Field trip to Electronics Plus - any requests?

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XMIT
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17 Feb 2015, 15:53

I'm planning to head to Electronics Plus this weekend. It is about a two hour drive from Austin, Texas. I've got a few questions and requests for Cindy (elecplus) saved away, as well as a small cache of keyboards that I've seen on the Marketplace. I'm hoping to take some photos and write a trip report later.

Part of the plan is to help Cindy sort through some items in the attic. Now I think I have a good sense for what is interesting to this audience based on the Wiki, and various posts on this board and the Marketplace, including:

http://deskthority.net/vendors-f52/dall ... t8793.html

Is there anything else I should know? Any specific requests?

Some items on my own watch list include: buckling springs, beam springs, spherical key caps, Hall Effect switches, ALPS (damped) switches, NMB Hi-Tek (Space Invaders) switches, double shot and sublimated key caps, as well as anything with an interesting tactile response. I'm also expecting to be surprised by some new finds. I'm bringing a bunch of little tools including a wire key puller, screwdriver, calipers, camera, and some 5.00g disc weights (a.k.a. "a dollar in nickels").

(I'm not offering to be a proxy at the moment. I think Cindy can do a much better job of shipping than I can. The difference in shipping costs from her location and from mine to most destinations would be about 1-2 USD if that. What I can do is help move boxes and take photos while I'm there. However - if you happen to be in the immediate Austin, TX area I can bring something home for you for pickup on a space-available basis.)

(Forgive me if this should instead be in the Marketplace - feel free to move the thread.)

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fohat
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17 Feb 2015, 16:03

Sounds like fun.

One thing might be to segregate by condition and appearance, that is:

nice, clean, complete working specimens

dirty, incomplete but still reasonably repairable "projects"

broken parts-only items - and if you were ambitious - pairing or grouping them into sets that could be re-assembled into one working "Frankenstein" board

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XMIT
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17 Feb 2015, 16:06

Sure, I can work on that. But I'm imagining that there is much more there than I can look at in a couple of hours!

andrewjoy

17 Feb 2015, 16:31

just get as many photos as you can :)

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XMIT
[ XMIT ]

17 Feb 2015, 17:01

That, I think I can do. I've got plenty of space on a nearly new 64GB SD card.

If photos are what you're after you might look at some previous albums that I've found online, both from Cindy and others:
https://plus.google.com/photos/10611125 ... banner=pwa
https://plus.google.com/app/basic/photo ... 7238365009

(These are not my photos and I will gladly delete these links on request. They are public albums that appear readily on a Google search. Cindy posted the first one a week or two ago in the Marketplace.)

In particular, from the second link:
DSCN0059.JPG
DSCN0059.JPG (780.1 KiB) Viewed 666 times
I don't know if this is the current state of things.

I spy a couple of Sun Type 5c, an IBM Model M, an Apple M0110, an AEK and AEK II, an Alps Bigfoot (Dell) and a Sperry in the lower right hand corner.

I may have to bring the truck. :o

Gas is cheap here: 1.989 USD/US gallon at the moment (Costco, Cedar Park, Texas). That works out to 0.46 Euro/Liter or (UK) 34 p/L. It was less a month ago:
Spoiler:
IMAG0732.jpg
IMAG0732.jpg (203.76 KiB) Viewed 666 times

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Muirium
µ

17 Feb 2015, 17:08

Bring the truck then! It's nothing like that cheap over here:

Image

From a PM:

As people are saying in your thread: pictures! Well lit shots of interesting boards with a key or two pulled (left on top of the keyboard so we can see inside them, as well as the naked switches) are exactly what gets us informed. There's people here who can tell a lot just from the detail of a case shape.

What's interesting? Well, here's my simple metric:

Heavy?
Metal case?
Buckling springs?
Small layout? TKL or smaller are often highly prized.
Pretty caps?

