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A small introduction to building a keyboard, I’ve had a few friends ask me about it so I thought it was worth writing something!

@technomancy’s Atreus was what actually made me want to build one in the first place, even though I ended up building a Planck. Thanks for that :)


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    Recently there’s been a lot of discussion of keyboard latency, as it is often much higher than reasonable. I’m interested in how much the self-built keyboard community is aware of the issue. Tristan Hume recently improved the latency of his keyboard from 30ms to 700µs.

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      The Planck that Dan and I tested had 40ms of latency - not sure how much that varies from unit to unit though.

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        I would expect very little, using the QMK firmware with a custom keymap. There’s typically only a handful of C with a couple ifs, no loops.

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        Why are those levels of latency problematic? I would think anything under 50ms feels pretty much instantaneous. Perhaps for people with very high typing speeds or gamers?

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          The end-to-end latency on a modern machine is definitely noticeable (often in the 100s of ms). Many keyboards add ~50 ms alone, and shaving that off results in a much nicer UX. It is definitely noticeable comparing, say, an Apple 2e (~25ms end-to-end latency) to my machine (~170ms end-to-end latency, IIRC).

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          I recall reading about that. I’ll see about getting some measurements made, and see what it’s like on my Planck.

          I’m interested in how much the self-built keyboard community is aware of the issue

          I haven’t really seen much about it :/ If we could find an easy way of measuring latency without needing the RGB LEDs and camera, that would be good.

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            a simple trick - use a contact microphone (piezo), jack it into something like https://www.velleman.eu/products/view/?id=435532

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          Just built my second Atreus, can’t live without them!