Great/Interesting Finds

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Dan

10 Dec 2020, 22:35

Found this beauty in a thrift store, not sure what to do next, lol. I don't know if it's working (i've checked and it's working), otherwise it's in great shape, apart from being dusty. I'm afraid if i don't take it, it will end at a recycling centre, sooner or later... It's way too heavy and bulky for my place. Should i get it, clean it up/restore it and try to resell it? Its weight is around 20 kgs, so shipping is expensive, no matter where i would send it; not sure many would be interested. It's also qwertz, not qwerty... :sigh:
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Last edited by Dan on 11 Dec 2020, 21:48, edited 2 times in total.

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ddrfraser1

10 Dec 2020, 23:05

I don't blame you. If I saw one of those things out in the wild I'd have to pick it up too even though I wouldn't know what to do with it. Wouldn't it be good if keyboards came with that color scheme?

Rayndalf

11 Dec 2020, 01:02

catlady195 wrote:
10 Dec 2020, 20:33
Rayndalf wrote:
03 Dec 2020, 22:34

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-GEAC-l ... 3720375622

Offered $35, free shipping and the seller took it. Took a bit of time to ship, but came in a massive box with tons of bubblewrap.
Followed your lead and offered 35, shipped pretty quick but with less bubble wrap in a smaller package

Overall it seems much dirtier than yours but the only broken key is the spacebar. True luck of the draw it seems
Interesting, the red key on your has white instead of black lettering. The top shell easily comes off with 4 screws. Warm soapy water + a toothbrush followed by rubbing alcohol and eventually brass got mine pretty clean, but I still need new rubber feet.

Does your caps lock actually lock? Mine seems broken.

Luckily most of those marks and grime will clean up, shame about the spacebar (I might just be really dirty, I'm not sure how to lube these switches yet).

catlady195

11 Dec 2020, 03:07

Rayndalf wrote:
11 Dec 2020, 01:02

Interesting, the red key on your has white instead of black lettering. The top shell easily comes off with 4 screws. Warm soapy water + a toothbrush followed by rubbing alcohol and eventually brass got mine pretty clean, but I still need new rubber feet.

Does your caps lock actually lock? Mine seems broken.

Luckily most of those marks and grime will clean up, shame about the spacebar (I might just be really dirty, I'm not sure how to lube these switches yet).
You're right I didn't even notice the different colored lettering. I got the top off earlier but two of the screwposts broke so I haven't washed it yet while I wait for the glue to cure. Mine still had the rubber feet... in the box. I'll have to get some sticky pads and stick them back on.

My caps lock key locks but somewhat inconsistently. It seems you have to press it all the way down and release quickly for it to work reliably.

I did a quick and dirty fix for the spacebar by creating a collar for the switch out of an old broken game case. If you haven't seen it here's a thread about fixing broken switches (in a much more professional way than I did)
viewtopic.php?t=20317

One interesting thing I noticed while working on the spacebar was that the Hi-Tek labelling was on the switches by the spacebar confirming that they're definitely Hi-Tek but the inside of the spacebar was labelled Stackpole. Whenever I have the spacebar off again to clean everything up I'll take a picture.

cakeanalytics

11 Dec 2020, 04:19

Beautiful Selectric specimen indeed.
Someone made an ascii art printer out of these years ago:
https://hackaday.com/2012/06/13/turning ... a-printer/

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hellothere

11 Dec 2020, 15:35

hellothere wrote:
10 Dec 2020, 21:31
Apple Extended Keyboard II - White Alps: $84. That's not a terrible price for one.
Oooh. Submit a "best offer." I got one for $45. $9 shipping, as the ad gives you a choice.

Rayndalf

11 Dec 2020, 15:43

hellothere wrote:
11 Dec 2020, 15:35
hellothere wrote:
10 Dec 2020, 21:31
Apple Extended Keyboard II - White Alps: $84. That's not a terrible price for one.
Oooh. Submit a "best offer." I got one for $45. $9 shipping, as the ad gives you a choice.
Nice. Probably the best vintage board in that price range on EBay at the moment.

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hellothere

11 Dec 2020, 15:56

+1.

I've just dipped my toes into the "best offer" category on ebay and I'm pretty happy with my results, so far. This one is the biggest discount of all the ads I've bid on. I think the minimum was only $5 or so, but that covers the state tax and a bit of the shipping cost.

I'm not sure where I got "white Alps" from, tho. Maybe they took down a screen shot. Anyhow, the one white Alps AE$K II I've seen did not have pine white Alps. Cream Alps are still really nice!

