Pr1me PST100 (ITW magnetic valve)

User avatar
Ducky Nordic
Kayvee

17 Oct 2013, 23:06

Pr1me PST100 (ITW magnetic valve)

Got myself a nice new keyboard. I was looking for a nice and unused/clean vintage dualtone board and landed on this one. The colors fit the oak furniture of my lair hahah :D

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Anyhoo.
By pictures alone(keycaps) i thought it is going to be with Honeywell hall effect switches but apparently its not. When i received it and started typing it didnt feel the same as Hall effect. Its also linear but has a tad more tactile feel to it(hard to explain).

Its a Pr1me keyboard. Dont know much anout this company. Seemed to be making some computers in 70's and 80's. They based in Massachusetts US but somehow used a popular UK TV show character in their ads, Dr.Who :D
The keyboard came with a template for emacs:
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The keycaps, looking very honeywell'ish
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The F and J caps have a deeper bowl
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Cap bottoms...still looking honeywell'ish but not like on my Bud Honeywell keypad
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The stems...plate mounted...hmm...dont look honeywell
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A logo (in center of pic, upside down)...a square ITW logo (large I, small t and w)
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I opened the thing...
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Switches on plate
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...and switches continue under the plate on to the pcb. Tall switches.
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The bottom side of pcb. Very clean and blocky
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ITW Cortron...also their patents.
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Unfortunately this is as deep as i go. No switch opening :duck:

User avatar
Muirium
µ

17 Oct 2013, 23:18

Sweet board, Kayvee. Love the colour scheme and the bizarre Dr. Who ad! The insides are indeed very Honeywell-ish. Those caps look a lot like late Honeywells: compare the mounts with a selection from my Micro Switch board.
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The grey Caps Lock key has the later mount, Dorkvader tells me. The stabiliser on your space bar also looks similar to me. Is it scratchy plastic bar too?

It could just be the style of the time, but even your well laid out PCB looks quite familiar, down to its four pin switches. But you're quite right of course: ITW ≠ Honeywell, and so these keyboards might not even share the same fundamental Hall effect!

Hopefully those sweet caps are giving you ideas for future projects! Beige sphericals are highly prized here.

User avatar
Ducky Nordic
Kayvee

17 Oct 2013, 23:37

Muirium wrote:Sweet board, Kayvee. Love the colour scheme and the bizarre Dr. Who ad! The insides are indeed very Honeywell-ish. Those caps look a lot like late Honeywells: compare the mounts with a selection from my Micro Switch board.
Spoiler:
Image
The grey Caps Lock key has the later mount, Dorkvader tells me. The stabiliser on your space bar also looks similar to me. Is it scratchy plastic bar too?

It could just be the style of the time, but even your well laid out PCB looks quite familiar, down to its four pin switches. But you're quite right of course: ITW ≠ Honeywell, and so these keyboards might not even share the same fundamental Hall effect!

Hopefully those sweet caps are giving you ideas for future projects! Beige sphericals are highly prized here.
Thanks Mu :)

Wasnt really sure what the switch is(and still arent :p)...but i noticed the ITW logo on switches themselves and a switch patent number on PCB: US 4017850 ...which then lead me to ITW switch DT wiki page with the same patent number listed there:
http://deskthority.net/wiki/ITW_magnetic_valve

User avatar
Daniel Beardsmore

17 Oct 2013, 23:45

Interesting, I don't recognise that variant.

It seems to be half-way between the early and late versions of magnetic valve.

HaaTa will enjoy this find.

User avatar
Halvar

17 Oct 2013, 23:47

Thats a very nice find, from keycaps to switches to layout. Did you find a way to use it on a computer yet?

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Peter

18 Oct 2013, 00:19

Congratulations - I'm not jealous at all :)

BTW : 'Magnetic Valve'
is that UK-English 'Valve' or US 'valve' ?

User avatar
Daniel Beardsmore

18 Oct 2013, 00:53

Is there a difference?

User avatar
Muirium
µ

18 Oct 2013, 01:15

Sure there is. Ours would be metric.

To guess an answer for Halvar's question: there's not a glimpse of the cable anywhere in Kayvee's pictures. I suspect that ominous sign is bad news. Either it's been chopped off or, like my Honeywell here, it's something funky. Don't trust anything that can't even plug into Soarer's Converter!

