Maxi Switch S/N 749-199 / Commodore PET add-on external keyboard.

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seebart
Offtopicthority Instigator

20 Sep 2016, 21:14

Thanks to Wodan I was able to pick this up locally;

thanks to snuci I learned some more about keyboard and corrected errors in this thread.

this is a add-on external keyboard for the Commodore PET (I do not know for which revision of the PET) that looked like this with its case:
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You can read about Maxi Switch and CBM here:

wiki/Maxi_Switch

wiki/Commodore_International
"Within a year Commodore had enough negative feedback about their chiclet keyboard that they decided to introduce a standard keyboard model. To make space for the “real” keyboard, they had to remove the integrated cassette tape drive. Just after that, the expensive metal cases were replaced with plastic cases. By 1980 the PET had a massive 12″ black and white monitor version which later became standard."
- http://www.commodore.ca
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I really bought this for the keycaps which I find quite beautiful.

About the PETSCII characters (text wall warning):
Spoiler:
The PET (and other 8-bit Commodore machines) don't use standard ASCII. The table below shows what appears when values (here listed in hexadecimal) are POKEd to the PET's screen memory.

There are two characters per number because the character set could be changed from the default graphics character set (which had only upper case alphabetic characters) to a character set that included both upper and lower case characters.
The character table above was actually taken from a VIC-20's character ROM, and modified to match what I saw on my PET. The characters in the range $01-$1A were exchanged with the characters in the range $41-$5A in the second character set. Likewise for the second character set, $81-$9A were exchanged with $C1-$DA.

A later generation of PETSCII swapped upper case characters for lower case characters on the screen when changing to character mode, but this old PET keeps the upper case characters the same and only changes graphics characters to lower case alphabetic characters. Additionally, characters $1C and $9C were changed from the backslash on early PETs to the British Pound symbol that is found on the VIC-20.

Note that these characters are what appear on the screen when values are put directly into display memory, and don't represent the CHR$() values in BASIC. With the original PETs, CHR$(65) delivers "A" in character mode as it should. It is on later machines that CHR$(65) becomes "a". The older machines used something closer to ASCII than the newer ones.
On the PET, unlike the VIC-20 and Commodore 64, character sets could not be swapped from the keyboard. To be able to use lower case alphabetic characters, it was necessary to issue the command POKE 59468,14. To return to graphics mode, it was necessary to issue POKE 59468,12.

In case you're tempted to laugh at the odd condition of the PET character set and keyboard, it might be worth noting that the much more expensive Apple II didn't have character graphics or lower case characters without replacement chips and a modification to the keyboard, and the competing TRS-80 was also stuck in upper case.
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The spherical doubleshots are grey alphas and dark blue for the function keys. I really bought this for the keycaps which I find quite beautiful. I love the the PETSCII characters.
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This keyboard uses plate mounted Maxi Switch vintage linear swtiches. Picture of the switch internals courtesy of hwood34 / DT Wiki. More switch pictures here:

wiki/Maxi_Switch_vintage_linear
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Nice Maxi Switch logo on the PCB:
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Since the PET was so popular there is a ton of information online even people converting these keyboards to USB:

http://blog.tynemouthsoftware.co.uk/201 ... board.html

Oh look this same guy is doing what I usually do:

http://blog.tynemouthsoftware.co.uk/201 ... board.html

Since these have been converted to USB I should go lot_lizard on this and build a custom case for it, apparently it's been done before:
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A video about the original PET computer:
Last edited by seebart on 21 Sep 2016, 22:53, edited 14 times in total.

User avatar
Daniel

20 Sep 2016, 21:22

Beautiful. I wonder if the number block was used to switch between different tiling layouts.

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seebart
Offtopicthority Instigator

20 Sep 2016, 21:31

Daniel wrote: Beautiful. I wonder if the number block was used to switch between different tiling layouts.
Thanks. I have no idea. Also notice that the keyboard in the Ads looks different to mine in layout. The one in the external case at the bottom of my post looks exactly like mine. Added the video.

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Wodan
ISO Advocate

20 Sep 2016, 22:02

Ha! You don't disapoint at all. Amazing research, very nice pictures ... so glad you got it :)

If you can get this to work via USB, I'm really jealous!

