Commodore 900 prototype keyboard

User avatar
snuci
Vintage computer guy

02 Apr 2020, 22:42

I recently acquired a prototype Commodore C900 that is a Unix workstation. The keyboard is hand painted and has some interesting switches, I think but because it's a prototype, there are no markings anywhere except for Z-8000 which is the internal project name. Here are some pics:
Keyboard front
Keyboard front
C900 - keyboard front.jpg (732.71 KiB) Viewed 314 times
Rear of keyboard
Rear of keyboard
C900 - keyboard rear.jpg (688.45 KiB) Viewed 314 times
Keyboard metal base plate and switches
Keyboard metal base plate and switches
C900 - keyboard base plate.jpg (544.22 KiB) Viewed 314 times
Rear of keyboard mechanism
Rear of keyboard mechanism
C900 - keyboard mechanism rear.jpg (769.84 KiB) Viewed 314 times
Keyboard mechanism controller
Keyboard mechanism controller
C900 - keyboard mechanism controller.jpg (784.23 KiB) Viewed 314 times
Key switch
Key switch
C900 - keyswitch.jpg (501.89 KiB) Viewed 314 times
Function key switches
Function key switches
C900 - function keyswitch.jpg (541.47 KiB) Viewed 314 times

User avatar
PlacaFromHell

02 Apr 2020, 23:12

snuci wrote:
02 Apr 2020, 22:42
I recently acquired a prototype Commodore C900 that is a Unix workstation. The keyboard is hand painted and has some interesting switches, I think but because it's a prototype, there are no markings anywhere except for Z-8000 which is the internal project name.
Mitsumi switches :) Are they somehow similar to Alps switches? AEKII's come with these.

Findecanor

03 Apr 2020, 04:53

Wow! That's a piece of computing history. It is what Commodore worked on before buying Amiga, overlapping the time when Commodore's founder Jack Tramiel was forced out -- to buy Atari's computer division.
The Zilog Z-8000 was the CPU in the computer. It was a 16-bit successor to the Z-80.

The layout reminds me of both Amiga 1000 and Atari ST - especially the Mega ST keyboard which had similar function keys and used (cheaper). The Amiga 1000 keyboards also had mechanical Mitsumi switches.

Those switches do look like some variation of Mitsumi "standard mechanical" with Mitsumi mount, like the Amiga keyboards.
Some Japanese-made AEKII did have Mitsumi switches with Alps mount.

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