Teardown and cleaning of the Tréal TR

Before I sent of my machine I gave it one last maintenance cleaning.

February 27, 2017 - 4 minute read -

Before I sent off my Tréal TR to its new owner (steno community member Ty), I decided to give it one last good clean.

The Tréal has an issue where after a while some keys can stop working. The reason, I discovered pretty early on in my ownership, is that the keys are very oiled. The oil sinks down onto the board contacts. Once the contacts are covered in oil, the keys no longer register.

The Tréal is, luckily, pretty simple to take apart and clean in order to fix this issue. I’m finally posting this because I heard that some other users have had the same issue.

If you prefer, you can view the entire album on Imgur

I will copy the content here:

Teardown and cleaning of the Tréal steno machine


Tréal with plastic cover

Eww, dirt, dust, and cat hair!

The hair tends to stick because the Tréal has a lot of oil in its springs, which tends to surface during use. unfortunately it causes hair and the like to stick.

A little better after wiping down

See how flush the switch stems interest? Not like a keyboard at all in that regard. They are Cherry stems, in case you were wondering.


The bottom

Protocol Dial

The Treal can modify its hardware device ID with this dial. The idea being that you could distinguish between multiple Tréals on the same computer. I never change this, but did modify Plover to support reading from any of the “channels”.

The tripod attachment

This connects to a regular Stenograph tripod. Really solid—feel free to get a lighter tripod.

Tripod attachment release

Feels really nice compared to the solution on my Infinity Ergo.


The black O-rings are foam, provided by the Tréal company. I don’t like them and they carry the aforementioned oil with them. I attach the red ones instead. You can optionally remove these to get a longer travel.

Bath time

Here are all the keys getting ready…

…for a bath! I soaked them in soap water for 30 minutes, then rinsed.

Taking Apart

Now to take apart the machine…however, note that the tripod attachment is only attached to the base of the case, so it doesn’t need removal in order to take apart the machine.

If you do want to remove the tripod attachment, take off the base, then remove the additional 4 external and 3 internal screws:

The base

Here, I start by removing the rubber feet in the corners (not the center one!)

Along with seven screws:

Bottom without cover

This steel plate is what stops the keys from falling through. It is the stability of the machine. I’m not removing the mainboard today. It has some ribbon cables and such. I’ll remove the 6 small screws on the plate.

The plate just lifts off after its screws are removed.

Circuit board

Thin circuit board! It’s like the ones you find in cheap calculators. The stems press against this board and that’s how keys are registered. Pretty cool.

Cleaning the Key Switch Mechanism

This is my goal. I wipe down the thin circuit board and the squares in the picture to remove oil. Otherwise the keys miss the occasional press. Now time to put it all back together!

The case

Heavy duty and bigger than it needs to be

It features non-removable foam with a cut out for the Tréal


The final cleaned product.

Here it is in its case, ready to be shipped off to its new owner.