Datadesk Switchboard

User avatar
Drclick

12 Jun 2017, 18:02

Today I would love to introduce the switchboard, which picked up from taobao.com several weeks ago, to you folks.

As you can see from the picture, its box are almost the same as the MAC-101E. So I am not so sure if it’s the stock box. And it’s made in the 36th weeks of 1990, in Taiwan.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

This kbd comes with Alps SKCM white Switch and double shot keycaps produced by Tai Hao. I would say it’s in used condition with some mild shiny caps, but still in pretty good shape.
Spoiler:
Image

Image

Image

Image
And it provides several interesting features.
The kbd consists of three parts (the 60% part, number pad part and arrow part), If you want to take any part out, just push the buckle under the kbd then take the part you want out. You can connect each part back to any area of the pcb by Flex Cable as you wish. So the kbd allows users to have up to 6 different layouts.
Spoiler:
Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image
A set of DIP to adapt the board to different computer and OS, is located in the upper area of the kbd. User can follow the instruction printed on the cover.
Spoiler:
Image
Two additional keycaps is provided to swap ctrl key and capslock key.
Spoiler:
Image
Another feature is the plastict feets. They are almost the same way like HHKB. Two lower feet are embedded into two higher feet.So you can get different angle by flipping different feet out.
Spoiler:
Image
Last edited by Drclick on 12 Jun 2017, 18:08, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
seebart
Offtopicthority Instigator

12 Jun 2017, 18:06

Very nice Drclick thank you for sharing, I see Daniel Beardsmore created a wiki page for this keyboard in February 2014‎, it would be nice if we could add yours to that page also?

wiki/Datadesk_Switchboard

User avatar
Redmaus
Gotta start somewhere

13 Jun 2017, 05:43

That is quite the board. Even more amazing is that you found a nice alps board that was ANSI and not some bigass enter garbage.

User avatar
Drclick

13 Jun 2017, 06:05

seebart wrote: Very nice Drclick thank you for sharing, I see Daniel Beardsmore created a wiki page for this keyboard in February 2014‎, it would be nice if we could add yours to that page also?

wiki/Datadesk_Switchboard
OK, I'll try to edit it.

User avatar
seebart
Offtopicthority Instigator

13 Jun 2017, 09:53

Drclick wrote:
seebart wrote: Very nice Drclick thank you for sharing, I see Daniel Beardsmore created a wiki page for this keyboard in February 2014‎, it would be nice if we could add yours to that page also?

wiki/Datadesk_Switchboard
OK, I'll try to edit it.
You can, but you don't have to if you feel it's too much work.

User avatar
pixelheresy

13 Jun 2017, 13:29

Awesome! I have to track me down one of those! Very cool with all the pictures/demo!

User avatar
Mr.Nobody

13 Jun 2017, 15:46

Really intriguing design, could you share the link please?

User avatar
Drclick

13 Jun 2017, 16:35

Mr.Nobody wrote: Really intriguing design, could you share the link please?
https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?spm=a1 ... l8don26a5a
The other one.
https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?spm=a1 ... 6260669432

User avatar
j0d1

13 Jun 2017, 16:44

Very interesting. I could see a modern approach to this with hot-swappable parts and/or the 60% part becoming a standalone keyboard that you can take with you on the go.

User avatar
Mr.Nobody

14 Jun 2017, 00:38

j0d1 wrote: Very interesting. I could see a modern approach to this with hot-swappable parts and/or the 60% part becoming a standalone keyboard that you can take with you on the go.
Exactly, in fact, they had a rather good idea, but the design was a little bit before its time. Hope someone could borrow the idea and make a "Transformer" out of it.

@drclick
Thanks man!

User avatar
Daniel Beardsmore

14 Jun 2017, 09:46

Curiously, Tai-Hao feel certain that these aren't Tai-Hao keycaps. So if they're not, then nor are Focus or Northgate keycaps. The main difference is the eight-way support struts inside, which are different to what Tai-Hao sell now. Strange.

User avatar
seebart
Offtopicthority Instigator

14 Jun 2017, 10:57

Daniel Beardsmore wrote: Curiously, Tai-Hao feel certain that these aren't Tai-Hao keycaps. So if they're not, then nor are Focus or Northgate keycaps. The main difference is the eight-way support struts inside, which are different to what Tai-Hao sell now. Strange.
That would be a major revelation / upset to me Daniel. Not because Focus or Northgate are not Tai-Hao but because we then don't know who manufactured them. Of course we really don't know anyway for sure. :roll:

User avatar
Daniel Beardsmore

14 Jun 2017, 20:19

I'm waiting on a confirmation about visual recognition. Focus were a customer of Tai-Hao (before they fell silent) but apparently Focus got near identical-looking keycaps made by someone else.

If they're not Tai-Hao, whoever it was did a good job at copying them, including the keycap shape, the typography, and the shape of the arrow on shift keys.

