[Photos] IBM 5110

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Around mid-May, I had to skip Keycon and spent 4 days driving from Chicago to Denver to get this beast back. A very kind man decided to donate the machine so that more people can get to see it, so here I am telling the story of this still working machine.

It first appeared in an auction in 1988. He and his friend both wanted the machine but decided not to bid against each other, and the machine went to his friend. Around 2000, his friend gave it to him for some reason I forgot. He was going to donate it to the IBM museum, but they said they got one already. The machine sit in his house for another 15 years, until I cold-emailed him.

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This is the first attempt to clean the machine. I pulled all the caps and opened up the case.

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Pretty dirty. The dust itself is probably tens of years old.

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Something similar to the Model F foam for supporting the RAMs and ROMs.

It's very hard to clean the keyboard without cleaning the interior first, so I assembled it back. Last weekend. I decided to give it another try.

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This time I remove the screen first. (I probably reverse the spacebar by accident from last time.)

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I remove the foam, so that I can work on the keyboard.

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It's very hard to pull the caps. A nylon rope actually does the job without damaging the caps.

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Decide to just bite the bullet and remove the cover. Otherwise, there is no way to clean the dust underneath. The metal plate is in surprisingly good condition. No rust at all.

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Beam spring porn :)

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There is nothing underneath the keyboard itself. I've never thought I would need to use the vacuum cleaner to clean a computer.

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The black stain is the leftover of the foam. The material is just weird. I've tried to use soap, water, and bleach, but it just stays there. It also tends to stick on fingernails.

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Putting the case back.

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Turn the other part back.

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A closer look at the circuit on the top. It has lots of pins, and it's wired without soldering.

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Caps waiting to dry up. It's their first bath after tens of years.

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Assembling them back.

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Say hi to deskthority.

I don't know much about APL, but its matrix literals and operations probably have some influence on matlab. Their syntax are almost identical.

As for the promise to the man who donated the machine, if any of you get a chance to visit Chicago, please stop by the University of Chicago, drop me a PM, and I will show you the machine.
larryniven

Unread post02 Jun 2015, 04:49

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Gotta love the big CMD button on the left. Great to see computer still run after all these years.
modology

Unread post02 Jun 2015, 05:03

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Really good to know stuff like this doesn't get recycled. I was at a electronics store and they were selling this Zenith PC and the keyboard had yellow alps, the smoothest linear switches you will ever feel. But they had the box and the rest of the PC in good shape and I couldn't break all that up.

Great to know the 5110 works :)
Redmaus
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Unread post02 Jun 2015, 05:20

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Wow. Nice one!
beltet
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Unread post02 Jun 2015, 07:49

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beltet
 
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Awesome! Great shots. Thanks.
seebart
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Unread post02 Jun 2015, 07:57

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Now I'm jealous. Awesome pictures and love the point to point wiring.
GuilleAcoustic
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Unread post02 Jun 2015, 08:19

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Wow , that is bloody amazing! The wire wrap on the top just looks amazing , wire wrap always does.

Looks very clean now , however i would remove that sticker on the top if possible.

Does it have basic as well ? If so i am sure you could get telnet or something cool like that running on it. Does it have serial ?
andrewjoy

Unread post02 Jun 2015, 09:40

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fantastic machine !
nourathar

Unread post02 Jun 2015, 12:42

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Indeed. I really like that ISO Return on beamspring. And some real Shift keys!

We might have a special interest in your caps, Larry:

workshop-f7/hi-profile-pbt-dye-sub-the-time-has-come-t10805.html
Muirium
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Unread post02 Jun 2015, 12:47

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Muirium wrote:Indeed. I really like that ISO Return on beamspring. And some real Shift keys!

We might have a special interest in your caps, Larry:

workshop-f7/hi-profile-pbt-dye-sub-the-time-has-come-t10805.html

yes these are a candidate for matt3o current project...so nice. :shock:
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Unread post02 Jun 2015, 12:52

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Isopropyl should work well on the foam remnants - check in some small hidden spot first to make sure that it doesn't harm the paint (it shouldn't). The contamination shield on the keys was in the best shape I've seen yet - usually it's extremely crumbly and in pieces. Storage conditions matter apparently. As a replacement, you can try poly sheeting, the thinner the better. You'll have to scrunch it up around every key before putting the keycap on though (similar to original), as otherwise it will pull other keys down when you press them.
Parak

Unread post02 Jun 2015, 14:08

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For some reason I keep thinking about this:

mr_a500
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Unread post02 Jun 2015, 15:02

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Beamspring porn indeed!
chzel
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Unread post02 Jun 2015, 15:26

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Muirium wrote:Indeed. I really like that ISO Return on beamspring. And some real Shift keys!

We might have a special interest in your caps, Larry:

workshop-f7/hi-profile-pbt-dye-sub-the-time-has-come-t10805.html

Sure. I can take photos or measure the caps. No PBT double- or tripple-shots? :D
Parak wrote:Isopropyl should work well on the foam remnants - check in some small hidden spot first to make sure that it doesn't harm the paint (it shouldn't). The contamination shield on the keys was in the best shape I've seen yet - usually it's extremely crumbly and in pieces. Storage conditions matter apparently. As a replacement, you can try poly sheeting, the thinner the better. You'll have to scrunch it up around every key before putting the keycap on though (similar to original), as otherwise it will pull other keys down when you press them.

I should've tried ethanol, but isopropyl sounds better. For the shield, I thought plastic wrap would be a good replacement? Not sure if it can stand the test of another 20 years.

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larryniven

Unread post02 Jun 2015, 17:59

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Beautiful machine, nice find! I wish I was closer to Chicago so I could check it out in person.
joc
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Unread post02 Jun 2015, 21:23

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I have a friend that collects vintage/old portable computers.
I showed him this thread.
Now he is crying.
derzemel
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Unread post11 Jun 2015, 15:20

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Nice One! Great Work :)
numerus
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Unread post23 Jun 2015, 00:22

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Poker II | NovaTouch TKL | Filco MJ2 | POK3R

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