Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Mod the keyboard for Miix 2 8

There is almost no accessories for Windows tablets while tons for iPad Mini such as a clap-on keyboard found on eBay and Amazon for only $20.


Above is not the only one, there are similar ones, such as this HYPE branded:


You should not get the HYPE and its kind, because the width of the slot is fixed - cannot be adjusted. Because Miix 2 is about 0.7 mm thicker than iPad Mini and Dell Venue Pro is even thicker than Miix, so the fit is not ideal especially for Dell. That said, there are two nice things about the HYPE: 1) The maximum open angle is 180 degree, i.e., the screen can be totally flat with the keyboard. This is very good for using it in bed. 2) The bottom cover is aluminum, looks nice while balancing the tablet. The other ones are all plastic with a piece of iron inside for balance (a better engineering, see the photo below).

Now back to today's subject. We need to do two simple mods to make the keyboard to work well with our Miix.

Open up the angle

The maximum opening angle is only 95 degree or so as you see in the first photo above. This is simply not acceptable, even though I understand the reason. Lift up the four rubber feet and screw off the screws (6 in total), then you can open up the case.


Remove the joints and replace the notched washer (left) with something (right) you can find (update - you don't have to find a new washer, just swap it with the other one that's not notched):


That's it, put everything back in the original order. It might be a good idea to add some grease to reduce wear.


Make the slot wider

Miix is 0.7 mm thicker than iPad Mini, so when you insert it into this keyboard, it is a tad too tight. The little rings (beads) you see in above photos happen to be 0.7 mm thick, perfect! So I added them to the claps:


That's it! Now we have the perfect keyboard for our Miix - fully adjustable angle and not too tight:


Increase the gap

The gap between the keyboard and screen is too small, so the keyboard will make some prints on the screen. To avoid this, I added a small piece of silicon with strong double-side tape on both sides:


You may have realized that we did not do any physical damage to the keyboard, in case you need to put everything back to factory status. All we did was added, or replaced with, some washers. This is my philosophy: when do mods, I try my very best to make them reversible.

The left clap blocks the Start button, not a problem though, not at all. There is a WIN key on this keyboard - the cmd, left to the space bar. If you really love to touch, you may touch the soft Win button at the right edge of the screen.

Remap some keys

This keyboard does not have a "Del" key: the "delete" key at the right side is actually a "back space" key. So I added this into registry to map the capslock to delete:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Keyboard Layout]

"Scancode Map"=hex:00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,\
02,00,00,00,\
53,00,3a,00,\
00,00,00,00


If you don't know what a fuss is this, simply download it here, double click on it and reboot your Miix.

"Esc" is another missing key. I use AHK to remap the WWW-Home key (at upper left corner) to "Esc":

;WWW_Home -> Esc
SC132::ESCAPE
;Ctrl+Shift+Esc (Task Manager)
^+SC132::^+ESCAPE
;Browser_Search -> F3
SC165::F3
;Ctrl+Alt+W -> Prt Sc
^!w::PrintScreen

As you see, I also remapped some other keys, to F3 and Prt Sc, respectively. You may remap more keys, such as PgUp, PgDn, Home and End with right shift and arrow keys.

RShift & Up::Send {PgUp}
RShift & Down::Send {PgDn}
RShift & Left::Send {Home}
RShift & Right::Send {End}


Now, we have a truly productive little computer, finally. The last time we had something like this is the UMID M1 (5", 5 years ago) and Toshiba Libretto 100 (7", 20 years ago).

This keyboard has extremely good battery life. I have used it for more than a week now, heavily everyday, and I have not charged it yet since I received it in the mail! Do switch it off to save Miix's battery and update the UART driver if you experience unwanted disconnects.

Although this keyboard provides a good protection to the screen, you'd better still apply a screen protector, because I've seen some prints (lines) on the screen made by the keyboard edges.

[update 03/23/2014] Windows has a bug with Bluetooth keyboards: sometimes a key repeats itself forever, such as ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, ...... . Then you must hit Esc key to stop it. So, it's better to remap the capslock to Esc instead of Del:

Change above this line:

53,00,3a,00,\

to

01,00,3a,00,\

Change above these lines:

;WWW_Home -> Esc
SC132::ESCAPE
;Ctrl+Shift+Esc (Task Manager)
^+SC132::^+ESCAPE

to
 
;WWW_Home ->Del
SC132::DELETE

If you need F4 - F10, add these:

#4::Send {F4}
#5::Send {F5}
#6::Send {F6}
#7::Send {F7}
#8::Send {F8}
#9::Send {F9}
#0::Send {F10}


Then WIN (cmd) + 4-0 become F4-10.

