IBM 3278 Model A02 Restoration - In progress

Deus_LB

28 Dec 2020, 18:36

Hello everyone,

I hope you had great Xmass celebrations !

After many years of observing and learning it is time for me to participate.

As some of you know, I recently acquired probably the last keyboard of my collection. :roll:

It is a Beamspring IBM 3278 Model A02 in German version.

First of all some pictures :
Spoiler:
Freshly opened
Freshly opened
IMG_4507.JPG (749.97 KiB) Viewed 427 times
Assembly (some of the plastic sheet removed already)
Assembly (some of the plastic sheet removed already)
IMG_4520.JPG (1.53 MiB) Viewed 427 times
Top Cover with maintenance booklet (and password :D)
Top Cover with maintenance booklet (and password :D)
IMG_4523.JPG (478.42 KiB) Viewed 427 times
SN and manufacturing date
SN and manufacturing date
IMG_4518.JPG (1.54 MiB) Viewed 427 times
From there some remarks.

First of all I'm surprised by the general state of the keyboard, honestly it's not my first beamspring and if the first one deserved all my attention and a complete restoration, I'm at the stage where I wonder what I'll be able to do on it (expect maybe the switches and the assembly following the darkcruix's guide).

The exterior paint is immaculate, not a single trace, no wear marks or UV damage on the paint.

All the markings look like new, if not too new...

And I come to my first concern, could someone confirm that nothing is wrong? I mean, it's so clean that I doubt it's even been used before, the plastic sheet is certainly old and came easily without force, but it was almost as good as new, almost as when it left the factory.

The back is unmarked, the pads have had little or no use and even the small plastic slot on the underside of the keyboard is practically new. The booklet is new, the ink on the stickers has not moved.
Backside plastic slot
Backside plastic slot
IMG_4519.JPG (412.1 KiB) Viewed 427 times
Some markings :
Spoiler:
Internal Part #
Internal Part #
IMG_4521.JPG (525.32 KiB) Viewed 427 times
Main PCB markings
Main PCB markings
IMG_4522.JPG (566.14 KiB) Viewed 427 times
Top left inside backcover marking
Top left inside backcover marking
IMG_4517.JPG (1.36 MiB) Viewed 427 times
On the other hand the inside of the topcover has felt markings that look like they were made yesterday...


In short, either it's the discovery of the century or someone has gone to a lot of trouble, I would like your opinion.

Second concern, the part that is a bit more annoying. The keyboard cable is actually composed of two cables, one directly connected to the main PCB and the other one goes to another PCB under the upper part of the topcover with the diodes and square buttons.

My first idea would have been to cut it for cleaning and reassembly, but it's probably not the best idea in the world :lol: .

Now what am I supposed to do?

1) Ideally I would like to be able to connect these buttons and even the diodes but I have no idea how to do it. If anyone has an idea :?:

2) Is it a crime to restore a keyboard in such a good condition?

3) Theoretically I would dismantle the whole assembly to clean all the switches and replace the foam but there close to no wiggle on the keys but some are out of alignment.

In advance thank you very much for your help, please don't hesitate to pm me for more details.
Attachments
Upper topcover's PCB with diodes and square buttoms
Upper topcover's PCB with diodes and square buttoms
IMG_4506.JPG (998.42 KiB) Viewed 427 times
Last edited by Deus_LB on 01 Jan 2021, 15:24, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Redmaus
Gotta start somewhere

28 Dec 2020, 18:57

Very nice acquisition, nice to see someone get ahold of one of these!

I would say restore it, you might find that the foam is completely gone when you open it. As for the top cover, I think it would be awesome if this was used for say the power button on your PC, or possibly to open a certain application or something. You could even map to a mic mute or something like that. The LED's could be lock lights, or even an HDD indicator light.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go bump my 3278A02 WTB thread.... :lol:

User avatar
Weezer

28 Dec 2020, 19:07

I'm not sure what you mean by "too new", the keys look to be yellowed in line with the age of the keyboard. It just seems like a nice example that you have there. As some advice, I wouldn't recommend ripping off the contamination shield with the keys on like you have done because the shield will flake and get little bits inside of the key modules, making them much harder to clean out. I would recommend taking all the keys off with a key puller and then pulling the entire shield off while the keyboard is upside down to prevent dust and debris from getting into the switches and making them scratchy.

