IBM 3276 Data Entry Keyboard

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daedalus
Buckler Of Springs

21 Aug 2011, 15:30

I think it was about time I got my hands on one of these. Unfortunately, due to some terrible weather we've been having around here, it's been difficult to get decent pictures of them, but I've managed to accumulate enough useful ones for now.

The keyboard is from an IBM 3276 Display Station, a mainframe terminal, similar to the more common 3278, except with an integrated modem (at least I think so, IBM jargon is a bit indecipherable sometimes). This particular keyboard is a Data Entry keyboard, which has a layout similar to that of the old IBM keypunch machines like the IBM 029. From what I'm able to discern, it was made in 1979. It weighs about 4.5kg (about the same as the much bigger 122-key Model F)

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Compared with an SSK

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The front opens to reveal a troubleshooting guide

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The underside

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The compartment on the back contains a detailed manual on the 3276, which I intend to scan at some point

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Opening the case involves undoing four screws, and then lifting up the top. The top cover is made out of some sort of lightweight metal (aluminium?) that's painted on the outside, except for the fold down flap for the manual which is plastic.

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Beam spring boards were fitted with a "contamination shield" - a sheet that covered the switches and the controller logic, but left the switch stem exposed so that the keycaps can be slotted on (TG3 and some other manufacturers of high durability keyboards use a similar arrangement with their Cherry MX keyboards). On the Canadian-made Beam Spring boards, the sheet is made of rubber, and usually turns into a flaky mess by the time any of us get to it. On this European made one (Possibly made in Italy, or maybe the usual Greenock plant) its made of silicone, meaning that it was pretty much perfectly intact by the time I got it. However, it messes with the keyboard's feel - it makes the switches feel and sound rubbery, and when you press one key, the keycaps of the surrounding keys get dragged towards it.

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And with the shielding removed.

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Controller attaches to the PCB by means of an edge connector... I intend to take some decent pics of the controller when I get a bit of natural light back. The contraption up top right is a solenoid that was used to make a click noise to indicate that the terminal had correctly registered the key.

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Bottom of the keyboard with the keyboard assembly removed.

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Nice detail on the back of the plug, presumably the manufacturer name.

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The backplate of the assembly. Probably made of the same stuff as used on the Model F.

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Backplate removed, exposing the fly plates. There's a layer of polystyrene between the switches and the metal frame. If you look back the pictures of the switches from the top, you can see that there are little tabs that are holding the switches in place from the top.

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The other side of the backplate showing the capacitive PCB ("pad card" in IBMish), and the underside of it. Largely similar to the style used in the later Model Fs.

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I already have some pics of a dismantled beam spring here, not going to bother taking more again.

As for keycaps, compared with a buckling spring one

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The observant will probably wonder how they've handled the printing on the keycaps with two colours of legend. It's hard to get a good picture showing this, but you should be able to see the small traces of blue plastic. Yep, triple shots.

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It isn't all fun and games though, the front facing legends are either pad printed, or engraved and infilled, as I discovered the hard way during cleaning one cap.

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User avatar
webwit
Wild Duck

21 Aug 2011, 21:13

Tripple shot keys ftw!

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nathanscribe

21 Aug 2011, 22:12

Wow. I love the troubleshooting guide under the flap!

What are the two keys on the far right, the "a" with a roof and "a" with a squiggle through it? Are they insert & delete or similar? I've seen them appear on a few keyboards of this kind of age.

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Minskleip

21 Aug 2011, 22:30

Have you tried making an adapter for it? :D

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webwit
Wild Duck

21 Aug 2011, 22:36

nathanscribe wrote:Wow. I love the troubleshooting guide under the flap!
This comes in handy when you forgot what Alt was for!
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Alternatively...

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daedalus
Buckler Of Springs

21 Aug 2011, 23:36

A with "Hat" = Insert
A with "Squiggle" = Delete (The Model F ones would have three As with a squiggle going through them on the front face of the key, which I think corresponded to deleting a word when you pressed Alt + Delete)

On the left hand side, the one with the square with an arrow pointing to a page is Print Screen, and I think the one beside it turns the clicker on and off.

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nathanscribe

22 Aug 2011, 00:59

Ah, cheers. Another interesting thing I only just noticed is there's no number row - just the (shifted?) numbers on the right.

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webwit
Wild Duck

22 Aug 2011, 01:04

That's the good part. Without that, it wouldn't have those triple shot key caps.

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daedalus
Buckler Of Springs

22 Aug 2011, 02:26

That was the style on these data entry keyboards. The downward pointing scroll on the right hand side is used to access the numbers (and possibly the alternate characters on the alpha keys). I think they may have been like lock keys, but I'm not too sure, will have to read the manual more.

