IDENTIFY THE KEYBOARD thread

I realise this is almost nothing to go off, but the seller is quite stubborn, it would seem.
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Unread post30 Dec 2016, 23:47

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Monterey_K208, I think.
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Unread post30 Dec 2016, 23:50

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emdude wrote:Monterey_K208, I think.
Definitely. Mine had really funky blue sliders all over.
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Unread post31 Dec 2016, 00:10

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@emdude, @Chyros, thank you so much :) seller wanted $200+ for the keyboard alone...
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Unread post31 Dec 2016, 00:15

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snuci wrote:
Chyros wrote:I'm sure I saw one of these, I think it might even have been in the DTA awards, but I can't find it back. Does anyone remember what this was and what it came with? Looks really cool, REALLY expensive though.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Vintage-1970s...SwXeJYLbbt

I have one of these keyboards but have not taken pics because Haata has one and has pics here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/triplehaa...325648986/ . Just noticed it's also in the link posted by Daniel Beardsmore above. It's a very nice keyboard.

EDIT: Chyros, you might consider this one: http://www.ebay.com/itm/262754371474 If I didn't have one already, I would have bought this one.
Nice, definitely looks cool. He doesn't ship outside the US though, and I'm sure that with normal shipping rates it would be much too expensive for me. Definitely a cool board though, thanks for the link :) .
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Unread post31 Dec 2016, 00:17

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This thing looks...homemade. The listing has had several revisions and I think the seller actually first listed this thing at a whopping $3500! Even now, who the heck would pay that price?

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Very-Rare-Che...2372331900
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Unread post02 Jan 2017, 03:22

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Harshmallow wrote:This thing looks...homemade. The listing has had several revisions and I think the seller actually first listed this thing at a whopping $3500!

Yes it's a "homebrew" project. Nice to see all those serials in an auction for a change!
Harshmallow wrote:Even now, who the heck would pay that price?

No one I know. ;)
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Unread post02 Jan 2017, 06:26

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Harshmallow wrote:This thing looks...homemade. The listing has had several revisions and I think the seller actually first listed this thing at a whopping $3500! Even now, who the heck would pay that price?

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/-/122203538782

There are more photos of one here:

https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=45470.0

It's from a DECwriter. The existing photos don't show the year. The new photos show it to be from 1979, which seems odd as Cherry had their own well-established line of switches by this point, and I feel pretty sure that Hi-Tek were supplying working keyboards by this point too (instead of simply the switch grids, as was normally the case with them). The reason for a Cherry/Hi-Tek hybrid remains a mystery. It's also from Cherry US, a few years before all manufacturing moved to Germany and the Illinois plant closed.

The original owner seemed to go to great lengths to re-purpose this keyboard. Curiously, the chips in the converter board are dated 1976–79, so they're no more recent than the keyboard itself. What's even stranger is that the converter board features lights and switches that are hidden from view by the case.
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Unread post02 Jan 2017, 13:03

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Hi all, to be brief i found an old ibm keyboard when cleaning a messy room and was kind of excited since im using a really trashy keyboard right now. My mother though it wasnt valuable and gave it away, i couldnt test it on my pc since it was an old connector but as i toyed around it seemed fine, all i got now is a key (´esc´) but i dont know if the type of keyboard is identifiable with such a weak hint, here it goes anyway:
Image
thank you all! happy 2017
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Unread post03 Jan 2017, 00:57

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Really stuck on this one. I know they're alps mount and they're dye subbed and doubleshot but I don't know anything more. Thanks

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Unread post03 Jan 2017, 01:12

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ShishHappens wrote:Really stuck on this one. I know they're alps mount and they're dye subbed and doubleshot but I don't know anything more. Thanks

Image
Your link is broken; should be fixed on my post. Not sure where they come from but I'm pretty sure they're not doubleshot AND dyesubbed :p .
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Unread post03 Jan 2017, 12:08

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those were mine a while back. they yellowed ones are doubleshot, the others are dyesubbed or pad printed. pretty sure i offered a disclaimer in my sale ad and the buyer seemed happy since he didn't say anything.

not sure about the source but it was some type of laptop.
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Unread post03 Jan 2017, 12:42

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What's this keyboard?
Image
Image

and this?
Image
Image
Image
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Unread post04 Jan 2017, 05:06