[update 03/27/2014] Battery life is extraordinary. I had been heavily using it daily since I received it without initial charging. Yesterday morning, its blue LED started flashing but still worked until evening when the LED became steady blue. I plugged in a charger, the LED turned into red. After about 1 hour or 2, the LED turned into blue and it was fully charged.

Another nice thing is: it can still be used while being charged and you can use any charger including portable power banks. You may also use your Miix to charge it while using it, simply connect its micro USB port to that of Miix. So, you never need to worry about its battery running out at an unexpected moment, peace of mind.



Now I have a further mod.

Local Walmart stores are now carrying such a keyboard for $19.88.

47 comments:

  1. So the HYPE keyboard is NOT recommended right?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not recommended, especially for the thicker Dell.

      Delete
  2. Seems like a waste of time. Just get a netbook.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is there a 8" netbook? The only netbook close to this one is a 10" Gateway sold in Target and Walmart for $200, but its processor is a Celeron that does not support QuickSyn for fast quality video compression/transcoding. If you do want 10" and you don't care about QuickSyn, then go get that one. Also note that this one has an IPS screen, no need to mention it is still far smaller and lighter even with this keyboard on.

      Delete
  3. Can you add full registry file for keyboard button configuration that you use? I cant configure it no mater what, I really suck at this.

    ReplyDelete
  4. It does not contain additional codes you added afer you posted a download link such as F4-10 keys etc.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those are not done with registry, you need to do it with AHK.

      Delete
  5. I have a Dell Venue Pro 8 with the same keyboard and AutoHotKey doesn't work for me. WWW-Home key just maps to SC000 and always starts the Browser when pressed. Any tricks to get it present a mappable scan code? Thanks -PG

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The scan code is SC132 for the www-home key.

      Delete
    2. First time I'm using AHK so I'm probably missing something. I created and started an .ahk script from the desktop, and also tried running the AHK scancode detection script (which just shows SC000) but the WWW-home key continues to start the browser. OS seems to be intercepting the key before it gets to AHK. I'm wondering if I need to disable a Windows feature to map it?

      Delete
    3. Aha!... it does work... but only in certain applications. I was using Cygwin shell to ssh to my servers and in that application the remapped key continues to start the browser, but if I use Putty then it works as Escape. So I guess it works for some apps but not others. Thanks for the help -PG.

      Delete
  6. remote mouse

    Thank you for this helpful site.
    My wife picked up an miix 2 in a combo package with a new laptop but quickly bored of Windows 8 on the small screen. She let the bat die and never took it out of her purse again. I reclaimed the device and have been trying to "do something" with it ever since.
    I found your other write ups for this device extremely useful :)
    This project gives you a full "mini laptop" and you are only missing a mouse.
    One solution might be to use remote mouse. it turns your smart phone into a remote mouse pad and connects to your PC via IP address. My phone is ALWAYS with me, so this might be a good solution.
    I also thought the mouse program you showed on your full miix write up looks awesome
    thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah I'm aware of it, but somehow I have not got a chance of needing it, because I almost always has the Mogo mouse with me - it is so thin, and the onscreen mouse pad fills the rest. This app certainly comes handy just in case.

      Delete
    2. Well, I just gave it a try - a great idea but poor implementation.

      It is no compare to the onscreen touchpad (TouchMousePointer), not a good mousing experience:

      Right-click (two finger touch) seldom registers.

      Using 3 fingers on a small phone screen for dragging is a very bad idea and it hardly works.

      Scrolling (2 finger) is in the opposite direction and either not moving or moving too fast.

      I use my phone as a WiFi hotspot, it complains WiFi is off and refuses to start.

      The screen keeps on. When used as a mouse pad, there is no reason to let the screen on and unnecessarily drain lots of battery.

      Requires .Net 3.5 which is known to cause trouble on Bluetooth keyboards (a key repeats itself forever).

      This app has great potential but needs a better programmer to do it.

      Need to try other such apps to find out a good one.

      Delete
  7. Thanks so much for this! My keyboard is on its way for my Miix. So I'm confused -- do you have to buy washers or not? If so, which ones? A photo of the brand/size would help. Same thing for the silicone tabs you taped to it for protection. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No need to buy a washer and silicon.

