KeyTronic E03600QLPS2B-C Keyboard

So a while back I was posting about my love of mechanical keyboards. I had tried out and have been using at various times, a Razor Black Widow 2013, a Black Widow 2014, and a more recent Rosewill keyboard with Cherry Blue switches. Since making that post, I’ve also had experiences with the last incarnation of Apple’s infamous butterfly keyboard on my MacBook Pro 2019, as well as getting to try the improved scissor-style keyboard on the new 16″ MacBook Pro.

There is one keyboard that I’ve been neglecting throughout all of this, since it isn’t a mechanical keyboard at all. It’s a KeyTronic model E03600QLPS2B-C. I rescued this from a pile of scrap computer equipment a few years back since it looked so much like an IBM Model M, having identical moldings. I could tell it wasn’t quite as clicky as a true Model M, but it still had enough of a neat feel to it to warrant keeping it around, despite it having a PS2-style plug instead of USB. I’ve used it on and off on my various home setups over the years since acquiring it, but never quite on a regular basis. I’ve always felt that while it may not be a mechanical keyboard, it’s still much better than the average membrane one, and may come in handy if anything ever happens to my true mechanicals.

KeyTronic E03600QLPS2B-C

Due to the recent events of COVID-19, I’ve been working from home for a month now, and have been tweaking my home desk setup to be more comfortable. In the months at the office before working from home, I had been switching between using the built-in keyboard on my MacBook Pro as my main keyboard, and the Rosewill external keyboard. I found that I definitely preferred the Rosewill, but did notice how there was just a tad more resistance to the keys when compared to the other mechanical keyboards that I had been previously using. I didn’t bring the Rosewill home with me due to this, feeling that between the 2 different Black Widows I had at home and the KeyTronics one, I should be able to find one that felt better to use. I started out using the KeyTronics keyboard with my MacBook Pro via a PS2-to-USB adapter, which works well despite it identifying itself to the OS as a “Barcode Reader”. I quickly found that I enjoyed typing on it, my fingers moving naturally around the home position, and I think what makes the most difference is how the keys offer a perfect combination of travel and resistance, despite being some sort of membrane setup. It may be using some sort of metal-dome membrane.

However, it did have its drawbacks, mainly in how the C key didn’t seem to always register a keypress,. and it didn’t look like cleaning the contacts was going to be an easy task, so I switched to the 2013 Black Widow. That worked well enough, but I was quickly realizing the cons of it compared to the KeyTronics. While it does have a nice clicky sound and feel to it, it’s just a tad too loose, making me do a lot of typos from what feels like my fingers sliding across the keys too quickly because the feedback isn’t quite right.

So after a week or so of that, I went back to the KeyTronic keyboard, doing my best to make the C key more responsive. Unfortunately, in the process of this, I found out the hard way that the keys on this thing are not meant to be simply pulled off from above. There’s some sort of plastic tab that has to be released, and I ended up breaking this tab on the left ALT key, which is the key I use for CMD on a Mac. The key still sits in place and functions fine, but if you turn the keyboard upside-down, it will fall right out. It also can jump out of place after depressing it since the membranes are so bouncy. But, for the most part, I haven’t had any issues using it in this state, though it does make me sad that I damaged this uncommon keyboard, as I planned on taking it to work with me whenever this coronavirus thing has passed.

I did find a USB version of the same keyboard on eBay, but I’m debating on buying it or not. Who knows what shape the keys are in on it and how it affects the feel and key action, if it’s been well-used?


1 thought on “KeyTronic E03600QLPS2B-C Keyboard”

  1. 2 weeks later, I acquired the USB version of this keyboard, model E03600QUSUSBB-C. It’s as identical to the PS2 version as I expected, right down to the sketchy C key, which is acceptable.

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