Burroughs TD019

nourathar

07 Feb 2014, 13:47

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Recently I got a Burroughs TD019, the 'extended alphanumeric' keyboard that went with their TD730 / TD830 system, and which is partly programmable. The only document I could find about it dates from november 1979, and I have the feeling this keyboard dates from 1980 when looking at some of the numbers (it says '8002' somewhere), even though there is no human-readable date marked anywhere.
This document has a section about this keyboard:
https://archive.org/details/bitsavers_b ... 79_9065639
and it seems to be essentially the same keyboard as the TP130 HaaTa has:
http://deskthority.net/photos-videos-f8 ... t3664.html
except that the TD019 has more (24!) leds and probably speaks a slightly different protocol.
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I really like the design of this a lot, and a striking difference with IBM boards of the same time. I find the IBM board design more pure / simple and because of that perhaps more timeless, but these ones I find have much more the style of their period and I find them somehow more classy / camp, and because of that more retro / dated now. All that is very personal ofcourse.
The case has yellowed a lot, so I guess this summer I should try to retrobright it. Espeicially on the monitor side the yellowing is extremely uneven, which makes it rather ugly.
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The switches are Hall-effect: I found them a bit scratchy and dissappointing at first, especially considering that my main reason to get this board was to try out these famous switches. But after some lubing they do start to feel fantastically smooth: I am not per se a linear person, but this is something else. Also the switches make it a very silent board, so much more useable in a shared environment than, say, a beamspring.
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This picture has all the kinds of switches in it I could find on the board:
  • 4A3A are the standard switches, sort of comparable to vintage MX blacks, but more substantial, smooth and more 'even' somehow.
  • 4A1A are the lighter switches used in the larger keys that also have stabilizers: the key as a whole feels rather similar to the 4A3A, a bit lighter perhaps, but mostly they tend to feel a bit less smooth.
  • 6A1D are the stabilizers; no stem, very light, little fluffy thing on top
  • 4A8A are the switches used for the blue keys: they are very smooth, but mostly also VERY heavy. No way you will press these by accident, and they would make great continuous controllers (scroll faster by pressing harder). But I don't think that is how they work, ofcourse.
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The caps are gorgeous and thick doubleshots, like the Honeywell caps.
Great legends too, and I like how the keyboard layout has not completely stabilized in this period into ISO or ANSI.
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No date, low serial number...
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The pcb is double sided, so this is only half the story.
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The board-connector on the other side of this cable has 30 wires going in to it: does anybody know how likely this is to work with Soarer's converter ? I have to seriously start looking into how that stuff works, first step will be to connect some 0-5V to it and see if some leds light up.

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Muirium
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07 Feb 2014, 14:08

The retro charm runs rich in this one!

There's a good bit of overlap with the Honeywell, including, alas, a completely Soarer-unfriendly connector. Here's mine:

Image

As parallel as they come. Soarer's converter is for serial interfaces (there's literally just one data line for XT, AT, PS/2 and the IBM terminals it supports). While the Honeywell pinout is reportedly:

Image

None from Kbdbabel's list strikes me as the Burroughs'. Be careful probing it, obviously. I gave up after some experiments with a continuity tester brought up nothing while I pressed keys. It's not just a bare matrix. That would be too easy! Besides, Hall Effect switches don't work like that, they're more like capacitative sensors and need active electronics on board.

As for the feel: these Hall Effect switches certainly need their lube after a few decades! But they're quite something, not least with those awesome caps. I really like the look of your Burroughs' case. The Honeywell's case is so flimsy that I initially had no idea it was such a nice keyboard. The feel is completely different with the PCB on a firm surface instead.

Blue function row with snow white mods and alphas. Hmm… will I have the caps to do that I wonder!

You have more variety of switches, too. Dorkvader's well on the way to becoming an authority on Micro Switch. He tells me my 1983 Honeywell is one of their later boards, after some cost cutting had set in. (Matters got worse later, too.) Note the underside of these caps:

Image

All are from the Honeywell, but some show the older mount and some the later (simpler notched square) design. What with the low serial numbers, I suspect Micro Switch just wasn't moving all that many of these high end keyboards and their customers went elsewhere. Same old story.

nourathar

07 Feb 2014, 14:24

Aha, thanks for that pinout, I suspect mine will be very similar and has perhaps more pins because of those leds ? Some of those are probably controlled from the board, and some from the terminal it connects to. I had vague ideas to try to guess from the pcb what the data outputlines could be and then try to hook up an arduino or similar as a way to see what goes on on those lines, using it as a poor man's scope....
And then try the other way around to see how those leds are controlled.
Your diagram will certainly come in handy for such an excercise.