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seebart
Offtopicthority Instigator

20 Sep 2016, 22:13

Wodan wrote: Ha! You don't disapoint at all. Amazing research, very nice pictures ... so glad you got it :)
If you can get this to work via USB, I'm really jealous!
Thanks let's just say it was worth it in this case. Whenever any of these old keyboards have no controller and no electronics onboard it's usually a good sign that they may be converted. According to that Tynemouth Software blog I linked that guy apparently did it. He also sells them but 55 pounds is 30 more than this keyboard cost me. If I were to convert this and actually use it I'd also need a case and the Maxi Switch vintage linear swtiches would have to be cleaned and lubed. But I'm much more into the keycaps in this case (the Maxi Switch vintage linears are unspectacular). I might try and get adapters 3D-printed if that's possible so that I can use these lovely doubleshots.

terrycherry

21 Sep 2016, 06:01

What a beautiful keycap! I never seen the special design on the back of keycap and it has three variants.
I should get one if I got luck again.
Seebart, please take more photos and pull out all the keycaps.

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seebart
Offtopicthority Instigator

21 Sep 2016, 14:01

terrycherry wrote: What a beautiful keycap! I never seen the special design on the back of keycap and it has three variants.I should get one if I got luck again.Seebart, please take more photos and pull out all the keycaps.
That's right there are three different types, I did pull all the keycaps but there are no other types. Furthermore all the stems of the Maxi Switch vintage linears are identical so it's got nothing to do with the mount. I can post more picutres, give me some time.

Engicoder

21 Sep 2016, 16:21

The keycaps are very nice. I too love the "PETSCII" symbols. They are a great link in the Commodore heritage carried through to the VIC-20 and C-64. That blue color is so rich. The other gem here is the PWB. I love the older hand lay out with its wavy traces. With no soldermask, the tinning of the traces is so thick and heavy. It gives the logo a 3D effect.
Does anyone know what the the character to the left of the text logo is? I kind of looks like a rotund man with no arms. :)

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snuci
Vintage computer guy

21 Sep 2016, 19:51

Very nice!

Being a collector of Commodore PETs among other things, I couldn't figure out what the "PET Plus 2041" was as I had never heard of that before and I thought I had seen everything. Sadly, there never was a "Pet Plus". I believe that was just the slogan in the advertisement meaning that there were other items you could get. The advertisement you posted only shows half of the ad. There would have been another page with a printer or some other peripheral which would make it the "Plus..." part. That said, the Commodore 2041 was a single disk drive.

I have never seen a PET with this keyboard so I wonder if that picture is a "concept" because that keyboard was a third-party after-market add on as far as I am aware. I still love that keyboard though. I do NOT have one with the aftermarket keyboard but I was close once :) Now I know what kind of keyboard that was. Thanks for posting.

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seebart
Offtopicthority Instigator

21 Sep 2016, 21:49

Engicoder wrote: Does anyone know what the the character to the left of the text logo is? I kind of looks like a rotund man with no arms. :)
You can see the figure better on these Engicoder. HaaTa's of course. The figure almost looks like a robot.
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snuci wrote: Very nice!

Being a collector of Commodore PETs among other things, I couldn't figure out what the "PET Plus 2041" was as I had never heard of that before and I thought I had seen everything. Sadly, there never was a "Pet Plus". I believe that was just the slogan in the advertisement meaning that there were other items you could get. The advertisement you posted only shows half of the ad. There would have been another page with a printer or some other peripheral which would make it the "Plus..." part. That said, the Commodore 2041 was a single disk drive.

I have never seen a PET with this keyboard so I wonder if that picture is a "concept" because that keyboard was a third-party after-market add on as far as I am aware. I still love that keyboard though. I do NOT have one with the aftermarket keyboard but I was close once :) Now I know what kind of keyboard that was. Thanks for posting.
Your right, the ad is from here, corrected my post thanks. That's also why my keyboard looks different from the one in the ad. Thanks for clearing that up. They do call it the "Commodore PET 2001 PLUS Peripherals Brochure" though:

http://www.commodore.ca/commodore-broch ... -brochure/

This page lists quite a few PET models, so is that picture of the Commodore PET 2041+ also fake or a concept or what?

http://www.angeldust.org.uk/Commodore.htm

This on the other hand looks quite real and exactly like mine:
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Although here the Ad does not look like a two-pager but that's impossible to verify. And like you say it could very well be promotional or a concept.
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I think the Ad is just trying to tell the buyer - get the PET...plus get the 2041.