      Delete
  8. So the un-notched washers you want to add are already in the keyboard for the extra opening angle?

    Don't you need to also add one on each side to compensate for the .7 mm difference in the width of the Miix vs the Mini? Sorry, I'm confused.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I lost the "bluetooth pairing" button. Do you have any tweak to replace it?

    ReplyDelete
  10. I switched out the washers and it works fine.

    However, I can't get the keyboard to work worth a hoot with the Miix. The lag is extreme, and then random letters are repeated over and overrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. I've allowed it to charge until green and tried to update drivers, to no avail. I'm trying to use it with a bluetooth mouse connected as well -- that shouldn't be a problem, should it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. then again, when it messes up, the bluetooth mouse stutters really bad too ... I'm trying to decide if I got a dud Miix. Since I've only had it for a week, a return is possible.

      Delete
    2. Seems the mouse and keyboard do not like each other.

      Delete
    3. You're right -- disconnect the mouse, and the keyboard works fine. Anyone find a bluetooth mouse that doesn't interfere (aside from the portable one, referenced above)?

      Delete
    4. I use the Mogo mouse, no problem.

      http://kingoftweaks.blogspot.com/2014/03/mogo-mouse-of-credit-card-size.html

      Delete
    5. yeah but I'm not about to mod the mogo mouse, since having a small one is not a big deal for me and I don't have the parts "lying around." i'm going to try out the wedge and see how it goes. BTW, it's the top-selling BT HP mouse on Amazon that interferes with the keyboard.

      Delete
    6. The Logitech T630 looks better to me than the Wedge, I don not have neither though. Someone recommended MS Arc, too big to me.

      Delete
  11. I wasn't able to find washer that size, so I just file down the little knob instead. Fo the width, I added a washer to the knob between the 2 screws.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Well, the keyboard still interferes with the nnnnnnnew (sic.) wedge mouse, but itttttttttttttttttttt's not quite as bad. Still sssssssssad that I'll need to disable the mouseeeeeeeeee to get the keyboard to work well. Ugh.

    ReplyDelete
  13. doesn't the tab on the keyboard block the start button?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is a WIN key on the keyboard, no need to use the Start button.

      Delete
  14. Is there an easy way to open up the bottom case?
    I removed all 6 screws but still found nowhere start to open the case - it attaches to the panel so closed like being glued.
    Please advice the location I should start. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't tried to open mine, but usually you use a guitar pick. Refer to the images in this post:

      http://ideapad.it168.com/thread-5143737-1-1.html

      Delete
    2. Sorry, above images are for the Miix. But guitar pick still apply to the keyboard opening.

      Delete
    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    4. Can you please advice how to open the case after removing all 6 screws to exact this model (miix2 8), since it's the very purpose of the tutorial.
      Thanks.

      Delete
  15. Hi,

    Thanks for the awesome post -- I'm interested in using this keyboard with a TW801 tablet. Unfortunately that tablet is a bit thicker than the Miix or the Dell (specs say .45" vs. the .35" on the Dell which is already thicker than yours..)

    any idea if it might fit?

    thanks :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You may buy one from Walmart and try. The clap width is adjustable as explained in this article.

      Delete
  16. hi, I have a Q: Does it work with the Ipad Mini 2 keyboard? I bought one and the only keys that work are fn with volume keys, the www key. sometimes I can type a word or a number, but it's rare. Any suggestions?
    cheers,
    JB

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I meant a letter, not a word :) *

      Delete
    2. Yes should work, but some non-standard keys might not - such as WWW and some Fn keys.

      Delete
    3. well I connected it to my phone and it works great. still no idea why it takes 1,5 sec to react (I have to hold the key for 1,5 sec). I tried restarting both the Miix and keyboard, nothing different except when I'm in the login screen and when I need to sign up, then it miraculously works. Strange. Did someone mention any apps or settings interfering?

      Delete
    4. It's odd. A bluetooth keyboard should work with any device, just special keys may work differently on different devices.

      Delete
  17. Figured it out! I had Filter keys "After login" box checked. I unchecked it and now it works like it should have.
    Thank you for replying Sean!
    cheers

    ReplyDelete
  18. Is there a download for the registry file to change the keys? It seems like the download link is down.

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fixed the link, thank you. Browser might add a ".txt" suffix, then you need to remove that.

      Delete