Atari ST

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The Atari ST was a series of computers from Atari. "ST" stood for "SixTeen", referring to its Motorola 68000 CPU having a 16-bit data bus. "Mega ST", "STm", "STfm" and "STe" noted different hardware variations. The Atari TT (ThirtyTwo) and Atari Falcon had 32-bit data buses.

It was especially popular among musicians because all models included also MIDI in and out as standard.


The keyboard uses a proprietary serial protocol at 7812.5 Baud (500 KHz ÷ 64) to a 6301 microcontroller. The keyboard has two D-subminiature DE-9 ports, of which the first is for the mouse and both can be used for Atari-compatible joysticks. The keyboard controller also has a realtime clock with one-second accuracy.[1]

Integrated keyboards also have Power and FDD disk activity LEDs.



Silitek dome with slider: slider over individual rubber domes with conductive rubber on PCB. Silitek as an OEM is not confirmed, but the keyboards match Silitek's patented switch design.

The keycap mount is a cruciform mount. It is slightly bigger than Cherry MX making it incompatible. Keycaps are double-shot light grey with brown letters, or on the Atari Falcon: dark grey with light letters. Most keys have cylindrical profile except for the backwards-L Return key which has a spherical profile.

The key feel is very mushy (at least today) and the keys are wider than standard (which can impair typing accuracy).

Confirmed to be integrated within the Atari ST FM,[2] and Atari STe but also reported to be the type found in the Atari 520 ST, 1040 ST, STF, STFM and Falcon.[3] In integrated computer cases the case screws can be identified by being in square holes where as other screws are in circular holes.


The Mega STE has been found with a Mitsumi KPQ Type keyboard.[4]


There is a stand-alone variant with Cherry MX Black switches.[5] It was shipped with the Mega ST.[6] The keys are in the same brown-on-gray doubleshot style as for the more common Silitek variant but with different cruciform mounts for switch and stabilisers.[7]

See also


  1. K. Gerits, L. Englisch, R. Bruckmann — Atari ST Internals, 3d Edition. 1988. ISBN 0-916439-46-1
  2. Atari-Forum — [PICS] Keyboard LED replacement
  3. eBay — Atari 520 1040 ST STF STFM STE Falcon keyboard Letter Plunger And Connector [Volatile reference]
  4. AtariAge Forums — My Mega STE restoration......or just clean up ?
  5. Flickr: HaaTa's collection — Atari ATW800 US. Retrieved 2018-06-03
  6. WUDSN — Revision 2017 - Atari Mega ST
  7. Geekhack—Inside an Atari MegaST keyboard. Dated 2019-02-05. Retrieved 2019-02-06