Decision Data terminal keyboard (IBM 5251 clone?)

User avatar

30 Mar 2020, 19:57

Recently I bought a "Decision Data" terminal keyboard for the following reasons:
- I like everything, with my favourite XT layout
- The keyscaps are very precise copies of the ones from the IBM 5251
- The brownish colour of the keycaps looked very "70s"
dd-01.jpg (447.26 KiB) Viewed 650 times
Well, the last reason was "dropped", after I treated the caps to hydrogen peroxide :D :
dd-02.jpg (376.56 KiB) Viewed 650 times
... which made the similarity to the IBM 5251 even more apparent.
For comparison:
dd-03.jpg (464.92 KiB) Viewed 650 times
(One extra point for the one, who finds the only difference in the legends of the two keyboards.)

Keycaps close-ups before/after:
dd-04.jpg (180.99 KiB) Viewed 650 times
dd-05.jpg (195.98 KiB) Viewed 650 times
The foam and foil switches in all their rotten glory. Here you can also see one of the two biggest failings of this keyboard: A space bar stabiliser, that's not only hidden inside the switch assembly, but also made of bendable plastic!!! :shock:
dd-06.jpg (271.8 KiB) Viewed 650 times
Here you can see the other problem: The ISO-enter has its switch not in the middle, but in row 2 - without any stabilisation whatsoever. And if you don't hit it above the switch, it does indeed bind quite horribly. :?
dd-07.jpg (256.81 KiB) Viewed 650 times
Otherwise the switches aren't bad, actually. Especially the properly stabilised 3u wide keys feel like a linear version of their beamspring equivalent.

The PCB - with date 1983:
dd-08.jpg (458.58 KiB) Viewed 650 times
dd-09.jpg (468.66 KiB) Viewed 650 times
A few more pictures. Note the unusual profile of the enter key.
dd-12.jpg (212.13 KiB) Viewed 650 times
dd-10.jpg (313.63 KiB) Viewed 650 times
dd-11.jpg (219.84 KiB) Viewed 650 times
dd-13.jpg (200.89 KiB) Viewed 650 times
(Note volume knob and cut-out for speaker.)
dd-14.jpg (524.53 KiB) Viewed 650 times

User avatar

31 Mar 2020, 00:45

That's a nice one. I actually really like the old "vintage" Key Tronic F&F switches. It's a sharp looking board and good job with the retrobrighting!

Post Reply

Return to “Workshop”