Alps AKB-3420 vintage keyboard

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snuci
Vintage computer guy

30 Nov 2015, 14:07

I thought I had a post here for this very snappy looking Alps keyboard with branded enclosure but I didn't (these were posted at GH in reply to the eBay auction that was mentioned there). So here are some pictures. It is a beauty and very good for early 80's S-100 computers as these generally had toggle switches for data entry and led blinking lights for output. If someone wanted a monitor and keyboard, one would generally use a terminal. In the odd cases, S-100 computers had video cards specifically for monitors so keyboards like this would be used along with them. Video cards were not common so keyboards like this would not be either.

Anyway, here are some pics:
Alps AKB-3420 - complete
Alps AKB-3420 - complete
Alps AKB-3420 - complete.jpg (276.36 KiB) Viewed 4615 times
Alps AKB-3420 - profile
Alps AKB-3420 - profile
Alps AKB-3420 - profile.jpg (238.78 KiB) Viewed 4615 times
Alps AKB-3420 - front of keyboard assembly
Alps AKB-3420 - front of keyboard assembly
Alps AKB-3420 - front of keyboard assembly.jpg (340.06 KiB) Viewed 4615 times
Alps AKB-3420 - back of board
Alps AKB-3420 - back of board
Alps AKB-3420 - back of board.jpg (471.45 KiB) Viewed 4615 times
Alps AKB-3420 - keyboard assembly profile
Alps AKB-3420 - keyboard assembly profile
Alps AKB-3420 - keyboard assembly profile.jpg (312.09 KiB) Viewed 4615 times
Alps AKB-3420 - serial number
Alps AKB-3420 - serial number
Alps AKB-3420 - serial number.jpg (337.02 KiB) Viewed 4615 times
Alps AKB-3420 - key caps removed
Alps AKB-3420 - key caps removed
Alps AKB-3420 - key caps removed.jpg (372.25 KiB) Viewed 4615 times
Alps AKB-3420 - empty case internals
Alps AKB-3420 - empty case internals
Alps AKB-3420 - empty case internals.jpg (253.34 KiB) Viewed 4615 times
Attachments
Alps AKB-3420 - key caps removed
Alps AKB-3420 - key caps removed
Alps AKB-3420 - back of key caps.jpg (255.75 KiB) Viewed 4615 times

User avatar
BlueBär

30 Nov 2015, 14:22

What a beautiful board!

User avatar
seebart
Offtopicthority Instigator

30 Nov 2015, 15:09

OH GOD it's the Alps holy grail ! :o :shock:

User avatar
klikkyklik

30 Nov 2015, 15:12

Wow, snuci - you've outdone yourself! Awesome!!

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ramnes
ПБТ НАВСЕГДА

30 Nov 2015, 15:13

Yeah, I really hesitated on getting that one. Great board!

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Chyros

30 Nov 2015, 15:19

Haha I bet some people would give an arm and a leg for that layout xD . Very nice board, and it looks like it's in outstanding condition :) .

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seebart
Offtopicthority Instigator

30 Nov 2015, 15:26

Chyros wrote: Haha I bet some people would give an arm and a leg for that layout xD . Very nice board, and it looks like it's in outstanding condition :) .
Yeah I would ! :x :cry:

User avatar
Touch_It

30 Nov 2015, 17:46

Large Q key will be the new meta. Awesome board!

terrycherry

01 Dec 2015, 11:19

Is the S-100 computer stand for the "Micro computer" on that day?

User avatar
Muirium
µ

01 Dec 2015, 12:12

Man, that profile! I'm referring to this image every time discussion of rows on high profile sphericals comes up!

Image

"snuci's tall assed alps"

User avatar
snuci
Vintage computer guy

01 Dec 2015, 18:00

terrycherry wrote: Is the S-100 computer stand for the "Micro computer" on that day?
"S-100 computer" actually refers to computers that utilize the S-100 bus much like ISA, PCi etc. More information about the S-100 bus is available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S-100_bus. Below are three examples of S-100 computers from from my collection.

MITS Altair 8800, 8800a, 8800b (from top to bottom)
MITS Altair 8800, 8800a, 8800b (from top to bottom)
MITS-Tower-small.jpg (65.14 KiB) Viewed 4484 times
[/url]
(You can click to see a bigger picture)

The input is the switches and the output is the lights. Naturally, they aren't too interesting on a keyboard forum other than knowing that this is where it all started before keyboards because early mainframe computers also started with switches and lights.

There is a fourth Altair called the Altair 8800B Turnkey that does not have any switches or lights. This was meant to connect to a terminal and came with a Beehive B100 terminal.

terrycherry

02 Dec 2015, 12:55

Interesting. Hope to see what the switch it has.

nourathar

02 Dec 2015, 23:52

super gorgeous !

User avatar
keycap

03 Dec 2015, 03:23

Closely resembles a Kishsaver. That logo and those spherical caps look amazing... I've never seen a 1.75x1-sized Q key, though.

