[GB] [IC] BT-USB-Hybrid controllers for Model M 122, M2, Unicomp M

Please make a BT-USB-Hybrid controller for other Model M variants:

Model M 122
6
55%
Unicomp Model M/Model M 4th generation/Lexmark Model M
4
36%
Model M2
1
9%
 
Total votes : 11
Please do not only cast an anonymous vote. Leave a message below so that I can add your name to the list(s). 10+ anonymous votes won't be any good, I also need to be able to contact members individually to confirm they're (still) interested. Leaving a reply will also bring the thread to the attention of other members, which is important of course. Appreciate it, mp.

I've been getting a few enquiries about BT-USB-Hybrid replacement controllers (see ebay-de-f68/ibm-model-m-bluetooth-usb-hybrid-controller-conversion-kits-t17388.html ) for other versions of the IBM Model M keyboard, s.a. the Model M 122 and the last generation of IBM/Unicomp Model M keyboards. So far I've had to turn down these requests for lack of notable demand.

I will make suitable versions for these keyboards if at least 10 people will signal their interest in buying one (i.e would be willing to buy a conversion kit for, say, 100€ each). The necessary changes to the PCB and matrix scanning algorithm could be easily (I hope) implemented, but I'm not seeing the kind of demand yet that would justify such an effort.

I will make a list of the particular Model M types not supported yet and just add the names of people interested as they come in.

Feel free to ask or suggest anything that's on your mind.

1. Model M 122

Arakula 1x
ConiKost 1x
InvidiousIgnoramus 1x
depletedVespene 1x
jafd 1x
just_add_coffee 1x


2. Unicomp Model M/Model M 4th generation (small controller PCB in the upper right corner, fixed cable)

Arakula 1x
just_add_coffee 1x

3. Model M2

...
Last edited by mind_prepared on 23 Dec 2017, 00:55, edited 13 times in total.
mind_prepared

Unread post20 Oct 2017, 16:56

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reserved
mind_prepared

Unread post20 Oct 2017, 16:57

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hey, the link broken, please remove the ) from the link :D
Myoth
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Unread post20 Oct 2017, 18:59

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I'd definitely be interested in at least one M-122 board. As you know, mind_prepared, I got 4 of them by now; all hand-modded to USB with Soarer Converter on a Teensy 2 or Pro Micro, 3 of them with added LEDs in the exact same position as the previous Unicomp PC/122 generation had (i.e., using the original Model M "LEDS on bottom of the overlay" position and spacing). Getting the 30+ year old original controllers out would be a good thing. Nothing lasts forever ... and these controllers will presumably die first, long before the keyboard assembly.

To make things a bit more "fun", I also got a Unicomp PC/122 with a PS/2 connector. When asked whether I could have a replacement controller board for USB, they told me that they switched the board layout after I bought it (and yeah, they did - I also got a new black USB PC/122 for comparison. Totally different, and not for the better) and don't have the older style controller board any more. That is a beast that I'd love to drag out of its box (where it sleeps since I switched my KVM from a PS/2- to a USB-based one) and into the USB/BT era ... AFAIR, it got a rather special controller board (sitting on the right side, including the LEDs). I could take some photos of its innards if you're interested.
Arakula

Unread post20 Oct 2017, 19:26

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I would be also interested in at least one M-122 board. Got a couple of M-122 here..
ConiKost

Unread post20 Oct 2017, 19:35

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Arakula wrote:I also got a Unicomp PC/122 with a PS/2 connector. ... That is a beast that I'd love to drag out of its box (...AFAIR, it got a rather special controller board (sitting on the right side, including the LEDs). I could take some photos of its innards if you're interested.

yes, and please provide some dimensions, too. We might as well start thinking about USB micro/mini socket placement. It would have to be attached to the wall of the cover where the cable exits, somehow.
mind_prepared

Unread post20 Oct 2017, 19:39

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I have to wonder if the different versions of the M122 use the same internal controllers even if they use different connectors and stuff (DIN, RJ45, etc.).
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Unread post20 Oct 2017, 19:52

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depletedvespene wrote:I have to wonder if the different versions of the M122 use the same internal controllers even if they use different connectors and stuff (DIN, RJ45, etc.).

That doesn't matter. The ribbon cables should always be the same, one with 20 and one with 8 traces, which gives a 20x8 matrix.
mind_prepared

Unread post20 Oct 2017, 20:29

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I too have one of those Unicomp PC-122s with a PS/2 cable. If it can be done with that, that would be a yes for me.
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Unread post22 Oct 2017, 23:47

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At what point is a switch truly "too heavy"?
Did I say "Me too!"?
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Unread post22 Oct 2017, 23:58

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mind_prepared wrote:
Arakula wrote:I also got a Unicomp PC/122 with a PS/2 connector. ... That is a beast that I'd love to drag out of its box (...AFAIR, it got a rather special controller board (sitting on the right side, including the LEDs). I could take some photos of its innards if you're interested.

yes, and please provide some dimensions, too. We might as well start thinking about USB micro/mini socket placement. It would have to be attached to the wall of the cover where the cable exits, somehow.