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[PC][Hungary]Videoton keyboard
A russia auction. Hope someone can from russian keyboard or computer collector can show me the switch from USSR keyboard!
https://www.olx.ua/obyavlenie/prodam-re...1e748cd35d
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Unread post04 Jan 2017, 05:42

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Mr.Nobody wrote:What's this keyboard?
Image

Televideo terminal keyboard. Appears to be identical to the Televideo 950 keyboard, and it will have Futaba MD series switches.
Mr.Nobody wrote:and this?
Image

There are no more details on the keyboard than what you see there (I've asked, and those are the only photos they could find). The switches are Omron B2R series, type B2R-M1, and are likely to be reed switches (B2R-G1 is definitely a reed switch). I have ten of the switches on order, before any photos showed "B2R" written on them; you can buy them more cheaply once you know what they are!
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Unread post04 Jan 2017, 08:14

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By the way, this is the switch from that Siemens Fanuc keyboard:

https://www.aliexpress.com/store/produc...26269.html
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Unread post04 Jan 2017, 08:34

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Daniel Beardsmore wrote:By the way, this is the switch from that Siemens Fanuc keyboard:

https://www.aliexpress.com/store/produc...26269.html

Thank you, 25.96$/Pc...that's expensive, how much do you think the keyboard is worth then?
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Unread post04 Jan 2017, 09:08

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gogusrl wrote:those were mine a while back. they yellowed ones are doubleshot, the others are dyesubbed or pad printed. pretty sure i offered a disclaimer in my sale ad and the buyer seemed happy since he didn't say anything.

not sure about the source but it was some type of laptop.

Those caps are really good deal for European use, especially if they're doubleshot (with 2 colors??)
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Unread post04 Jan 2017, 10:48

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What's this?

Image

Image
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Unread post04 Jan 2017, 13:58

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Mr.Nobody wrote:Thank you, 25.96$/Pc...that's expensive, how much do you think the keyboard is worth then?

The Fanuc keyboard — I have no idea. (I was told it was made by Siemens, but the pictures don't show any Siemens branding, so the Siemens claim may be an error.)
Mr.Nobody wrote:What's this?

I have no idea — it doesn't look like anything I have ever seen before.

If you browse switch patents¹ you will find patents for many types of switch that have never been seen in an actual keyboard. Some may never have gone into production, but others are waiting to be discovered. The only people who might have this switch in their collection are HaaTa and snuci.

¹ One trick is to go to a known switch patent and explore the citations and references. That's how I rediscovered the patent—which I'd seen before but didn't recognise—for the Philips keyswitch. It was only after I'd obtained some of the switches (and it took two years to find any for sale!) and took them apart that I could match them to the patent drawings.

Even on AliExpress now there are mystery switches and mystery keyboards:


The Chinese are tearing up old keyboards in order to flog the switches at insane prices and in the process are throwing away all the keyboard details. Having pressured harry ke in particular to preserve the details, some more recent listings do now show some keyboard details, but typically not enough to date the keyboard.

If they weren't so despicably greedy, I'd buy every one of these switch types for the purposes of research, but at these prices I'm very choosy about which switches I buy. I hate even validating their business model by buying anything from them, but sometimes I just have to buy something for its knowledge value, on the basis that I won't ever find the switch elsewhere.
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Unread post04 Jan 2017, 18:08

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Daniel Beardsmore wrote:
Mr.Nobody wrote:Thank you, 25.96$/Pc...that's expensive, how much do you think the keyboard is worth then?

The Fanuc keyboard — I have no idea. (I was told it was made by Siemens, but the pictures don't show any Siemens branding, so the Siemens claim may be an error.)
Mr.Nobody wrote:What's this?

I have no idea — it doesn't look like anything I have ever seen before.

If you browse switch patents¹ you will find patents for many types of switch that have never been seen in an actual keyboard. Some may never have gone into production, but others are waiting to be discovered. The only people who might have this switch in their collection are HaaTa and snuci.

¹ One trick is to go to a known switch patent and explore the citations and references. That's how I rediscovered the patent—which I'd seen before but didn't recognise—for the Philips keyswitch. It was only after I'd obtained some of the switches (and it took two years to find any for sale!) and took them apart that I could match them to the patent drawings.

Even on AliExpress now there are mystery switches and mystery keyboards:


The Chinese are tearing up old keyboards in order to flog the switches at insane prices and in the process are throwing away all the keyboard details. Having pressured harry ke in particular to preserve the details, some more recent listings do now show some keyboard details, but typically not enough to date the keyboard.

