New Mech Keyboard Owner.

Hello,

I was helping move some heavy stuff into my grandmas basement (I am a nice grandson, I know :) ) and I came across an old mechanical Kaypro keyboard. It was in rough shape and she had her basement flood years ago, it was in the area that it happened. Needless to say the thing was covered in grime, and appeared to have had mice walking all over it. Ive been wanting a mechanical for a while and needed another project so I asked her if I could claim it, to which she naturally said I can have it. Carefully pulled it apart, soaked the bezels and keys in soapy water, meticulously cleaned the internal switch body and membrane etc. After throwing it together it looks brand new and works flawlessly.

It works great but I was hoping it was a little more rigid (clickier?). The back label says its an OKI HMB-35957-14 which is a gourd spring model. I was wondering if replacing the springs would improve that? Is there any other recommendations out there?
donaldej

Unread post08 Oct 2015, 17:46

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Hey, that's pretty cool. Welcome aboard! We (I) like pictures around these parts - I'd love to see a pic of it!

Sorry, I don't have recommendations for more click. I might suggest that you appreciate it for what it is, and then rapidly establish a habit and collect another dozen or so. :)
klikkyklik
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Unread post08 Oct 2015, 17:54

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That's quite a rare keyboard your grandma let you have. Like klikkyklik I'd like to see some pictures, does it look like this?

DSC_2741.jpg
seebart
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Unread post08 Oct 2015, 18:06

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I currently am at work but Ill throw the ones I have on my phone here.
I took a couple pics as I took it apart for reference. The first image does not show how nasty it was when I first picked it up because I did a basic wipe down of the bezel before I started removing the keys. However the grime between the keys looks pretty tasty.


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donaldej

Unread post08 Oct 2015, 18:21

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That 1U backspace though. I'd love to see a picture of it from when you first got it. Looks like you had your work cut out for you. And yeah, that grime DOES look pretty tasty.

As far as increasing the clickyness of the switches, I'm really not sure, it doesn't seem that the mechanism of the Oki tactile gourd spring has been properly documented anywhere. Would you care to disassemble one of the switches? I'm sure someone here could identify where the clickyness comes from with a few pictures.
Crazy Canadian XXIV
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Unread post08 Oct 2015, 18:28

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Unfortunately I didn't take any precleaning images. When I got to the workshop I kinda went into the zone and started to wipe it down. After I remove the pause button I figured I may as well take a pic of the layout so I can quickly put it back together. Ill take it apart again when I get home to provide some more images.
donaldej

Unread post08 Oct 2015, 18:34

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I want one!
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Unread post08 Oct 2015, 18:35

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Free is always a great price for a keyboard. Congrats!

seebart what type of switch is this? Those look like some sort of leaf spring, but then, I also see evidence of a membrane in there.

It is definitely not this:
photos-f62/kaypro-386-keyboard-t6917.html
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Unread post08 Oct 2015, 18:45

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Last edited by klikkyklik on 08 Oct 2015, 18:53, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post08 Oct 2015, 18:47

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Another poster on this forum had pictures of his. Its a conical shaped spring. The bottom picture I attached is showing some kind of clip. Im not quite sure of their function as they did not really hold on, but they sat between the black assembly and the membrane underneith and the clip part went inside of the button.

external-f34/best-relic-discovery-2012-t4455.html
donaldej

Unread post08 Oct 2015, 18:52

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klikkyklik wrote:Is it not: wiki/Oki_Gourd_Spring

Ya that's it.
donaldej

Unread post08 Oct 2015, 18:52

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Sorry, I changed my post to show the tactile gourd spring - it is tactile, yes?
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Unread post08 Oct 2015, 18:54

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Im not actually sure what the difference is between the two links. The non tactile illustration makes it appear to have a film over the sensor panel. When I took this apart it had a clear plastic film covering the sensor panel, which the spring would press onto the plastic.
donaldej

Unread post08 Oct 2015, 19:06

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That sounds like a membrane. Those are a popular way of avoiding the need for individual switch contacts. Instead, the mechanism under each key is there to give you some feedback, while it just presses the layers of the membrane into each other, closing a circuit and sending the electrical signal.

Some great keyboards work with membranes inside. Like this SSK I'm on right now. What matters is the mechanism on top of the membrane, and how it feels. (Very clicky and very loud, in the IBM Model M's case!)
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Unread post08 Oct 2015, 19:10

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Im 100% sure that is exactly it. The buttons themselves do not have any switches in them, the panel itself has all of the contacts on it
donaldej

Unread post08 Oct 2015, 19:16

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Alright, I just got done taking it apart snapping some pics and putting it back together.

I noticed that the model number on the case is HMB-35957U-14, but the model number on the bottom of the keyboard internally is HMB-35957U-18. My grandmother definitely was not the type to mess with technology beyond how its delivered so I am curious about that.