You (and Cindy of course) are on a voyage of discovery through those boards, as much as a treasure hunt. The truth is we still know so little about all the boards out there. Often, a good picture will be news to us! Not just about buying. (Although that certainly happens too…)

andrewjoy

17 Feb 2015, 17:09

bloody hell petrol is expensive where you are

its like 116p in liverpool and that from shell none of this supermarket watered down shit

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Muirium
µ

17 Feb 2015, 17:12

That's just a picture from a web search. I don't follow the price, because I don't drive. It is notoriously more expensive here in Scotland though, despite the fact it's refined here and comes out the North Sea before heading down to you! Something something "economies of scale" something something bullshit.

andrewjoy

17 Feb 2015, 17:15

ahh right, its dropped loads in the past few months it did go up by 1p last week tho

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Touch_It

17 Feb 2015, 19:46

Take me with you! :D

I think a trip down there would be awesome. Sadly I'm probably 10-12 hours away :(. I would ask you to take pics of the board I bought from her but I'm guessing it is on its way. I would be interested in seeing pictures from anything that has Futaba switches, especially colored caps. But like everyone said, if time is limited, take as many pics of as much stuff as possible.

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XMIT
[ XMIT ]

17 Feb 2015, 19:57

I bet you could do that in about 5-6 hours in a small airplane. Kerrville has an airport. Do you have any pilot friends who owe you a favor? :lol:

I've added your Futaba switches request to my list. Thanks!

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XMIT
[ XMIT ]

17 Feb 2015, 20:06

Speaking of Futaba switches - I won this on eBay a couple of weeks ago:
"Vintage Model 970 Keyboard Beige in Great Condition"
http://www.ebay.com/itm/221676735033

Turns out it is a Televideo terminal keyboard with Futaba linear switches (not sure if simple or complicated, guessing the latter). I've been meaning to write a long review post with disassembly, etc. Those switches are way too stiff for me - about 90g to bottom out (not sure where the actuation point is). Imagine 5-10g stiffer than Cherry MX Black. So tiring! I'd like to take it apart, clean it, pull all the switches, lubricate the switches (lightly!), find and install lighter springs (to match Cherry MX Red), install NKRO diodes and a modern controller. The keycaps are double shot SA profile AFAICT - same exact shape but much thicker.

No photos of my own yet but this was the seller's photo on eBay:
model970.JPG
model970.JPG (186.47 KiB) Viewed 616 times
I recommend this seller " freegeek_portland". All proceeds go to charity.

Real photos and a proper review in due time.

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Muirium
µ

17 Feb 2015, 20:08

I'd like to see some MX mount clicky Futabas too. They're mad wee buggers:

Image
http://deskthority.net/wiki/Futaba_clicky_switch

My brother used to be an amateur pilot. Wonder if I can convince him to train up and be ready to fly me from the west coast in a few months! We'd just need… what… 100 kg of cargo space!

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XMIT
[ XMIT ]

17 Feb 2015, 20:15

Coming from SoCal he'd want high altitude and/or mountain training. That's a long flight to Texas. Many small airplanes are about as comfortable as an old school VW Beetle or Mini going 80 MPH down a moderately maintained road. Make sure to bring your sense of adventure.

All the trouble of commercial air travel aside, big jetliners are a real wonder.

I've added MX mount Futabas to my list.

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Touch_It

17 Feb 2015, 20:40

jsoltren wrote: Speaking of Futaba switches - I won this on eBay a couple of weeks ago:
"Vintage Model 970 Keyboard Beige in Great Condition"
http://www.ebay.com/itm/221676735033

Turns out it is a Televideo terminal keyboard with Futaba linear switches (not sure if simple or complicated, guessing the latter). I've been meaning to write a long review post with disassembly, etc. Those switches are way too stiff for me - about 90g to bottom out (not sure where the actuation point is). Imagine 5-10g stiffer than Cherry MX Black. So tiring! I'd like to take it apart, clean it, pull all the switches, lubricate the switches (lightly!), find and install lighter springs (to match Cherry MX Red), install NKRO diodes and a modern controller. The keycaps are double shot SA profile AFAICT - same exact shape but much thicker.

No photos of my own yet but this was the seller's photo on eBay:
model970.JPG
I recommend this seller " freegeek_portland". All proceeds go to charity.

Real photos and a proper review in due time.
I'm certainly no Futaba expert but from what I've read thus far Futaba switches are sealed meanings that to open the switch you have to sacrifice it. Hopefully I'm wrong on this. I really like the looks of the keycaps on it.

Also sadly I don't have any pilot friends. I know someone who is a pilot I went to high school with but I don't think that counts :D.

