Here's our step-by-step walkthrough on how to put together screw in stabilizers.
To briefly summarize it, the steps are:
- Unpack all the parts for the stabilizers
- Place stems into housing
- Snap wire into place
- Fit stabilizers into PCB
- Screw stabilizers into PCB
- Insert switches
- Add on keycaps
Pictured above: what screw in stabilizers look like when screwed into a stabilizer testing PCB
Before You Begin
Gather all the parts you’ll need, and make sure you have a clear surface to work on. We recommend having a few containers handy to place screws and such so they don’t get lost.
- Stabilizer Stems (x10)
- Stabilizer Housings (x10)
- Stabilizer Wires
- 4 x 2u
- 1 x 6.25u
- 1 x 7u
- Screws (x11)
- Washers (x11)
- Stabilizer Film (optional)
- Stabilizer Grease* (optional)
*Stabilizer Grease is not included in C3 Equalz Stabilizers, and need to be bought separatley
- Small containers (optional)
Unpack the stabilizers
The C3 Equalz Stabilizers come with all the parts in individually wrapped packages. Open all of them and set them aside. It is recommended that you put the pieces into small containers to keep them from going missing. The kits come with enough stabilizers for most keyboards. For example, the Portico75 uses three 2u and one 6.25u stabilizers. Set aside 2 housings and stems for each stabilizer needed. You will also need the correct length of wires for your keyboard.
Pictured above: all the parts that come in the C3 Equalz Stabilizer kit
Assemble the housings
First, you'll need to assemble the housings of the stabilizers. The stems of the stabilizers, which are the taller pieces that don't have a spot to screw in, fit inside of the housing from the bottom. On one side of the stem you will see one opening. On the other side you will see two openings. The side with two opening should be facing towards the large opening of the housing opposite of the side with the screw in hole.
Pictured above: the way that the stem fits into the housing. Note: the side of the stem with two openings facing out.
Snap the wires into place
Next, the wires are snapped into place in the housing. The end of the wire is inserted into the housing and the stem. It fits into the bottom opening of the stem. Make sure that the wire is inserted into the stem and not just the bottom of the housing or else the stabilizer won't function correctly. Once the wire is in the stem and housing you can push the wire down into the track on the housing. There should be a snapping sound when this happens. You should then be able to wiggle the wire and the stem should move as well. Once the first housing is attached to the wire you can do the second housing. It will go in the same way, but make sure both stems are facing the same direction.
Repeat this process for all the stabilizers you need for you keyboard.
Pictured above: what a correctly assembled stabilizer will look like
Screw in the stabilizers
After all the stabilizers are put together you can install them on the PCB. The stabilizers go in any spot where a key is too wide for one switch to keep the balanced. The stabilizers will make the typing experience better and improve the sound quality of the keyboard. Find the spots where a stabilizer would be needed, such as the spacebar, and you will see two holes that are not found where the normal switches go. Once you see those, flip the PCB over. You will see where you need to put the screws in to attach the stabilizers. Flip the PCB back over to face the top.
Pictured above: the holes surrounding the switch housing where the stabilizers should be installed, as seen from the top of the PCB
This is the time when you would put in the optional stabilizer film. This prevents the plastic stabilizers from rattling on the metal PCB. They go on like stickers, and fit in a way that they wrap around the holes for the stabilizers.
Pictured above: how stabilizer film goes on a PCB, as seen from above
Once the spots for the stabilizers are located, and the optional stabilizer films are placed, you can fit the stabilizers into place. The holes for the stabilizers have 2 different sizes. The part with the screw hole goes into the smaller hole. The housing has a hook-like part that fits into the larger of the 2 holes and should be fit in first. The hook is scooped into the hole, and the screw in should fit into place after. The stabilizers will hold themselves in place a little bit, which should be enough to hold while you screw in the stabilizers. While holding the stabilizers in place, flip the PCB over to put the screws in. It is easiest to place the red washer on the screw, and then the screw into the stabilizer. The washer will prevent plastic on metal contact that will make rattling noises as you type. Once you have one screw in you can do the other screw. We recommend taking a second to check if the stabilizers were assembled and installed correctly. If you put your fingers on the long end of the wire and move them forward and backward the wire should twist and cause the stems to move up and down. If that is done correctly you can repeat this for all the stabilizers you need.
Pictured above: what a pair a installed stabilizers will look like, as seen from the bottom of a PCB
Insert switches and keycaps
Now for the easy part. Plug in all the switches and test if they work The stabilizers have no effect on if switches work or not, so if they don't you don't need to worry about the stabilizers causing the problem.
Once you have all the switches on you can move to keycaps. The stabilizers are used for when a normal switch isn't able to keep a longer keycap balanced during typing. You can tell if a keycap needs a stabilizer if it has 3 openings on the bottom to fit onto the switch and the 2 stabilizer stems.
Pictured above: an example of a key that needs a stabilizer, the "backspace" key. Keycaps pictured are IFK Cabernet Noir.
- Why won't my stabilizer stem go down?
- If them stem doesn't go down, check if the wire was inserted into the stem correctly. If the wire is inserted below the stem it will prevent the stem from going down correctly
- Why doesn't the wire snap into place?
- You will need to apply a bit of pressure to get the wire to snap into place. If that doesn't work, check if the wire is inserted into the correct opening on the stem.
- Why won't my keycaps fit onto the stabilizers?
- The stabilizers can come in different lengths, so making sure that the keycap fits onto the length of the stabilizer is key. For example, the Portico75 uses a 6.25u spacebar, so it needs a 6.25u stabilizer.
- Why are my stabilizers rattling?
- If your stabilizers are making unwanted noise, you can grease the stabilizers before or after installation. This helps the stabilizers move smoothly and stop the housing and stems from scraping against each other. The grease isn't included in the stabilizer kit, but it can be purchased from our website with the other lubricants.
Congratulations 🎉 you've built and installed stabilizers to your keyboard! Take some glamor shots and share online, we’d love to see your builds if you tag us @thekey.company on Instagram.