Datalux SpaceSaver

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Datalux SpaceSaver series
Datalux3.jpg
FCC ID HE829NMICA (Microtype MT-1; 1988)[1]
Branding "microtype", Datalux
Layouts ANSI-derived custom
Keyswitches MEI T-15 series, Cherry ML
Interface USB
Previously, AT/XT switchable and PS/2
Introduced Ca. 1988[2]
Discontinued Yes
Price $130 basic
$195 with GlidePoint (2012)
Website www.datalux.com/products/keyboards/

The Datalux SpaceSaver, introduced circa 1988 as the Mechanical Enterprises Microtype Space-Saver Keyboard (styled as "microtype"), was a long-standing family of compact keyboards from Mechanical Enterprises (MEI) and its successor, Datalux. Three form factors were available: desk model, tray model, and panel model; each form factor supported an optional Cirque GlidePoint trackpad in place of the central navigation cluster.

An infrared wireless version was available in the form of the nVIEW Toteboard.

The SpaceSaver series is discontinued. The SpaceSaver Keyboards by Datalux: Product End of Life Notification page does not cite a date of publication or date of discontinuation, but information from Devlin suggests that it would have been somewhere between 2013 and 2014, based on an estimate of when they stopped manufacturing the internals.[3] Datalux were only able to say that the product is superseded by a new model; no information about the SpaceSaver series is believed to remain in existence at Datalux.[4]

Description

All three variants conserve width by placing the function keys, navigation cluster and number pad behind the alphanumeric area in four rows: the keyboards trade width for depth. Keycap spacing is standard 0.750″ (19.05 mm), but row spacing is reduced to 0.625″ (0.588 mm) to compensate for having nine rows instead of the usual six.

All three types use flat profile keycaps; the tray and panel versions are completely flat, while the desk model has an ergonomic ramped backplane that elevates the rear half of the keyboard in line with its space-saving arrangement.

Datalux SpaceSaver keyboards have been made with both MEI and Cherry ML switches. There is a general preference of the ML switches over the MEI switches in terms of feel.

On XT/AT switchable models, the keyboard protocol was selected using a jumper under the 1 key.[5] Later models were USB.

Models

Model codes are five characters, with the following possible meanings:

SIGUC
S
Subfamily — M (desk), T (tray), C or P (panel)
I
Interface — U (USB), O or I (non-USB; the letters do not correspond to PS/2 vs XT/AT)
G
GlidePoint — G or P (has GlidePoint), R or D (has navigation cluster); no known explanation for the differences
U
Uncertain; typically 'U' (US English?), but also 'G' on a German MORGW model[6] so this may indicate layout
C
Colour — W (white), C (charcoal); 'B' is assumed to be "black", but it's not adequately clear from photos on the Web whether this is true

Known models

The following table lists all models currently on sale or researched. The list is not exhaustive.

Subfamily Model Central area Colour Connector Layout Switches
Panel PURUC Navigation cluster Charcoal USB
Desk MUPUC GlidePoint Charcoal USB ML
Desk MUPUW GlidePoint White USB ML
Desk MURUC Navigation cluster Charcoal USB ML
Desk MURUW Navigation cluster White USB ML
Tray TUPUC GlidePoint Charcoal USB ML
Tray TUPUW GlidePoint White USB ML
Tray TURUC Navigation cluster Charcoal USB ML
Tray TURUW Navigation cluster White USB ML
Desk MOGUC GlidePoint Charcoal
Panel CIDUC[5] Custom keys Charcoal XT/AT English MEI
Panel POGUC GlidePoint Charcoal PS/2 and serial English
Desk MORUW Navigation cluster White PS/2 US English MEI
Desk MORUC Navigation cluster Charcoal PS/2 MEI[7]
Desk MODUW Navigation cluser White PS/2 US English MEI
Desk MORGW Navigation cluster White PS/2 German
Desk MIRUW Navigation cluster White 5-pin DIN US English
Tray TIDUB Navigation cluster Black? 5-pin DIN (XT/AT?)
Tray TORUC Navigation cluster Charcoal PS/2
Tray TIRUC[8] Navigation cluster Charcoal XT/AT
Tray TORUB Navigation cluster Black? XT/AT
Tray TOGUW GlidePoint White PS/2 and serial US English MEI

Gallery

MORUW

Datalux-branded MORUW with MEI switches.

POGUC

Datalux-branded POGUC; switch type is not known.

Trivia

Several models of the Datalux SpaceSaver were used as props for the 2nd and 3rd seasons of the TV-show Seaquest DSV. Some were in the submarine Seaquest itself, most notably on its bridge. Others were on computer control stations for undersea colonies that the Sequest visited.[9]

References

  1. eBay — Retro Vintage Microtype Mechanical Enterprises Inc. MT-1 Keyboard Unique Layout [Volatile reference]
  2. Google Books — InfoWorld, September 12, 1988
  3. Correspondence with Devlin, 2016-08-11
  4. Conversation with Datalux support, 2016-08-12
  5. 5.0 5.1 Deskthority — Datalux SpaceSaver keyboard, Tray model
  6. eBay — Datalux (814940/MORGW) Spacesaver Tastatur deutsch PS/2 [Volatile reference]
  7. eBay — Datalux Moruc Space Saver Keyboard Police Responder Computer Terminal [Volatile reference]
  8. eBay — OT 20 Datalux Tiruc Space Saver Keyboard 65 135746 N8 (DEAD!)
  9. PROPbay.com Computer Keyboard Movie Prop from SeaQuest DSV (TV)(1993). Retrieved 2016-07-02.