IBM Personal Computer keyboard

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IBM Personal Computer keyboard
Model no. IBM PC 5150 keyboard
Manufacturer IBM
Product family IBM Model F
Layouts IBM PC Computer keyboard
Keyswitches IBM capacitive buckling spring
Interface 5-pin DIN XT
Dimensions 19.6 × 7.87 × 2.2 inches
(500 × 200 × 57 mm)[1]
Weight 6.5 lb (2.9 Kg)

The keyboard of the 1981 IBM PC 5150 is commonly referred to as the "PC XT" keyboard, although it pre-dates the XT. It was based on the Datamaster keyboard, but was mounted in an external case and used a unidirectional serial connection with a DIN-5 connector. When the PC was released, the keyboard was acclaimed for its touch, but its layout was criticized for having many oddly shaped keys placed close to each other.

Known variants

  • 1501100 (US English layout)
  • 1501102 (German layout)
  • 1501104 (Italian layout)
  • 1501105 (UK layout)


The keycaps are made from PBT and are popular for their high quality dye sublimated legends. Other than most modern IBM buckling spring keycaps, these keycaps consist of a single, solid part and do not have the removable covers common on IBM Enhanced Keyboards. The keycaps are compatible with other IBM Model F keyboards and IBM Model M keyboards of the first generation.

Known issues

The IBM Personal Computer keyboard has a 10-unit space bar that cannot be removed without disassembly of the keyboard. While all other keycaps can simply be pulled off, the space bar will likely get permanently damaged in an attempt to pull it off. In order to remove it, the case must be opened and the barrel plate must be separated from the bottom plate/PCB. Only then can the stabilizer wire of the space bar be un-hooked which allows the space bar to be pulled off like any other key.

The space bar is also known for being significantly stiffer than all other keys of the keyboard. It is the only stabilized key and has a much increased stiffness due to the design of the stabilizer wire. There are guides explaining how to soften the space bar by bending the stabilizer wire in a certain way.

USB conversion

Using this keyboard with a modern PC over USB is relatively simple. An Atmega32U4 development board flashed with Soarer's Converter is required. Please consult the forum thread about Soarer's Converter for wiring/soldering advice.



  1. Personal Computer XT Hardware Reference Library: Technical Reference. Appendix E: Specifications, p. E-1.