Need help getting an IBM Multistation Keyboard to work.

Hi there!

First post ever here :D
I usually frequent reddit but I'm trying to branch out recently to other enthusiast forums. (Also here posting shamelessly because I need your help)

Anyhow, I recently came into possession of an IBM 5556 Multistation keyboard:
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

Full album and some of my blabberings here: https://imgur.com/a/zhYbG

---

I've had some trouble trying to get this keyboard to work with my computers, unfortunately. The connector on this board looks like AT, so I've tried connecting it via an AT-PS/2 adapter + active PS/2-USB converter, and also through native PS/2 but so far nothing works.

I have 2 active PS/2 converters, a blue cube and a Belkin F5U119, which have given me different results in use. Connecting the board with the Belkin converter and native PS/2 will have no effect – nothing happens when I type on the board. Connecting it with the blue cube will result in some phantom keypresses, basically this key combination "=Lr" gets held down perpetually, and randomly changes to some other letters with no action involved. I've tested this on both a Windows PC and a Macbook Pro, both yielding the same results (different random key combi in os x)

---

So to cut straight to the point, will I be able to use a Soarer's converter or Hasu's TMK to get this keyboard working? found a youtube video of a guy who's managed to get it to work, but I've not managed to get his reply yet:



Anyways I'm not too sure what model of the board this is, seems most likely to be a 5556-004 based on your wiki? (I freaking love it btw, it's my favourite wiki ever). I did have a look through Sandy55's archives and found another chinese multistation board, but the part number on his is different from mine. (http://sandy55.fc2web.com/keyboard/5578.html)

Thanks in advance for the help! I found a thread discussing these boards but I didn't want to necro post so I made a new one here.

---

TLDR; Got an IBM Multistation keyboard that can't work. Can I use Soarer's converter/TMK to make it work?
oxchamballs
User avatar

Unread post10 Nov 2015, 13:35

User avatar
X
oxchamballs
 
Posts: 2
Joined: 10 Nov 2015, 13:15
Location: Singapore
Main keyboard: Alps64 (SKCM Salmon)
Main mouse: Elecom M-XT1DRBK
Favorite switch: Orange Alps
DT Pro Member: -
 
Hmm…

Someone may know. But not me. It might just be XT: AT's predecessor protocol, confusingly used on the exact same pinout! If so, Soarer's Converter ought to handle it. I'd definitely consider getting a Teensy and making a Soarer Converter, as it's a rock solid converter in any case and is smarter with antique boards than blue cubes and the like.

workshop-f7/xt-at-ps2-terminal-to-usb-converter-with-nkro-t2510.html
Muirium
User avatar
µ

Unread post10 Nov 2015, 13:59

User avatar
X
Muirium
µ
 
Posts: 22822
Joined: 03 Feb 2013, 10:11
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
Main keyboard: HHKB Type-S with Bluetooth by Hasu
Main mouse: Apple Magic Mouse
Favorite switch: Gotta Try 'Em All
DT Pro Member: -
 
 
Possibly but the looks of the layout it may well be the terminal connector form the 122F , soarer's should do nicely
andrewjoy

Unread post10 Nov 2015, 14:00

X
andrewjoy
 
Posts: 5106
Joined: 11 Apr 2012, 16:27
Location: UK
Main keyboard: Filco ZERO green alps, Model F 122 Terminal
Main mouse: Ducky Secret / Roller Mouse Pro 1
Favorite switch: MX Mount Topre / Model F Buckling
DT Pro Member: 0167
 
What an excellent find.

Before trying Soarer's Converter make sure you know which pins are power and ground on the DIN connector. You can trace back to the 8048. Use a multimeter to check for continuity and find a data sheet for the 8048 online including pin out.

I think orihalcon got a similar board not too long ago.
XMIT
User avatar
[ XMIT ]

Unread post10 Nov 2015, 16:12

User avatar
X
XMIT
[ XMIT ]
 
Posts: 3467
Joined: 21 Dec 2014, 15:32
Location: Austin, TX area
Main keyboard: XMIT Hall Effect
Main mouse: CST L-Trac Trackball
Favorite switch: XMIT 60g Tactile Hall Effect
DT Pro Member: 0093
 
Wow, what an awesome board. With Alps greens no less. Congrats on the find and good luck on the operation! Welcome aboard!
klikkyklik
User avatar

Unread post10 Nov 2015, 16:19

User avatar
X
klikkyklik
 
Posts: 317
Joined: 25 Aug 2014, 12:25
Location: America
Main keyboard: Northgate Omni Key/102 w/Blue Alps
Favorite switch: Blue Alps
DT Pro Member: -
 
A quick tip. to rule out ground is to use continuity between somthing that you know is ground eg the plate or the outer of the connector or the ground plane of the PCB, that rules that one out.