If they weren't so despicably greedy, I'd buy every one of these switch types for the purposes of research, but at these prices I'm very choosy about which switches I buy. I hate even validating their business model by buying anything from them, but sometimes I just have to buy something for its knowledge value, on the basis that I won't ever find the switch elsewhere.


Sweet Jesus, these prices are indeed ridiculous. I just saw 20 or so poor Alps plate spring switches that were ripped out of a P70 and will likely languish on this site forever. I also saw some vomit green colored NEC ovals...have those been documented before?
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Unread post04 Jan 2017, 18:35

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Wow. Those are some insane prices. I saw he has a lot of 10 SKCM Orange switches offered at $100. And he has over 1500 lots available. You could get $5,000 for the whole stock, but hey, why not shoot for $150,000.
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Unread post04 Jan 2017, 18:38

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Harry Ke's switches aren't even clean, they're often so dirty the sliders barely even move at all. I'd recommend only buying new/NOS switches from him.
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Unread post04 Jan 2017, 19:07

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Harshmallow wrote:Sweet Jesus, these prices are indeed ridiculous. I just saw 20 or so poor Alps plate spring switches that were ripped out of a P70 and will likely languish on this site forever. I also saw some vomit green colored NEC ovals...have those been documented before?

The sad thing is that most NOS switches on AliExpress are fairly priced; it's generally the used switches where the upstream suppliers are charging high prices.

The plate spring switches are from a IBM 5576-002, as I bought some and that's the type of keyboard that the keycaps belong to (you often get the keycaps too, which is kind of odd). I guess they had a P70 keyboard too at some point — the upstream suppliers sell to various people including multiple AliExpress sellers, and the parts seem to be shipped directly from the suppliers, co-ordinated by the sellers, so some parts sell out even when nobody appears to have bought them. Alps plate spring is a nuisance to photograph, which is why I've never felt inclined to clean up and post the images to the wiki.

The green NEC oval switches are cream ones under bizarre light. They're all pretty battered and the legs have been bent so many times that a distinct percentage have fractured and break readily.

Another switch being sold for a stupid price is the SKFL half-Alps.

One seller had a huge amount of SKBL and SKBM switches, which are all gone — I am guessing this is why KBParadise unexpectedly started selling keyboards using these switches. The black type they had was linear, which means that there's a black linear, black tactile, black clicky, grey clicky and white clicky. Grey and white clicky are exactly the same (black clicky I don't have and can't compare). Also, white and grey clicky exist in each of Alps-branded and Forward-branded versions, suggesting that the colour really is random. (Something else I'll document in more detail one day.)

As an aside, I discovered that Oxygen Electronics have a huge database of so many juicy part numbers, of all the switches I want to get my hands on that I've yet to see for real. Since they're business to business, they ignored me, so I rang up the beggars (nice expensive telephone call across the pond). Basically, they don't have the parts in stock, but they keep track of who has them and where. One customer for example is the UK Ministry of Defence, so you can imagine that this is a very expensive game, which it is! It may be that these Chinese parts are going to industrial customers, where there's big £££/$$$/€€€ to throw around to get parts. I have no idea. It's just a shame that in the shadows of the dizzying heights of 21st century technology, it's so exceedingly hard to find out any details about so many of these switch types.


As for keyboard recognition, I've wondered idly in the past if we need some kind of recognition tree, that you can step through to find a match, like you might with an insect or a flower. However, just having a database would be more practical I suppose, with filters for: connector, year, protocol, switch, branding, OEM, FCC ID. This is actually feasible with MediaWiki and Semantic MediaWiki, but that's pretty messy and it's starting to head more towards a relational database.
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Unread post04 Jan 2017, 19:12

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Chyros wrote:Harry Ke's switches aren't even clean, they're often so dirty the sliders barely even move at all. I'd recommend only buying new/NOS switches from him.

They're not his per se — he's an agent for upstream sellers and the parts don't seem to pass through his office. My sole Mitsumi standard illuminated switch was a sample he'd received, which he let me have for free as the MOQ proved to be too high (1000). I don't know how that switch and the rest of the batch were united. I'm still unclear on quite how this all works.

The best batch I had were the space invaders, which were expertly desoldered, albeit a bit dirty. The Futaba ML-like ones though are in a deplorable state, and some even get stuck.

