IDENTIFY THE KEYBOARD thread

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PlacaFromHell
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Unread post15 Apr 2018, 09:45

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I actually think the Compaq Enhanced keyboard is nice, at least mine is. It has tactile rubber sleeves, though, that might help. The case is very sturdy too.
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Unread post15 Apr 2018, 11:36

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Advocatus diaboli
PlacaFromHell wrote:I can't find this Compaq model

Image

Is worth for 5 USD?

No, that's all garbage
mike52787
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Unread post15 Apr 2018, 12:56

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Curious, the first two are BTC 53 Series foam and foil. I didn't recognise them.
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Unread post15 Apr 2018, 13:56

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I no longer have a place here.
PlacaFromHell wrote:I can't find this Compaq model
[pic of worthless boards]
Is worth for 5 USD?

green-squid wrote:yeah. 5 bucks, what the hell.

Image

Remember what you had posted just 2½ days before?
green-squid wrote:
//gainsborough wrote:I think you should calm down a little, yeah. […] Maybe just reconsider what you feel is Great and/or interesting […]

Okay, I will calm down with all these DEALS CAUSE THEY ARE SO GOOD REALLY! :D […]

Your noise to signal ratio is remarkable.
Reminds me of "that guy whose name shall not be named".
With the noteable difference, though, that he was a keyboard expert.
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Unread post16 Apr 2018, 08:00

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I picked up an Amkey Bio-Rad on a spur of a moment, it's bit different and it cost about 30$ US total. Thing is, I'm having bit of a hard time getting much info on it, I'm hoping someone could point me in the right direction... I know Amkey mainly did gear for research labs, military and the like - but that's about it. The serial number is 0189, so they are pretty much hand made. All the components are made in the USA, and I suspect it's some sort of capacitive design, although I haven't had it open yet.
I'm going to make a separate post once I get time to disassemble it, in the meantime...

BR-Perspective_L.JPG


The keyboard was part of a Spectrophotometer, the construction seems to be of some sort of zinc (?) casting, steel bottom and steel plates. It's massive and heavy, you can see my Norbatouch in the photo below for scale.

BR-Plan_NT.JPG


The joystick is made by CH Products who are still going and feels excellent, crisp and responsive. This would be an awesome board for a leftie who is into retro gaming, it's a mame monster. You could easily swap the joystick module for a trackpad, I guess...

Which brings me to the board's one big flaw, it was never meant to be used with a mouse, so because of its length, the mouse ends up waaayy to the right - unless you are one of the sinister handed types. If you are - beat 'em up and 8bit perfection. The design feels, late 70s/early 80s; although it could have been put together later, it would be hand made in small amounts. (And, cost a small fortune.)

BR-Plan_Caps.JPG


The caps are lovely doubleshots, full sculpt sphericals - very similar to early IBM in shape. Because the switch stem attaches to a cap via a little hat, they could be trivially easily adapted to other stems; just 3d print a hat that fits on an alps, mx, or whatever. Below are the serial number plates on the bottom metal plate.

BR-Label.JPG


So, how does it feel? Pretty damn good actually - it's linear, with nice long travel and smooth, oh so smooth... Now, I'm not a linear fan, but this one feels and sounds so good. You know what it's like? It's like when you run out of toilet paper and have to use your kid's baby wipes:. You tell yourself that you are not the kind of person who would use pre moistened, cotton, sheets to wipe your arse; but, it just feels so damn smooth and indulgent... it's like that. The landing feel and the upstroke are quite similar to a Topre with hyperspheres, that and the fact that it's meant for a lab makes me think that it uses some contactless system - maybe a very refined foam and foil or rubber dome? It's too smooth for traditional mechanical and the sound - well let's talk about the sound.

It's freaking glorious! Very similar to the Topre Thock, but sharper, deeper, and louder, much, much louder; if topre is a distant rumble of approaching thunder, this is countless banners of winged hussars charging at you across a field. This is a board that's not really designed for a typist, I'm sure it would be perfectly nice to type on, but, it's designed to make sure you absolutely know you pressed the damn key. This board will make some leftie really happy, one day. I haven't tested the weight, but it feels 60g range.

