Zenith Z-150 XT Not Working on Mac

cjmegatron81

12 Jan 2020, 03:58

I just bought a Zenith Z-150 XT 100-1886 black label keyboard on eBay:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Zenith ... 2749.l2649

Its USB modded with a Soarer's converter.

When I connect it to my late 2015 iMac running macOS catalina 10.15.2, no keys are registering.

I did connect it to a Dell laptop running Windows 10 and it worked fine.

Is there any reason you can think of why its not working on my iMac?

Thanks!

User avatar
Chyros

12 Jan 2020, 12:47

macs suck?

I'm not sure, I use a Zenith with a Soarer's at work on an imac and it works fine. The mac does occasionally "forget" that the keyboard is plugged in, so randomly about once a day I need to re-plug it, but it works. If the keyboard does work on a Windows machine I'm really not sure what could be happening Oo .

cjmegatron81

12 Jan 2020, 15:43

Thanks for your response.

It doesn't make sense since the iMac is seeing the keyboard. If I go into System Preferences and try to change the modifier keys, the keyboard shows up.
Screen Shot 2020-01-12 at 9.41.48 AM.png
Screen Shot 2020-01-12 at 9.41.48 AM.png (515.22 KiB) Viewed 556 times

anmq91

12 Jan 2020, 16:24

I think you may need to disconnect the Bluetooth keyboard and then restart the machine with this keyboard plugged in. I see that its reading your Bluetooth keyboards battery level in the background which may be confusing it as to which board to read.

cjmegatron81

12 Jan 2020, 17:41

I shut down my iMac, turned off the Bluetooth keyboard, and plugged in the Zenith keyboard. I turned the iMac back on and it still doesn’t recognize any keys.

Thanks for the suggestion though.

User avatar
swampangel

12 Jan 2020, 21:24

If you select "change keyboard type" does it take you through the prompts to detect an unrecognized keyboard?

cjmegatron81

12 Jan 2020, 21:58

swampangel wrote:
12 Jan 2020, 21:24
If you select "change keyboard type" does it take you through the prompts to detect an unrecognized keyboard?
I try to do that but it does not move onto the next screen after hitting the key.
Screen Shot 2020-01-12 at 3.56.38 PM.png
Screen Shot 2020-01-12 at 3.56.38 PM.png (408.23 KiB) Viewed 478 times
Thanks for the suggestion though.

User avatar
Chyros

12 Jan 2020, 22:01

Does it work when you plug a different keyboard into the Soarer's and then connect it to the mac? Does it even recognise the Soarer's as a new device at all?

User avatar
swampangel

12 Jan 2020, 22:11

cjmegatron81 wrote:
12 Jan 2020, 21:58
swampangel wrote:
12 Jan 2020, 21:24
If you select "change keyboard type" does it take you through the prompts to detect an unrecognized keyboard?
I try to do that but it does not move onto the next screen after hitting the key.

Thanks for the suggestion though.
I have a cheap usb/ps2 adapter that shows the same symptoms with my macbook sometimes. It works for me eventually if I unplug and replug it a few times.

You might also try plugging it in through a usb hub in case macos isn't quite supplying the power it needs to initialize.

cjmegatron81

12 Jan 2020, 22:16

swampangel wrote:
12 Jan 2020, 22:11
cjmegatron81 wrote:
12 Jan 2020, 21:58
swampangel wrote:
12 Jan 2020, 21:24
If you select "change keyboard type" does it take you through the prompts to detect an unrecognized keyboard?
I try to do that but it does not move onto the next screen after hitting the key.

Thanks for the suggestion though.
I have a cheap usb/ps2 adapter that shows the same symptoms with my macbook sometimes. It works for me eventually if I unplug and replug it a few times.

You might also try plugging it in through a usb hub in case macos isn't quite supplying the power it needs to initialize.
I do not have a powered USB hub to try as of now. It might be something I try down the line.

I have also tried plugging it into different USB ports on my iMac.

cjmegatron81

12 Jan 2020, 22:21

I use Parallels Desktop on my iMac to run Windows 10. In Parallels, if I choose to connect the Zenith "directly" to the virtual machine it works. When I then change that setting to connect back to the iMac, it works in macOS. It even lets me run through the entire Keyboard Setup Assistant.

