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Better keyboard for "disabled" left hand?

Discussion in 'Keyboards' started by Imatron, Feb 3, 2020.

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  1. Imatron

    Imatron New Member

    Right now Im using the Razer Blackwidow 2016 edition. I only have that because I got it for 25 bucks at Walmart a couple years back, typically anything more expensive was off limits to me. A previously unknown deformity in my left arm is apparently causing a cascading effect leading down into my hand. The impact of my fingers typing on the keyboard or playing games now causes me a significant amount of discomfort, so Im looking into a few solutions.

    *For gaming, one solution is to learn to use the numberpad and mouse of my blackwidow, reprogramming the number pad into a WSAD setup, using my thumb to operate those keys for basic movement on my good right hand while using my pinky etc fingers to move and operate the mouse.

    *Another solution is a tenkeyless keyboard that will let my right hand travel less distance from the mouse to the qwerty keys.

    *This aligns with the tenkeyless board idea, but a keyboard with easier to press mechanical switches might be better for my left hand, maybe enough to type without as much discomfort. Im not sure how to go about finding and picking those though, Im not well versed on keyboards but have some basic knowledge that alternate key switches are available on some models of mechanical keyboards.

    *Those left handed half keyboards (like this) might be a good option too. I have a Nostromo speedpad but as far as I know nobody has made drivers to get that working on anything past Windows XP. Seems to be a ton of similar keyboards available that will work, but again one with easier switches to press.

    **My current solution, I found a remarkably discounted Logitech G600 that has 12 side buttons and I've mapped them to facilitate all the WSAD, shift, and etc without having to reach over and manipulate the numberpad to the left of the mouse for those functions. I was doing something similar with the Logitect Triathlon, using it's three extra keys for forward, backwards and jumping. Ill still need a good Cherry MX Red keyboard later for typing and more complicated games, but this alone should alleviate much of the stress on my left hand.

    Any thoughts on these ideas, and maybe some ideas I haven't considered? Anyone know if health insurance companies tend to have something that covers specialty keyboards?

    EDIT: After some looking around, something comparable to Cherry MX reds have a few advantages. I think they get rid of the click, but offer less finger travel. The extra pressure of the click may be helpful, though I'm worried I'm too used to it by now. I'm reading that the springs decide the total pressure needed to press, more so than the switch type, but I don't get the impression you can get the reds out of the box with a lower resistance spring. Would I have to buy specialized springs and then manually open each key and change the spring?
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2020
    0V3R_K1LL likes this.
  2. Imatron

    Imatron New Member

    Quick update, my Logitech mouse has three buttons on the side and it's software let me map W and S to the forward and back key, with jump on the third button. On some games it's enough but not optimal. Using the number pad for some less often used things seems to help too.

    Might be that going with a mouse like the Naga Trinity is the way to go, but I don't know how easy those buttons are to press and if it would hurt to use over time. Im still trying to focus on finding a better keyboard since I can't get along without being able to type and I'd have to buy one anyway even with a suitable mouse. I figure I should grab an easier keyboard to use (One that can the switches can be swapped or modified without desoldering) before grabbing the mouse in case it negates the need altogether.

    Updating: I happened across a Logitech G600 mouse at Best Buy today, marked down to about 20 bucks after tax, most places had it for 30'ish. That I can afford. Functionally similar to the Razer Trinity for my uses. Not the best thing to replace the WSAD, but a vast improvement to my Logitect Triathlon. As an added bonus, and an unfortunate reminder that Razer Synapse wont let me do something as trivial as this, The G700 lets me lock the shift key down with one button press, and unlock it with another press of the same button. I keep hoping Razer will consider this as feedback and just give us an option to toggle a key up/down with each press.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2020
  3. KJ-Kaz

    KJ-Kaz New Member

    Going off of Imatron's reply, I highly recommend the Logitech G602 mouse since you can customize what the 6+ buttons do. For example, I remapped mine to Alt+tab, Copy, Paste without formatting, Control+Alt+Delete, etc and it helps me limit the number of times that I need to use my keyboard. EDIT: I reread your post and it looks like you found one!

    As for a keyboard, I wrote this post here about bluetooth mechanical keyboards that come in many different form factors: List of Wireless Mechanical Keyboards

    Depending on your preference, you could grab a smaller board like a 60 percent (no arrow keys like an Anne Pro 2), 65 percent (with arrow keys like the Akko 3068), 75 percent (arrow and function keys like a Keychron K2), or a TKL like you mentioned.

    I personally use a 75 percent and 65 percent which helps on the ergonomic side and limits the need for "reaches across the keyboard" which can help.

    A majority of these models come with the option to select red switches which I'd recommend over blue (clicky) and tactile (bump feel). Let me know if you have any questions about anything! Happy to help.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 18, 2020
  4. Imatron

    Imatron New Member

    Yep, I found the Logitech G600 just a day or two before you replied XP. Huge improvement over the Triathlon in that I can completely remove the keyboard if I need to, but still not quite optimal.

    Looking at those keyboards, they all seem to hit in the "My wallet pulls out a knife and stares threateningly at me" range. Mental health issues have caused me to trash more keyboards than I can count, and in the last 10 years I've never spent more than 25 on a keyboard as a result. I've managed not to wreck my inexplicably discounted 25 dollar Blackwidow in the 3 years I've had it yet, but Im still cautious about a 200 dollar keyboard.

    I would say my priorities are:

    *"Cheap" but not crap, I think 100 bucks is the most I can justify
    *Cherry MX Red Linear
    *Tenkeyless
    *Switches must be swapable without desoldering
    *Communication over wired plug. If it's got a detachable cord its got to be type C plug. I don't NEED a battery or wireless. I don't need detachable cord but I feel like it might be worth paying a little extra for.
    *I don't have to have lighting but its a plus, I CANNOT have a red backlight (The Corsair k63 might be on my desk right now if not for that, and it's apparent need to desolder keys).

    Ive checked a few keyboards on your list already but I haven't found anything quite right yet. Hopefully you get a few cents every time I click on the "Check Amazon availability button XP"

    EDIT: The Keychron K2 comes in close but it's not using Cherry MX(gateron) and It cant swap the switches.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2020
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