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donaldej

Unread post08 Oct 2015, 23:46

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At first I thought at was a simple spring over membrane, but this is obviously something more. Nice find, I've never heard of these before!
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Unread post09 Oct 2015, 00:44

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Honestly, I am really kind of surprised. I have never heard of this brand (granted it came out around the time I was born). With it just sitting in a pile of junk I assumed it was just some no name common keyboard.
donaldej

Unread post09 Oct 2015, 04:47

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You did a damn good job cleaning it up, that's for sure. How do the switches feel? Really clicky, slightly tactile, really linear?
Crazy Canadian XXIV
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Unread post09 Oct 2015, 07:07

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Chyros wrote:YEAH, BITCH, MAGNETS!
They are moderately clicky. Not clicky in a rigid way though, they have have a soft descension. When I was cleaning it, one of the guys at the workshop said it wasnt clicky enough lol.
donaldej

Unread post09 Oct 2015, 15:16

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Chyros wrote:At first I thought at was a simple spring over membrane, but this is obviously something more. Nice find, I've never heard of these before!

What am I looking at? At this point I am intrigued. I assumed it was a random keyboard. I want to know the history if this thing. Is there a place I can find out more?
donaldej

Unread post10 Oct 2015, 07:12

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donaldej wrote:
Chyros wrote:At first I thought at was a simple spring over membrane, but this is obviously something more. Nice find, I've never heard of these before!

What am I looking at? At this point I am intrigued. I assumed it was a random keyboard. I want to know the history if this thing. Is there a place I can find out more?
If I had to describe the system just from those shots, I'd have said "spring with metal slider over membrane" but it's obviously not that because that system doesn't account for either the tactility or the clickiness. I have no idea what this board is, in fact I think this gourd spring is a new system for quite a few people.
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Unread post10 Oct 2015, 11:53

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Crazy Canadian XXIV wrote:You did a damn good job cleaning it up, that's for sure.

I will second this. The entire thing looks immaculate!
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Unread post10 Oct 2015, 14:40

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@Chryos: I am really glad that I came here. I never heard of Kaypro so I assumed it was just some knockoff brand. Since the bezel opens right up once the screws are out, I was going to install an MCU to relay the serial output to USB HID, then code in some extra junk, but if this thing is unique I would rather leave it undisturbed and maybe hand it down. Ill find some other swill to Frankenstein.

@fohat: Man this thing was awful when I found it. The grime in the first picture was seriously, mouse urine. The whole top surface was covered in it. I would have taken a picture but I assumed this was just some over produced 80's junk.

Hmm well. tried to post a YouTube video, but I apprently don't know how to use YouTube because the bbcode was just showing a link.

Link: https://youtu.be/Z6k4LHVD-Ik
[youtube]https://youtu.be/Z6k4LHVD-Ik[/youtube]
donaldej

Unread post17 Oct 2015, 00:09

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What a weird sound Oo . It barely sounds clicky (or metallic) at all oO .
Chyros
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Unread post17 Oct 2015, 00:40

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That is what brought me here.
donaldej

Unread post17 Oct 2015, 04:11

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donaldej
 
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Rare to see this switch on auction. Good luck you picked up this.
terrycherry

Unread post17 Oct 2015, 05:03

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donaldej wrote:...Hmm well. tried to post a YouTube video, but I apprently don't know how to use YouTube because the bbcode was just showing a link.

Link: https://youtu.be/Z6k4LHVD-Ik
[youtube]https://youtu.be/Z6k4LHVD-Ik[/youtube]

Not sure if it's a security feature or what, but the YouTube links only expect the video ID - the last part of the URL - in this case, Z6k4LHVD-Ik.

Thanks for the vid! It was rather quick though- could I bother you to do another that has differing levels of force? Sometimes more can be learned from slower key presses, like whether or not there really is a click, versus a keycap bottoming out.

Hope this board leads to obsession! :lol: It's a great hobby.
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Unread post17 Oct 2015, 10:59

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Shortly after reading the OP, I went on a hunt for one of these. Found one on eBay for very reasonable back in November, and just now got done cleaning it up and am using it. Quite an interesting board; the ping isn't like anything else I've come across so far. Can't say it's the best feeling keyboard, but it types fast @ 50g or so.

Cool springs, too. More info and pictures on my blog if interested. Quite happy to have it in my rotation.

https://klikkyklik.wordpress.com/2015/12/28/oki-won/

oki-26.jpg
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Unread post28 Dec 2015, 00:48

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There was one of these Oki spring keyboards on eBay yesterday but it's already gone so someone must've picked it up. The shape of those springs is insane xD .
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Unread post28 Dec 2015, 01:31

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