IBM Model M 1395764 with Curious Graphic Legends (1989?)

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Muirium
µ

28 Aug 2013, 14:41

So, I just laid my hands on this mint condition Model M. For the reasonable price of £30, shipped!
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That's the catch, right at the top of the photo: this is an RJ45 keyboard, so Soarer's Converter is required.
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There's also the rather creative legends to contend with.
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Yes, those 2 and 6 keys in the main block really do have bigger legends. That said, the caps all feel nice and matte and the springs are all in fine shape, so whatever fiddling around was done to this, it hasn't seen much or any use. Or dirt thankfully! The thing feels new in box… without the box.
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Those ASCII art glyphs on the numpad was what caught my attention in the first place. Besides, I'm used to stranger placed keys. Here it is with my Model F PC/XT.
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The XT wins in the weight war. But this here Model M is really very nice to type on too. Speaking of my original 1985 beast, when was this Model M made?
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Hmm. Damn that second sticker. IBM mavens better than I (that would be most all of you…) may be able to decipher it. I can take better pictures when the burgh deigns to next have bright daylight. I think I see an 89 at the end there, but it's just a guess. Pipe up with your answers and I'll update the title accordingly.

So, in summary, I'm right chuffed with this keyboard. Feels excellent, and is an all but new-in-box trip back 20 something years, for a damn fair price. The seller still has 16 of these available on UK eBay, and accepted my lowball offer much to my surprise! I'm half tempted to buy a spare to stick into storage, to be honest.

If you're after one of these and are uncomfortable with soldering up a converter, I could be talked into building one into a keyboard for you. But I haven't delved inside mine yet:
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I know what's in there, though, from my other RJ45 Model M (the battleship 122 key version). Eminently doable. Just watch out for the tight cable management. I'm using mine with the whole lead free anyway.
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Obligatory moody parting shot.
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User avatar
dorkvader

30 Aug 2013, 05:08

hmm, it's hard to make out the date, but it sort-of looks like 30AUG87 to me. That said, I'm not sure when IBM started making fixed-cable M's, but I thought it was much later than that.

It's also hard to read the model number, but it sort-of looks like 13?0413 or something like that. If you play around with the contrast and thresholds, you might be able to discern more.

Excellent find. I've not seen some of the legends on an M before, and the multiple size printed numberow is interesting indeed. The cool tenkey is actually somewhat common for many terminal keyboards. I once bought a terminal M just for that awesome tenkey, but when it arrived it was worn so much the keys were all shiny and the ink was purple. it also has something like 30 broken rivets and I have extracted several hammers from it without further disassembly. Your keyboard is certainly in better shape.

Findecanor

30 Aug 2013, 07:18

I don't know much about Model M's, but that one is the first I've seen with a cable channel in the bottom case.
dorkvader wrote:hmm, it's hard to make out the date, but it sort-of looks like 30AUG87 to me. That said, I'm not sure when IBM started making fixed-cable M's, but I thought it was much later than that.
Terminal Model M with fixed cable from 27-01-1987 here.

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daedalus
Buckler Of Springs

30 Aug 2013, 08:01

I've never seen these cable channels either... interesting!

Judging by the symbols on the numpad, and the "Send" key in the right Control position, it is most likely keyboard for one of the 315x terminals, or perhaps something special based on the 315x series. I'll take another look later...

EDIT: Come to think of it, it's probably a UK layout 3151 keyboard. The little accents in the boxes probably represent dead keys. I can probably dig out something to confirm this...

User avatar
Muirium
µ

30 Aug 2013, 10:13

All info is appreciated, guys. As I've no idea how to decipher IBM stickers besides Googling and asking around. It's pretty unbelievable to me that this is from the eighties, looks and feels so new! (First time new in boxer…)

The cable channels are unusual? Believe it or not, my only other Model M (also an RJ45 jack ISO terminal keyboard, but 122 key and Greenock made in 1990) has those channels too and a very similar integrated cable. I'll take some pictures. It's awaiting a bolt mod and new springs. Several keys are unresponsive.

User avatar
lcg

30 Aug 2013, 10:57

Thanks for sharing these photos. It looks like you've got a very good Model M. I wonder why it was made in the US and not in Greenock. The white barrel assembly seems to be unique to US-made Model Ms. I've never seen a Greenock-made Model M with a white barrel assembly.

I saw yesterday that there's another seller now selling these keyboards. The image is really small but it looks like there's the same markings on the numpad.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/261275256698

User avatar
Muirium
µ

30 Aug 2013, 11:25

Looks very similar indeed. The new seller is 80 miles from the first: on opposite sides of Bristol. Wonder if these recently came out of storage down there somewhere.