It's a gamble, I realise. Even the NOS parts can be damaged — being Yorkshire in spirit (and blood but not birth) you had a couple of my fractured NEC oval switches, packaged in some lame effort to stop the legs coming off completely. Normally the worst issue with NOS parts is that they appear to have done time in a stone polisher as they're horribly rough and look awful in photos. (Mostly those SKBL/SKBM switches.)
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Unread post04 Jan 2017, 19:18

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Unread post04 Jan 2017, 23:19

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Daniel Beardsmore wrote:
Chyros wrote:Harry Ke's switches aren't even clean, they're often so dirty the sliders barely even move at all. I'd recommend only buying new/NOS switches from him.

They're not his per se — he's an agent for upstream sellers and the parts don't seem to pass through his office. My sole Mitsumi standard illuminated switch was a sample he'd received, which he let me have for free as the MOQ proved to be too high (1000). I don't know how that switch and the rest of the batch were united. I'm still unclear on quite how this all works.

The best batch I had were the space invaders, which were expertly desoldered, albeit a bit dirty. The Futaba ML-like ones though are in a deplorable state, and some even get stuck.

It's a gamble, I realise. Even the NOS parts can be damaged — being Yorkshire in spirit (and blood but not birth) you had a couple of my fractured NEC oval switches, packaged in some lame effort to stop the legs coming off completely. Normally the worst issue with NOS parts is that they appear to have done time in a stone polisher as they're horribly rough and look awful in photos. (Mostly those SKBL/SKBM switches.)
Yeah, I figured they weren't all his - I think a lot of those merchants actually sell from a common source (much like those parts suppliers do). This might partly explain why he REALLY wouldn't back down on the pricing on some of them (no MX Lock for me, unfortunately D: ).

I made him a deal where I bought single switches of several types off him rather than whole, expensive batches of switches. The whole thing was a nightmare, with switches arbitrarily disappearing and getting re-costed all the time (and I haggled a LOT), but I eventually managed to get a deal with him. It was such an ordeal I doubt he'll do it again, but for anyone who wants to pick up a few switches, there's no harm in at least trying. I recommend laying off the dirty-looking ones though.

Originally I just wanted to get a few Fujitsus off him (fascinating switches, them - they will be in a Teardown video sometime), I figured I might as well see how many other ones I could get into the same order xD .
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Unread post04 Jan 2017, 23:59

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I found the switches on AliExpress through a chance find: Google Images showed me a picture of an Alps SKFSAA switch for sale NOS on AliExpress. That was in fact on harry's site. After discovering goodies, I asked a number of sellers if they had anything else useful, and harry was one of maybe a couple of people who made the effort to keep me notified of new finds, although I mostly dealt with ben ke (I think they're related). ben sold smaller volumes, like lee xiao did, but he closed up shop after AliExpress put the fees up a while back.

harry seems to be a decent bloke, as was ben.

Those MX Lock switches are insanely priced, but they're also very rare. That's the one type in my collection that most people are interested in, which is ironic considering that it seldom appears in keyboards. I do now only have one left — the rest are all gone.
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Unread post05 Jan 2017, 00:12

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Ahh, that makes more sense now - I had wondered if they might be dirty cream NEC's under a strange light. Wow, all these questions without answers - I think I've found the true rabbit hole of this whole mechanical keyboard hobby - all the damn switches!
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Unread post05 Jan 2017, 02:16

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@Daniel Beardsmore
It's not because Chinese are greedy,it's the place you go. If I visited a brothel in europe should I call all eauropean women cheap whores thereafter? it's the place you go,if you visit a 5 star hotel you get fancy food and room and services, if you visit a cheap joint at the corner of the street you will be served with cheap food and bad-attitutde waiters. Buy those things from Aliexpress is not a good idea, Aliexpress charges the sellers heavily, so sellers have to price their items high to make profit.Why I know this ,coz I am considering opening a online store Aliexpress is one of the platforms I am considering about.

Aliexpress is the site dedicated to foreign market,and as we all know international shipping is rather expensive, and keyboard is large and heavy but switches are relatively small and light-weight,so they decided to desoldered the switches and sell them, and some keyboards are beyond redemption, switches are the only parts worth saving. If you go to Taobao, you will know most vintages keyboards are kept original as possible to keep the value,although keyboard culture is definitely a new and fringed culture here.
Last edited by Mr.Nobody on 07 Jan 2017, 08:26, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post05 Jan 2017, 02:34

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