Also to rule out power look for a capacitor and trace back. Chances are if there is one it will be on the VCC for smoothing.

That keyboard is sweet by the way i like it!
andrewjoy

Unread post10 Nov 2015, 16:20

X
andrewjoy
 
Posts: 5106
Joined: 11 Apr 2012, 16:27
Location: UK
Main keyboard: Filco ZERO green alps, Model F 122 Terminal
Main mouse: Ducky Secret / Roller Mouse Pro 1
Favorite switch: MX Mount Topre / Model F Buckling
DT Pro Member: 0167
 
Thanks andrewjoy. Sorry for the terse explanation before. I do have a reverse engineering project in the works and will give a more thorough explanation of reverse engineering principles in a future post, complete with photos, diagrams, and techniques.
XMIT
User avatar
[ XMIT ]

Unread post10 Nov 2015, 17:06

User avatar
X
XMIT
[ XMIT ]
 
Posts: 3467
Joined: 21 Dec 2014, 15:32
Location: Austin, TX area
Main keyboard: XMIT Hall Effect
Main mouse: CST L-Trac Trackball
Favorite switch: XMIT 60g Tactile Hall Effect
DT Pro Member: 0093
 
This is a good video on reverse engineering

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TedIzmguP0
Last edited by andrewjoy on 11 Nov 2015, 09:30, edited 2 times in total.
andrewjoy

Unread post10 Nov 2015, 17:12

X
andrewjoy
 
Posts: 5106
Joined: 11 Apr 2012, 16:27
Location: UK
Main keyboard: Filco ZERO green alps, Model F 122 Terminal
Main mouse: Ducky Secret / Roller Mouse Pro 1
Favorite switch: MX Mount Topre / Model F Buckling
DT Pro Member: 0167
 
Thanks for all the help, especially regarding the pins! I've ordered a Teensy to build a converter for this keyboard, I will get back with my success/failure once it's done.
oxchamballs
User avatar

Unread post11 Nov 2015, 02:07

User avatar
X
oxchamballs
 
Posts: 2
Joined: 10 Nov 2015, 13:15
Location: Singapore
Main keyboard: Alps64 (SKCM Salmon)
Main mouse: Elecom M-XT1DRBK
Favorite switch: Orange Alps
DT Pro Member: -
 
Did you ever get it to work?

I got what I think is a version 003 with cylindrical dyesubs. I plugged it in through Soarer's converter and I got some weird behaviour - keys were roughly shifted down to the left and one row down, and when I press the key, it keeps sending it until I press another one. I noticed a bank of DIP switches on the PCB, but I have no idea what any of them do.
alh84001
User avatar
v.001

Unread post06 Nov 2016, 16:50

User avatar
X
alh84001
v.001
 
Posts: 1209
Joined: 14 Feb 2016, 18:38
Location: EU-HR-ZG
Main keyboard: unsaver
Main mouse: logitech m305 / apple trackpad
Favorite switch: BS
DT Pro Member: -
 
This page says it is AT(PS/2) singnal but scan code is different and keys don't send break codes except for some keys.
http://m0115.web.fc2.com/Products/ps2ibmpc_man.html

You will have to write code to translate scan codes and generate psuedo break events.
hasu
User avatar

Unread post07 Nov 2016, 03:34

User avatar
X
hasu
 
Posts: 379
Joined: 02 Sep 2011, 14:47
Location: Japan
Main keyboard: HHKB
Main mouse: HHKB
Favorite switch: Topre
DT Pro Member: -
 
alh84001 wrote:Did you ever get it to work?

I got what I think is a version 003 with cylindrical dyesubs. I plugged it in through Soarer's converter and I got some weird behaviour - keys were roughly shifted down to the left and one row down, and when I press the key, it keeps sending it until I press another one. I noticed a bank of DIP switches on the PCB, but I have no idea what any of them do.

Didn't you say it was ABS? Did that turn out to be untrue? I have only ever seen the cylindrical models with PBT, myself.
E3E
User avatar

Unread post07 Nov 2016, 05:18

User avatar
X
E3E
 
Posts: 943
Joined: 19 Apr 2015, 10:53
Location: United States
Main keyboard: Hammer Alps, Xerox Docutech, Fame TH-5539, FK-555
Main mouse: Logitech Marathon M705 / Razer Naga Epic Chroma :o
Favorite switch: Alps Lover :)
DT Pro Member: -
 
hasu wrote:You will have to write code to translate scan codes and generate psuedo break events.

