[Photos] - An IBM kind of day, all in all an oKAY day!

Hello all,

I'm sorry for the click-baity thread title, I just couldn't think of a way to make it more descriptive without ruining what I think may be my biggest/most interesting photos and post since I started here. I should immediately follow that up with a note that this may not be that interesting to many, or maybe you'll retort - 'Ha, you think that's cool? Look at this!' Just let this newbie have his moment and reflect on his good day :)

*I'm going to start with a few items first that will kind of ruin the chronological order of how this all happened, but I don't care - I'm saving the best stuff for last, even if it happened first today!

So I wasn't feeling too well this morning. It was just shaping up to be a crappy Wednesday judging by the first few hours of my day. I tried to struggle through work from 8:30am til around 10:15, then, after having nodded off at my desk several times, gotten a pounding headache and just feeling generally shitty, I said screw it and took a sick day. I went home to rest for a couple of hours. When I woke up, I decided to check my email to see if I had gotten any response from a guy that posted an interesting Kijiji(like Craigslist in Canada) ad the night before. It's a good thing I did, because he had responded but for some reason my phone hadn't notified me of this email at all. He had only written back 10 minutes prior to me checking and said he would try to wait for me to respond before moving onto other people who had made offers after me. He turned out to be a great guy and gave me first dibs - also agreed on a price under asking...but I'll come back to that trip after some photos!

Spoiler:
My haul from Cindy/Elecplus happened to come in today - got me a shiny new SDL to 5 pin DIN cable, a dirty but otherwise impeccable Model F AT and an equally mint black Model M13!
20170208_213108.jpg
Such a pretty keyboard, and always so shiny when photographed. Will have to limit my use on this one to keep those pad printed legends in good shape.
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20170208_213217.jpg
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Yeesh, that logo looks like it' in rough shape - like it's actually peeling off...might have to do some rescue work with a bit of glue there.
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Nevermind, it's actually still got it's protective plastic. Way to go, person who never removed that!
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20170208_213431.jpg
Anyone got a spare rubber foot? :P
20170208_213616.jpg
Ahh I finally have some thick, coiled, black IBM cables. Having them side by side, I noticed the new SDL one meant for the old M's is actually a very dark grey and not quite black. I thought it was dusty at first, but that wasn't it.
20170208_213640.jpg
The black model F cable is also slightly thicker than the SDL to DIN cable.


Now then, moving back to the beginning of my day - well, more like the middle of my day as this all went down at around 1pm. We had decided on a price, and I headed towards the center of Toronto to meet this guy at his rental space on the ground floor of a senior's apartment building - no safer place to do a meet, right? I got there and met Loui, who is a computer engineer, among other things - seriously, from what he told me, it seems like he works 3 jobs and is trying to run/revamp a computer museum at the same time. He turned out to be a very interesting guy to talk to and had a ton of knowledge on computers and their history. I was so excited I immediately offered my volunteer service, even though he never mentioned he was looking. I told him to let me know if he ever needed help refurbishing, sorting and cleaning all the equipment he gets - including lots of keyboards! Hopefully he'll keep in touch. He worked all over Europe and was a Commodore field tech for about 10 years, servicing and repairing all sorts of them. This means that he also made lots of connections all over the world and has computers and tech from many places, including various prototypes and models only produced in very small numbers.

In fact, he could see I was thrilled to see all this stuff, so he took me to his office and showed me all the stuff he had stored there, waiting to be refurbished - dozens of keyboards, computers, motherboards, components etc. He had 2 F XT's just laying on the shelf that looked brand new - not even a spec of dust under the key caps on the barrel plate that I could see. He said he might be selling one of them soon and would keep me posted - I told him I would love to buy one! He even had a brand new, complete IBM 5155 Portable PC and a NIB and also complete, Colecovision Adam. There were all sorts of Compaq keyboards, 8 bit computers (Commodores, Radioshack, Sinclair etc.) and to be honest, most of the keyboards piled up on the floor (as the shelves were bursting as the seams as it was and had no more space), I had never seen before. He had an interesting looking Sega keyboard that was not a teradrive and he had one of those Japanese Sony keyboards, black case, that looked like it should have brown or some other Alps switches, a mini-pc/keyboard only sold in Brazil....but I didn't bring a key puller and didn't really want to start asking if I could pull key caps off of his boards. I'm terribly sorry guys, but I didn't get any photos of that magical room, but I hope to return there one day and if I do, I will take some!