In principle that could work, but I doubt if the standard arduino routines are fast enough for that and I am not yet versed enough in those things to program them in C. And when I see the -12V in your pinout, it makes me abit more afraid to mess / blow things up...

Apart from the yellowing (and the little bit chipped of on one of the corners) I really like the look of this thing too; it will need some restoring since three of the four plastic legs holding the assembly-with-pcb-and-switches have broken off, but those can be glued back quite easily. And for the rest it feels pretty solid, even if there is relatively little metal in there..

as for the retro vibe, I found lots of eyelashes when cleaning the keyboard, which I image are from this lady:
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mr_a500

07 Feb 2014, 14:32

That's a very nice keyboard. Please tell me where you live so I can send hired goons to your house to steal it. :mrgreen:
Last edited by mr_a500 on 07 Feb 2014, 14:33, edited 1 time in total.

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Muirium
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07 Feb 2014, 14:33

One thing they knew how to do so well in the 60s, 70s and 80s was office porn brochures. I picked up a Mac SE/30 a while ago, and its fancy ring-bound manual is so rich with just this kind of imagery: busy people doing important things in elegantly empty spaces. It's enough to bring a tear to my eye, stuck here in the not so busy, damn messy present!

See kids: this is what we were doing with computers before the internet! And we were well dressed while we did it!

(Well, actually, I wasn't and my young nerddom was really all just gaming, but moving swiftly on…)

nourathar

07 Feb 2014, 14:52

Muirium wrote:One thing they knew how to do so well in the 60s, 70s and 80s was office porn brochures. I picked up a Mac SE/30 a while ago, and its fancy ring-bound manual is so rich with just this kind of imagery: busy people doing important things in elegantly empty spaces. It's enough to bring a tear to my eye, stuck here in the not so busy, damn messy present!

See kids: this is what we were doing with computers before the internet! And we were well dressed while we did it!

(Well, actually, I wasn't and my young nerddom was really all just gaming, but moving swiftly on…)
also Burroughs, but a bit older:
burr0143.jpg
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and here a whole range of their products that seems to include HaaTa's TP130 (front left, fewer labels above the leds than mine):
burroughs_range.jpg
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Muirium
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07 Feb 2014, 14:54

I spy a 60%! Oh, and a lady at the command line with a mullet. I need to lie down…

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mr_a500

07 Feb 2014, 15:02

nourathar wrote:also Burroughs, but a bit older:
burr0143.jpg
I was just looking at that photo before you posted it.
Muirium wrote:See kids: this is what we were doing with computers before the internet! And we were well dressed while we did it!
You mean you don't dress up in a suit and tie before sitting down in front of your computer? I do. I look something like this:

Image

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Muirium
µ

07 Feb 2014, 15:05

Well, I'm more of a white linen kind of chap.

nourathar

07 Feb 2014, 15:08

Muirium wrote:I spy a 60%! Oh, and a lady at the command line with a mullet. I need to lie down…
:lol:

in the reference manual that 60% seems to be the more standard keyboard, and it's either a TD015, TD016 or TD018, since those are the keyboards they mention:
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and they refer to the TD019 as the 'extended keyboard':
manual_extended_keyboard.jpg
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mr_a500 wrote: You mean you don't dress up in a suit and tie before sitting down in front of your computer? I do. I look something like this:
more is more ! who needs a 60% !
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welsinki

07 Feb 2014, 15:52

If only I could go back in time and not destroy all those beautiful old terminals my grandfather used to bring to our house when I was a kid. :oops:

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Daniel

07 Feb 2014, 18:00

I like how they incorporated the same design principles used on modern ultrabooks to make it look thinner :-) Great keyboard.

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HaaTa
Master Kiibohd Hunter

07 Feb 2014, 19:10

I have the 60% kicking around somewhere, just needs to be cleaned and de-rusted...
I've done at least 1 parallel keyboard converter. Likely a bit different though. I might actually have a Bull keyboard around...

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Muirium
µ

07 Feb 2014, 19:48

Converter you say? Gimme details! Once the Kishsaver's conquered, the Honeywell remains my most elusive keyboard. I like to use them as well as simply fondle them every once in a while, in storage.

nourathar

07 Feb 2014, 20:02

is the 60% this model ?

Image

verrry cute !
and yes, do you have any details about that converter ??

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HaaTa
Master Kiibohd Hunter

07 Feb 2014, 20:09

So, mine are all serial (the TP130 and TP110). But, to do a converter realistically, I need a keyboard with the same protocol.
Doing something basic is doable, but usually there are peculiarities with each protocol.

There is some really interesting news regarding the kishsaver, but I'm not the one to release it :D

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Muirium
µ

07 Feb 2014, 20:15

Do make sure to link it, when you can. I'm always late to hear about things on GH.

nourathar

07 Feb 2014, 20:25

HaaTa wrote:So, mine are all serial (the TP130 and TP110). But, to do a converter realistically, I need a keyboard with the same protocol.
Doing something basic is doable, but usually there are peculiarities with each protocol.

