Weirdly Badged F 122

Weezer

18 May 2019, 02:10

So as a bit of backstory, about two weeks ago I found a buy it now listing on ebay listed as "possibly an IBM keyboard" which I recognized as an F 122. I'd seen tons of Lexmark M 122s before rebadged as I↔O and other similarly uncharismatic names, but I've only ever seen model Fs badged by IBM, so I was extremely curious and I picked it up.

There are many weird things about this keyboard. When I ordered it, I expected to get some early 90's era backstock, but when it arrived (in a giant box that used hundreds of old envelopes from the 50's-80's taped to the box as postage, which was extremely bizarre in of itself) and I opened it up I was surprised to find that it dates from 1984or so. "051684" is stamped inside the top shell of the case and is corroborated by a hand written date of "9-14-84" on the plastic strip that gets bolted to the back-underside of the board. Underneath the date on the top of the case is what I think is a shop date of "4975". The mounting plate has a shop date of "4991" on the IBM sticker, which is the only place that has IBM on the keyboard. On the coiled cable where IBM is normally stamped, the IBM is missing, with only a blank square outline where it should go. Additionally, there is no label on the metal base, or residue indicating there ever was one. The cable is the same black one as on the XT PC keyboards and has the standard 180 degree pinout, which I haven't ever seen on an F 122. Weirder to me is that the keyboard only speaks set 1 instead of set 3, and refuses to change to set 3 with my soarer's converter. It sends out weird scancodes that don't match up with any documentation I've seen online, and when I opened up the keyboard module I discovered that all the unused pads, even the ones that are connected to traces that would normally send out scancodes don't work at all, or send any scancodes but all 122 of the standard keypads send out scancodes as XT set 1. The keycaps which I think are the same as on the 3270 terminal, are also the thickest printings I've ever seen on an F.

The kicker for me is that I can't figure out how this keyboard would have been modified post manufacture, and I don't think this was a drop in replacement module put in an an aftermarket case. The dimensions, plastics, paint job and texture, thickness of the plates all are identical to my other model F. I also can't think of a reason why IBM would sit on a fully assembled keyboard for 6 or more years to have Lexmark sell it off later, or a reason for the scancodes.

I tried doing some research but I can't find anything, so I'm curious what you guys think. Help me out! I'm (honestly) probably totally wrong and everything I listed is normal anyway, so prove me wrong guys.

Boring photos:
I don't have a photo of it assembled right now because I'm cleaning it but this is from the ebay listing
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Back black tray, ebay
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Opening the case to clean. Lots of insulation and sawdust.
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9-14-84
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IBM label module backplate
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Inner cable connector
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Controller + board
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Backside of controller board
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Underside of top shell
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Outer cable connector
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badge compared with my other Model F badge
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keycap comparison between F 122s
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PlacaFromHell

18 May 2019, 02:35

What the fuck. Even the cable is weird, it has the 122 connector with the XT color scheme. By the way, what is that black thing?

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ZedTheMan

18 May 2019, 05:26

Uh, wow.

You've got yourself something really unique.

A set 1 F122. Jeez. How do we keep finding new obscure things?

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User101

18 May 2019, 06:16

Ok this is epic. What I'm getting here is that this F122 will work on a normal 5160 xt machine...not the 3270 PC

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Polecat

18 May 2019, 06:24

http://bitsavers.informatik.uni-stuttga ... ystems.pdf

edit: First line on the above page: "Techland was one of the first companies to recognize the need for products that enable PCs to connect to IBM mainframes."

Wazrach

18 May 2019, 15:15

HOLY SHIT! That's amazing! Nice find, thank you so much for sharing it!

Wazrach

18 May 2019, 15:16

That's way cooler than even that Tempest-hardened UK Model F AT I saw on Ebay not too long ago...

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JP!

18 May 2019, 15:18

ZedTheMan wrote:
18 May 2019, 05:26
Uh, wow.

You've got yourself something really unique.

A set 1 F122. Jeez. How do we keep finding new obscure things?
We keep searching for weird, unique, and obscure things. At least I do.

Wazrach

18 May 2019, 15:32

is it a nice pingy boi?

Wazrach

18 May 2019, 15:34

with the bolts i added in my F122, I'm trying to figure out what factors affect ping. tightening the bolts seems to attenuate it, but it's hard to say. I'm on a mission to create the pingiest Model F!

Weezer

18 May 2019, 20:49

PlacaFromHell wrote:
18 May 2019, 02:35
What the fuck. Even the cable is weird, it has the 122 connector with the XT color scheme. By the way, what is that black thing?
It looks like some kind of cable lock. I kind of want it off actually because it looks ugly, but I don't want to risk stripping the paint.
Polecat wrote:
18 May 2019, 06:24
http://bitsavers.informatik.uni-stuttga ... ystems.pdf

edit: First line on the above page: "Techland was one of the first companies to recognize the need for products that enable PCs to connect to IBM mainframes."
Thanks for this awesome tip! I was able to find an original ad for the keyboard because of this.
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Apparently it cost only $1190 USD. That's like $3000 in today's money xD
Wazrach wrote:
18 May 2019, 15:34
with the bolts i added in my F122, I'm trying to figure out what factors affect ping. tightening the bolts seems to attenuate it, but it's hard to say. I'm on a mission to create the pingiest Model F!
If you want *maximum* ping you should try removing the foam pad. They keyboard doubles in volume.

