Taking One for the Team: HP 46011A Keyboard

I've seen these boards a number of times and have wondered about them. I've seen a post or two saying they are rubber dome but they didn't seem definitive. So ... when I came across one, for not a lot, I bought it. I thought the red keys and such looked kinda cool.

front.jpg


back.jpg


label.jpg


So here's the deal: It is rubber dome, but hey - sometimes that can be ok.

keys2.jpg


Here's the back board - notice the copper tracings. They are facing toward the back and the non-conductive side towards the keys. Guess had some left over PCBs:

backboard.jpg


Here's the back of the membrane:
membrane1.jpg


front of membrane and rubber domes:

membrane2.jpg


Another view:

keys1.jpg


OK so it's rubber dome, but how does it feel?

Well, I would have to say that if Hans Gruber put a gun to my head and said "Either type a twenty page term paper on this keyboard, or stick a red hot needle into your right eye," I would ask him to at least let me think about it for a minute.

I'm not really sure I'm going to make the attempt to convert this one.
Last edited by OldIsNew on 24 Feb 2018, 19:21, edited 5 times in total.
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Unread post24 Feb 2018, 00:23

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I've always wondered about these and never picked one up because I'd always heard that they are rubber dome. My finances appreciate your sacrifice. I'll make the assumption then that most HP terminal boards are rubber dome, since they all have the same key shape.

Image
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Unread post24 Feb 2018, 00:31

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So not too bad, then, all round?

What does the writing say on the membrane? Any hint as to which muppets made this thing for HP?
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Unread post24 Feb 2018, 00:48

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Daniel Beardsmore wrote:So not too bad, then, all round?

What does the writing say on the membrane? Any hint as to which muppets made this thing for HP?

Well I guess as compared to a hot needle in the eye.

Here are the claims of responsibility on the membrane:

20180224_212417.jpg


20180224_212614.jpg
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Unread post25 Feb 2018, 02:35

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Strange, I would have expected the membrane to have come from some company in Taiwan.
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Unread post25 Feb 2018, 14:16

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Interesting to see these also come in a rubber dome version, I thought all HP 460XX keyboards with this layout were in fact Fujitsu leaf spring. On closer inspection, this looks like the rubber dome version, because the rounded protrusion around the stem is visible beneath the top row keycaps, while this is evidently leaf spring
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Unread post25 Feb 2018, 14:53

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Heh, it's almost af if everyone really WANTS these to be mechanical because they look pretty interesting xD .
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Unread post25 Feb 2018, 18:15

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Chyros wrote:Heh, it's almost af if everyone really WANTS these to be mechanical because they look pretty interesting xD .

Some of these definitely are Fujitsu leaf spring: Image
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Unread post25 Feb 2018, 19:24

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Noobmaen wrote:Some of these definitely are Fujitsu leaf spring: Image


As you noted, a very similar board - but not the same one. The leaf spring version you found is a 46010A:

10a.jpg


My rubberdome is a 46011A:

label.jpg


So I think you've pointed out a very helpful tip for sure. I would like a FLS version of this board and at least it looks like we now know what we need to look for!
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Unread post25 Feb 2018, 21:43

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Here is another one which sold recently, this time in mint condition. I suspect it's the rubber dome version based on the rounded bump below the top row key caps.
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Unread post25 Feb 2018, 21:51

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And so the plot thickens!

Anecdotally it looks like the last digit gives switch type, with 0 indicating Fujitsu and 1 indicating rubber dome. Makes me wonder what other versions of this board might exist.
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Unread post25 Feb 2018, 23:29

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I have had plenty of both. They turn banana yellow in under 6 months. I sold mine to HP dealers for about $10 per board and counted myself very lucky. There were absolutely awful to me. The caps felt gritty, the typing on both Fujitsu and RD was bad. I do not pick these up from recyclers at all anymore. Sun makes a much better Fujitsu keyboard.
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Unread post25 Feb 2018, 23:40

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elecplus wrote:I have had plenty of both. They turn banana yellow in under 6 months. I sold mine to HP dealers for about $10 per board and counted myself very lucky. There were absolutely awful to me. The caps felt gritty, the typing on both Fujitsu and RD was bad. I do not pick these up from recyclers at all anymore. Sun makes a much better Fujitsu keyboard.

The Japanese boards I've found with Fujitsu have been quite nice, specifically the FM Towns keyboards I've bought. Interesting that the feel could differ so much between manufacturers. Have you by chance seen any other switches in HP terminal boards?
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Unread post25 Feb 2018, 23:54

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Blaise170 wrote:The Japanese boards I've found with Fujitsu have been quite nice, specifically the FM Towns keyboards I've bought. Interesting that the feel could differ so much between manufacturers. Have you by chance seen any other switches in HP terminal boards?

Yes. I came across an old box of HP keyboards last week. I will try to post some pics on Tuesday.
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Unread post26 Feb 2018, 00:14

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OldIsNew wrote:As you noted, a very similar board - but not the same one. The leaf spring version you found is a 46010A:
...
My rubberdome is a 46011A:

I have had a rubber dome one in Swedish layout. It was a 46021AS.
Yes, I had also bough it in the hopes that it would have been a leaf-spring keyboard.

It was unusual though in that it used an ANSI Return key and all the textual legends were in Swedish and mixed-caps except for CTRL and ESC. On almost every other platform Swedish layout legends are in English.
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OK, so I've cleaned up the board and even lubed the rubber domes and switches with a low viscosity plastic safe silicon product. I still don't really like the feel of the switches - the thing is I never buy a board without the intention of making it work if I can. I'm still very unsure I want to spend anymore time on this one.
Here's a video of typing on it - this board is NOT converted - it's just me banging away on it.



So here's the question: Should I try to get it working, or just dig a hole in my backyard and give it a decent burial? At this point what you say (if anything) determines its fate. Thanks for any input. If I get none, or "dig the hole, " I won't feel so bad.
Last edited by OldIsNew on 27 Feb 2018, 00:16, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post26 Feb 2018, 23:39

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Donate it to a thrift store and claim it on your tax returns. :lol:
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Unread post26 Feb 2018, 23:59

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If you have no intention of ever using it, why bother? In my opinion rubbish is only elevated to 'vintage collectible' if it represents something significant like being the peak of engineering excellence, or is still practically usable. If its not that, its just rubbish and is better recycled.
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Unread post27 Feb 2018, 13:22

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I worked for a software house between 1992 and 1993 and they ported their 4GL to any and every Unix machine where a license was bought. The guy who sat behind me had a HP Unix workstation with one of these style keyboards and I remember back in the day how much it sucked. I was on the VAX/VMS porting team and had a LK401 keyboard, so didn't really fair much better. When I got off the porting team I was using a 386 workstation running Interactive Unix and salvaged/repaired an alps based keyboard to use on it, infinitely nicer ;)

However, I returned to VAX/VMS land in a 'retro' sense and have since acquired a Cherry Black VMS layout keyboard - an altogether much nicer experience!

Peace. Mark.
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Unread post01 Mar 2018, 17:52

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Yes, I think it is for the best. It's in a happier place now.

bye.jpg
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