How can you tell the colour of the barrel assembly: does it peek around from behind the keys in the pictures? Well spotted!

I'm considering a second one now, as this one arrived in better shape than I hoped for. Then leaving it safe in storage of my own!

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lcg

30 Aug 2013, 12:17

Muirium wrote:Looks very similar indeed. The new seller is 80 miles from the first: on opposite sides of Bristol. Wonder if these recently came out of storage down there somewhere.

How can you tell the colour of the barrel assembly: does it peek around from behind the keys in the pictures? Well spotted!
Possibly!

Yeah, it's most noticeable behind the F keys and Print, Print Line and Hold keys. You can see the stems.

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daedalus
Buckler Of Springs

30 Aug 2013, 20:27

The printing on the keys is quite different from the standard IBM fare, and it looks a bit inconsistent, particularly across the number row.

User avatar
Muirium
µ

31 Aug 2013, 20:45

Indeed, that number row is the weirdest thing. Same glyphs as my other terminal Model M, but uneven sizes. Still, they're nice and new to the touch so I'm not complaining.

Now, for my lame attempts to CSI that stack of labels:

First, I shot it in direct sunlight with a macro lens. Contrast was poor. The red channel seems to penetrate with the least noise, though.
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If this were the movies, it'd be perfectly readable by now.
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Full RGB has too much noise.
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kps

01 Sep 2013, 01:00

IBM 1394413, French-Canadian layout for IBM 347x and 348x terminals.

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Halvar

01 Sep 2013, 08:41

French canadian? I see two dead keys for accent grave and circumflex (à, â), but no way to enter an accent aigu (é). You can't type French without é.

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Muirium
µ

01 Sep 2013, 09:02

French Canadian converted to British layout: as exposed by the odd jumble of legend sizes in the number row and the second sticker. That would explain the missing é. I like the theory! Another bit of circumstantial evidence is that this is made in North America, not Greenock for a change. My year younger 122 key is Scottish and has the same (shift+0 = #) layout but with regular legends.

This one has been converted, that's for sure. The second sticker and the caps say as much.

But where is the list of these identities from model numbers? You guys are playing my database answering manual queries!

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Halvar

01 Sep 2013, 10:23

Yes, that's probably it. Some cheopo replaced some keys, but not all of them... ;)

My database is named Google, and my query was 'IBM 1394413'. Now I feel clever.

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Muirium
µ

01 Sep 2013, 11:06

No pictures though, and this very thread is already one of the top hits. But still better than I expected, thanks.

I had a look at Clickykeyboards' commendable Model M database, but apparently the project is only collecting entries on specific model numbers not including any of mine. (Two terminals and a Model F PC/XT.) Sad trombone.

http://www.clickykeyboards.com/index.cf ... n/pageID/3

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webwit
Wild Duck

01 Sep 2013, 11:27

Here's one of those Greenock 122-key Model Ms with cable channel.
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Muirium
µ

01 Sep 2013, 12:04

You've got a late one there, Webwit! Looks like they finally fixed the iffy choice of shift characters on the number row, too. It was all different in 1990:
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Note how consistent these caps are compared to the jumble on my other Model M in the original post:
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The difference in colour isn't yellowing, it's Scottish sunlight. The 122's actually in reasonable shape as well, cosmetically. (Springs need a seeing to, though.)
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The channels look like this on the inside:
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All shot in a typically narrow glimpse of northern sun.
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Lewis Collard

15 Sep 2013, 16:43

So I hate to bump a couple-of-weeks-old thread; I'm new here and I found this thread about a week ago after my own Model M arrived but I've just not had time to reply.

I, too, have a Model M, which I also bought for £30 shipped, which also had the weird RJ45 connector, and also had a second serial number pasted over the original birth certificate (#1393620, feels good man), and we bought ours about a week apart. Probably the same seller!

So I've read about Soarer's adapter, which is ingenious and great, but I would rather just send someone some money and have something appear in the post. Is anyone making these adapters commercially, or at least, is there someone to whom I can give money to get one of these? The OP seemed to have built his own; I'm quite happy to send the OP whatever it will cost (for parts and for time) to make one for me.

Thanks!

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Muirium
µ

15 Sep 2013, 17:21

Relevant thread bumping is perfectly honourable behaviour. All the better for anyone else thinking about a similar project if it's all in the one place.

The little tangle of wires you see in the opening picture is indeed my Soarer's converter. I've half finished fitting it into an aluminium box since then, with three sockets on the sides for my various different keyboard connectors. An external converter makes a lot of sense with me as I've a whole mess of oddball keyboards I like to use. I'm just slow at metalwork.

