Like others have mentioned here, the Sculpt suffers from other issues apart from being wireless:
My biggest issue is the small, poorly constructed F-keys. Switching to regular sized keys on the Microsoft Surface Ergonomic shows how bad they actually are.
Anyway, is there a way we could get Microsoft to build a Sculpt v2 which fixes the shortcomings of the original one?! I still think it's one of the best ergonomic keyboards, even with issues it has.
I'm still using it, and the mod I dream about is inserting my kensington trackball into the gap in the middle .. it's the perfect position for it!
If you type quickly, it can lose the case of the characters in combination with the shift key.
Hold down the left shift and type CSMSDC. One of them will be lowercase (from memory it's the S). If it doesn't happen for you, either it's not a Sculpt, or you don't type fast enough. Once you can do it it'll happen every time.
Interestingly, I tried it on my modded keyboard and it works properly. :) QMK must correctly handle the lack of NKRO diodes on the matrix.
That'd mostly solve the mouse being too far away issue if I were to use the Microsoft Surface Ergo. Do you have any issues with the trackpad that you haven't had with a mouse in the past?
My other option would be just to give up and get an apple keyboard. When you were using it, did you miss the keyboard being split - any RSI or comfort issues?
Yep, I started using an ergonomic keyboard because I was having RSI issues with a regular layout so try to avoid using one for any great length of time these days!
But when I accidentally wrecked the receiver, here's what I found:
* MS doesn't offer replacement receivers
* Each keyboard is paired to its specific receiver so you can't even buy an off-the-shelf replacement
* MS make it extremely hard to reach a person to speak to
* Their website practically doesn't have support for this keyboard
My Sculpt is now a useless piece of plastic.
Have you considered making it wired?
Mine broke recently (a key cap fell off and I thought I could just shove it back on which ended up breaking some plastic bit) and I looked into alternatives but there isn’t much competition for split layout unless you spend a lot more on one of the custom build ones (extra expensive in the U.K. as they all ship from the US). I needed one right away so I just bought another, it’ll be my third in about 7 years.
The USB interference thing does suck, I have mine on a separate USB 2 hub plugged into my USB 3 hub some distance apart and it works fine like that. One other thing to be aware of is that if you lose or break the little USB dongle the keyboard becomes useless as they are paired in the factory (unless you do this mod I guess, heh!)
If a wired one were to exist, it would be pretty snazzy if it had a built-in USB hub like the Das Keyboard so you could stick 2FA dongles in it. Or if someone made a mousing accessory to snap in to the central gap; maybe a wiggle stick or itty-bitty touchpad.
I only wish they'd make a version without the numpad. I don't use it and it moves my trackball (too) far away.
USB allows for 10uF of capacitance, and you don't seem to have an LDO on your board, so you don't need a minimum amount of ESR to maintain stability. I don't think there's any reason you can't just replace the tantalum with a ceramic?
This is shockingly bad. I was thinking of using PCBWay to assemble a run of a dozen or so PCBs, because JLCPCB is limited on solder mask color and part selection, but this has pretty firmly turned me away from that.
What is so bad about it? I suppose they ordered prototype quality.
However, I've ordered from PCBWAY quite a lot recently, and I've never experienced anything like this, even on prototyping-quality boards. Also, the solder mask is much thicker (pcbs don't look semi-transparent like this one), and look more professional (I didn't order any assembled boards so I can't say anything about their soldering job). How long ago did the author order these pcbs?
The defect could also be the result of the author trying to fit the pcb into the keyboard.
Anyway, rest assured, on current PCBWAY boards traces are covered under a thick layer of solder mask and it is extremely difficult to remove them from the board (I just tried with a sharp metal tip on an old board).
Because I had low confidence in my circuit, I ordered the cheapest possible assembly. I assume hand-assembled or a mix, given one of each part.
I’m hoping to attempt hand assembly myself soon. Picked up a hot air station and a new set of parts from Digi-Key. :)
Also, the T-962 reflow oven is pretty good for its price, with a bit of modding (flashing open source firmware (https://github.com/UnifiedEngineering/T-962-improvements), removing masking tape that melts and stinks, and adding a thermocouple for cold junction compensation).
I'm quite happy with my current SAC-305 solder paste from ChipQuik, but curious if I could find an ever better one.
They're all significantly worse for stenciling than GC-10. If you're manually applying paste with a syringe, you might be better off with other paste, because it's significantly thicker than the usual pastes I've tried, but I usually just hand solder instead of waiting an hour for refrigerated paste to be better.
When this tub of GC-10 actually has any symptoms of being expired, I'm definitely going to buy another (or maybe GC-18, which seems to be the new shiny version? I don't see any ebay listings for cheap almost-expired GC-18, sadly.)
A tip: the images are way too heavy for the 600w you gave them. They range from 2 to 7MB. You can probably get them down to like 50KB each!
I haven't had any issues with the laptop going to sleep when it's told with this setting enabled, and afaik battery life is unaffected (still haven't changed batteries in the keyboard after 3 years).
Regardless, I'll still be checking out this mod. I didn't even know this keyboard had LEDs in it.
Suggestions for Microsoft product developers if they ever read this or care:
1. Fn keys have got to be like the rest of the keys. Like other users here, I get F5 (which I use to run code in Visual Studio) stuck probably greater than 50% of the time.
2. Separate Fn key, or separate media keys. The switch is stupid, and I never use the non-Fn functions.
3. Take the calculator key off the main keyboard; it's a duplicate of the key on the numpad, where it is actually useful.
4. I'm ok with the backspace key on the numpad, but the top 3 keys should be regular keys, not microswitches.
5. Better power management and wake-from-sleep. This thing should never be dropping keystrokes. Ever. I'd trade battery life for this feature.