Wow, I'm sorry to ramble again - I'm sure you just want to know what I bought, right? Here you go :)

Spoiler:
An IBM 5155 Portable PC! I was so fucking over the moon when I had this thing in my hands today and knew it was mine. Hardly anything vintage/rare ever shows up locally up here, but to find a complete Portable PC? Today has been my day - I should have bought a lottery ticket....there's still 30 minutes left in this day! He gave me a demo of it at his place, so I know it works perfectly well and it even has the optional CGA colour monitor adapter/video card!! This is definitely not the new one he had - this is an extra one, but this PC is still in fantastic condition - it's just missing two little grey trim pieces on the front, where you can see old, yellowed double-sided tape left over. It could also use a drive bay cover or a second floppy drive for the second bay.

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What a thing of beauty. And This is technically my first Model F as I received this before the package with my F AT came in later in the day. The different cases really do lend their own unique sounds to each of the boards - and I absolutely love the sound and feel of the capacitive buckling springs in both!
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My haul :)


And one last thing - I told you this guy was cool. Well, he has so much stuff that he's had to reject donations from time to time, so he gave me these freebies =D

Spoiler:
20170208_214732.jpg
Kaypro II and 10 and a parts/incomplete one in the back.
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Difference in cap thickness is only present on the deeply scooped J and F keys, as seen here.
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This particular keyboard interests me, because I had never seen a blue slider SMK Vintage linear before - and I'm either a little crazy or these switches could be quite dirty, but I detect a slight tactility when typing on this board - It felt very minor, but I swear I could feel it while typing normally, but not when focusing on depressing one switch at a time.

Here is Sandy's photo and mention of this switch, which appeared to be from an NEC PC8801. He indicates the switch is supplied by SMK and links to our wiki page for the Vintage Linear switch, but says it's unconfirmed?:

20170208_215103.jpg
Could they be? Blue slider SMK Vintage Linears?? The Kaypro beside it has the normal black ones, and these feel identical. Also - the key caps are quite a bit thinner on this board.



Last edited by Harshmallow on 09 Feb 2017, 15:37, edited 1 time in total.
Harshmallow
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Unread post09 Feb 2017, 04:40

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That's a serious amount of nice keyboards you got there! Conrgats. But those "freebies" at the end you should be more than thankful for! Kaypro 1 and 22 for free? :shock: :o Lucky Harshmallow you!
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Unread post09 Feb 2017, 08:22

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I confirmed that the NEC keyboard in question was made by SMK:

http://telcontar.net/KBK/SMK_codes.php

Sandy's been AWOL for a while now. I may have passed on this information to him since then but I have no idea if he's read it.

The funny colour switches in Kaypro keyboards are normally Maxi Switch vintage linear, although yours seem to be a whole new colour scheme. They could be Maxi Switch or SMK, as SMK had a lot of different colour arrangements with theirs. See SMK J-M0404 series for every colour arrangement I've seen so far (all of which came from one model of computer!) (not counting NEC, as they're listed on a separate page)
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Unread post09 Feb 2017, 08:58

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Those switches in the Kaypro keyboards look like Maxi Switch vintage linear based on my Maxi Switch S/N 749-199 / Commodore PET add-on external keyboard.

keyboards-f2/maxi-switch-s-n-749-199-cbm-pet-plus-2041-t14634.html
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Unread post09 Feb 2017, 09:08

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Awesome. I saw that ad on Kijiji but have a couple already. That was very kind of the seller to give you the Kaypro's. They are quite nice (and the very definition of 'boxy'). I should take a look at mine one day in terms of key switches. I do have a thread here on myKaypro 2000 here but haven't looked at the older ones.
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Unread post09 Feb 2017, 11:52

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Awesome! Congrats. Is that portable PC working? Some pics of it running would be nice :)
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Unread post09 Feb 2017, 12:00

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And it just so happens that M13 is made by maxiswitch (my favourite feeling Model M of all time).
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Unread post09 Feb 2017, 14:36

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Oh yes, I'm very thankful for the Kaypros as well. Both of the ones pictured with keyboards in front should also be in working order - I'm just going to clean them out thoroughly before trying to boot them up. The one in the back is a parts scrapper and is missing a lot of components.