Anyway, if Ducky Nordic keyboards don't start shipping with Emacs templates, I'll be disappointed.

User avatar
Ducky Nordic
Kayvee

18 Oct 2013, 01:21

Halvar wrote:Thats a very nice find, from keycaps to switches to layout. Did you find a way to use it on a computer yet?
Hahah. Nah, for now its typing with virtual text lines coming out :D Tho would not be impossible to make this one work i think
Last edited by Ducky Nordic on 18 Oct 2013, 01:26, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Ducky Nordic
Kayvee

18 Oct 2013, 01:23

Muirium wrote:Sure there is. Ours would be metric.

To guess an answer for Halvar's question: there's not a glimpse of the cable anywhere in Kayvee's pictures. I suspect that ominous sign is bad news. Either it's been chopped off or, like my Honeywell here, it's something funky. Don't trust anything that can't even plug into Soarer's Converter!

Anyway, if Ducky Nordic keyboards don't start shipping with Emacs templates, I'll be disappointed.
Theres a RJ11 connector behind on this one.

User avatar
Peter

18 Oct 2013, 02:26

Daniel Beardsmore wrote:Is there a difference?
Trying to visualise how those switches function :
Spoiler:
valve.jpg
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Mullard_EL_34_output_valve.jpg
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In Danish the first one is called 'ventil', the second is called 'radio-rør'(tube,like in US-lingo).
You won't believe how many times Danish Tv has told us the computers at Bletchley Park had 'ventiler',
so it's a bit confusing ...

User avatar
Muirium
µ

18 Oct 2013, 02:41

Good point. Both "valve" and "vacuum tube" are figurative names, borrowing from something else. A thermionic valve is just as much a tube as a vacuum tube is a valve. It's both and neither! We needed a proper name for the bloody thing. Fortunately it was killed by the transistor. Or should I say "sand valve"?

Whenever I've heard of magnetic valve switches, I've thought of your first picture, but the second one is a closer metaphor. All these things are "valves", in any case.

User avatar
HaaTa
Master Kiibohd Hunter

18 Oct 2013, 04:39

Neat, another Cortron magnetic valve. This one is an ITW Magnetic Valve Type 2.

I got one early last year from Ascaii: https://plus.google.com/photos/11384566 ... 1302099137

User avatar
Daniel Beardsmore

18 Oct 2013, 09:28

Well, we call them "[thermionic] valves" because that's what they are: a remote-controlled electric current valve. It's not as though "valve" means anything different in Britain — it's just that our name is more specific, i.e. we're describing (albeit vaguely) what we're actually doing with our evacuated tube (controlling the flow of electricity), instead of saying "well, I've made this here glass tube, and there's no air in it …"

User avatar
Muirium
µ

18 Oct 2013, 11:10

There you go Kayvee, now you can join the club of "I got a rare keyboard, but HaaTa got there first!" Welcome aboard!

As for electronic component etymology (why not?), Daniel's right that valve is a better dumb name than tube. (Though I do like the sound of tube, in the abstract. It's more fun to say. That whole room is full o' tubes!) I much prefer abstract ones though, like resistor and diode. Though diode is actually based on an obsolete kind of valve / tube that used to do the function. Diode just means "two electrodes". Capacitors are just as much "diodes" as, uh, diodes. But I guess "one-way-or" didn't roll off the tongue like resistor and capacitor. Transistors could have wound up keeping their valve predecessor's name too. Transistors have three legs, it had three electrodes: it was of course the triode. Fortunately, we dodged that bullet.

User avatar
webwit
Wild Duck

18 Oct 2013, 11:38

Another club? Or should "I got a rare keyboard, but HaaTa got there first!" be our new tagline?

User avatar
Muirium
µ

18 Oct 2013, 11:45

It would surely be the truth.

mr_a500

18 Oct 2013, 14:42

Ducky Nordic wrote:Pr1me PST100 (ITW magnetic valve)

Got myself a nice new keyboard. I was looking for a nice and unused/clean vintage dualtone board and landed on this one. The colors fit the oak furniture of my lair hahah :D

Image
Ah ha! So you're the one who got this. I put in an offer months ago (years?) but got no response. Recently I got an eBay email saying I lost. I thought, "What the hell? I don't remember bidding on any keyb-... oh yeah. Well that sucks."