Speaking of the shift keys, it may not be completely obvious, but they are of a much lower profile than the keys on the same row as them. Given that the regular layout boards had normal height ones (at least as far as I can see), it would seem that these were designed to prevent people pressing them accidentally given that they don't work like the shift keys on modern keyboards.

ed_avis

03 Apr 2012, 12:16

Later IBM made terminal keyboards with 'Data Entry' layout. Pictures of one here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/7500206@N0 ... 730273251/

Apart from the odd layout it's a normal Model F 122-key board, and can be interfaced to modern PCs using Soarer's converter.

User avatar
daedalus
Buckler Of Springs

19 Apr 2012, 11:02

Nice pics. I've seen pictures of those keyboards before, albeit low-res ones from Recycled Goods with missing keys.

mr_a500

06 Mar 2013, 16:59

daedalus wrote:The observant will probably wonder how they've handled the printing on the keycaps with two colours of legend. It's hard to get a good picture showing this, but you should be able to see the small traces of blue plastic. Yep, triple shots.

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Oooh, triple shots. Nice. I've seen many 3-colour keycaps, but they're usually double shot with the third colour pad printed.

With that shape slot in the keycap, I'm wondering... is it possible to install those keys upside down? (I have a reason for this somewhat insane question)

daedalus wrote:It isn't all fun and games though, the front facing legends are either pad printed, or engraved and infilled, as I discovered the hard way during cleaning one cap.

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Oh man, that sucks. I did the same thing on a Vic 20. (but of course those keyboards are a dime a dozen)

It's good to know though. I'll have to be extra careful cleaning mine.

User avatar
Redmaus
Gotta start somewhere

06 Feb 2015, 04:39

Anybody know where to get one of these keyboards?

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seebart
Offtopicthority Instigator

06 Feb 2015, 09:49

Redmaus wrote: Anybody know where to get one of these keyboards?
don´t get your hopes too high on that! :roll: On the other hand, never say never. If you don´t keep looking you`ll never find one!

andrewjoy

06 Feb 2015, 10:28

webwit wrote:
nathanscribe wrote:Wow. I love the troubleshooting guide under the flap!
This comes in handy when you forgot what Alt was for!
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Alternatively...

someone has drawn on and ripped out a few pages on my one of them ( mine is a different layout tho so i dunno if it will eb the same )

if i check what pages i need any chance you could scan them in ?

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Muirium
µ

06 Feb 2015, 10:41

I've got a complete German and US English version of the (non-data entry model) 3276 booklet. And my German model also has the repair manual in place, underneath the keyboard. If anyone needs the text.

idollar
i$

06 Feb 2015, 10:45

I hate you all :-) I cannot have one of these, and some of you have even two :evilgeek:
Beautiful board daedalus !!! Send us as may details as you want.

andrewjoy

06 Feb 2015, 10:47

the one underneath mine is mint it even has the postcards you send to IBM in it for help :)

its the one under the top door i need like 3 pages from

User avatar
Redmaus
Gotta start somewhere

06 Feb 2015, 14:31

seebart wrote:
Redmaus wrote: Anybody know where to get one of these keyboards?
don´t get your hopes too high on that! :roll: On the other hand, never say never. If you don´t keep looking you`ll never find one!
Yeah, i saw a displaywriter sell on ebay for 180$ recently. To be completely honest, I really just want to know what the keypress feels like. I already have a god tier IBM keyboard but a beam spring seems really interesting.

ROUMIAN

21 Aug 2016, 09:05

Redmaus wrote:
seebart wrote:
Redmaus wrote: Anybody know where to get one of these keyboards?
don´t get your hopes too high on that! :roll: On the other hand, never say never. If you don´t keep looking you`ll never find one!
Yeah, i saw a displaywriter sell on ebay for 180$ recently. To be completely honest, I really just want to know what the keypress feels like. I already have a god tier IBM keyboard but a beam spring seems really interesting.
Hi to all i have 6 keybords 3276/3278

User avatar
seebart
Offtopicthority Instigator

21 Aug 2016, 10:03

ROUMIAN wrote: Hi to all i have 6 keybords 3276/3278
If you're selling them I'll take one!

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Wodan
ISO Advocate

21 Aug 2016, 10:17

Me too! Highly interested in one!

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hammelgammler
Vintage

21 Aug 2016, 10:45

I would also love to get one. :)

ROUMIAN

21 Aug 2016, 10:46

keyboard with monitor

ROUMIAN

21 Aug 2016, 10:50

from ibm4331 unit .IBM 3276 terminal in very good shape

User avatar
seebart
Offtopicthority Instigator

21 Aug 2016, 10:55

Very nice ROUMIAN, what's the € price for these? And how much is shipping to Germany just for the keyboard?

Sayso

21 Aug 2016, 11:03

Hi,

I'd like to have one too please ;)

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chzel

21 Aug 2016, 12:28

I'm not one to say no to a beamspring, so I'd like one! Provided price and shipping is within reason!

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Wodan
ISO Advocate

21 Aug 2016, 13:43

Three requests from Germany already, maybe we can combine shipping ?

Firebolt1914

21 Aug 2016, 16:33

Damn, too bad I'm in the states. Shipping is going to kill me. That being said, I would like one too :lol:

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