[Photos] 1977 microswitch keyboard

I got this on eBay for $20 not too long ago. It has hall effect keyswitches (I believe). Unlike later hall effect keyswitches I have seen (like on that BUD keypad) these have circular stems and bind a little if you hit them far enough off axis. I will probably lube them later.

There is no visible wear on the keycaps. Coffee/beige & red: it looks pretty good.
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Yes, those are tripleshots. Too bad the tripleshots are thin by comparison to the doubleshot keycaps. Luckily, I'm not picky, so I can enjoy them both.
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The spacebar has a stabilizer similar to costar, but the inserts appear to be attached pretty permanently to the spacebar. You can put the actual spacebar switch pretty much anywhere under the keycap.

The 2x "0" key an the tenkey has a dummy switch under it, The active and dummy switches have springs half the weight of a normal one so the net force is the same; nice!
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Here are all the keys with secondary labels laid out in a row. What sort of program has arrowkeys on ABCD ?
When I make the layout, I'll see about using these as shifted or function keys.
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I didn't take any pictures of it as QWERTY before I tried laying it out in some sort of Dvorak, so here's a picture of the whole thing
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Luckily, I saved the picture from the seller, so I at least know the layout:
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Bytheway, that isn't a broken switch. It's actually a spare. I suppose it's for easy replacement if one fails. It is labelled differently on the PCB.

Date code is 77/16. This is actually my oldest keyboard, beating my IBM typewriter (Selectric II) by a few weeks.

There are spaces on the plate for different/alternate layouts. I will very likely replace the PCB or drill it or something. I think I will use this either for gaming or at work (with a QWERTY-like layout). I have tested all the switches (64 I believe) with an oscilloscope and they do work.

The housings do not have any markings on them that i can see. There are strips of material between the PCB and the mounting plate to help make bottoming out less hard. This is the only major point of failure or wear that I see. The keyboard has some dirt, but appears to only have seen light use.

Overall, it's pretty great.
dorkvader
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Unread post19 Mar 2013, 05:57

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Very nice. I don't think I've seen tripleshot hall effect keycaps before. I need to find some hall effect keycaps to replace the ones on my Bud keypad. (I don't like grey.)

It's nice to have a computer keyboard from 1977 - the year home computers started. The IBM 3270 with tripleshots I just got was advertised as 1977, but sadly it turned out to be 1980. So my oldest computer keyboard is still a 1979 Apple II+. (I do have a Selectic I though)
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Unread post19 Mar 2013, 08:24

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Who is the manufacturer?
7bit
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Unread post19 Mar 2013, 08:38

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Hey, that looks just like mine. :)
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Unread post19 Mar 2013, 08:39

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How will you get it to work on normal computers?
Make a new PCB?
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Unread post19 Mar 2013, 08:39

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Icarium
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Unread post19 Mar 2013, 08:42

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mr_a500 wrote:Very nice. I don't think I've seen tripleshot hall effect keycaps before. I need to find some hall effect keycaps to replace the ones on my Bud keypad. (I don't like grey.)

It's nice to have a computer keyboard from 1977 - the year home computers started. The IBM 3270 with tripleshots I just got was advertised as 1977, but sadly it turned out to be 1980. So my oldest computer keyboard is still a 1979 Apple II+. (I do have a Selectic I though)

Oh, I saw that and wanted to bid on it, but it ended up going for more than I could afford. How are you liking beam spring + tripleshot APL legends?

7bit wrote:Who is the manufacturer?

The PCB says "microswitch". The switches don't say anything, but I suspect they're the normal hall effect (same pinout, etc)
Viz wrote:How will you get it to work on normal computers?
Make a new PCB?

The Excellent Haata has some code. These output +5v when activated, so you can detect if they're pressed pretty normally I'll have to hand-wire a matrix of diodes, and figure out a layout, but this is all work to do down the road. (Like after I figure out why my F-122 can no longer repeat my "delete" key.)
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Unread post19 Mar 2013, 14:17

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WOW !!
The uncluttered numpad is AWESOME !
Peter
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Unread post19 Mar 2013, 16:33

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Microswitch is a division of Honeywell. It was purchased in 1950 by Honeywell (first started in 1932 in Freeport, Illinois).
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Unread post19 Mar 2013, 22:13

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7bit wrote:Who is the manufacturer?

Back from the dead :)

I think this is related to the Beehive MiniBee, look at page 13 in this pdf:
http://bitsavers.org/pdf/beehive/MiniBee_Svc_Mar74.pdf

keyboard.PNG


As the pictures in the OP dont work anymore, here is a link to dorkvaders flickr
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I don't see my old pictures still up on my archives, and the current photos are terrible, so I will reshoot new photos of this piece tomorrow.

Awesome for finding the manual. This keyboard actually has no controller, but instead there are logic gates up above the switches. I had reverse-engineered the entire thing but then lost my work. It is 1KRO I believe.

New photos uploaded
ImageP1010402 by dork_vader_exe, on Flickr
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Unread post13 Mar 2018, 05:19

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