Interesting. I'm not above that, but I don't know when I will catch some time for it. Do you think I could use tmk as a base for that?
E3E wrote:Didn't you say it was ABS? Did that turn out to be untrue? I have only ever seen the cylindrical models with PBT, myself.

I really have too much stuff laying around, so I mixed some keycaps, either on the desk or just in my head :roll: Turns out they are actually PBT. I'm in the middle of cleaning the keycaps, so I'll have some pics soon.
alh84001
User avatar
v.001

Unread post07 Nov 2016, 09:16

User avatar
X
alh84001
v.001
 
Posts: 1209
Joined: 14 Feb 2016, 18:38
Location: EU-HR-ZG
Main keyboard: unsaver
Main mouse: logitech m305 / apple trackpad
Favorite switch: BS
DT Pro Member: -
 
Don't mind the necro-ing of this thread, but I'm curious if anyone succeeded in converting this board? Writing the code, as Hasu suggested, is a bit outside my knowledge.
//gainsborough
User avatar
ALPSの日常

Unread post08 Feb 2018, 18:06

User avatar
X
//gainsborough
ALPSの日常
 
Posts: 905
Joined: 31 May 2016, 07:26
Location:
Main keyboard: some kind of alps keyboard
Favorite switch: clk: SKCM blue, lin: SKCL cream, tac: SKCM cream
DT Pro Member: 0188
 
//gainsborough wrote:Don't mind the necro-ing of this thread, but I'm curious if anyone succeeded in converting this board? Writing the code, as Hasu suggested, is a bit outside my knowledge.

Same issues here.

I wonder if this might be a job for an Xwhatsit.

Anyone know how many columns and rows the matrix has?
just_add_coffee
User avatar

Unread post09 Feb 2018, 16:53

User avatar
X
just_add_coffee
 
Posts: 412
Joined: 03 Feb 2017, 14:25
Location: United States
Main keyboard: Model F AT, Batwing Ergodox
Main mouse: Microsoft Trackball Explorer 1.0
Favorite switch: Buckling Spring
DT Pro Member: -
 
nice keyboard man ;)
skz

Unread post10 Feb 2018, 02:12

X
skz
 
Posts: 1
Joined: 10 Feb 2018, 02:10
Location: Indonesia
Main keyboard: Coolermaster Masterkeys Pro S
Main mouse: Logitech G90
Favorite switch: Brown Switch
DT Pro Member: -
 
I'm not really sure writing new code is neccesary in this case.
They were 3 scancode sets on IBM machines. Originally Set 2 and Set 3 were translated back to Set 1 by the 8042 microprocessor on the motherboard. Soarer's converter supports all three.
If this board indeed doesn't send break codes it uses Set 3 just like M122 "battlecruiser".
With passive PS/2 adapter it'll work on linux (terminal only, no xwindow) and winXP, win7 (requires hot plugging after system boots). Don't know about win10 though.
With Soarers's converter there's no such annoyances so it's a better option.
purdobol
User avatar

Unread post11 Feb 2018, 12:44

User avatar
X
purdobol
 
Posts: 109
Joined: 04 Oct 2017, 19:39
Location: Poland
Main keyboard: Custom
Main mouse: a4tech X7
Favorite switch: Marquardt Butterfly
DT Pro Member: -
 
purdobol wrote:I'm not really sure writing new code is neccesary in this case.
They were 3 scancode sets on IBM machines. Originally Set 2 and Set 3 were translated back to Set 1 by the 8042 microprocessor on the motherboard. Soarer's converter supports all three.
If this board indeed doesn't send break codes it uses Set 3 just like M122 "battlecruiser".
With passive PS/2 adapter it'll work on linux (terminal only, no xwindow) and winXP, win7 (requires hot plugging after system boots). Don't know about win10 though.
With Soarers's converter there's no such annoyances so it's a better option.

When I tried using a Soarer's, several keys were not showing any output with hid_listen.
just_add_coffee
User avatar

Unread post11 Feb 2018, 14:09

User avatar
X
just_add_coffee
 
Posts: 412
Joined: 03 Feb 2017, 14:25
Location: United States
Main keyboard: Model F AT, Batwing Ergodox
Main mouse: Microsoft Trackball Explorer 1.0
Favorite switch: Buckling Spring
DT Pro Member: -
 
just_add_coffee wrote:When I tried using a Soarer's, several keys were not showing any output with hid_listen.