However, if I shut down my iMac and boot up again, it doesn't recognize any keys again...

User avatar
joebeazelman

13 Jan 2020, 04:06

I’ve run into the same issues. For some reason, Apple’s usb drivers are very finicky. Try the following until it works:

- Zap the parameter ram
- Reset the SMC
- There’s a terminal command that forces the USB driver to reset itself:

sudo launchctl stop com.apple.usbd
sudo launchctl start com.apple.usbd

- Unplug the USB and switch it to another port
- Check your energy settings

When trying some of these, such as plugging it in, try holding down a key. It might cause the driver to detect the keyboard. I never seem to have this issue with my mouse or if the keyboard is plugged into the KVM switch. Oddly enough, my KVM will occasionally drop key scans. I suspect older keyboards may have some timing and initialization issues that the MS drivers handle better than Apple since it has to deal with a broader range of devices.

One last question, are you running chrome? Chrome attaches its own USB drivers.

cjmegatron81

14 Jan 2020, 03:34

joebeazelman wrote:
13 Jan 2020, 04:06
I’ve run into the same issues. For some reason, Apple’s usb drivers are very finicky. Try the following until it works:

- Zap the parameter ram
- Reset the SMC
- There’s a terminal command that forces the USB driver to reset itself:

sudo launchctl stop com.apple.usbd
sudo launchctl start com.apple.usbd

- Unplug the USB and switch it to another port
- Check your energy settings

When trying some of these, such as plugging it in, try holding down a key. It might cause the driver to detect the keyboard. I never seem to have this issue with my mouse or if the keyboard is plugged into the KVM switch. Oddly enough, my KVM will occasionally drop key scans. I suspect older keyboards may have some timing and initialization issues that the MS drivers handle better than Apple since it has to deal with a broader range of devices.

One last question, are you running chrome? Chrome attaches its own USB drivers.
-I reset the PRAM

-I reset the SMC

-Ran the Terminal commands:

sudo launchctl stop com.apple.usbd
sudo launchctl start com.apple.usbd

- Unplugged the USB and switched it to another port

-I plugged it in while holding down a key

-I do not have a KVM switch

-I uninstalled Chrome for Mac and for Windows 10 in Parallels and then restarted the computer

None of this has worked.

What should I check for in Energy Saver?
Screen Shot 2020-01-13 at 9.33.35 PM.png
Screen Shot 2020-01-13 at 9.33.35 PM.png (282.74 KiB) Viewed 353 times
Thanks!

User avatar
joebeazelman

14 Jan 2020, 07:34

Well, after reading your posts again, sleep isn’t the issue. MacOS doesn’t have a setting for preventing the USB ports from sleeping like Windows does. Here are a few more things to try:

1. From the Apple () menu, choose About This Mac.
Click System Report.
Under the Hardware heading on the left side of the System Information window, click USB.
See if your the keyboard or the adapter shows up. If not, disconnect everything from the port and reconnect it;
Select refresh from the file menu. Send a screenshot.
2. If your mac has usb 3 ports, then try plugging the keyboard through a USB 2.0 hub. If you don’t have one, they can be had for next to nothing. You might find a hub on an old router, monitor or printer.
3. Try another cable
4. Try to use the shortest cable you can find. Length makes a difference with USB
5. I don’t want to get too technical here, but if nothing works, then it maybe a fake USB chip causing the issue or if it is software based, there maybe a bug causing it to malfunction. My best guess is that some older AT keyboards have timing issues with the adapter. The only way to find out is to use a logic analyzer and watch the signals. Some claim the branded adatets, while more expensive, don’t have this problem. It may be because they are using real USB chips and or are active, i.e. they recondition the signal.

cjmegatron81

15 Jan 2020, 02:52

joebeazelman wrote:
14 Jan 2020, 07:34
Well, after reading your posts again, sleep isn’t the issue. MacOS doesn’t have a setting for preventing the USB ports from sleeping like Windows does. Here are a few more things to try:

