[WTS, UK] Unicomp New Model M + various custom keycaps, GREEN LEDS, PS/2 connector, white/grey UK ISO keys, mfg April!

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an_achronism

31 May 2021, 03:41

Here you go. My first Model M, first buckling spring board, first Unicomp, and first non-Cherry switch mechanical board: my New Model M, which was only brought into the world last month.

So if it's that new, why am I selling it? Is it that horrible to type on? No, actually, it's very nice to type on in my opinion! I'm inclined to agree with sharktastica's assessment that the key feel and sound are very similar, though not 100% identical, to a classic IBM Model M (I have since bought a 1990 one that I've restored and it is remarkably close with some subtle differences). But two significant factors have come into play for me very quickly:

1. My health is crap right now, and for directly related reasons I would rather not go into detail on publicly, I find myself in a fairly dire financial situation which means I could not afford to pay rent in June because of rather irresponsible handling of my wages by my employer. I had to chose between taking on debt (credit card) or not paying the bills, so I chose the former, which means I need to start shifting inventory now to pay that off.

2. I've developed kind of a love-hate relationship with Unicomp's New Model M because of some minor niggles which are enough to bother me but probably won't bother most people. Indeed, every time I've talked about them, somebody's been quick to tell me I'm being dumb and it doesn't matter. But I don't want you thinking I'm hiding anything from you, so I'll lay everything out and let you decide for yourself. I'm nothing if not honest. Crucially, these are not things that are uniquely wrong with this particular New Model M, in fact I know for a fact that at least some (and arguably all) of them are built in to all New Model Ms that Unicomp manufacture and sell, because they have explicitly confirmed as much. But since I was irritated that Unicomp did not make these issues clear to me, I would be a hypocrite if I did not make them clear to you. One sold on here very recently for more than I am asking despite it having all the issues mine has and lacking some of the more desirable qualities (e.g. two tone keycap colour scheme, PS/2 cable, and the classic green LEDs instead of the new retina-searing blue ones).

It's probably a very good idea to watch my unboxing video if you're potentially interested in buying the board, because it will show you a lot more clearly what it looks like from various angles than a handful of photos can:
Since I don't go into it in detail in the video, here are my niggles so you can figure out if they bother you or not. I have exhausted 2 months of my life trying to get Unicomp to handle this stuff with extremely limited success and I think I have finally given up; frankly, their internal attitude toward this struck me as not only incredibly uncooperative, but downright hostile. So it's probably simpler and better for everyone involved if I just sell the board whilst being 100% clear about what it is and what it is not.
Spoiler:
1. The keycap legends have remarkable dye sublimation now, and alignment is better than on a lot of older Unicomps, buuuuut... they're still not perfect. It's enough that it annoyed me. You can see it in the video above and I've taken a few photos as examples. There are two separate things going on here: slightly squint printing (just a production inaccuracy) and incorrect placement in the files used to print the legends. I tried to get Unicomp to fix the files and they basically weren't interested; the only solution they offered was that I pay $30 for a custom keycap set plus an up to $50 graphic customisation fee to move legends around etc. which I'm honestly not willing to do when it shouldn't be "custom" to print things in the right place (i.e. the positions they've been printed on Model Ms since 1985).

2. There is a relatively minor (but nonetheless noticeable) blemish in the form of a dark black vertical line moulded into the top of the chassis, just below the space bar. It's quite tricky to photograph and your left hand would cover it while typing anyway but I'm picky.

3. Speaking of the space bar, if Unicomp is to be believed, then I seem to be the first Unicomp customer in history to realise that the space bars on every single one of their keyboards that have extra keys on the bottom row has an off-centred space bar. The gap between the space bar and neighbouring keys is bigger on the right than on the left. It's less than 1 mm of a gap on the left, and almost 2 mm on the right. This is the one thing that couldn't have been dealt with by replacing parts; I'd have needed to return the board to the US. It appears that this is a combination of two factors: the barrel plate mould having the space bar barrel a few tenths of a millimetre too far to the left, and slightly off-centre moulding (again by a few tenths of a millimetre) in the same direction on the actual space bar keycap itself. It varies slightly depending on which keycap is installed. I have three white Unicomp space bars which are all compatible with this board: 2 "short" (to allow for all the keys on the row) and 1 "long" (same length as a classic Model M space bar, covers one of the extra keys, making it unavailable).

4. This is the one actual functional issue, and has to do with the PS/2 controller. That said, it is extremely niche, so I'm sure the vast majority of people will never encounter the problem. Which probably explains why I was, again, the first customer to notice it, despite the fact the code has been unaltered for an undisclosed but supposedly large number of years. Basically, on the "Pause/Break" key, Break doesn't work. So it literally is not a Pause/Break key, it's just a Pause key. I mentioned it previously in this thread.
GALLERY: https://postimg.cc/gallery/2mK9YwX

If interested, please PM me or catch me on Discord if you've got me there (yes, I'm in the DT server). Pricing depends on whether you want the whole package with all the keycap options or just the board itself and no extras, but this is essentially a brand new board (I only used it for about a week or so) and is therefore priced close to, but still slightly below, the usual UK asking price. You can have the board itself for £120 but it'd arguably be better for both of us if you take some or all of the extra keycaps as well, which I'll post photos of separately below. I paid over $70 in shipping alone to get this thing here from the US, and although you can buy these from the UK reseller when they have them in stock (they didn't when I bought this one), you won't have the luxury of seeing exactly which specific board you'll receive, as you do here.

If you want the board with zero extras: £120 + shipping.

If you want the whole lot: £160 including UK shipping, obviously with a bit of an uplift if it's going elsewhere in the world.
Last edited by an_achronism on 20 Jun 2021, 08:41, edited 4 times in total.

User avatar
an_achronism

10 Jun 2021, 19:18

Occurs to me that maybe the lack of a clear price is putting folk off, so just in case, let's for simplicity's sake call it £120 if you just want the board without any other keycaps, and clearly if you do want some fancy extra keycaps then we can figure it out depending on what you do and don't want. I think I'll take some photos of all the keycaps I've got so you can decide if you just want the whole bunch as a bundle (which would be a bit cheaper overall) or you can cherrypick and I'll sell the others separately.

To be clear, by the way, one of these just sold and the only thing that one had over mine is that it was floss modded. Conversely, it did not have the green LEDs or the PS/2 connection, or the (imo nicer) white-and-grey on black colour scheme. This is, intentionally, stock. It's barely been used, and was manufactured 2 months ago. The issues with mine are also present on every other New Model M being manufactured by Unicomp, they are not specific to this one; Unicomp has confirmed this explicitly in no uncertain terms. And they are very minor issues in the scheme of things, it's just that I seem to be more bothered by them than everybody else seems to be!

So, basically: bump, £120 for the board itself, we'll figure out the keycaps if anybody is interested in buying the board (let's say £160 inc. UK shipping if you want the lot, otherwise we'll figure out what you want and what you don't). Or if you already have a Unicomp or IBM board that you just want some extra keys for, gimme a shout and you can buy those on their own. Pics incoming.
Last edited by an_achronism on 20 Jun 2021, 07:06, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
an_achronism

Yesterday, 06:33

Bit later than planned, but here goes. Top post updated with a bundle price, obviously let me know if you only want the board or any of the keycaps individually and we might be able to figure something out.

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