Hmm then I would try PS/2 passive adapter on linux to check what the keyboard is sending in these instances.
Code: Select all
showkey --scancodes

Alternatively you could just try to force set1, set2, set3, set2ext in config and check if any of them work.
It may be the case of weird keyboard ID confusing Soarer's converter.
purdobol
User avatar

Unread post11 Feb 2018, 15:09

User avatar
X
purdobol
 
Posts: 109
Joined: 04 Oct 2017, 19:39
Location: Poland
Main keyboard: Custom
Main mouse: a4tech X7
Favorite switch: Marquardt Butterfly
DT Pro Member: -
 
I'll try to give that second option a shot. I don't have a linux computer handy right now.

I'm interested in seeing if an Xwhatsit could work here.
just_add_coffee
User avatar

Unread post12 Feb 2018, 06:18

User avatar
X
just_add_coffee
 
Posts: 412
Joined: 03 Feb 2017, 14:25
Location: United States
Main keyboard: Model F AT, Batwing Ergodox
Main mouse: Microsoft Trackball Explorer 1.0
Favorite switch: Buckling Spring
DT Pro Member: -
 
just_add_coffee wrote:I'll try to give that second option a shot. I don't have a linux computer handy right now.

I'm interested in seeing if an Xwhatsit could work here.

As am I!
//gainsborough
User avatar
ALPSの日常

Unread post12 Feb 2018, 07:04

User avatar
X
//gainsborough
ALPSの日常
 
Posts: 905
Joined: 31 May 2016, 07:26
Location:
Main keyboard: some kind of alps keyboard
Favorite switch: clk: SKCM blue, lin: SKCL cream, tac: SKCM cream
DT Pro Member: 0188
 
I have a multistation board myself (though doesn’t have the older/cooler profile caps like the original post shows) that I’d been meaning to convert and wanted to use an xwhatsit, but if I recall, the matrix isn’t very straightforward. We need a master like oldisnew to sort through it. I could try to take a close up picture of the PCB and if anyone wants to try to trace out rows and columns, be my guest! I can wire an xwhatsit to it and post if it works :)

I’ve exhausted the Soarer’s converter option and I think the protocol is unsupported (ps/55 perhaps?)
orihalcon

Unread post12 Feb 2018, 15:13

X
orihalcon
 
Posts: 500
Joined: 31 Jul 2014, 00:47
Location: Des Moines / Cedar Falls, IA, USA
Main keyboard: IBM Model F107
DT Pro Member: 0190
 
I would absolutely kill for one of these with the spherical caps... Especially a Japanese one. The layout is immaculate, possibly the best caps ever made for SKCC mount, this thing is a beast.
ullr
User avatar

Unread post13 Feb 2018, 20:37

User avatar
X
ullr
 
Posts: 24
Joined: 09 Mar 2014, 10:27
Location: Florida
Main keyboard: GH60
Main mouse: MX Master
Favorite switch: Kailh Box Navy Blue
DT Pro Member: -
 
ullr wrote:I would absolutely kill for one of these with the spherical caps... Especially a Japanese one. The layout is immaculate, possibly the best caps ever made for SKCC mount, this thing is a beast.


They are super nice - I really want to be able to use it! The mount is SKCM, though.
//gainsborough
User avatar
ALPSの日常

Unread post13 Feb 2018, 20:44

User avatar
X
//gainsborough
ALPSの日常
 
Posts: 905
Joined: 31 May 2016, 07:26
Location:
Main keyboard: some kind of alps keyboard
Favorite switch: clk: SKCM blue, lin: SKCL cream, tac: SKCM cream
DT Pro Member: 0188
 
Oh that’s what I meant, I guess I was getting them crossed in my head the ones on the so‐called ‘Pingmaster’ keyboards which are very similar to my eye but for SKCC.

I just love everything about these, from the off–center pencil holder and the embossed badge to the oddly prescient split spacebar (what other non‐ergonomic keyboard from so long ago echoes today’s tiny keyboard trend like that?)

It is an incredible shame that this thing would be nigh unusable without making a new PCB, even with the converter.

I don’t play computer games but the shift keys and backspace key not being able to be held down is a deal breaker, moving those keys or using sticky keys would work but it just isn’t worth it :(
ullr
User avatar

Unread post13 Feb 2018, 21:03

User avatar
X
ullr
 
Posts: 24
Joined: 09 Mar 2014, 10:27
Location: Florida
Main keyboard: GH60
Main mouse: MX Master
Favorite switch: Kailh Box Navy Blue
DT Pro Member: -
 

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: abrahamstechnology, BlindAssassin111, Layer_Shift, mcmaxmcmc, SilenceGoo, swampangel and 62 guests