[Photos & video] Wingpad's wang: the IBM 5140 SKCM brown rehousing project

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This project was far and away the most fun, most frustrating, most disaster-ridden, and most rewarding thing I've done in my time here on DT. HUGE shout-out to Wingpad, who not only sold me his wang 725 on the cheap, but also helped me troubleshoot non-registering keys, taught me how to use a multimeter, and gave me advice on bridging a broken trace. Also big thanks to mike, matt, e3e, subcat, alh, emdude, elecplus, tobias, and anyone else in the telegram channel who offered great advice and feedback as well as helpful tips along the way to the completion of this board!

I took lots of pictures, so I think I'll tell the story that way, with some intermittent annotations. Enjoy!

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...fuck. From here on out, I pulled keycaps with the broken off parts held in one hand - it was annoying as shit. I still can't find my other key-cap puller =(

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Sand-blasted!! Apparently all this time I've lived about 3 miles from a sand-blasing/powder-coating shop and I never knew it. The place was....interesting, to say the least. It was basically a metal shack on a pretty shitty road parallel interstate-5 - no waiting room or "customer entrance" or anything - just a shack with a back-door. The owner was really nice, though - and even though I think they basically saved my plates for the last thing they did that day I dropped it off (which was at 9 in the morning), it was super cheap to get 4 plates done.

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Then it was on to painting!

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primer - waited a day for it to dry, so in the meantime....

it was finally time to harvest the 5140. RIP =(

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And yes...I had to pull all those caps with the two broken off pieces of the metal key-cap puller.

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starting the painting! I actually painted two plates - you can kind of see the second one to the right in that picture. More to come on that one a bit later this week!

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At this point I was a bit unsure about my color choice...I kind of didn't like how the brown switches looked with the copper color...

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...but it started to grow on me

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I didn't take pictures of the PCB (but trust me, you don't want to see how bad I am at soldering), so at this point I went to go plug it in and give it a test run! The switches feel amazing on this thing, there is doubt about it, but I found out that there were 6 switches that didn't register. Caps lock, pg down, and 7 through 0 on the number row of the alpha-numeric block. Everything else was fine.

Re-soldering caps lock and pg down seemed to work just fine, but I was still having trouble with the number row. So I started asking for advice in telegram chat, and I concluded that I had broken the trace of the PCB somewhere..

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Both wingpad and mike had advised me that I should try to bridge the trace with some wire - but I didn't have any spare wire lying around, but then I went full Macguyver. I found an old router that I hadn't used in 6 years in a box in my garage, and it's power cord was very thin and seemed simple. So I cut a section of it out. I don't own wire strippers though, so I had to trial and error my way into finagling my cookware scissors to strip it, which mostly worked. I then found a trace-pad on the same trace as the broken trace-pad, and soldered in a bridge, per wingpad's suggestion. I remember thinking to myself as I was doing it "I have no idea what the fuck I'm doing - if this works I'll be amazed."

..and then it worked!! I actually woke up my 7 month old running around the house screaming "hellllllls yeah!!!!" My wife came out into the living room and just stared at me with this are-you-fucking-serious-right-now face. It was a very exciting moment for me.

Here's what the bridge looks like

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Tomorrow I'm going to get some electrical tape to cover the bare copper parts of the wire. I still can't believe I was able to fix it with that. I learned a lot about PCBs with this project, though!

Here she is on my desk:

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Overall, the entire project took me about a week to finish. Totally worth it, and I'm very happy with how it turned out.

And of course, a quick typing demonstration..and yes I know my computer fan sounds like a jet >_< I have the beeper turned to a medium volume, but it's a little hard to hear over the sound of the switches.

//gainsborough
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Unread post05 Apr 2017, 07:26

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//gainsborough
 
Posts: 422
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Main keyboard: some kind of alps keyboard
Favorite switch: clk: SKCM blue, lin: SKCL cream, tac: SKCM brown
Club member: 0188
 
Great job man - There's a first time for everything and no one's gonna be perfect the first time, but only having one PCB issue like that doesn't seem too bad for a start :)

I love that keyboard's look - I need one now. Anyone got a Wang they can give/sell me?
Harshmallow
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Unread post05 Apr 2017, 14:19

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Harshmallow
 
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Love it :)
mike52787
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Alps Aficionado

Unread post05 Apr 2017, 15:25

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mike52787
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Looks great, glad to see this all worked out :D
Wingpad
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Unread post05 Apr 2017, 18:48

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Wingpad
 
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Bro that's a great Wang you got there!

On a side not, need to hunt for some brown alps... it's going to be a chore. :/
darkholypl

Unread post05 Apr 2017, 20:02

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darkholypl
 
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Congratulations! Quite a steep learning curve you climbed. I believe that a quite a few among us understand what you experienced when it sprung to life. The pleasure I get from using my restored 1980's keyboards at work and at home makes all the effort more than worth while.
tigpha

Unread post05 Apr 2017, 20:02

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tigpha
 
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I was happy enough just fixing a wire in my 5 pin PCB connector of the Laser keyboard I bought recently. Then I found out after doing that the board still didn't work properly...which is when I realized it's actually an XT board and I need a Soarer's converter :P The 'XT Compatible' label on the back was no longer on this board. Really liking the Cherry MX Mount SMK's though.
Harshmallow
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Unread post05 Apr 2017, 20:36

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Harshmallow
 
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Main mouse: Logitech G600 (Home)/Logitech dime-a-dozen (Work)
Favorite switch: 4323423
Club member: 0187
 
Always loved the look of the Wangs, so 80s looking. That and the Zenith's :)

Can't wait to get my 100% SKCM Brown Wang together :lol:
Mattr567
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Unread post06 Apr 2017, 05:00

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Mattr567
 
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Mattr567 wrote:Can't wait to get my 100% SKCM Brown Wang together :lol:

Yeah yeah - rub it in!

But seriously, I'm excited for you too! It's a very cool board for browns. Post pics!
//gainsborough
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Unread post06 Apr 2017, 05:24

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//gainsborough
 
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Looks and sounds awesome, well done!
macboarder
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Unread post06 Apr 2017, 08:58

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macboarder
 
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