Morrow Designs keyboard

keyboard Kultist

17 Jan 2019, 19:09

Recently I obtained this keyboard.

https://imgur.com/a/sKYesAt

From all I can gather it was used with microcomputers made by George Morrow's
company in the 1980s.

It's a lot like an M0110A, steel back plate, little to no flex, and tall cream alps switches.
The key caps are very nice, double shot and more spherical looking than cylindrical.

The connector looks like a five pin DIN connector, which naturally leads to optimism :-)

Does anyone know of these boards? Any chance on Earth of converting it for use with
a modern computer? Many thanks!

User avatar
zrrion

17 Jan 2019, 19:53

So your the one who outbid me :P Someone on here commented in the great finds thread some info about it.
Polecat wrote:
29 Dec 2018, 03:58
Wow, that brings back some memories! I knew George Morrow back in the day, and had a couple of his CP/M machines, an MD/2 and also a luggable version. The terminal for the MD/2 I believe was Zenith-based, and was called MDT-60, with a lovely (SKCC?) keyboard, but this keyboard must be for an earlier version. The keyboard for the luggable was awful, literally unusable, probably foam and foil, but the MDT-60 keyboard was compatible and would plug in and work. Good luck, hope you get it!

keyboard Kultist

17 Jan 2019, 20:21

Heh, sorry about that!

User avatar
zrrion

18 Jan 2019, 01:48

Its all good, I'll have to keep an eye out for the next one. Would you mind sharing some pics of the PCB/internals?

keyboard Kultist

18 Jan 2019, 02:32

Certainly :-) There's not much though, a bit on the pcb and a paper label.

https://imgur.com/a/Pvx9lWU

User avatar
Polecat

18 Jan 2019, 04:31

keyboard Kultist wrote:
17 Jan 2019, 19:09
Recently I obtained this keyboard.

https://imgur.com/a/sKYesAt

From all I can gather it was used with microcomputers made by George Morrow's
company in the 1980s.

It's a lot like an M0110A, steel back plate, little to no flex, and tall cream alps switches.
The key caps are very nice, double shot and more spherical looking than cylindrical.

The connector looks like a five pin DIN connector, which naturally leads to optimism :-)

Does anyone know of these boards? Any chance on Earth of converting it for use with
a modern computer? Many thanks!
Congrats! I don't have any specific info on this, but since it predates the IBM PC there's almost zero chance of it being compatible, and I wouldn't risk damage to the keyboard or your PC motherboard by plugging it in without first checking the pinout. No doubt this keyboard was part of a terminal, and as such it probably wasn't compatible with anything else.

User avatar
snuci
Vintage computer guy

18 Jan 2019, 13:43

Polecat wrote:
29 Dec 2018, 03:58
Wow, that brings back some memories! I knew George Morrow back in the day, and had a couple of his CP/M machines, an MD/2 and also a luggable version. The terminal for the MD/2 I believe was Zenith-based, and was called MDT-60, with a lovely (SKCC?) keyboard, but this keyboard must be for an earlier version. The keyboard for the luggable was awful, literally unusable, probably foam and foil, but the MDT-60 keyboard was compatible and would plug in and work. Good luck, hope you get it!
Polecat, you are correct. This keyboard is from the Morrow Designs Micro Decision line. It was a CP/M based computer that had a terminal attached. However, the terminal was a Morrow labelled Lear Siegler ADM-20. You can see my LSI ADM-22 in the wiki here for more pics.

I also have one of the Morrow MD-3P portable computers here. Haven't checked the keyboard but it's likely not great or I would have posted. The MD-3P has an Morrow MDT-60 terminal board that drives a Zenith DT2 internal monitor. That might be where the Zenith confusion is.

Very cool that you knew George Morrow. I liked his work.

keyboard Kultist

18 Jan 2019, 16:24

Polecat wrote:
18 Jan 2019, 04:31
keyboard Kultist wrote:
17 Jan 2019, 19:09
Recently I obtained this keyboard.

https://imgur.com/a/sKYesAt

From all I can gather it was used with microcomputers made by George Morrow's
company in the 1980s.