1. From the Apple () menu, choose About This Mac.
Click System Report.
Under the Hardware heading on the left side of the System Information window, click USB.
See if your the keyboard or the adapter shows up. If not, disconnect everything from the port and reconnect it;
Select refresh from the file menu. Send a screenshot.
2. If your mac has usb 3 ports, then try plugging the keyboard through a USB 2.0 hub. If you don’t have one, they can be had for next to nothing. You might find a hub on an old router, monitor or printer.
3. Try another cable
4. Try to use the shortest cable you can find. Length makes a difference with USB
5. I don’t want to get too technical here, but if nothing works, then it maybe a fake USB chip causing the issue or if it is software based, there maybe a bug causing it to malfunction. My best guess is that some older AT keyboards have timing issues with the adapter. The only way to find out is to use a logic analyzer and watch the signals. Some claim the branded adatets, while more expensive, don’t have this problem. It may be because they are using real USB chips and or are active, i.e. they recondition the signal.
The keyboard does show up in System Report (this is when I plugged it directly into my iMac):
Screen Shot 2020-01-14 at 8.15.17 PM.png
Screen Shot 2020-01-14 at 8.15.17 PM.png (687.29 KiB) Viewed 299 times
I plugged the keyboard into a USB 2.0 hub and it still didn't work.

I haven't tried another cable. The cable is shorter than any other I have lying around. Its 2 feet.

One note: this keyboard is an XT, not an AT.

Thanks for your help.

cjmegatron81

15 Jan 2020, 04:26

I am not sure if this effects anything, but I opened up the keyboard and it is using a Pro Micro.

User avatar
joebeazelman

17 Jan 2020, 00:33

Can't really offer much more help than to say that issues have been reported about Pro Micro on Mac OS X. From the looks of it, it doesn't appear your keyboard is recognized. Normally, the speed of the keyboard is 1.5 Mb/s. Soarer's converter is not completely compatible with many XT keyboards, including the Z-150:

https://github.com/tmk/tmk_keyboard/wik ... d-Protocol

I suggest flashing HASU converter instead.

cjmegatron81

17 Jan 2020, 03:59

cjmegatron81 wrote:
15 Jan 2020, 02:52
joebeazelman wrote:
14 Jan 2020, 07:34
Well, after reading your posts again, sleep isn’t the issue. MacOS doesn’t have a setting for preventing the USB ports from sleeping like Windows does. Here are a few more things to try:

1. From the Apple () menu, choose About This Mac.
Click System Report.
Under the Hardware heading on the left side of the System Information window, click USB.
See if your the keyboard or the adapter shows up. If not, disconnect everything from the port and reconnect it;
Select refresh from the file menu. Send a screenshot.
2. If your mac has usb 3 ports, then try plugging the keyboard through a USB 2.0 hub. If you don’t have one, they can be had for next to nothing. You might find a hub on an old router, monitor or printer.
3. Try another cable
4. Try to use the shortest cable you can find. Length makes a difference with USB
5. I don’t want to get too technical here, but if nothing works, then it maybe a fake USB chip causing the issue or if it is software based, there maybe a bug causing it to malfunction. My best guess is that some older AT keyboards have timing issues with the adapter. The only way to find out is to use a logic analyzer and watch the signals. Some claim the branded adatets, while more expensive, don’t have this problem. It may be because they are using real USB chips and or are active, i.e. they recondition the signal.
The keyboard does show up in System Report (this is when I plugged it directly into my iMac):

Screen Shot 2020-01-14 at 8.15.17 PM.png

I plugged the keyboard into a USB 2.0 hub and it still didn't work.

I haven't tried another cable. The cable is shorter than any other I have lying around. Its 2 feet.

One note: this keyboard is an XT, not an AT.

Thanks for your help.
I tried another USB cable and it didn't work.

cjmegatron81

17 Jan 2020, 17:36

Chyros wrote:
12 Jan 2020, 22:01
Does it work when you plug a different keyboard into the Soarer's and then connect it to the mac? Does it even recognise the Soarer's as a new device at all?
There is not easy way for me to try the Soarers with a different keyboard since it is an internal mod that is soldered in.

It’s funny that I have a Soarers converter adaptor that takes the IBM Model F XT cord and converts it to USB and I never once had an issue.

User avatar
joebeazelman

18 Jan 2020, 01:43

The Zenith Z-150 was singled out for being incompatible with Soarers.

cjmegatron81

21 Jan 2020, 02:22

The keyboard issue has been resolved.

The person I bought it from updated the converter firmware and now it works with my iMac.

Thanks everyone!

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