Microwave hack replaces flat keypad with mechanical keyboard switches

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Sharon Harding
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Ever have a microwave with buttons that just won’t work properly? If you hit the keys at right angles, Maybe Microwave will respond. Or perhaps, no matter how much you push them, the microwave remains silent. What if you could fix the problem without calling a repair company—and at the same time make repairing the microwave’s keypad a lot more enjoyable?

kailh, which makes mechanical keyboard switches, shared a Tweet On Tuesday, the company highlighted a use for its Switch that the company had never seen before. a reddit user Employed some Kailh Box Blacks to make your microwave usable again.

A few switches, wires, cardboard, and adhesive goes a long way.
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Reddit user, who goes graceclomWrote that the 9 year old microwave started going bad. Instead of settling for cold leftovers and uncut popcorn kernels until repairs can be made, GregSclom hardwired the device into a box black switch. Depending on the image shared, the new switches can be used to add 30 seconds, add a minute, cancel, and access the Settings menu.

GregSclom wrote that the microwave should be repaired this month, but with the appliance now with that tactile mechanical feel, they’re not sure whether they want to go back.

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,[H]Honestly it feels so good to press these switches I’m not sure I want to replace it anymore. Can just throw on some keycaps and leave it like that; D,” GregsClom commented on Reddit.

It’s hard to blame them. The keypads of modern microwaves are often remarkably flat. They are flimsy, have little or virtually no travel, and rely on a special type of membrane switch to work. And like so many membrane keyboards, it’s hard to know if you’ve pressed a button until, as in the case of a microwave, you hear a reassuring beep.

But you’ll know you’re pressing a key with a box black switch, as it requires about 60 grams of force to activate the switch. Kailh designed the switch as a sturdier (hence the square or “box” around the stem”) to rival one of Cherry’s heaviest switches, the Cherry MX Black. Additional specifications for the Box Blacks include 3.6 mm of overall travel and 1.8 mm of ante-travel. Clearly the experience is very different from your typical microwave keypad.

But despite that tactile sensation Gregschlom feels every time he heats up some food, he pointed out a significant downside: “However, the point to note is that these switches completely dissipate with grease after a few years of use.” Will spoil, especially when it’s an over-the-range oven like this.”

However, we’d love to see GregSclom find a way to securely attach some lightweight keycaps to the Switch. Another radiator, redcorerobotsuggested using a flexible cover to keep the switch clean.

redcorerobot suggests making the project even more so by using a microcontroller to work with the microwave’s controller and giving the front panel “a good quality mechanical key pad on the front” or “give it smart functionality, like that home assistant or even just a library of pre-set times and powers so you can have a dedicated For ordinary items.”

It’s unclear whether GregSclom will continue to hack its microwave, get it repaired, or buy a new one. But considering you can find a small pack of Black Switch out of the box for $4. According toOf course, we’d say they’ve found a financially responsible, finger-friendly way to keep food warm in the interim.

image listed by gregsclom / reddit



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