EDIT: Yes, they took down the screen shot.
Last edited by hellothere on 13 Dec 2020, 17:39, edited 1 time in total.

catlady195

11 Dec 2020, 21:12

catlady195 wrote:
11 Dec 2020, 03:07

One interesting thing I noticed while working on the spacebar was that the Hi-Tek labelling was on the switches by the spacebar confirming that they're definitely Hi-Tek but the inside of the spacebar was labelled Stackpole. Whenever I have the spacebar off again to clean everything up I'll take a picture.
Here are those pics
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Rayndalf

12 Dec 2020, 10:50

catlady195 wrote:
11 Dec 2020, 21:12
catlady195 wrote:
11 Dec 2020, 03:07

One interesting thing I noticed while working on the spacebar was that the Hi-Tek labelling was on the switches by the spacebar confirming that they're definitely Hi-Tek but the inside of the spacebar was labelled Stackpole. Whenever I have the spacebar off again to clean everything up I'll take a picture.
Here are those pics
So it's a real stackpole board (or is stackpole the clone? I don't know but I have a Ti99/4a keymodule I still need to do something with).

I haven't pulled the caps off mine, they'll spend some quality time in an ultrasonic cleaner and hopefully I can figure out how to retrobrite them. I guess I could always live with cheese colored keys.

I've spent an embarrassing amount of time (several hours over two evenings) with a damp cloth, soapy water, brasso and a toothbrush detailing the case. I even threw the cable in an ultrasonic cleaner before wiping it off with... brasso :lol:

Nothing like a gritty ammonia based brass polish to clean plastic. I remember hearing about the technique being used to remove decals from Legos, so it seems to be plastic safe (as far as abrasive cleaners go). I still need to buy some rubber feet. Amazon sells identical feet (marketed for lifting PS4s among other things) but it's either $6 for 8 or $10 for 70. Guess I'll go big and hope I have a use for them later.
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Rayndalf

12 Dec 2020, 11:01

ddrfraser1 wrote:
05 Dec 2020, 17:13
Lol, well post your project if you get it 😁
I haven't done anything yet, but it really looks NOS, only a small mark on the case were the cord rubbed a little bit, but it'll cleanup like new. The metal DB9 plug is incredible. The whole board weighs too much, it has a metal backplate and likely an internal plate of some kind. The switches do suck, but it's massive (only 1u wider than an Model M(13), but much heavier.

It'll look great next to my other 911 operator board (cable is telephone to USB from what I've seen, but no idea how it's wired)

I really need to slow down with these purchased. Maybe I'll buy some test equipment to shove in my rack :?
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John Doe

12 Dec 2020, 12:34

https://www.ebay.com/itm/254805426436

Avant Stellar, wonder whats the connection with Omnikey?

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ddrfraser1

12 Dec 2020, 17:09

John Doe wrote:
12 Dec 2020, 12:34
https://www.ebay.com/itm/254805426436

Avant Stellar, wonder whats the connection with Omnikey?
Interesting. I’ve got a black one of these
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ddrfraser1

12 Dec 2020, 17:11

Rayndalf wrote:
12 Dec 2020, 11:01
ddrfraser1 wrote:
05 Dec 2020, 17:13
Lol, well post your project if you get it 😁
The whole board weighs too much
This sentence does not compute

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Polecat

12 Dec 2020, 20:25

John Doe wrote:
12 Dec 2020, 12:34
https://www.ebay.com/itm/254805426436

Avant Stellar, wonder whats the connection with Omnikey?
Avant Stellar is a rebranded Gen4 Northgate Ultra-T. Programmable and Windows keys, but the EEPROM that holds the programming is supposedly prone to trouble. Switches are simplified Alps (SKBM), at least on mine, which is black like ddrfraser1's.

There was also an Avant Prime, which is a rebranded Gen4 Northgate 101. BAE and Windows keys, programmable, not sure if the Prime was available in black, or in beige only. The Avants are heavily built, just like Northgates, with a metal base and plate. But the keycaps are printed, not doubleshot. Good candidates for earlier Alps switches, and better caps if you can cobble together a set to match the odd layout. I ANSIfied mine, and used most of a Tai Hao Dolch cap set.
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catlady195

12 Dec 2020, 21:38

A little bit embarrased of spending 50 including shipping on a worn out tandy keyboard I'll have to wire a whole new matrix into if I to be able to type a capital c with either shift key but I love the look of these tandy 1000 and 2000 keyboards with the funky crowded layout and fujitsu's tombstone style keycaps and it was the cheapest one I've seen for a while
I'll also have to invest some time lubing them because fujitsu leaf spring develop serious binding when heavily used like these ones were
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mr_a500

12 Dec 2020, 22:01

You feel embarrassed spending $50 including shipping on a vintage keyboard? Shit. It costs over $50 just to ship a keyboard to Canada - and that's if it's free. I've even paid $85 to ship a keyboard. That doesn't even cover customs. Even within Canada, it costs around $35 just for shipping.