Wazrach

18 May 2019, 21:00

I would, but I think the sound would be too rattly then. Plus, I think ping is determined by the tension between the plates. When people use 3mm foam mats, it seems to bring out the ping quite a bit.

Weezer

18 May 2019, 21:23

One more detail that I forgot to mention in my initial post is the keyboard actually uses the XT flippers instead of the AT and F 122 flippers. I'm not sure how consequential that is though.

I just wish I could know for sure whether this was manufactured this way at IBM as a sort of subcontracting deal or something. I'm really torn because of the cable being exactly like an XTs down to the molding marks and orientation of the pins respective to them, but with the IBM logo left unstamped, the cable being stripped and grounded to the case like IBM does, because it looks like the original sticker over the EEPROM hasn't ever been removed, or like the chip has been desoldered and resoldered, but I'm not an expert, especially on EEPROM, or flashing it. That whole idea also seems far fetched to me too knowing IBM, but I don't know. Getting ahold of the exact molds just to attach a cable that doesn't say IBM seems like a gross waste of time, when you could slap any old generic one in there.

At any rate, I'm super glad I could learn some history about the keyboard, and I appreciate all of your responses and interest :)

Wazrach

18 May 2019, 21:32

Weezer wrote:
18 May 2019, 21:23
One more detail that I forgot to mention in my initial post is the keyboard actually uses the XT flippers instead of the AT and F 122 flippers. I'm not sure how consequential that is though.

I just wish I could know for sure whether this was manufactured this way at IBM as a sort of subcontracting deal or something. I'm really torn because of the cable being exactly like an XTs down to the molding marks and orientation of the pins respective to them, but with the IBM logo left unstamped, the cable being stripped and grounded to the case like IBM does, because it looks like the original sticker over the EEPROM hasn't ever been removed, or like the chip has been desoldered and resoldered, but I'm not an expert, especially on EEPROM, or flashing it. That whole idea also seems far fetched to me too knowing IBM, but I don't know. Getting ahold of the exact molds just to attach a cable that doesn't say IBM seems like a gross waste of time, when you could slap any old generic one in there.

At any rate, I'm super glad I could learn some history about the keyboard, and I appreciate all of your responses and interest :)
Thanks for sharing it again, really quite fascinating! I love these keyboards to death. Excellent find!

Considering how much the F122 costs as it is, I bet you could fetch quite a lot for that.

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JP!

18 May 2019, 22:09

Now I wish I would have napped this now ;) Glad to see it show up here though.
JP! wrote:
01 May 2019, 00:50
[Edit: Sold] - :D

Techland branded IBM F122 - $150 (I don't need it someone buy it before I do)

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Techland-Possi ... SwzVFcyLb-

Also "I can't sell to anyone in Indiana." which is me :lol:
Also what is that black thing on the top right?

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Polecat

18 May 2019, 22:10

Weezer wrote:
18 May 2019, 20:49

It looks like some kind of cable lock. I kind of want it off actually because it looks ugly, but I don't want to risk stripping the paint.

Thanks for this awesome tip! I was able to find an original ad for the keyboard because of this.
Apparently it cost only $1190 USD. That's like $3000 in today's money xD
Weezer wrote:
18 May 2019, 21:23

I just wish I could know for sure whether this was manufactured this way at IBM as a sort of subcontracting deal or something. I'm really torn because of the cable being exactly like an XTs down to the molding marks and orientation of the pins respective to them, but with the IBM logo left unstamped, the cable being stripped and grounded to the case like IBM does, because it looks like the original sticker over the EEPROM hasn't ever been removed, or like the chip has been desoldered and resoldered, but I'm not an expert, especially on EEPROM, or flashing it. That whole idea also seems far fetched to me too knowing IBM, but I don't know. Getting ahold of the exact molds just to attach a cable that doesn't say IBM seems like a gross waste of time, when you could slap any old generic one in there.

At any rate, I'm super glad I could learn some history about the keyboard, and I appreciate all of your responses and interest :)
I remember those cable locks. They were attached with some wicked peel-and-stick foam tape, and they don't come off without a fight. I guess that was the whole idea. If you can carefully work a piece of fine wire underneath (like a guitar string...) you might be able to cut through the foam and remove the metal plate, then the remaining foam residue could be carefully removed.

Nice find on the old ad! I read that as the price being for the keyboard bundled with the special PC, which wouldn't have been terribly expensive, and in that case the price probably doesn't explain the rarity. Things were changing very quickly in the computer world at that time, so my guess is that it was a very specialized and short-lived product.

I can't tell you if IBM built the keyboard that way, or if it was modified by Techland, but I can tell you that the square metal-capped chip in the Backside... photo is specific to IBM. Nobody else made chips in that case style, so that PC board is definitely from IBM.