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eldorange

17 Feb 2015, 20:47

How I'd wish I was in my former college roommate's shoes from UT-Austin. I would have joined this exciting field trip.

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XMIT
[ XMIT ]

17 Feb 2015, 20:56

> Futaba switches are sealed meanings that to open the switch you have to sacrifice it.

This was not my reading of the Futaba switches Wiki page. My impression was that, once desoldered, the legs need to be unthreaded and then the mechanism will come apart. After that, the switch plates are super thin and fragile, and almost impossible to remove without destruction or serious damage. Plus the stems are three piece mechanisms. So there are certainly plenty of fiddly small parts to lose, break, etc. Since I only propose to replace the springs I think this is doable without sacrificing the switch.

I will certainly be careful when I start tearing into the switches!

jacobolus

18 Feb 2015, 09:29

Futabas are awful switches. Anyone who likes them is bonkers. They feel like mush, and the clicky sound they emit is just depressing.

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Muirium
µ

18 Feb 2015, 11:09

C'mon, they rain a delayed click hailstorm when you type on them. And they're not as gritty as MX. I'm willing to give things a shot if they're cap compatible.

andrewjoy

18 Feb 2015, 11:28

Why am i suddenly tempted to take my next holiday in Texas ?

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XMIT
[ XMIT ]

18 Feb 2015, 13:03

Nope. Futabas are not cap compatible. They look like they should be. But the caps have a stem that is too wide to fit on MX switches, and I think the switch stems are just too big for MX keys. I'll play with it some more once I finally tear into my own keyboard. It *might* be possible to modify an MX switch for these, again, more research needed.

Do let me know if you're ever in the area. British Airways does a London-Austin nonstop flight with a Boeing 787 once a day. Round trip tickets are less than a Kishsaver from Ellipse. :o

jacobolus

19 Feb 2015, 11:42

What? The MX-mount version of “clicky” Futabas, as shown in Muirium’s picture, are absolutely cap compatible with MX.

(We’re not talking about the older “complicated” Futabas, which are much much nicer switches.)

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XMIT
[ XMIT ]

19 Feb 2015, 12:59

Oh yes indeed, sorry for the confusion. I have a Televideo Model 970 keyboard that I *think* has these:

http://deskthority.net/wiki/Futaba_simplified_linear

(It may have the complicated switches instead.) These are most assuredly not Cherry MX compatible. I'll post better dimensions once I tear into the keyboard.

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Muirium
µ

19 Feb 2015, 13:04

Futaba complicated linears are very nice, too, but you're right about MX compatibility: they look right but they're just a bit too big to actually fit. I have a handful of them (thanks to the venerable Beardsmore) and they are among the larger switches I've seen:

Image
Second from the right.

Little clicky Futabas are much smaller, and fully MX cap compatible. They also have a lot more character, even if it's one not all of us like!

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XMIT
[ XMIT ]

21 Feb 2015, 19:59

I'm here at Electronic Plus, taking a break from scrounging for the moment. Cindy is in the next room. I've been here for a little over four hours.

If you are interested in any of these - Cindy has *plenty* :
Model M buckling spring - about 30.
Model M 122-key Unsaver - about 10.
Burroughs terminal keyboards - about 7
Sperry terminal - about 4
Space invaders - about 10 in various colors.
Model F XT - 1-2 I think.

...and of course,
Model M rubber dome - about 20
Model M2 rubber dome - about 50

Some more unusual finds:
Olivetti - vintage MX black
MX mount Futabas - they appear to be linear.

None of these yet:
Hall effect
Beam spring
Model M SSK

Pictures later, back to scrounging!

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Nuum

21 Feb 2015, 20:08

What's a 122-key Unsaver? Do you mean a normal 122-key Model M? If not, I'm interested.
The Olivetti sounds interesting, too!

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elecplus

21 Feb 2015, 20:25

The 122 keys are Model M buckling springs.
The unsavers have 2 rows F keys, but they are rubber domes. Like an SSK with 1 extra row F keys.
The Olivetti is pretty, standard layout, but different shade of grey on the caps.

jabbon

21 Feb 2015, 20:26

would love that olivetti Cindy!

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Muirium
µ

21 Feb 2015, 20:27

People do tend to snatch up Olivettis!

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scottc

21 Feb 2015, 20:32

Olivetti for me too maybe!

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