But others frequently fit the Teensy inside their keyboard's case to make a single use internal converter. These IBMs have a lot of room inside, and a Teensy is so small it's very easy to stow away. They then replace the keyboard's original cable with a USB lead instead. Very smart.

What option would you rather explore? Unless you're into using lots of different keyboards like me, I'd say the internal option is better. A bare Teensy with wires exposed on a desk is not really going to last long! The trouble with internal however is that you'd have to open up the keyboard to install it. I think these Model Ms are like my 122 key and need a 5.5 mm nut driver to get inside.

As for materials: I get my Teensies from Floris in the Netherlands. I need to order some more soon actually.

http://floris.cc/shop/en/teensy/85-teen ... headerpins

Lewis Collard

15 Sep 2013, 18:23

Muirium wrote:What option would you rather explore?
I would rather go for the external adapter. I have precision machining equipment for milling or lathing up a housing for the Teensy, but I'd rather leave the electronics stuff to someone who is more competent at that kind of thing than I am. I'd prefer to keep the keyboard as original as possible, and if I make modifications they should be reversible, which is another reason I'd rather go down the external converter route.

So, if you're up for making another one: Name your price and I'll cover it.

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Muirium
µ

15 Sep 2013, 18:51

Excellent! We have complementary skills. The box building part is where I'm easily flummoxed.

I'll need to buy another Teensy 2 and dig into my spares for the socket. How does £25 inc. postage sound? You name how long you want the wires from the Teensy to RJ45 socket. I've soldered and flashed a few of them now.

Lewis Collard

15 Sep 2013, 20:44

That sounds much better than fair to me. I'll need about three feet of cable. Hit me up by email so I can PayPal or BACS you some money: lewiscollard@gmail.com

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Muirium
µ

17 Sep 2013, 11:05

Emailed you yesterday. Check your PM inbox, I'm sending something that way right now. I've converters to build!

User avatar
Muirium
µ

05 Oct 2013, 16:45

Soarer's converters. Get your keyboard rejuvenating, time-travelling, layout remapping, protocol surmounting converters right here!
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(Both sold, actually…)

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urbancamo

23 Oct 2013, 06:25

I bought one and will be heading down the route of building one of Soarer's converters (for the first time, bless). Has anyone found a reasonably priced source of either blank or clear keycaps that isn't US based?

User avatar
Muirium
µ

23 Oct 2013, 10:25

Hmm… good question. Everyone always says Unicomp, but they are in America of course. You're probably restricted to buying second hand over here.

I've heard of buckling spring blanks and relegendables (caps with detachable clear sections at the top so you can slide in a legend of your choosing and clip the top back on) but not clear bodied caps. Those would be quite entertaining to watch while the spring buckles inside!

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Halvar

23 Oct 2013, 10:41

Unicomp has a reseller in Germany who sell single caps for 0.50 €, but unfortunately no full sets at a reduced price. They seem to be clearing their stock though, so maybe they'll accept an offer:

http://www.fuchs-shop.com/en/shop/36/

User avatar
Muirium
µ

23 Oct 2013, 10:47

Oh, nice! Thanks Halvar, I might get a few of these.

User avatar
urbancamo

02 Dec 2013, 23:15

I've just built a particularly ugly converter for one of these terminal keyboards! All about style, me. However, on the plus side I did manage to use a Pro Micro Leonardo compatible microcontroller board, available for £2.11 direct from Hong Kong via eBay (http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/New-Pro-Micro ... 5d408c1fe6) - I have remapped the keys, where possible, to be as close to a standard model M as possible, here is the map for reference:

remapblock
ESC NUM_LOCK
NUM_LOCK PAD_SLASH
SCROLL_LOCK PAD_ASTERIX
PAD_PLUS PAD_ENTER
PAD_ASTERIX PAD_MINUS
PAD_MINUS COMMA
F23 PRINTSCREEN
F24 SCROLL_LOCK
F13 ESC
endblock

It took me a while to find a piece of software that would download Soarer's HEX file to this device - in the end I found that Arduino Builder (http://forum.arduino.cc/index.php?topic=151774.0) setup to write to a Leonardo device did the trick. The board itself is programmable direct from the Arduino IDE/Sketchpad without issue, but because of the shuffling of COM devices required programming a HEX file was a case of finding a piece of software that would do this forced shuffling. Arduino Builder does the trick...

User avatar
Halvar

02 Dec 2013, 23:29

Wow, that is a dirt cheap teensy replacement, Great find, thanks for that!

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