I'd recommend replacing the foam even if it still feels good because as the foam continues to break down it will eat into the metal housing and eventually affect the key feel, including harming the plastic modules in the keyboard.

I'd also recommend tossing the inner rubber mat and making a replacement out of paper or cardboard, because the rubber that the mat is made out of is toxic if burned and as it breaks down it releases a nasty sticky substance that ruins the colorful gold finish on the metal.

Deus_LB

28 Dec 2020, 19:35

Weezer wrote:
28 Dec 2020, 19:07
I'm not sure what you mean by "too new"
Well I never saw a 40 years old keyboard looks like this one. There is some yellowing yes (and I love it) but appart from this, it seems that only the inner assembly needs to be done, everything else is in pristine condition, I almost got the feeling that it was some kind of elaborate scam tbh...
Weezer wrote:
28 Dec 2020, 19:07
I'd recommend replacing the foam even if it still feels good because as the foam continues to break down it will eat into the metal housing and eventually affect the key feel, including harming the plastic modules in the keyboard.
This is a good advice that I'll take, thing is I really nervous about the stickers on the side of the assembly if I have to use Goo Gone or something similar. Maybe I can make a very strong "bandage" around them to cover any risk of spilling ?
Weezer wrote:
28 Dec 2020, 19:07
I'd also recommend tossing the inner rubber mat and making a replacement out of paper or cardboard, because the rubber that the mat is made out of is toxic if burned and as it breaks down it releases a nasty sticky substance that ruins the colorful gold finish on the metal.
Well that is something I wasn't aware of, but I'm not really a fan of cardboard, any other idea on another material ?

Thank you very much for your help !

User avatar
Weezer

28 Dec 2020, 20:29

Deus_LB wrote:
28 Dec 2020, 19:35

Well that is something I wasn't aware of, but I'm not really a fan of cardboard, any other idea on another material ?
Sure, you can use any material that will lie firmly and is nonconductive. That layer just serves as a spacer for the PCB so that it doesn't touch any metal. You could 3D print a piece or use a different sheet of some kind, I just suggested noncorrugated cardboard because that was something that I had lying around as an art supply.

User avatar
digital_matthew

28 Dec 2020, 21:35

First of all big congrats on the keyboard! It is my absolute favorite and though the layout makes it useless to me it would be the crown jewel of my collection.

As to what to do with the LEDs on the top of the case, I'm not sure if you've seen orihalcon's 3279 video, but he's made them work:

https://youtu.be/_UmhT_NL8Jo

As to what to use as replacement foam, urethane art foam may work. I've never restored a beamer so be sure to get a second opinion.

https://www.hyglossproducts.com/arts-an ... heets.html

Deus_LB

28 Dec 2020, 23:35

digital_matthew wrote:
28 Dec 2020, 21:35

As to what to do with the LEDs on the top of the case, I'm not sure if you've seen orihalcon's 3279 video, but he's made them work:

https://youtu.be/_UmhT_NL8Jo

As to what to use as replacement foam, urethane art foam may work. I've never restored a beamer so be sure to get a second opinion.

https://www.hyglossproducts.com/arts-an ... heets.html
Of course I saw the vid, would love to hear from Orihalcon about how he made it possible ! Pretty sure it’s cosmetic only, would be kinda nightmare to bind it I guess ?

I’ll look it your material recommendation.

I think I’d go all in on this project and get the metal stems anodized with the same rainbow color of the chassis (my 5251 got them like that, but they were rusted and evapo rust just removed of the anodization...

arcticfox

29 Dec 2020, 01:08

Congrats on your acquisition!
Truly one of the most unique beamspring boards.

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