Ooooo-kay ...

I've taken this little fellow apart:
IMG_1607_sm.jpg

The cable is "clamped down" (don't know whether that's the correct English word) with a little plastic part, using the same construction as the normal Model Ms do, so a little board with just the USB port, LEDs, switch, and the two 3.2 mm holes instead of the plastic clamp should work quite nicely.
IMG_1608_sm.jpg


Lifting the lid, we see this:
IMG_1609_sm.jpg

The controller board isn't located on the backside of the metal plate, it's attached to the upper right corner with two screws. This allows to add the usual 3 LEDs, just with a weird little twist: 2 of the LEDs are partially behind the flat cable:
IMG_1610_sm.jpg

... which is a bit weird, but works. The LEDS are placed in irregular distances, but the holes in the cover are in the normal IBM layout (1" spacing). Works OK, but I don't see any reason to keep the asymmetric layout if you really create a replacement.

[Update:] Bottom part of the shell looks like this:
IMG_1612_sm.jpg

and, for good measure, the inside of the right upper part of the shell looks like this:
IMG_1613_sm.jpg

... prepared for both kinds of LED positions.

Here's the front side of the controller board, with the PS/2 cable connector on the left side:
ControllerBoardFront_trans.jpg

And here's the backside of the controller board, with the relevant measurements im mm (as good as I could take them without desoldering anything):
ControllerBoardBackMeasured.jpg

Presumably, the original design was done in a 1/10" grid, so they might be off a little bit.

HTH
Last edited by Arakula on 27 Oct 2017, 11:56, edited 3 times in total.
Arakula

Unread post26 Oct 2017, 11:16

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@Arakula

hm, interesting. That's 'yet' another type of Model M which would require a special PCB layout. It would be complete overkill to make a special PCB for every kind of Model M out there, I'd rather keep things simple. Is there a way we could unify the design a bit, at least for the M122?

Could a 170x50 mm PCB be mounted inside the bottom cover? I understand that this particular Unicomp M122 has an outlet for an SDL socket, including the 3.2mm mounting pins for the controller PCB, although its controller is placed in a different spot. It would probably be smart to put the replacement controller PCB near the outlet instead of making a daughterboard, but a daugherboard might be used for the LEDs and FFC sockets to connect the ribbon cables. What do you think?
If you don't mind, please add a picture of the bottom cover without the keyboard assembly, just so that I can see where to put what.
mind_prepared

Unread post26 Oct 2017, 15:27

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I added pictures of the lower part of the shell and the LED part of the upper part to my post above. At a glance, without taking exact measurements, it looks exactly like the lower part of the shell of "normal" 122-key Model Ms with SDL sockets. So, it should work by "just" adding a matching daughterboard.

Also, please put my name under "2. Unicomp Model M/Model M 4th generation (small controller PCB in the upper right corner, fixed cable)". I got 2 '96 Model Ms and a Unicomp with that layout, all of which would benefit from a replacement controller.
Arakula

Unread post27 Oct 2017, 11:39

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Do you see a way to make a one-size-fits-all controller for these boards?

I've taken a look at the bottom cover of a 'regular' M122 and there's no way the current PCB will fit in there, so a daughterboard is the only way to go (as you suggested). That's probably not so bad design-wise anyway. If I'm gonna make a new controller for the M122, I would want it to be compatible with any M122 out there (if that's possible). My idea is to use the same motherboard for all M122s and just add the necessary daugherboards according to the different variants. One daughterboard will carry the USB socket, charging LED, BT status LED and slide switch and another daughterboard will carry the locking LEDs and (optionally) FFC sockets for the ribbon connectors.

Would it be possible to mount a 'regular' M122 controller inside your Unicomp M122? Does the back plate have the same characteristic pair of embossed mounting holes?
mind_prepared

Unread post27 Oct 2017, 14:08

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mind_prepared wrote:Would it be possible to mount a 'regular' M122 controller inside your Unicomp M122? Does the back plate have the same characteristic pair of embossed mounting holes?

Unfortunately, no.
IMG_1805_sm.jpg
Arakula

Unread post27 Oct 2017, 20:35

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ok, I see. Apparently the IBM engineers must have been really bent on making like three different versions of that keyboard with different controller layouts and mounting mechanisms for each one. Darn them!
mind_prepared

Unread post28 Oct 2017, 00:46

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bumpety-bump
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Unread post22 Nov 2017, 00:38

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I voted for the M122 and Unicomp.
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Unread post22 Dec 2017, 13:50

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