TH-5539 keycaps will indicate what Tai-Hao's look like, but most of those have the old TH series Cherry-style keycaps, instead of the newer (and still current) TI series. I don't know that I've ever seen the bottom of a TI series TH-5539 keycap.

Besides, we don't know who made the clone switches in Focus keyboards either.

User avatar
snuci
Vintage computer guy

14 Jun 2017, 22:12

Drclick wrote: As you can see from the picture, its box are almost the same as the MAC-101E. So I am not so sure if it’s the stock box.
This would not be the stock box. This is (pilfered from an eBay auction):
Datadesk Switchboard box
Datadesk Switchboard box
Datadesk Switchboard.JPG (247.56 KiB) Viewed 2988 times
I've been on the hunt for a reasonably priced one as I find it intriguing. I have a Datadesk Mac 101-E if you need some key cap pics for further inspection.

User avatar
Tuntematon

14 Jun 2017, 23:22

I really admire DataDesk for attempting a modular design. Additionally, it's Mac and PC compatible (is there any another keyboard with this feature?) and features Caps/Ctrl switchability. Lovely! Easily one of my favourite vintage keyboards.

So, who got the one that just sold on eBay?

User avatar
snuci
Vintage computer guy

15 Jun 2017, 21:19

Posted some pics of the Datadesk Mac 101E in the wiki here: wiki/Datadesk_Mac-101E
I thought we already had a wiki page but it was a MAC 101. I''ll have to add some more internal pics.

notyou

29 Apr 2020, 01:08

Hi, I recently dug out and dusted off my well-loved Datadesk Switchboard, and thought it would be great to use again.

I wanted to go the cheap route, so I bought myself a PS/2 to USB converter to work with my MacBook Air.

Unfortunately, I seem to have lost the XT cable, as well as the XT->PS/2 converter cable. I went and ordered a male-to-male PS/2 keyboard cable (intended for KVM switches). Unfortunately I didn't examine the internal port on the keyboard, which is actually an 8-pin DIN instead of the standard 6-pin PS/2 mini-DIN.

Unfortunately the plastic spacer on a 6-pin PS/2 connector prevented the cable from plugging into the internal port, so I of course cut out the plastic spacer and tried plugging the 6-pin cable into the 8-pin port, and got no love.

SO. I'm wondering if Chryos or anyone else who might have one of these keyboards might do me the favor of tracing the pins from the apparently proprietary (argh) 8-pin mini-DIN connector to the XT cable? I suppose I can go poking around on the Internets for an 8-pin mini-DIN, or go digging in the boxes in the garage for the original cable.

OR, if somebody is happily using the keyboard with the ADB or Mac Plus (!) connector and don't need the XT cable, I would gladly pay a small sum for their cable.

Thanks all!

User avatar
ZedTheMan

29 Apr 2020, 02:23

Hi I currently run my Switchboard in the PS/2 Mode but I do have a spare cable for ADB if you have or can make a converter for that. Also, a heads up, a lot of commercial cheap converters do not work well with the Switchboard. I highly recommend using the tmk pc_usb converter if you plan to go that route. It just works so much better and also allows you the benefit of being programmable.

If I can find the time I'll trace you the pins, or at least try to.

Cheers

notyou

05 May 2020, 02:36

Ah, I was just about to order a Teensy 2.0 to try to flash my own TMK->ADB converter. (I found an S-Video cable that should do the trick for that.)

But yes, if you can trace the pins I would be *MUCH* obliged. Thank you!!

notyou

17 Sep 2020, 08:31

I wanted to follow up here and thank Zed, who truly is The Man. He came through and traced the pinouts of his XT/AT cable.

I went and made my version of a kbdbabel diagram for the 8-pin DIN inside of the Switchboard that connects to the cable:
8pinminidin.png
8pinminidin.png (71.79 KiB) Viewed 343 times
Again, this is for this plug:
IMG_1891.JPG
IMG_1891.JPG (528.57 KiB) Viewed 343 times
Making the cable
I was able to cut up a M-M PS/2 cable (6-pin Mini-DIN, intended for KVMs) that I had originally hoped would work out of the box with the Switchboard. I had already cut out the plastic block in between pins 5 and 6 in the hopes that the Switchboard pins 4 and 7 were not actually used. Lucky for me they were not, otherwise I'd have to track down an 8-pin Mini-DIN male cable. (Actually, I think I might have a old Apple Macintosh serial cable or Localtalk box somewhere in the house, sigh.)

ANYWAYS, cut the cable, stripped some wires, and matched up pins. Here's the mapping I ended up with:

Switchboard : PS/2
2 : 3
3: 1
5 : 5
6 : 4

Pin numbers are based on female sockets of a PS/2, as seen in second diagram below:
Image

Post Reply

Return to “Gallery”