I also find it funny that these keycaps are referred to as "tombstone style keycaps". I believe I was the one who originated that term years ago.

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TNT

12 Dec 2020, 22:16

I paid 65 for my last board. Add another 65 for shipping and import tax :?

So no need to be ashamed. Aren't those Fujitsu Leaf Spring switches? They're well worth it anyway...

catlady195

12 Dec 2020, 22:25

mr_a500 wrote:
12 Dec 2020, 22:01
You feel embarrassed spending $50 including shipping on a vintage keyboard? Shit. It costs over $50 just to ship a keyboard to Canada - and that's if it's free. I've even paid $85 to ship a keyboard. That doesn't even cover customs. Even within Canada, it costs around $35 just for shipping.

I also find it funny that these keycaps are referred to as "tombstone style keycaps". I believe I was the one who originated that term years ago.
Well its times like this I guess I'm glad I'm not canadian...
And here I thought the 16 dollars for shipping was a bit much.
I suppose in a world where people spend well over a thousand dollars on anything beamspring or microswitch hall effect 50 dollars isnt that much, but for me it feels like a lot to spend on a keyboard that needs a lot of work.

Also tombstone style is the perfect descriptor of the shape so you did a great job naming them.

catlady195

12 Dec 2020, 22:30

TNT wrote:
12 Dec 2020, 22:16
I paid 65 for my last board. Add another 65 for shipping and import tax :?

So no need to be ashamed. Aren't those Fujitsu Leaf Spring switches? They're well worth it anyway...
3rd gen Fujitsu Leaf Springs, yeah. With how worn they are off center presses are binding a lot but centered presses are as smooth as the legends foretold

kelvinhall05

12 Dec 2020, 22:59

Polecat wrote:
12 Dec 2020, 20:25
John Doe wrote:
12 Dec 2020, 12:34
https://www.ebay.com/itm/254805426436

Avant Stellar, wonder whats the connection with Omnikey?
Avant Stellar is a rebranded Gen4 Northgate Ultra-T. Programmable and Windows keys, but the EEPROM that holds the programming is supposedly prone to trouble. Switches are simplified Alps (SKBM), at least on mine, which is black like ddrfraser1's.

There was also an Avant Prime, which is a rebranded Gen4 Northgate 101. BAE and Windows keys, programmable, not sure if the Prime was available in black, or in beige only. The Avants are heavily built, just like Northgates, with a metal base and plate. But the keycaps are printed, not doubleshot. Good candidates for earlier Alps switches, and better caps if you can cobble together a set to match the odd layout. I ANSIfied mine, and used most of a Tai Hao Dolch cap set.
Unrelated but there was an Ultra on ebay the other day with a 1u backspace, any idea what that's about?

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Polecat

12 Dec 2020, 23:04

kelvinhall05 wrote:
12 Dec 2020, 22:59

Unrelated but there was an Ultra on ebay the other day with a 1u backspace, any idea what that's about?
That wasn't an Ultra. Actually a very early (May 1988) gold label 102. Only the second one I've ever seen with the 1u backspace and the ON/OFF switch on the back side, opposite the AT/XT switch.

edit - here's the old thread from the other one:

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=22705

Rayndalf

12 Dec 2020, 23:17

catlady195 wrote:
12 Dec 2020, 21:38
A little bit embarrased of spending 50 including shipping on a worn out tandy keyboard I'll have to wire a whole new matrix into if I to be able to type a capital c with either shift key but I love the look of these tandy 1000 and 2000 keyboards with the funky crowded layout and fujitsu's tombstone style keycaps and it was the cheapest one I've seen for a while
I'll also have to invest some time lubing them because fujitsu leaf spring develop serious binding when heavily used like these ones were
Really cute board. Arrow keys and numpad in useable spots. The only letdown is the lack of bottom row modifiers, but if you figure that out it looks solid. Personally I'd swap delete and insert.

