NEC SKCC Keyboard and Ortek MCK-104Pro

4_404

03 Nov 2020, 14:22

I recently acquired a couple of interesting keyboards and some strange keycaps.

The first is an NEC N6952-11, with ALPS SKCC Cream switches. This keyboard was possibly for the mid 80s NEC MS190 line of computers. Interestingly, it has a '1960' date stamp on the label, which is clearly wrong. It's in excellent condition, and looks unused, with only a few marks from storage and handling. It also has 4 locking switches (the 4 black keys on the left).
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Next is an Ortek MCK-104 Pro. This board has been documented, but doesn't there doesn't seem to be much on DT about it. This is based on the Ortek MAC-105, and has similar styling to the AEK, including case shape, ridges on the sides and back, no height adjustability, and provision for two ADB ports on the sides. It has SKCM white with strange mold numbering, and the keycaps are Tai Hao doubleshot with brown lettering. It has 12 programmable function keys and a 'fast repeat' key. The programming seems improved over the MCK-142 - 'Menu' mode simply toggles the PF keys and regular function keys, so the keyboard is usable in both modes. I also have the manual and software floppy disk for the keyboard. This keyboard is one of the best sounding I've tried, arguably better than any of my SKCM blue or white boards.
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Finally, I got some strange keycaps. One is a large square mount like Fujitsu Leaf Spring, while the other is a cross mount that appears compatible with MX and SMK vintage linear. If anyone knows what either of these might be for, or is interested in these keycaps, let me know, as I currently have no use for them.
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Chyros

03 Nov 2020, 18:14

Thanks for the write-up! That Ortek is really cool, never seen that model before! =o

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zrrion

03 Nov 2020, 18:28

that NEC looks fantastic! Love the colours

4_404

04 Nov 2020, 01:22

Thanks! The NEC is certainly the best looking board that I have, and goes very well with my NEC call centre board that I got from the same place a while ago (viewtopic.php?p=461416#p461416)

The NEC has no controller on the PCB but is fantastically easy to adapt. It's got a 34 pin connector on the PCB which fits a floppy drive ribbon cable, so I should be able to hack up a floppy cable with a pro micro on the end to get it going.

Here's a picture of the manual and software disk for the Ortek. Note there's also an extra update pamphlet superseding several of the pages. The manual also contains a force curve for the 'ALPS compatibly mechanical click key switch', which in this case are SKCM white. Other interesting info from the manual include details of the cable (pinout, retracted and extended dimensions, material, finish, resistance, 'retractile force') and some handy tips for what to put in the PF keys, such as 'Be selective. You don't need to fill up all of your function keys today'. I've also never seen this Ortek logo on before, has anyone else seen it?
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Inside, the case seems to be dated 1987, is branded OEMMAX, is labeled '105', and has rough marks where it was modified from the original MAC-105 case. The controller is an MCK-142Pro controller, and has a copyright date of 1992, so it can't be older than that. This seems quite late for SKCM white? Everything about the board suggests that it was made from a combination of spare parts from the MAC-105 and MCK-142 Pro.
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depletedvespene

04 Nov 2020, 17:18

Those keycaps seem to be a sort of "Western European" adapter set, with replacements for a select few keys on a limited amount of national layouts (Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, etc.; weirdly, Dutch looks to be supported ("IJ")).

Some of the keycaps (ç/¿ and ß/` in particular) make it rather clear that these are for AT-era (at the very latest) keyboards, and quite probably not for PC-based keyboards, at that.

4_404

06 Nov 2020, 02:17

Yeah, I agree with your thoughts on them being adapter sets, although I didn't think of dating them to the AT era.

The doubleshot molding appears similar enough that I'd say they're both from the same manufacturer, but the legends are very different. I've also never seen legends or profile quite like the 2nd set with the square mounting. The profile of these is spherical, but the sculpting is so flat that they're almost flat. I'd love to see a full keyboard with these legends, as I really like the look of them.

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