Should You Tape Mod (Tempest) Your Keyboard?

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Hand with PCB and tape with keyboards expert logo cover

Mechanical keyboards are one of the most customizable computer peripherals in the market today. Keyboard enthusiasts can customize both pre-built and custom boards in numerous ways to improve typing feel and other aspects such as the acoustics of the keyboard.  

The Tempest or Tape Mod is a straightforward mod that you can do to your keyboard. Even with limited experience, you can perform the modification yourself since all you need is tape. You can do a Tape Mod to achieve a deeper and richer sounding board without permanently changing your keyboard.

You can easily perform numerous mods to your keyboard to achieve that perfect “thock” or “clack.” However, modding may seem complicated, especially for novice mechanical keyboard enthusiasts. So, why not start with something simple? If so then, the Tempest or Tape Mod is just for you. 

This article will cover everything users need to know regarding the Tempest/Tape Mod. We will be discussing how to do it and all the benefits it brings to a keyboard. Here is everything you need to know about the Tempest/Tape Mod without further ado. 

What is the Tempest/Tape Mod?

PCB with tape mode
BM65 PCB and tape

The Tempest or Tape Mod, as the name suggests, uses tape as its primary material to modify the sound profile of a keyboard. Its name, Tempest Mod, originated from the username of the person who created this modding method and posted it on YouTube in June 2021, naming the video “the tape mod.”

Shortly after, the video and the act of tape modding a keyboard became a huge sensation among mechanical keyboard enthusiasts as it is cheap and easy to do. It received praise from the community for yielding great sound results despite requiring such minimal effort. Only a few steps are needed to complete the Tape Mod, and it can even be as quick as one or two minutes.

Furthermore, it does not necessarily require a lot of knowledge and expertise regarding mechanical keyboards to perform this mod. Thus, we consider and recommend this mod as it is one of the most beginner-friendly mods to apply to your keyboard. 

How To Do The Tempest/Tape Mod?

In its simplicity, the tape mod is done by applying tape on the bottom of the PCB (printed circuit board) of a mechanical keyboard. The only material you need to acquire is tape to do the Tempest or Tape mod. 

First, you need to open your mechanical keyboard by unscrewing the back of your board. Keep in mind that you do not have to fully disassemble your keyboard to perform the Tape Mod.

After removing the backplate of your keyboard, apply the tape to the bottom of the board’s PCB. The bottom of the keyboard’s PCB is the side that is covered by the back case of your keyboard. It is also the part opposite to the side where the switches are attached. 

Lastly, when done with applying the tape, assemble your keyboard’s backplate and proceed to do a sound test to decide whether or not you are satisfied with its sound profile. If you are still not satisfied, it is possible to apply either several layers or only one layer of tape. 

What Kind of Tape is Suitable For the Mod?

To ensure that you would buy suitable and keyboard-safe tape for tape modding, you must keep in mind these two important things:

Buy tape that is not too adhesive or sticky or designed to be easily removed. Examples of less adhesive and less sticky tapes are masking, washi, or painter’s tapes; if you ever decide to remove the tape behind your PCB, it will not damage your board. 

Sticky tapes such as duct tape and box tape tend to ruin your PCB by pulling out conduits from your keyboard when removed. Additionally, super adhesive tapes leave sticky residues that may also ruin your board. 

Another thing to remember is that you should buy tape that is not conducive. Conductive tapes, such as electrical tape, can cause short circuits, damaging your PCB. This is especially true if your keyboard comes with a battery. The tape can potentially serve as insulation to the board’s battery, thus harming your PCB.

Tape that you can buy online or at local stores is sufficient for the mod. However, to guarantee that you will not damage your PCB in the process of modding, avoid purchasing adhesive and conductive tapes. Instead, opt for tapes that you can remove easily.

What are the Benefits of Doing the Tempest/Tape Mod?

When you tape mod, the mid to high frequencies from the PCB would be absorbed by the tape, reflecting back the lower frequencies, resulting in a deeper sound. So, through this Tempest or Tape mod, you can achieve the perfect “thock” sound for your board. 

Additionally, it would make the board sound poppier and less muted. Some keyboard enthusiasts even say that after doing the tape mod, they noticed how their sound quality being bounced back from their case improved in standards, as it sounds more “expensive.” Overall, its benefits directly enhance the sound quality of a mechanical keyboard, from its deepness to its poppiness. 

What are the Downsides of Doing the Tempest/Tape Mod?

Due to the numerous types of boards, cases, and configurations, the Tempest or Tape Mod might sound different depending on the keyboard. So, the sound profile you may expect might not suit your preference after performing the Tempest or Tape Mod.

However, because the Tempest mod is simply applying tape underneath your PCB, it would be easy to remove the adhesive and experiment with other suitable tapes that would affect the sound profile of your board, according to your liking.

Along with this, the Tempest or Tape Mod can possibly damage the PCB of your keyboard only if you use the wrong kind of tape for modding, which will be discussed in more detail in the section below.

Can the Tempest/Tape Mod Damage the PCB of Your Keyboard?

There are some instances where the tape mod can potentially damage the PCB of a mechanical keyboard. The first one is if it leaves an adhesive residue, and the other is if it insulates the battery attached to the PCB. Additionally, removing the tape on the PCB may pull out some sockets if it is extremely adhesive.

However, as said in the earlier section, you can prevent this damage as long as you buy tape suitable for Tempest or Tape modding, which are non-conductive and have fewer adhesive tapes. If you use the types of tape mentioned, the Tempest or tape mod is unlikely to damage your keyboard’s PCB.

Should You Apply the Tempest/Tape Mod To Your Keyboard?

Due to its being low-cost regarding the materials and its simplicity, it may be considered one of the most accessible and easy mods that you can perform on your keyboard.

We recommend applying the Tempest or Tape Mod to your keyboard if you are a beginner mechanical keyboard enthusiast who is to modding or wants to achieve that quality sound profile on your board without spending too much on mods.