It's quite a nice looking keyboard. I didn't know those keycaps were Honeywell compatible. If I'd known, I probably would have wanted it more. Those would have looked nice on my keypad.

User avatar
Muirium
µ

18 Oct 2013, 15:55

You're cursed! All this envy of others' Honeywells means your keypad will forever be naked. Well, that or you'll bid high enough at some point.

User avatar
Ducky Nordic
Kayvee

18 Oct 2013, 19:39

Muirium wrote:There you go Kayvee, now you can join the club of "I got a rare keyboard, but HaaTa got there first!" Welcome aboard!
Spoiler:
As for electronic component etymology (why not?), Daniel's right that valve is a better dumb name than tube. (Though I do like the sound of tube, in the abstract. It's more fun to say. That whole room is full o' tubes!) I much prefer abstract ones though, like resistor and diode. Though diode is actually based on an obsolete kind of valve / tube that used to do the function. Diode just means "two electrodes". Capacitors are just as much "diodes" as, uh, diodes. But I guess "one-way-or" didn't roll off the tongue like resistor and capacitor. Transistors could have wound up keeping their valve predecessor's name too. Transistors have three legs, it had three electrodes: it was of course the triode. Fortunately, we dodged that bullet.
Hah, cheers. If ones purpose to get a certain rare vintage keyboard/switch was to be the first one having it around here...yes indeed, that would be futile :D

User avatar
Ducky Nordic
Kayvee

18 Oct 2013, 19:47

mr_a500 wrote: Ah ha! So you're the one who got this. I put in an offer months ago (years?) but got no response. Recently I got an eBay email saying I lost. I thought, "What the hell? I don't remember bidding on any keyb-... oh yeah. Well that sucks."

It's quite a nice looking keyboard. I didn't know those keycaps were Honeywell compatible. If I'd known, I probably would have wanted it more. Those would have looked nice on my keypad.
Aye, noticed few offers in history there :)
I have the Bud keypad as well. The caps, altho very similar, are not compatible.

mtl

19 Oct 2013, 03:33

mr_a500 wrote:Ah ha! So you're the one who got this. I put in an offer months ago (years?) but got no response. Recently I got an eBay email saying I lost. I thought, "What the hell? I don't remember bidding on any keyb-... oh yeah. Well that sucks."
Same here, but my offer(s?) were refused. :-D Funny to see it turn up on DT. Congrats on the nice keyboard, Ducky!

mr_a500

19 Oct 2013, 19:21

Muirium wrote:You're cursed! All this envy of others' Honeywells means your keypad will forever be naked. Well, that or you'll bid high enough at some point.
Honeywell envy... that sounds like a psychological distrubance. I wonder what Freud would think.

My keypad isn't naked. It's just that grey is my least favourite keycap colour. (...after "pale vomit orange")

User avatar
XMIT
[ XMIT ]

25 Feb 2015, 04:51

HaaTa wrote: Neat, another Cortron magnetic valve. This one is an ITW Magnetic Valve Type 2.

I got one early last year from Ascaii: https://plus.google.com/photos/11384566 ... 1302099137
a-Ha! That's what my little tenkeyless Sperry keyboard is! I brought one of these home from Cindy. Mine was missing the Lock key and the /# key. (The other Sperry seems to be Keytronics foam and foil.)

I've added my own photos here:
https://plus.google.com/photos/10439222 ... 1546935057

The best part is toward the end where I managed to take apart a switch completely. We should get these photos on the wiki.
DSC_3520.JPG
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HaaTa did you ever manage to reverse engineer the protocol for this one? I'd like to give the case a good Retrobrighting, the keys a good bath, and connect it to a modern machine.

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elecplus

25 Feb 2015, 05:02

That case came in beige to start with; it was never off-white! Remember the matching terminals upstairs? They are beige too.

User avatar
XMIT
[ XMIT ]

25 Feb 2015, 05:09

The case on this keyboard is definitely yellowed. See:
https://plus.google.com/photos/10439222 ... 3095878795

This is the top case of the keyboard. Part of it was covered by a black plate so the yellowing is clear:
DSC_3467.JPG
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Nothing a little Retrobright can't fix. http://www.retr0bright.com/index.html

andrewjoy

25 Feb 2015, 11:17

That keyboard looks amazing. I hope one day you get it to work. It almost looks good with the yellowed plastic :).

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