That's from here:

http://www.commodore.ca/commodore-produ ... -computer/



Just solved the mystery, it's my keyboard in a stand alone case. I NEED to get that case from Dave! :lol:
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Commodore (a calculator company) thought it was a good idea to put a calculator style keyboard on their first computer... Some of their customers didn't, and several companies produced add-on external keyboards such as the Maxi-Switch unit shown here. It used a special connector to "Tap" into the internal keyboard connector, allowing either keyboard to be used. Commodore got the message, and all of their subsequent computers provided full size keyboards.
- Daves Old Computers - Commodore PET


http://classiccmp.org/dunfield/pet/index.htm

User avatar
snuci
Vintage computer guy

21 Sep 2016, 23:22

seebart wrote:
You can see the figure better on these Engicoder. HaaTa's of course. The figure almost looks like a robot.
I think of that figure as the "Tin man" like from the Wizard of Oz.
seebart wrote: This page lists quite a few PET models, so is that picture of the Commodore PET 2041+ also fake or a concept or what?
I'm not sure I've ever seen that keyboard built into a Commodore PET. It may have been a prototype but then they went with black and white key caps and a different manufacturer for production. The 2041 disk drive shown was also never produced so I would assume that model of PET was also not produced.
seebart wrote: This on the other hand looks quite real and exactly like mine:
This one is an add-on keyboard that fits on top of where the chicklet keys normally go. The chicklet keyboard is small but that keyboard has to cover up the whole produced when the tape drive is removed. It may be that it just covers up the old chicklet keyboard and tape drive but I haven't seen one disassembled so I don't know for sure.
seebart wrote: I think the Ad is just trying to tell the buyer - get the PET...plus get the 2041.
Yes, I think so too.
seebart wrote: Just solved the mystery, it's my keyboard in a stand alone case. I NEED to get that case from Dave! :lol:
The attachment maxisw.jpg is no longer available
Commodore (a calculator company) thought it was a good idea to put a calculator style keyboard on their first computer... Some of their customers didn't, and several companies produced add-on external keyboards such as the Maxi-Switch unit shown here. It used a special connector to "Tap" into the internal keyboard connector, allowing either keyboard to be used. Commodore got the message, and all of their subsequent computers provided full size keyboards.
- Daves Old Computers - Commodore PET
Yes, the metal case external keyboard is the same but it was another option. I imagine this was more desirable because it's easier to type on and you could still use the tape drive if you plugged this in. I would imagine it would be connected to the internal keyboard connector so the original keyboard would not work.

The original keyboard looks like the following (which is my earliest PET):
Commodore PET 2001
Commodore PET 2001
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You can see why people didn't like the keyboard. As a collector, it's awesome!

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seebart
Offtopicthority Instigator

21 Sep 2016, 23:32

snuci wrote: Yes, the metal case external keyboard is the same but it was another option.
:?:

OK so then my keyboard was offered as two different options, either the cover up or the stand alone version like Dave has. But the layout looks the same so how can you tell what mine was for?

Yes that's the original PET you have there, I did get that much out of my research. But the PET users hated that chiclet keyboard so CBM changed it or rather offered these options like mine? I love how the case opens like a car hood BTW.

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snuci
Vintage computer guy

21 Sep 2016, 23:50

seebart wrote:
snuci wrote: Yes, the metal case external keyboard is the same but it was another option.
:?:

OK so then my keyboard was offered as two different options, either the cover up or the stand alone version like Dave has. But the layout looks the same so how can you tell what mine was for?
You can't. It's the same keyboard mechanism for both models. Yours must be a replacement part because the keyboard normally would have come in the plastic enclosure (for putting on top of the old keyboard) or the metal case (for the external version) if it was complete.
seebart wrote: Yes that's the original PET you have there, I did get that much out of my research. But the PET users hated that chicklet keyboard so CBM changed it or rather offered these options like mine?
Commodore didn't offer that keyboard. It was a third-party version until they made their own.
seebart wrote: I love how the case opens like a car hood BTW.
One of my favourite parts :) Here's a picture of my SuperPET open with the "hood stick" on the left side.

Image

More pics of My SuperPET here. The keyboard on this was pretty much the same for many models.

It doesn't have an interesting keyboard (neither does my PET 2001) so I've never posted pics here.

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