Key Tronic Corp. Serial No.19790

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seebart
Offtopicthority Instigator

23 Oct 2015, 15:23

The construction of this keyboard is amongst the sturdiest and heaviest I own.
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Top and bottom parts of the case are made of thick metal, there is some rust on the case. The PCB is mounted onto the top part of the case by screws at six points. Seems ridiculous to have such a heavy metal case and then have the switches PCB mounted.
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At 43cm wide, 23cm depth its not really big. 7,5cm tall in the back, 4cm in the front.
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This keyboard sits on big 2cm high rubber feet, not excessive at 5,4 Kilogramms!
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The foam and foil switches are PCB mounted.
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All the swtiches can be removed by screws from the PCB.
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Upon opening a few switches the disintegrated foam crumbled out while others are in really good shape.As you can see the swtiches are constructed and mounted in rows of three, four and five swtiches on the PCB.
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There are also single switches and LED switches. While the spring sits on top of the slider on most of the switches, the design of the LED switch is slighty different, with a smaller spring inside the switch housing instead.The switch is simple in design, linear, quite smooth with no buckling rubber sleeves or any other parts present like in other foam and foil swtiches at a travel distance of aproxx 7mm.I have not measured the actuation force which seems to vary due to corroded(?) springs.
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The production date on the PCB sticker reads 11.77 while there is a small marking in the bottom left corner of the PCB reading Jan. 1978.
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There is no branding in or on the case, the only branding being on the side of the connector reading "Cannon".
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Say hello to Mr. flat top three! The keycaps are nice but cannot compete with Micro Switch.
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I will add this to our wiki. If any of you have any more information on this or a similair keyboard, please share it with us.

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klikkyklik

23 Oct 2015, 15:58

Great pictures, seebart! Cool board.

terrycherry

23 Oct 2015, 18:23

Wow, never seen the variant switch again. Look like the Hi-tek modular.
Good job,seebart!

mr_a500

23 Oct 2015, 18:43

Nice dismantling photos, seebart!

There are a couple keyboards with this switch in this thread:
http://deskthority.net/photos-f62/key-t ... t3594.html

By 1979, Key Tronic switched to a round slider, switches on metal plate and by 1981 they changed the PCB pads from round to "butterfly" and improved the foam.

mr_a500

23 Oct 2015, 19:00

seebart wrote: I have not measured the actuation force which seems to vary due to corroded(?) springs.
Corroded springs? Possibly that's why they changed to a round slider with spring on the outside. With the spring on the outside, air can flow preventing moisture buildup. (but it's just a theory)

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seebart
Offtopicthority Instigator

23 Oct 2015, 19:11

OK thanks for the infos mr_a500.I know you have some Key Tronic knowledge. The springs are on outside, on top of the slider right under the keycap. Only the LED sliders have a smaler spring inside. Still, some of the normal springs seem eroded in some way.
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Last edited by seebart on 23 Oct 2015, 19:19, edited 1 time in total.

mr_a500

23 Oct 2015, 19:18

Oh yeah, right. I should have looked more carefully at the pictures in the thread I linked, but I was focused on your photo with the spring underneath. (Doh!)

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seebart
Offtopicthority Instigator

23 Oct 2015, 19:22

No problem, added a phone pic of some of the springs. If anyone noticed a little keycap color mismatch in my pictures, I got two complete keyboards of these. The other one is from 1980 and has beige alphas and grey function keys. I mixed a little for the photoshoot.
Last edited by seebart on 23 Oct 2015, 19:31, edited 2 times in total.

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zslane

23 Oct 2015, 19:26

Those keycaps are vintage sphericals. All vintage sphericals are special. I could stare at them for days...

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seebart
Offtopicthority Instigator

23 Oct 2015, 19:29

Yes they are zslane, but my Micro Switch sphericals are nicer. These were worth cleaning though. ;)

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snuci
Vintage computer guy

23 Oct 2015, 19:45

Any idea of the age of this keyboard? I have a Beehive B-100 terminal with Key Tronic foam and foil key switches from 1976 era and they look like the Apple Lisa keyboard key switches.

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seebart
Offtopicthority Instigator

23 Oct 2015, 19:50

I'll quote myself:
The production date on the PCB sticker reads 11.77 while there is a small marking in the bottom left corner of the PCB reading Jan. 1978.
;)

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snuci
Vintage computer guy

23 Oct 2015, 19:52

seebart wrote: I'll quote myself:
The production date on the PCB sticker reads 11.77 while there is a small marking in the bottom left corner of the PCB reading Jan. 1978.
;)
Sorry, I missed that in the post. That is odd. Maybe my terminal is later? I'll have to take it apart and take some pics :)

Thanks.

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seebart
Offtopicthority Instigator

23 Oct 2015, 19:56

I don't really find that odd since we don't exactly know when what series swtich was produced and then used. There may well have been overlap.

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Chyros

23 Oct 2015, 22:42

Really cool-looking board, nice! :D Thanks for posting the pictures. I thought at first this might be a proper mechanical Key Tronic (apparently they used to make actual switches at some point) but it's still foam and foil D: .

mr_a500

23 Oct 2015, 22:48

I think the first Key Tronic switches were magnetic reed. They stopped making them around 1977. Foam & foil was obviously much easier and cheaper to produce.

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seebart
Offtopicthority Instigator

23 Oct 2015, 22:53

It's still a "proper mechanical Key Tronic" Chyros! The foam and foil switch just isn't the nicest in the world. ;)

mr_a500

23 Oct 2015, 23:04

My 1982 Victor 9000 Key Tronic foam & foil is my favourite linear switch keyboard - light springs, wonderfully smooth. Yes, I like it better than Micro Switch, Licon hall effect and ALPS. (you think I'm crazy?! ...maybe I am)

I think it has something to do with the light springs used in the Victor. My three other Key Tronics have firmer springs and don't feel as nice.

Edit: no, it's not just the springs. I swapped springs between two Key Tronics, but the Victor still felt better. The sliders are much smoother for some reason. It's not wear either because I have a very worn Key Tronic and a NOS one. Interesting. I better get out my lab coat.

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seebart
Offtopicthority Instigator

23 Oct 2015, 23:12

mr_a500 wrote: My 1982 Victor 9000 Key Tronic foam & foil is my favourite linear switch keyboard - light springs, wonderfully smooth. Yes, I like it better than Micro Switch, Licon hall effect and ALPS. (you think I'm crazy?! ...maybe I am)

I think it has something to do with the light springs used in the Victor. My three other Key Tronics have firmer springs and don't feel as nice.
The way this switch is constructed it is obviously very easy to change the springs. I'm not saying I don't like the switch feel, if it was only plate mounted. :(

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