How I ended up with an IBM Model F

Coeus

31 Jul 2020, 19:07

I am not sure if it's usual to post something like this but I am new here. I do tend to be a bit of a squirrel and had recently been using a clicky Viglen keyboard that I salvaged out of a skip years ago and which I have since discovered has Alps switches. It's AT protocol, enhanced layout and originally came with the large 5 pin DIN plug but I found I could swap the cable with another keyboard that had a PS2 connector and connect it to modern PCs via a PS2 to USB converter.

That got me looking round the Net and I found a couple of interesting things. One was Unicomp making new Model M keyboards, and I might have bought one of these except they seemed to be out of stock anywhere I looked, the other was a site taking orders for a remake of the Model F which they claimed was superior to the Model M. At first I wasn't keen as these all seemed to have a reduced number of keys (compared to the enhanced (Model M) layout that has become pretty standard since) so I didn't sign up but that got me searching for more info on the Model F and learned of the existence of Soarer's converter. At some point in this searching I saw an original Model F on eBay which is presumably from an XT or the original PC - is there are difference and, if so, how do I tell? I know it's not from an AT as it doesn't have the lock LEDs or the extra key on the keypad. Anyway the price looked good - I have seen F122s since at three times the price - so I ordered it.

When it came to the converter I had seen this documented as a DIY project but in searching for more information on it I found this on eBay: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/NEW-XT-AT-to ... 2749.l2649

That took quite a while to turn up but it's now been here for a week and half. It's taken a little while to get used to the pre-enhanced layout and I am still finding odd quirks with bits of software but so far I am enjoying the new keyboard. I have also cleaned it, treated the base plate (with the holes in) with riust converted and then painted it, then had to fiddle with fishing line to get the flipper for the space bar to stay in place for re-assembly. Full marks for that write up - it saved me endless frustration trying to what otherwise seemed impossible.

Anyway it has been working fine until now but earlier today there was a short period when I would either get a barrage of suprious keystrokes or the keyboard would just stop working. In each case removing the USB plug and almost immediately inserting it again seemed to solve the issue. This seems similar to Athen's issue in the thread IBM F XT Spewing, except his seems to work rarely and mine had been working fine, and has also been working fine since. I wonder if temperarure has something to do with it - it's been 30C here (86F), the hottest day in recent weeks.

User avatar
SneakyRobb
THINK

31 Jul 2020, 23:50

Coeus wrote:
31 Jul 2020, 19:07
I am not sure if it's usual to post something like this but I am new here. I do tend to be a bit of a squirrel and had recently been using a clicky Viglen keyboard that I salvaged out of a skip years ago and which I have since discovered has Alps switches. It's AT protocol, enhanced layout and originally came with the large 5 pin DIN plug but I found I could swap the cable with another keyboard that had a PS2 connector and connect it to modern PCs via a PS2 to USB converter.

That got me looking round the Net and I found a couple of interesting things. One was Unicomp making new Model M keyboards, and I might have bought one of these except they seemed to be out of stock anywhere I looked, the other was a site taking orders for a remake of the Model F which they claimed was superior to the Model M. At first I wasn't keen as these all seemed to have a reduced number of keys (compared to the enhanced (Model M) layout that has become pretty standard since) so I didn't sign up but that got me searching for more info on the Model F and learned of the existence of Soarer's converter. At some point in this searching I saw an original Model F on eBay which is presumably from an XT or the original PC - is there are difference and, if so, how do I tell? I know it's not from an AT as it doesn't have the lock LEDs or the extra key on the keypad. Anyway the price looked good - I have seen F122s since at three times the price - so I ordered it.

When it came to the converter I had seen this documented as a DIY project but in searching for more information on it I found this on eBay: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/NEW-XT-AT-to ... 2749.l2649

That took quite a while to turn up but it's now been here for a week and half. It's taken a little while to get used to the pre-enhanced layout and I am still finding odd quirks with bits of software but so far I am enjoying the new keyboard. I have also cleaned it, treated the base plate (with the holes in) with riust converted and then painted it, then had to fiddle with fishing line to get the flipper for the space bar to stay in place for re-assembly. Full marks for that write up - it saved me endless frustration trying to what otherwise seemed impossible.

Anyway it has been working fine until now but earlier today there was a short period when I would either get a barrage of suprious keystrokes or the keyboard would just stop working. In each case removing the USB plug and almost immediately inserting it again seemed to solve the issue. This seems similar to Athen's issue in the thread IBM F XT Spewing, except his seems to work rarely and mine had been working fine, and has also been working fine since. I wonder if temperarure has something to do with it - it's been 30C here (86F), the hottest day in recent weeks.
Hi, do you mean you painted the bottom plate? Interesting. Generally there are 2 main things that go wrong with the model f. First, you simply get the flippers wrong. Second is grounding. Grounding is very important. Does your ground wire to the keyboard module/case have exposed metal contact? As always pics are great.

Regardless. I took a similar path. I admire anyone who moves from M to F. Truly the promised land.

Coeus

01 Aug 2020, 04:02

SneakyRobb wrote:
31 Jul 2020, 23:50
Hi, do you mean you painted the bottom plate? Interesting.
Maybe I chose the wrong word. The plate I painted was the black one that has round holes in through which the barrels are inserted and which had been painted (or similar) at the factory. There was a little bit of surface rust on the top surface which I believe is quite common.
SneakyRobb wrote:
31 Jul 2020, 23:50
Generally there are 2 main things that go wrong with the model f. First, you simply get the flippers wrong.
So the flipper is down against the pads even when the key is not pressed and thus repeats? I don't think I have done that. All the keys click nicely and all work.
SneakyRobb wrote:
31 Jul 2020, 23:50
Second is grounding. Grounding is very important. Does your ground wire to the keyboard module/case have exposed metal contact? As always pics are great.
Ok, armed with that I took a look. The first picture I attach is the cable entry so most of the cable goes off to the left to the controller board and there is a single ground connection going to the right.
20200801_024850_1005.jpg
20200801_024850_1005.jpg (271.47 KiB) Viewed 169 times
The toothed ring on the end of this is sandwiched between the plastic post and the metal plate on the bottom. This plate is painted, not be me, but has an area of bare metal exactly where this connection is as shown in the second picture.
20200801_024925_1007.jpg
20200801_024925_1007.jpg (168.96 KiB) Viewed 169 times

Post Reply

Return to “Keyboards”