If anybody can point me in the right direction about what it's made off, I would be really grateful. It's school holidays here, so I'm not sure when I'll get the free time to start digging into it, but; it'd be nice to start gathering info, if it can be made to talk USB/PS2, it'd definitely get a spot on the "todo" pile.

PS. The switches seem to be discrete units, with Amkey stamped on top and bottom, flipped. A quick google shows there were Amkey boards in B52s, but they look quite different. Not sure if the difference is skin deep or not.
Last edited by consolation on 16 Apr 2018, 12:22, edited 1 time in total.
consolation
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Unread post16 Apr 2018, 11:37

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Looks awesome! I would love if you show us the internals. Amkey keyboards usually have unknown switches, but I think I saw those in this thread.
PlacaFromHell
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Unread post16 Apr 2018, 11:58

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Te agrao ucho e cogs Zabany
I will clean it up and take proper photos of the internals. The seller posted some, but they don't show a lot, and he didn't disassemble the switches. These must have been small run batches, you can even see that the plate can be modded to different layouts.

I direct linked the images, they are all from the auction on TradeMe (NZ's ebay.)

Image
Image
Image
Image
consolation
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Unread post16 Apr 2018, 12:18

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Aren't foam and foil? Look at the spring, Also I remember other Amkey boards with weird foam and foil switches
PlacaFromHell
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Unread post16 Apr 2018, 14:30

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PlacaFromHell wrote:Aren't foam and foil? Look at the spring, Also I remember other Amkey boards with weird foam and foil switches

That's my suspicion, it feels like a very nice f&f; but without the grit and mush. Maybe that's what they feel like before they rot? This one probably lived in a humidity and temperature controlled environment for a lot of its life.

Plus, lab gear loves contactless switches as you don't get the same noise as you do with mechanical contacts, so you can save on shielding. Although, I don't think that's as much of a problem nowadays, unless you're doing some ultra sensitive rf work...

Honestly, I'm pretty much talking out my arse till I get inside, hopefully I'll get some time in the weekend.
consolation
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Unread post16 Apr 2018, 20:18

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PlacaFromHell wrote:Aren't foam and foil? Look at the spring, Also I remember other Amkey boards with weird foam and foil switches

If anything, they remind me of Stackpole torsion spring, but they won't be if they are Amkey branded.

They do bear more than a passing resemblance to the switch in one of Amkey's patents though:

https://patents.google.com/patent/US4439647A

(There are loads and loads of patents that are not yet associated with a discovered switch.)

These two though are indeed foam and foil:

awards-f28/best-relic-discovery-2011-t1623.html#p28069
https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=61432.0
Daniel Beardsmore
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Unread post16 Apr 2018, 21:44

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If I read that patent right, it's a way to make a F&F board by sealing the foam between layers of membrane? Could be why it's not turned into a shower of rotting plastic. Amkey definitely seem to be focused on making a better F&F, given their market, that makes sense, a contactless switch that doesn't degrade and can be fitted into "small" spaces.

Haata's board definitely seems to have same switches, although the switch cases on mine are black and have Amkey printed on top, twice. He notes that it is very smooth, unusual for F&F and it matches mine. Really, linear Topre, is how I'd describe it. Dated 1982, which sounds right to me.

Between the old post and this one, we should have enough to expand the wiki section, it's only a stub at the moment. I'll definitely make time this weekend to take a better photos, and try to record the lovely racket it makes :)

edit: I had a closer look at the keyboards that came out of B-52s, same switch cases as these, I'm guessing same switch. Plus, to quote the owner in GH thread: "It's a foam and foil switch so it's got a linear feel. I'd say the pressure is between a mx black and a mx red. The keys have a very retro sounding clack. Some combination of the keycap and the switch shaking in it's track. It's a good sound." Yep - that's the switch, unless there's a big surprise. Apparently, they made a USB controller for their boards, I'll have to follow it up.

Thanks heaps everyone.
consolation
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Unread post16 Apr 2018, 22:09

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kbdfr wrote:Remember what you had posted just 2½ days Your noise to signal ratio is remarkable.
Reminds me of "that guy whose name shall not be named".
With the noteable difference, though, that he was a keyboard expert.



whaaat? I just thought that maybe the compaq would be worth a shot for that cheap, but turns out it's foam and foil.
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Unread post16 Apr 2018, 22:17

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consolation wrote:… unless there's a big surprise.