It's a lot like an M0110A, steel back plate, little to no flex, and tall cream alps switches.
The key caps are very nice, double shot and more spherical looking than cylindrical.

The connector looks like a five pin DIN connector, which naturally leads to optimism :-)

Does anyone know of these boards? Any chance on Earth of converting it for use with
a modern computer? Many thanks!
Congrats! I don't have any specific info on this, but since it predates the IBM PC there's almost zero chance of it being compatible, and I wouldn't risk damage to the keyboard or your PC motherboard by plugging it in without first checking the pinout. No doubt this keyboard was part of a terminal, and as such it probably wasn't compatible with anything else.

Thanks for the reply, that's pretty much what I was thinking though hope springs eternal. Maybe when I rotate around to the M0110A I'll temporarily swap out the key caps, they look great.

User avatar
Polecat

19 Jan 2019, 20:13

snuci wrote:
18 Jan 2019, 13:43

Polecat, you are correct. This keyboard is from the Morrow Designs Micro Decision line. It was a CP/M based computer that had a terminal attached. However, the terminal was a Morrow labelled Lear Siegler ADM-20. You can see my LSI ADM-22 in the wiki here for more pics.

I also have one of the Morrow MD-3P portable computers here. Haven't checked the keyboard but it's likely not great or I would have posted. The MD-3P has an Morrow MDT-60 terminal board that drives a Zenith DT2 internal monitor. That might be where the Zenith confusion is.

Very cool that you knew George Morrow. I liked his work.
Snuci, thank you for the additional info! ADM terminals were popular, so that makes perfect sense. I was running a Televideo 925 on my Morrow, but the smeary green P31 CRT made me seasick, so I swapped to an P39 amber tube from a Northstar. Probably the only amber Televideo there ever was. I still have one of the Pivot II lunchbox computers, along with a complete (?) set of hardware and software engineering notes.

George was a great guy, and loved to tell stories. After he got out of the computer business he taught classes in digital signal processing and used his knowledge to digitally restore his vast collection of jazz 78s.

If you haven't read Hackers by Steven Levy I highly recommend it. The electronic surplus store I worked at was mentioned by name in that book as a source for parts for the Homebrew Computer Club. I knew a lot of those guys at the time, but I had no idea what they had done until I read the book.

User avatar
snuci
Vintage computer guy

19 Jan 2019, 21:07

Polecat wrote:
19 Jan 2019, 20:13
I still have one of the Pivot II lunchbox computers, along with a complete (?) set of hardware and software engineering notes.
I also have a Morrow Pivot II and the Zenith variant. If you are able to digitize the hardware/software engineering notes, I would love a copy. I do need the take a look at "Hackers". I have had it recommended before but I have a long list of stuff to read. Maybe I'll see if I can grab a copy and put it on the list.

User avatar
Polecat

20 Jan 2019, 01:04

snuci wrote:
19 Jan 2019, 21:07

I also have a Morrow Pivot II and the Zenith variant. If you are able to digitize the hardware/software engineering notes, I would love a copy. I do need the take a look at "Hackers". I have had it recommended before but I have a long list of stuff to read. Maybe I'll see if I can grab a copy and put it on the list.
I'm planning an expedition to my storage room, so I'll look for the Pivot notes when I'm there. I'll be happy to scan the notes or send you xerox copies. The place I worked ended up with the leftover production parts for the Pivot (indirectly) and one of our customers managed to build quite a few working units from those parts.

Twospruces

26 Oct 2019, 05:34

Hi!
I'm in the middle of some modification projects on my z171 and stumbled on this thread! So excited. I would love to get any technical information on this cool machine. A schematic would be awesome.
Such a neat computer. Very creative. Conventional DIP packages and CMOS, in a form factor that allowed 5.25 drives too

Please post or send what you can regarding tech docs. I've been able to track down the z171 schematic document anywhere. Thanks in advance.

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