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keycap

03 Dec 2015, 03:27

terrycherry wrote: Interesting. Hope to see what the switch it has.
They're Alps SKCC Tall Cream switches, I believe.

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snuci
Vintage computer guy

03 Dec 2015, 03:32

keycap wrote: I've never seen a 1.75x1-sized Q key, though.
Pretty weird, huh? Looks like a way to cheat and not have a 1/2 key there so that the key cap footprint remained square.

Seebart was good enough to create a Wiki entry for this board. I have the manual so I'll scan it tomorrow and make it available to Seebart so he can post it in the Wiki article as well if anyone is interested.

wiki/Alps_AKB-3420

terrycherry

03 Dec 2015, 04:14

You should upload the manual. I hope to make it to USB.

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snuci
Vintage computer guy

03 Dec 2015, 13:31

I made a quick web page at my site here: http://vintagecomputer.ca/vintage-alps- ... -keyboard/

The manual is there as image files and as a PDF. Enjoy.

andrewjoy

03 Dec 2015, 13:36

Oh wow , that thing is amazing , looks so sexy!

jacobolus

21 Mar 2016, 23:20

Interesting. This Bondwell Portable Computer Model 12 seems to have a very similar keyboard – the main section is identical.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/111940528976
Image

I thought the weird non-standard stagger (1/2u between each row) was a Bondwell-specific thing, considering their later Cherry MX blue laptop keyboards have a (1/4u between rows) non-standard stagger. Guess it was something Alps cooked up though.

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inyourgroove

08 Apr 2016, 07:26

Just got one of these in from Japan. The PCB layout is quite different! Also came with a really nice box as well. Unfortunately the manual was not included, seems the 'jumpers' are not the same either. The pinout seems to be the same though, I am hopeful I will be able to fix up an adapter.

Image

Image

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User avatar
snuci
Vintage computer guy

08 Apr 2016, 12:56

Very cool! Thanks for posting the pics. That is strange that the boards are different. Can you post a pic of the front on the keyboard assembly without the case? I'd like to see how much difference there is in dates. I assume this was made in Japan seeing as it came from there? It is possible that one of them is "serial" and the other is "parallel" so that's why the boards would be different but the board numbering and even the Alps logo shouldn't be different. They, otherwise, look identical from the outside.

The only other one I've seen was in the Japanese auctions so at least now we know who has it. Congrats!

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seebart
Offtopicthority Instigator

08 Apr 2016, 13:07

Sweet, I'm pretty sure that's the one I was looking at. Congrats.

terrycherry

08 Apr 2016, 18:34

Glad to know three of us having this keyboard! Love the original box here.
I excited that your PCB is differ to us, becasue mine and snuci's keyboard are the same PCB.
Hope to see the switches inside your keyboard right here.

User avatar
inyourgroove

08 Apr 2016, 20:45

This was the one on the Japanese auction site bought through a proxy last month. This defiantly uses the same parallel connection ASCII interface.

Seems to have the same switches as the others:
Image

Date code 7th week 82. so early 1982 build date?
Image

Definitely made in Japan.
Image
Image
Image

Serial sticker is not the same:
Image

User avatar
snuci
Vintage computer guy

08 Apr 2016, 21:52

While my internal ASSY/MFG sticker has different information on it, mine has "Model No KCCAB902" printed on the front of the circuit board (visible in my pictures above). Your "Assembly Number" on the sticker is KCCAA902 (it not visible on the PCB pictures you have, so they are not far off if that Assy No. matches your Model No.

It's probably a small difference like Serial vs Parallel, ASCII vs EBCIDIC, or something like that that is enough of a change to the circuitry that it makes the PCB look totally different.

terrycherry

11 Apr 2016, 13:15

As you said your keyboard is the early version of AKB-3420.
That make sense about the electronics and the old trains on PCB.
Thanks for the photos.

User avatar
alh84001
v.001

27 Jun 2016, 14:09

Just won this one from a Japanese auction. I was hoping it would go under the radar, but some other people were also paying attention. It will take some time for it to reach me, but from the looks of it, it is more than worth it. It looks absolutely gorgeous. And it will be my first encounter with SKCC.

Looking at the pics at http://page18.auctions.yahoo.co.jp/jp/a ... enlargeimg, this one has a ribbon cable coming out of it. Doesn't look original to me, so I am wondering what that connector on the other side is.

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seebart
Offtopicthority Instigator

27 Jun 2016, 14:13

Regarding SKCC that's about as nice as it gets IMO. I just really don't like to import from the other side of the globe, not that this Alps keyboard will ever be sold here. Do share some pics with us when you get it.

User avatar
alh84001
v.001

27 Jun 2016, 14:47

Yeah. I couldn't resist it. It's got that kishy vibe. I was actually looking for some 5576 boards, and after I missed A01 for about $20, this seemed like a good way to vent some steam. Expect pics in some two months time :D

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