Vintage Rafi terminal keyboard made for Rohde & Schwarz

Anakey

08 Jul 2018, 20:33

I was browsing ebay in the vintage computing and found this. I knew it was Rafi as soon as i saw the keycap shape and a rather interesting label on the back made me buy it. And now for the photos

The board after cleaning including the keycaps.
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Its all about the 8u spacebar

The back and the interesting label
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There were two labels with the company logo along either edge seam however they had been scored across and were a bit tatty and as i was going to expplore inside anyway i decided to just remove them the top silver one will be staying however. The back plate is aluminium or other metal and 1.8mm thick
Rafi Label
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Inside - pcb
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Image PCB looks to have been hand soldered from the joints and flux marks.
Inside - front plate
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Front Plate - Front
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The front plate is i thibnk made from aluminium although it could have been magnesium alloy or something else exotic. 3mm thick i think Chyros might even give himself a bruise if he did his usual knuckle tap on this
Front Plate - Back
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You can see the brass standoffs that clamp the pcb to the top plate and hold it securely in the case
Case - Front
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Case - Back
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The case apppears to be made out a plastic similar to the Model F and also has the same outer texture. The side thickness measures 17mm, top 15mm and bottom 12mm probably close to what some modern cnc alumninium cases are today.
And now for more pcb
Top - No keycaps
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Image As can be seen just the standard metal contact RS 76M along with a latching version for Shift Lock
Top - With keycaps
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Image The white components are actually jumper wires, thery have a ceramic shield around them so they do not make contact with the silver plating of the pcb. The keycaps are pad printed abs although as they are black the discolouration is not noticable
PCB - Back
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Image As you can see there is no keyboard controller present the matrix output went directly to the terminal or instrument that the keyboard was connected to for processing.
Connector
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ImageAnd to finish off the connector showing all 19 pins although only 18 pins are connected to the pcb. I may end up making an external converter to USB if i can still get the right female connector from someware
I am not sure exactly when this was made, I am thinking sometime before the 80s based on the PCB and lack of an onboard controller but it is certainly a very interesting and unusual board to have in my collection.

Anakey

09 Jul 2018, 14:12

Something that i just noticed looking at the wiki entry for the Rafi switches it states that there is no reason for the ruler marks along the lower edge. I think that these were used to place switches for larger then 1u modifiers. I think that as in the 1970s there was no CAD etc then layouts would have been prototyped by hand and so to accurately measure for placement of keys greater then the area of a single switch and also the offset per row of the staggared layout the marks on the side would ensure exact placement of the switch. I guess they must still be using the same molding which is why they still posses the ruler.

andrewjoy

11 Jul 2018, 17:05

That is one hell of a keyboard mate.

Was it in this good of a condition when you got it or did you have to give it a clean? Its always good to see a before and after cleaning shot.

Feel free to add photos to the wiki.

Anakey

11 Jul 2018, 17:09

i gave a quick clean but aside from a bit of dust and a couple of stains that came off with a damp cloth it was as clean as the pictures. I will post a few pics from the ebay listing if you really want to see the before state.

Anakey

15 Jul 2018, 00:46

As requested a photo from the ebay listing showing the pre cleaned state
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Anakey

25 Aug 2018, 23:20

just an update to say the board is now converted to USB
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Muirium
µ

25 Aug 2018, 23:30

Beautiful to see a Teensy go onto it so cleanly. There was no onboard controller? The matrix just fed straight out that big cable?

Anakey

26 Aug 2018, 00:09

yep just straight out to whatever terminal it was for through the 19 pin lemo connector luckily the spacing was perfect for the Teensy. Working out the matrix was a bit tedious with a multimeter but doable and luckily there is an online tool usually used for handwireing that was able to generate the layout file from the matrix.

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Muirium
µ

26 Aug 2018, 00:37

Oooh, cool. Got a link?

Anakey

26 Aug 2018, 00:49


Escalibur

11 Jan 2020, 14:37

Hello! I've got a Rohde&Schwarz PUC process controller made in 1984-1985, but without keyboard.
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I want to use my PC AT keyboard with it. Please, email me your keyboard layout and Arduino code to hexp@yandex.ru.

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