6. Make wired optional! Almost everything has a charger these days...why am I given alkaline batteries for this? This also potentially opens up the gamer market, given the latency reduction shown in this article.
Coupling of dongle with keyboard and mouse is another design issue that deserves changing the entire team - if dongle goes out (and I have 2 that did) you can basically throw away working mouse and keyboard. WTF man ?! Its enough that your laptop goes hot for a month or so to make dongle unusable by melting its electronics.
I have 3 sculpt keyboards and never had one go to sleep on different Windows 10 systems over 2 years ?
One other thing that goes to my nerve is how hand pads look unclean after only month or two of usage, I am basically ashamed when people look at it. Its not possible to keep it clean.
Otherwise, awesome keyboard :)
Due to my (unchangeable) desk situation, wired keyboards aren't really a possibility, so this is a real gap in the market for me and I was quite surprised, given the extreme multitude of keyboard models in the world, that I wasn't able to find one (or even have one custom built within a reasonable price range) that ticked all the boxes.
Unfortunately, my electronics talent is by far not good enough to attempt something like the linked article (but in reverse, as it were).
e.g. Redox-W which falba.tech (Poland) will provide assembled if you need that . It's not cheap though.
For a DIY method, start at  or .
I have a Sculpt keyboard as well, and the way to fix this is just to move the wireless USB stick that's in your computer closer to your keyboard. I have mine at about a 40cm distance. If I place it over 100cm away I start getting sporadic connectivity issues, which result in delayed or dropped input. It also gets worse if you have a lot of things in the way between your USB stick and keyboard/mouse (duh). For example, if you place the stick at the back of your PC, and below your desk, the signal has a harder time going through the chassis and desk to reach your keyboard/mouse.
The article author actually tried that already: "I’d gone as far as mounting the wireless transceiver directly under my keyboard, on the underside of my desk, and keys were still dropped." - which presumably means the receiver was an inch or two from the keyboard.
This is exactly the reason I'm a wireless hater: every single problem produces the same symptoms. Keyboard battery getting low but hasn't quite failed yet? Dropped keypresses. Keyboard receiver too far from the keyboard? Dropped keypresses. Keyboard receiver getting conducted interference over the USB power rail? Dropped keypresses. Keyboard receiver too close to wifi antenna? Dropped keypresses. Keyboard receiver getting interference from the neighbours' wifi? Dropped keypresses. RF reflective surfaces nearby create nulls? Dropped keypresses.
(This is from a Macbook with USB 3 hub, so that might be the actual culprit.)
Anecdotal word of warning -- this was the worst keyboard I've used, and I promptly switched back to Sculpt. My issues: less ergonomic, worse keys with worse typing experience, fixed numpad, major connection issues with dropped and stuck keys (this was obviously the breaking point), and Bluetooth didn't work during Linux bootup (LUKS password input).
> less ergonomic ... fixed numpad
I was aware of these and was willing to reach further for the mouse in exchange for aesthetics, build quality, and one less dongle on a 2-port (!) MacBook Air.
> major connection issues with dropped and stuck keys ... Bluetooth didn't work during Linux bootup
Are these two related? I've had dodgy experiences with Bluetooth on Linux in the past, but no issues on Mac.
> worse keys with worse typing
Can you expand on this a bit? From what I've heard and from the look of it, it looks to be an improved typing experience, especially coming from the awful F-keys of the sculpt.
Both may be Linux only, but not related. If I understood correctly, the bootup issue was because bluetooth drivers are loaded only after LUKS unlock. Missed/stuck key connection issues could have been Linux specific.
> Can you expand on this a bit? From what I've heard and from the look of it, it looks to be an improved typing experience, especially coming from the awful F-keys of the sculpt.
I don't have the keyboard any more and it was a couple of years ago, so I frankly don't remember that well. I didn't like the sharp key corners vs. rounded keys on Sculpt. Could be that otherwise the typing experience was similar and my memory is just colored by the connection issues which obviously destroyed the typing experience, I'd check what other sources say about this.
I would next try some wired model, using wireless has only downsides in my setup. I've been checking some split mechanical models like the Kinesis Freestyle but not sure if I can go back to the long key travel of the mechanical models.
Someone in this comment section posted a link to a list of more esoteric keyboards, I'll have to go through that list at some point.
For what it's worth, I've been through the DIY ergo board phase as well - I made a Corne (or Helidox as it was known then). It was a fun project, but the build quality just wasn't there which ruined it for me. The sculpt is still the closest I've got to my ideal board - good build quality (minus the F keys), relatively good ergonomics, and wireless. I was hoping the Microsoft surface ergonomic would solve the F key and dongle issue, but may have to rethink my plan.
Did you try switching your keyboard preference from Apple to PC Layout in keyboard preferences?
I did not try on M1, but this keyboard works pretty well with a MacBookPro early 2015 (and it was for a French Azerty Sculpt keyboard, not even the regular US Qwerty!).
Pro tip: on a Mac laptop, add a key shortcut to switch between the 2 layouts, so that you can quickly switch from one to the other layout.
Also add the keyboard icon / input source in the menu bar, for quick visual check : it shows the actual keyboard layout.
I even saw a power-plug > AA battery adapter on YouTube yesterday they could use if they really wanted to make it fully wired.
But what happens after programming, when you unplug the keyboard and plug it back in? Since HWB is still pulled low, doesn't the MCU go back into the DFU bootloader instead of running the application?
How does the keyboard run the actual application firmware rather than the bootloader?
As for the mouse that comes with it, I went through 3 of them (left button started to randomly not click, about once every 3 clicks which drove me crazy) and then just gave up.
Keyboard itself could be said that I damanged as I tried to remove key to clean crumb that got inside and I could never get it back.
Improving on latency, even a bit, is surprisingly noticeable and enjoyable.