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Polecat

19 May 2019, 07:36

I almost overlooked the fact that the old Techland ad actually calls out the keyboard by name--KeyLynx! How cool is that?

Weezer

20 May 2019, 02:13

Polecat wrote:
18 May 2019, 22:10
I read that as the price being for the keyboard bundled with the special PC
Oh, yeah, you're totally right! I don't know how I misread that. That makes the price a lot more reasonable.
Polecat wrote:
19 May 2019, 07:36
I almost overlooked the fact that the old Techland ad actually calls out the keyboard by name--KeyLynx! How cool is that?
Yeah, haha, they must have been pretty proud of themselves. I found a couple more ads too in this magazine: PC Magazine, Nov 1983
I found it funny as well as informative about early 80's computing. I'd recommend skimming through to anyone who's interested in that sort of thing.
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Zoom
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R.I.P. beamspring.
JP! wrote:
18 May 2019, 22:09
Also what is that black thing on the top right?
It's an aftermarket cable lock. I'm actually going to try to remove it with a guitar string as Polecat suggested.
Last edited by Weezer on 20 May 2019, 02:17, edited 1 time in total.

Weezer

20 May 2019, 02:16

Also here is a diagram of the set 1 F 122 scancodes in case someone finds another Techland keyboard in the future, or is interested in general:
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JP!

20 May 2019, 03:46

:o Is this keyboard / emulation system the reason beamsprings ended up in the trash?

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Polecat

20 May 2019, 05:06

JP! wrote:
20 May 2019, 03:46
:o Is this keyboard / emulation system the reason beamsprings ended up in the trash?
Probably a few, but I bet a lot more of these *and* beamsprings *and* their associated terminals went in the trash when the mainframe was replaced by networked PCs.

John Doe

21 May 2019, 06:58

Maybe my question is stupid, but what's the black square label on the up-right corner of the first pic?

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PlacaFromHell

21 May 2019, 09:20

John Doe wrote:
21 May 2019, 06:58
Maybe my question is stupid, but what's the black square label on the up-right corner of the first pic?
I asked the same. It's a cable lock to prevent the keyboard of getting stealed. I may put one on my 122 only to not let myself put the cellphone right there and fucking destroy it against the floor (again).

SilenceGoo

21 May 2019, 16:28

PlacaFromHell wrote:
21 May 2019, 09:20
John Doe wrote:
21 May 2019, 06:58
Maybe my question is stupid, but what's the black square label on the up-right corner of the first pic?
I asked the same. It's a cable lock to prevent the keyboard of getting stealed. I may put one on my 122 only to not let myself put the cellphone right there and fucking destroy it against the floor (again).

Again? Seems there was a sad story happened.😬😬

Red_October

26 May 2019, 04:33

PlacaFromHell wrote:
21 May 2019, 09:20
John Doe wrote:
21 May 2019, 06:58
Maybe my question is stupid, but what's the black square label on the up-right corner of the first pic?
I asked the same. It's a cable lock to prevent the keyboard of getting stealed. I may put one on my 122 only to not let myself put the cellphone right there and fucking destroy it against the floor (again).
I had been wondering since I saw the listing, it looks like a light switch; I have a couple just like that but in the usual beige for light switches of a certain vintage, they're not common but I had just picked them up and just thought it another. They're push-button in function. In regards to removing it, I've found they can be removed by slowly sliding an exceptionally sharp knife under them, then dealing with the remaining bits of stuff. Shouldn't be too hard, IBM plastics in my experience are immune to Methyl-Ethyl Ketone but given the nature of the beast I'd still try on the inside of the case before going to town on the outside. While MEK does straight away remove yellowing from plastics, it's almost always the kind of plastics that MEK also softens considerably that are subject to yellowing, so it is of generally limited use in removing yellowing, applied only very gingerly to the worst yellowing.

nickg

31 May 2019, 16:48

woah wait so there exist xt scancode f122 :O dude thats crazy! I hope you have fun with that beautiful beast! Ive had an f122 for a few days now, its so much like the current unicomp 122 my GF uses these things take almost no time to get used to layout-wise compared to modern boards I think they may be the best model F boards.

i should get around to posting pics of my weirdly badge'd xt...

Red_October

31 May 2019, 20:06

nickg wrote:
31 May 2019, 16:48
woah wait so there exist xt scancode f122 :O dude thats crazy! I hope you have fun with that beautiful beast! Ive had an f122 for a few days now, its so much like the current unicomp 122 my GF uses these things take almost no time to get used to layout-wise compared to modern boards I think they may be the best model F boards.

i should get around to posting pics of my weirdly badge'd xt...
I must concur that they are the best, considering the available layouts for the F include the old XT layout, which is actually fine but missing several keys you might actually need, the AT layout which is not as good and still missing keys, several terminal layouts which are profoundly similar to the XT, the Displaywriter layout, and the 4700-series banking computer layouts, of which only one is full enough to be a contender and good luck finding one of those. It provides enough keys for all modern keys plus a generous supply of extra keys for programming however you want, has separate cursor control keys and numpad, and is so heavy it's not going anywhere under heavy use!

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