There is some really interesting news regarding the kishsaver, but I'm not the one to release it :D
hmm yes, now that you mention it, on that picure of a TP110 the cable is much thinner than on my TD019: that cable is so thick and unwieldly that I took it off.
In fact it makes the keyboard not sit flush on the desk, which I thought was a weird kind of oversight for such a high-end keyboard, so perhaps the case was originally designed for the TP130 ? Or my cable was put on later, or the wrong way around, or whatever.

I would be very interested in more details how to do 'something basic' converterwise, do you use a teensy or something else ?
A strobe and datalines remind me of IC's I used a long time ago: need to brush off that limited knowledge..
Is a teensy or arduino fast enough ?

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HaaTa
Master Kiibohd Hunter

07 Feb 2014, 21:29

Oh yes, a Teensy is plenty fast enough. Just connect all necessary pins to GPIO, make sure there is a pullup/pulldown/nothing on each and that you have the voltages right.
Afterwards, just start pressing keys to see what you get out :P
This is a lot easier with a scope and logic analyzer though :D

nourathar

07 Feb 2014, 21:39

8-) ok, I can manage that !

For another project I made a very simple arduino program that just spits out its inputs values over serial and then some python code that makes nice graphs, like a scope with multiple inputs.
I think that should be good enough to get going..

I just looked at the pictures again that you posted of your TP130, and it is only now that I see that the pcb is very different; I thought it was essentially the same board, but that is only true for the switches and the case, really.
Last edited by nourathar on 07 Feb 2014, 21:43, edited 1 time in total.

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Muirium
µ

07 Feb 2014, 21:41

An easy mistake to make. All the pretty stuff is the same, but what comes out the wire is not!

Best of luck trying to work this one out, Nourathar. And I mean that with the best possible greedy intent: because maybe my Honeywell is getting closer!

nourathar

07 Feb 2014, 21:48

Hey Muirium,
I will certainly update you if I make any progress. I tend to be overoptimistic about how much (or how little) time things take, and first on the keyboardmanialist is to make xwhatsit's converter and try and get that beamspring working, but this board is too nice to not actually use.
(Or is that how all collectors start; with an idea of usefulness that is already way past its expiry date..when there is already no way to actually use all these keyboards you have...)

J.

terrycherry

20 Sep 2015, 14:06

nourathar wrote:
Muirium wrote:One thing they knew how to do so well in the 60s, 70s and 80s was office porn brochures. I picked up a Mac SE/30 a while ago, and its fancy ring-bound manual is so rich with just this kind of imagery: busy people doing important things in elegantly empty spaces. It's enough to bring a tear to my eye, stuck here in the not so busy, damn messy present!

See kids: this is what we were doing with computers before the internet! And we were well dressed while we did it!

(Well, actually, I wasn't and my young nerddom was really all just gaming, but moving swiftly on…)
also Burroughs, but a bit older:
burr0143.jpg
and here a whole range of their products that seems to include HaaTa's TP130 (front left, fewer labels above the leds than mine):
burroughs_range.jpg
nourathar: Many thanks you gave us more info about that type keyboard.
I had seen the TP130 on auction and whether it worth with USD48! The layout is not like HaaTa's but fully same as the picture2 TP130. Could you tell me which year is the picture2?
Did you make it working on modern PC?

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Redmaus
Gotta start somewhere

20 Sep 2015, 15:29

0.0 Hall Effect! These are glorious switches!

What purpose would a 000 key have? All those red LED's look awesome.

Nice find.

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Muirium
µ

20 Sep 2015, 16:14

Purpose? I can think of thousands.


@Terry: PM him.

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sth
2 girls 1 cuprubber

22 Sep 2015, 08:43

Muirium wrote: I spy a 60%! Oh, and a lady at the command line with a mullet. I need to lie down…
Image

nice to see more of these in the wild. i love those switches :ugeek:

nourathar

01 Oct 2015, 11:48

wow, great auction, great keyboard, I hope you get it !

I am sorry, but I did not bookmark the source of that image, and now I do not know anymore. I remember it was some online repository of images having to do with the history of Burrougs. Not sure at all the date was mentioned on that site, even !

At the time, I tried to power up the keyboard. This did not work, and then I gave up.
The keyboard I have is not serial, so getting it too work is really a lot of work, and pretty much impossible without proper documentation (pinouts, protocol). Haata's keyboard is the serial version, so that would be a lot easier. I remember from my research at the time that there were keyboards that looked almost identical, but that were serial, so perhaps you are lucky and it is one of those !

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