$50 sounds a little high, but $40-45 sounds like a bargain, so I think you did fine :)

I really have trouble assessing value (just look at how many $35 boards I have which would require extensive work to be usable compared to $70 boards which are plug and play or a simple conversions). Hope you get that thing working, it's a good piece (but rewiring the whole thing under the original PCB sounds hellish).

catlady195

13 Dec 2020, 01:57

Rayndalf wrote:
12 Dec 2020, 23:17
Really cute board. Arrow keys and numpad in useable spots. The only letdown is the lack of bottom row modifiers, but if you figure that out it looks solid. Personally I'd swap delete and insert.

$50 sounds a little high, but $40-45 sounds like a bargain, so I think you did fine :)

I really have trouble assessing value (just look at how many $35 boards I have which would require extensive work to be usable compared to $70 boards which are plug and play or a simple conversions). Hope you get that thing working, it's a good piece (but rewiring the whole thing under the original PCB sounds hellish).
Getting used to the positions of ctrl, shift, and caps lock will definitely take some getting used to but other than that I think it won't confuse me too much.

I'm certainly not looking forward to wiring a matrix but at least I have a photo reference so I won't be totally winging it. It's been forever since I've soldered though and I think the iron didn't make the cut when I was last moving so I think I'll spend a little more and get a temp controlled one.

Before going the total rewiring route, though, I might first do a plug-side converter I found instructions for just to get it working at least.
If only when tandy decided to use a din 5 connector they decided to copy ibm's pinout and protocol too...

Jan Pospisil

13 Dec 2020, 14:27

An old logo Dell Bigfoot for a reasonable price in the UK:
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/DELL-AT102-M ... 3789071591

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hellothere

13 Dec 2020, 17:45

catlady195 wrote:
13 Dec 2020, 01:57
Rayndalf wrote:
12 Dec 2020, 23:17
Really cute board. Arrow keys and numpad in useable spots. The only letdown is the lack of bottom row modifiers, but if you figure that out it looks solid. Personally I'd swap delete and insert.

$50 sounds a little high, but $40-45 sounds like a bargain, so I think you did fine :)

I really have trouble assessing value (just look at how many $35 boards I have which would require extensive work to be usable compared to $70 boards which are plug and play or a simple conversions). Hope you get that thing working, it's a good piece (but rewiring the whole thing under the original PCB sounds hellish).
Getting used to the positions of ctrl, shift, and caps lock will definitely take some getting used to but other than that I think it won't confuse me too much.

I'm certainly not looking forward to wiring a matrix but at least I have a photo reference so I won't be totally winging it. It's been forever since I've soldered though and I think the iron didn't make the cut when I was last moving so I think I'll spend a little more and get a temp controlled one.

Before going the total rewiring route, though, I might first do a plug-side converter I found instructions for just to get it working at least.
If only when tandy decided to use a din 5 connector they decided to copy ibm's pinout and protocol too...
You might not have to wire a matrix. I bought a Tandy 1000 this year and there were a lot of new tips and tricks to make it work. Just do some forum spelunking.

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hellothere

13 Dec 2020, 17:54

Definitely interesting: NMB black Hi-Tek / Space Invaders. Windows keys. Split spacebar. Spacebar is programmable. $99, not including shipping.
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1990 Model M 122 $40 + shipping ($11, for me)

1999 UK Model M 122. $40 + shipping ($12 for me.)
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fohat
Elder Messenger

13 Dec 2020, 18:04

I would buy that if it weren't for the small Backspace.

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hellothere

13 Dec 2020, 18:15

I just checked back and it sold. I think someone's reading my posts :).

I've used a few keyboards with the small backspace. It's ... OK. I'd probably end up swapping the / key with another key and re-programming the keys in SharpKeys.

catlady195

13 Dec 2020, 20:16

hellothere wrote:
13 Dec 2020, 17:45
You might not have to wire a matrix. I bought a Tandy 1000 this year and there were a lot of new tips and tricks to make it work. Just do some forum spelunking.
The plug-side converter I mentioned I actually found on a forum you responded to when you got your 1000. Funny how things in life connect.

I'll definitely try what MMcM mentioned on that forum and buy a din 5 female and wire it to a teensy and use the qmk they made before I touch the pcb at all.

Now I just have to decide if I want the 50 dollar questionable soldering station or spend 100 on the Hakko...
Last edited by catlady195 on 13 Dec 2020, 22:45, edited 1 time in total.

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