately below the strong magnets – I used this hardware:

magnet6

The photo below shows the simple holes that I drilled in the wood. I have access to the area behind this wood. That makes it easy to install the screws/nuts. Two holes are shown here that the magnets in the keyboard will attract once installed with metal.

magnet7

The epoxy is STILL not cured at this point. So I decided to do something about the little wireless receiver for the new mouse and keyboard.

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I didn’t care for the way it was made. It was meant to sit up in your desk, elevated by an arch of plastic. I decided that the plastic was in need of being recycled. :-)

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In the pic below you can see the simple innards of the receiver. I took it apart to work on it.

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Here I scored a line on the plastic where I will cut off the extraneous part.

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I used a nibbling tool to remove the plastic that I didn’t want. After nibbling, I used a file to smooth the rough-cut edge.

magnet12

Reassembled, the receiver box looks like this:

magnet13

On the back of the plastic receiver box I used a square of exterior double-stick foam adhesive tape. I will stick the receiver to the wall tucked up behind the LCD displays that are also mounted on the wall.

magnet14

Below you can see the receiver box hanging down against the wall before being mounted in its place behind the LCD monitors. You can also see, in the picture below, the three places where the magnets will be attached.

Now where was I? Oh yeah, I was waiting for glue to dry.

magnet15

The epoxy finally cured, and the keyboard and mouse stick to the wall. At night when I clear off my desk (Yes every night my desk is cleared. I love coming in to my desk in the morning without the debris of the day before strewn all over.) or when I need to use all of my desk without the mouse and keyboard in the way, I “stick” my mouse and keyboard against the wall. (You can see the old keyboard to the right in the pic. So long, old friend.)
magnet16

Just in case you are wondering, the middle two monitors are Windows, the right is Ubuntu, the left OSX. I use Synergy to move between the machines with a single keyboard and mouse. Otherwise I’d have three keyboards and three mice stuck to my wall…

=Gizmo=

12 Responses to “Up, up, and out of the way.”

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