Also - The Portable PC is definitely alive and well alh...I just didn't have enough time to boot it up and play around with it when I got home, I spent too much time unboxing everything, taking photos and creating this thread haha. I will find a spare power cord and plug it in tonight. The seller had it running when I showed up and went through a few commands. He had a boot disk that wasn't part of the sale - the unit was running Dos 2.1

Yeah I thought of that after you guys responded to tell me the blue ones are likely Maxi Switch linears. So I guess it turns out I got two Maxi Switch boards yesterday! I still think I prefer the feel of my 1987 M to the M13, but they're so similar it's really not much a difference.

Also - the two Kaypro boards with those SMK/Maxi Switch linears feel great even before any cleaning.
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Unread post09 Feb 2017, 15:24

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Oh another thing - none of these came with any discs or software. Could any of you inform me of what I could look for to get these going? I think the Kaypros actually came standard with hard drives and already have software installed, such as Wordstar on the one with the overlay, but the 5155 would need a disc. Could I run DOS 3.3 on it, or does it need a floppy matching what the seller had, which was DOS 2.1 I believe? And if anyone has a couple pieces of that gray trim for the front and an extra floppy drive, let me know :P
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Unread post09 Feb 2017, 15:29

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seebart wrote:That's a serious amount of nice keyboards you got there! Conrgats. But those "freebies" at the end you should be more than thankful for! Kaypro 1 and 22 for free? :shock: :o Lucky Harshmallow you!

That 22 is a typo hehe. I think I meant to write Kaypro II, and the other one I think is actually a Kaypro 10, which might have come before the 2 or the II? The Kaypro nomenclature makes no sense - all their numbering is out of sequence according to the wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaypro
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Unread post09 Feb 2017, 15:36

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seebart wrote:Those switches in the Kaypro keyboards look like Maxi Switch vintage linear based on my Maxi Switch S/N 749-199 / Commodore PET add-on external keyboard.

keyboards-f2/maxi-switch-s-n-749-199-cbm-pet-plus-2041-t14634.html

That's curious. So Maxi Switch used black bases as well as cyan then … i.e. we actually can't visually distinguish them if there's no cyan switches. Good to know.
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Unread post09 Feb 2017, 17:49

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Note that the picture I used (of the disassembled swtich) in my "Maxi Switch S/N 749-199 / Commodore PET add-on external keyboard" thread is from our wiki Maxi Switch vintage linear page NOT actually from that Maxi Switch keyboard of mine! Once again tardy of me to mention that just now but you know that's just my usual incompetence. I assume that I am allowed to use wiki images in DT threads of mine without risking copyright infringement.
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Unread post09 Feb 2017, 19:03

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seebart wrote:Note that the picture I used (of the disassembled swtich) in my "Maxi Switch S/N 749-199 / Commodore PET add-on external keyboard" thread is from our wiki Maxi Switch vintage linear page NOT actually from that Maxi Switch keyboard of mine!

It says so on the page …
seebart wrote:I assume that I am allowed to use wiki images in DT threads of mine without risking copyright infringement.

I assume so, yes.
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Unread post09 Feb 2017, 19:07

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Wow! What a day! Congrats on that haul, and seems you made a great new friend/contact too!
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Unread post09 Feb 2017, 22:14

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Scarpia wrote:Wow! What a day! Congrats on that haul, and seems you made a great new friend/contact too!