Here, there are no end of surprises.
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Unread post16 Apr 2018, 22:35

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Hello. Can anyone help me identify this packard bell keyboard? https://imgur.com/a/uAVqv Thanks!
701c

Unread post18 Apr 2018, 22:29

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701c wrote:Hello. Can anyone help me identify this packard bell keyboard? https://imgur.com/a/uAVqv Thanks!

It has one of those weird sized Escape keys so I'm guessing it's a BTC rubberdome with slider keyboard
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Unread post18 Apr 2018, 22:31

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701c wrote:Hello. Can anyone help me identify this packard bell keyboard? https://imgur.com/a/uAVqv Thanks!

BTC foam and foil
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Unread post18 Apr 2018, 22:32

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That appears to be it. Thank you!
701c

Unread post18 Apr 2018, 22:41

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Are Micro Switch SW boards sought-after? Just want to know, I myself am not quite fond of linear switches.
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Unread post19 Apr 2018, 03:03

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Mr.Nobody wrote:Are Micro Switch SW boards sought-after? Just want to know, I myself am not quite fond of linear switches.

I'd say they are collectible but it depends more on how interesting the keyboard is rather than the switches themselves. So for example a Lisp space cadet keyboard or IBM 66 key terminal keyboard are way more interesting than say a generic Micro Switch keyboard module that is missing a case. Also I don't believe there is a practical way to convert a lot of these keyboards.
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Unread post19 Apr 2018, 03:14

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JP! wrote:
Mr.Nobody wrote:Are Micro Switch SW boards sought-after? Just want to know, I myself am not quite fond of linear switches.

I'd say they are collectible but it depends more on how interesting the keyboard is rather than the switches themselves. So for example a Lisp space cadet keyboard or IBM 66 key terminal keyboard are way more interesting than say a generic Micro Switch keyboard module that is missing a case. Also I don't believe there is a practical way to convert a lot of these keyboards.
Yeah, they tend to be more of a collector's item than a serious use thing. Some of them are quite colourful and/or beautiful-looking, which adds immensely to their appeal.
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Unread post19 Apr 2018, 09:58

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Mr.Nobody wrote:Are Micro Switch SW boards sought-after? Just want to know, I myself am not quite fond of linear switches.

Not many people collect them, I did for a while. Pretty but quite impractical for daly usage.

wiki/Micro_Switch_SW_Series

wiki/IBM_3277_typewriter_keyboard
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Unread post19 Apr 2018, 10:14

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@ JP Chyros seebart

So it's mostly for the sake of good looking and quality caps. I spot a Hitachi board with Micro Switch SW (red stems) yesterday, the plate reads Honeywell 1984... it's in fairly good condition and rather clean, but most of the key caps are in monotonous greyish color not colorful at all.

Yes, seebart, I read your posts on the Micro Switch several times, there aren't many posts about MS, and almost half of them are yours. your board is from 70s and it's an IBM board, quite rare.
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Unread post19 Apr 2018, 10:27

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Well if you decide to get it show it to us plz! MS SW has the nicest keycaps ever.
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Unread post19 Apr 2018, 10:41

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Panasonic laptop keyboard. Anyone know the switches?

http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200...=824&kw=lg
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Unread post19 Apr 2018, 19:41

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Blaise170 wrote:Panasonic laptop keyboard. Anyone know the switches?

http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200...=824&kw=lg

Ive seen these before, and found what they were before, but for some reason I cannot remember. I know it is not one of the major switch families though. some oddball shit.
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Unread post19 Apr 2018, 19:45

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Saw this on TV at the gym, anyone know what that cool LED pad is on the left?

Image
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Unread post19 Apr 2018, 20:49

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I proxy anything, including keyboards (キーボード / 鍵盤), from both Japan (日本) and China (中國)!

View my current and past keyboards here: wiki/User:Blaise170
They were sort of a macro pad for the CAD software. I have seen them before but I have forgotten the details...I'm searching for more now..
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Unread post19 Apr 2018, 22:56

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I've seen both of them branded for Silicon Graphics systems on ebay before. I think the SGI macropad is ALPS made, but this one looks like the IBM 6094 020.
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Unread post20 Apr 2018, 00:22

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Yes, this is definitely the LPFK!
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Unread post20 Apr 2018, 00:37

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