Basis 108 - Cherry M8 low profile

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snuci
Vintage computer guy

08 Jun 2016, 01:07

Here's an interesting keyboard some of you from Europe may know. The Basis 108 was an Apple clone from West Germany that ran CP/M and had both a 6502 CPU (for Apple) and a Z80 CPU (for CP/M). It is a beast of a machine with solid cast aluminum case but it came with a Cherry-made keyboard with uncovered M8 low profile switches. This keyboard has three varieties of M8 switches including the normal white variety used for 1u keys, a black switch used for over 1u switches and an LED switch for Caps Lock.

It's a sweet looking keyboard and the switches work very well. Here are some pics:
Basis 108 - keyboard
Basis 108 - keyboard
Basis 108 - keyboard.JPG (219.69 KiB) Viewed 2175 times
Basis 108 - keyboard bottom
Basis 108 - keyboard bottom
Basis 108 - keyboard bottom.JPG (178.53 KiB) Viewed 2175 times
Basis 108 - bottom label
Basis 108 - bottom label
Basis 108 - bottom label.JPG (223.92 KiB) Viewed 2175 times
Basis 108 - key caps removed
Basis 108 - key caps removed
Basis 108 - key caps removed.JPG (251.88 KiB) Viewed 2175 times
Basis 108 - front keyboard pcb
Basis 108 - front keyboard pcb
Basis 108 - front keyboard pcb.JPG (367.35 KiB) Viewed 2175 times
Basis 108 - front Cherry label
Basis 108 - front Cherry label
Basis 108 - front Cherry label.JPG (282.63 KiB) Viewed 2175 times
Basis 108 - keyboard controller week 34 1982
Basis 108 - keyboard controller week 34 1982
Basis 108 - keyboard controller week 34 1982.JPG (327.22 KiB) Viewed 2175 times
Basis 108 - rear keyboard pcb
Basis 108 - rear keyboard pcb
Basis 108 - rear keyboard pcb.JPG (323.95 KiB) Viewed 2175 times
Basis 108 - rear pcb markings 1
Basis 108 - rear pcb markings 1
Basis 108 - rear pcb markings 1.JPG (338.54 KiB) Viewed 2175 times
Basis 108 - rear markings 2
Basis 108 - rear markings 2
Basis 108 - rear markings 2.JPG (500.56 KiB) Viewed 2175 times
Basis 108 - white 1u key switch
Basis 108 - white 1u key switch
Basis 108 - white 1u key switch.JPG (249.54 KiB) Viewed 2175 times
Basis 108 - black 1+u key switch
Basis 108 - black 1+u key switch
Basis 108 - black 1+u key switch.JPG (248.34 KiB) Viewed 2175 times
Basis 108 - key switch with LED
Basis 108 - key switch with LED
Basis 108 - key switch with LED.JPG (272.88 KiB) Viewed 2175 times
Basis 108 - double shot key caps
Basis 108 - double shot key caps
Basis 108 - double shot key caps.JPG (181.69 KiB) Viewed 2175 times
Basis 108 - keyboard logo
Basis 108 - keyboard logo
Basis 108 - keyboard logo.JPG (216.53 KiB) Viewed 2175 times

User avatar
snuci
Vintage computer guy

08 Jun 2016, 01:08

Last pics:
Basis 108 - full computer
Basis 108 - full computer
Basis 108 - full computer.JPG (221.11 KiB) Viewed 2170 times
Basis 108 - computer profile
Basis 108 - computer profile
Basis 108 - computer profile.JPG (215.51 KiB) Viewed 2170 times

terrycherry

08 Jun 2016, 18:47

Excellent! First to see the LED variant and the black.
Thanks again for the quality photo^^

groinksan

23 Mar 2017, 09:50

I've successfully reverse-engineered the Basis 108 keyboard. It is quite interesting for two reasons.

One, unlike other Apple II keyboards, this keyboard is not an ASCII keyboard. It uses scan codes! It actually pre-dates PS/2 protocols. The scan codes allow the keyboard's language to change on the host. The Basis 108 is capable of using ROMs customized to a particular country. As far as I know, Basis officially only supported U.S. and German key arrangements. I'm now in the process of developing an adapter to replace the proprietary keyboard with a PS/2 keyboard.

And two, although the codes were published on-line, I believe the analog version of the keyboard that I have differs from the digital version that is documented. Someone else developed a similar adapter, but it didn't work with my keyboard.

I've completed the hardware portion of it, which is really an Arduino in a DB-25 clamshell case. I'm now writing the software. Writing the software is a challenge because the existing PS/2 libraries for the Arduino isn't allowing me to read raw PS/2 packets, so I can monitor for example the reset sequence (both CONTROL keys held down at the same time.)

https://www.facebook.com/pg/8Bit808/pho ... 9287188431

User avatar
seebart
Offtopicthority Instigator

23 Mar 2017, 09:57

groinksan wrote: I've successfully reverse-engineered the Basis 108 keyboard. It is quite interesting for two reasons.

One, unlike other Apple II keyboards, this keyboard is not an ASCII keyboard. It uses scan codes! It actually pre-dates PS/2 protocols. The scan codes allow the keyboard's language to change on the host. The Basis 108 is capable of using ROMs customized to a particular country. As far as I know, Basis officially only supported U.S. and German key arrangements. I'm now in the process of developing an adapter to replace the proprietary keyboard with a PS/2 keyboard.

And two, although the codes were published on-line, I believe the analog version of the keyboard that I have differs from the digital version that is documented. Someone else developed a similar adapter, but it didn't work with my keyboard.

I've completed the hardware portion of it, which is really an Arduino in a DB-25 clamshell case. I'm now writing the software. Writing the software is a challenge because the existing PS/2 libraries for the Arduino isn't allowing me to read raw PS/2 packets, so I can monitor for example the reset sequence (both CONTROL keys held down at the same time.)

https://www.facebook.com/pg/8Bit808/pho ... 9287188431
Impressive work! Keep us updated please.

mr_a500

10 Jun 2017, 20:20

I searched for years for one of these keyboards. I gave up when I found out they were open Cherry M8 switches. (which... suck)

User avatar
Mr.Nobody

13 Jun 2017, 16:21

@mr_a500
Still a good-looking board...

mr_a500

14 Jun 2017, 01:41

Yeah, that's why I searched.

Now that I've got a couple (1979/80) Cherry keyboards, I can easily tell that the Basis keycaps are Cherry (without looking at the switch). Even though I'm not fond of Cherry switches, those early Cherry double-shots have very crisp lettering and look great.

User avatar
zslane

14 Jun 2017, 02:48

Now that's a beige keyboard... :!:

User avatar
snuci
Vintage computer guy

14 Jun 2017, 02:56

zslane wrote: Now that's a beige keyboard... :!:
It is definitely beige as the cast iron computer case is painted beige (and weighs a @#%^ing ton) and the keyboard case has remained the same colour.

User avatar
Daniel Beardsmore

14 Jun 2017, 09:42

Cast iron!?

User avatar
snuci
Vintage computer guy

14 Jun 2017, 14:11

Daniel Beardsmore wrote: Cast iron!?
I've seen cast iron in computer/terminal bases before and I've seen magnesium alloy cases (NeXT Cube) but never a cast iron top case until this one. I don't recall but I think the bottom base is cast iron as well. Would have been cool if the keyboard followed suit.

User avatar
Daniel Beardsmore

14 Jun 2017, 21:09

If it was a more recent computer, you could argue that they were trying to outdo IBM in terms of the weight of a PS/2 tower.

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