Thanks! I just hope I didn't scare him off with my over-enthusiasm hahah. I'm still smiling at all the vintage gems I now have lying around my place. I've already started cleaning my F AT so that I can start daily driving it. I want to get back into writing and am planning on using the 5155 with that amazing Portable F XT to do so. Typing with absolutely no distractions is key. I'm also going to order a DOS suite with manual on eBay to get my software repertoire started.

Does anyone have an IBM 5.25" floppy drive in this portable size/style they would be willing to sell? I should probably post this as a WTB in the Marketplace lol...

So - Daniel and Seebart - Based on my second quick inspection, it does seem like this keyboard has Maxi Switch...err, switches. I will take the case off sometime in the coming days to check the PCB underneath. I suppose this just adds another colour-scheme/switch layout option to the Maxi Switch Vintage Linears? ALL of mine are blue slider/black housing switches with the exception of the space bar, which has the beige housing with brown slider.
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Unread post10 Feb 2017, 02:44

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Daniel Beardsmore wrote:That's curious. So Maxi Switch used black bases as well as cyan then … i.e. we actually can't visually distinguish them if there's no cyan switches. Good to know.

Just to confirm these are the variations of Maxi Switch vintage linear I have on that Commodore PET add-on external keyboard:

IMGP4546.JPG


IMGP4544.JPG
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Unread post10 Feb 2017, 12:05

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I will try to take some photos of mine this weekend, along with a couple photos of the 5155 running. On a slightly off-topic note...I was taking the caps off the FAT (can we just eliminate the space and start calling this thing the FAT? Like PHAT, but without the ph...nevermind) and it reminded me how simple stabilizers can be. Why can't everyone just have these simple IBM or even Cherry style stabilizers!? I'm not counting the ridiculous F space bar stabilizer of course...you can just pop the key cap off without worrying about breaking something.

The Focus FK-5001 even has two different kinds of stabs under one key, the big-ass enter has a vertically oriented costar type one and a horizontal alps one! /rant
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Unread post10 Feb 2017, 18:45

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Here are some additional photos of the Kaypro internals. So, I think the Maxi Switch assumption is now out the window...check out mah PCB. So these be some sexy vintage SMK's??

Also - I took some photos of my new baby running!

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The brown ones under the larger keys are stiffer than the blue switches on the rest of the board, and the angled-stem brown switch under the space bar is stiffer even still.


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The space bar switch seems to be the only one with the angled slider stem version. All the other keys have their angle set by the keycap stems/profile


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Sidenote - Look at all them mounting options under the spacebar!




And my 5155 running as smooth as butter slathered in melted margarine.

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Messing around with the empty basic screen, typing random crap just to hear the F clickies.


20170210_214037.jpg
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Unread post11 Feb 2017, 03:56

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The 5155 was my first computer! :D
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Unread post11 Feb 2017, 10:56

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seebart wrote:I assume that I am allowed to use wiki images in DT threads of mine without risking copyright infringement.

One thing with the wiki is that most images are shown as thumbnails, and clicking the fullsize image gets you the credits for the image along with the image itself. By putting the image into a forum topic, you lose the association with the credits.

In the case of my posts, my images are all in the public domain anyway so it's not an issue but I do have to wonder about whether it's a good idea to do the same with copyrighted images (anything non-public domain where the credits should be in some way associated with the image itself).

If the image is accompanied by a link to the wiki page it came from, that might be enough (the article page, not the image page).
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Unread post11 Feb 2017, 11:53

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Chyros wrote:The 5155 was my first computer! :D

Lucky! Though my childhood self would have probably laughed at you and said I have an IBM 486! How you like them apples?? Holy shit this F AT is good. I couldn't wait to start using it so I was up til 4am this morning cleaning it out and reassembling it. I will have to replace the foam and sand/paint the barrel plate at a later date.

20170211_145913.jpg


20170211_145826.jpg
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Unread post11 Feb 2017, 20:02

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I remember when I got my first F AT a few weeks ago, I felt a little bit disappointed somehow...but now I hardly touch any other keyboards, you will get addicted to it,you will grow greedy to it, no kidding. And it's always a good day knowing another F in working order finds its new owner. Congrats!
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Unread post03 Mar 2017, 09:17

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