Olivetti ANK 25-101
|Keyswitches||Rubber dome over membrane|
|Interface||PS/2 or 9-pin D-Sub from SDL|
|Years of production||Late 1980s - Early 1990s|
The Olivetti ANK 25-101 is a rubber dome over membrane keyboard from Olivetti. The ANK 25-xxx keyboards appear to be used on the Olivetti M240, M250, M280 and M290, all of which were produced in the late 80s.
The ANK 25-101 is an ANSI US keyboard with the popular IBM Enhanced Keyboard layout. European ISO variants are known to exist under the model number 25-102 and include Spanish, Italian, French and German layouts. Keycaps are dye sublimated with blue lettering (brown for 'Alt' and 'Sys Rq'), and appear to be made of PBT plastic. Taking apart the ANK-25 is a matter of removing six screws on the bottom of the keyboard, two of which are hidden behind the height-adjustable feet. Unfortunately, Olivetti's choice for securing the back-plate, PCB, membrane and front mounting plate together means that dismantling the keyboard would likely result in damage that could require a good amount of effort to correct. It appears that metal tabs on the front plate pass through the various layers to the back-plate, and are then twisted to secure everything together. Twisting the tabs back and forth could potentially snap them off or damage them.
The height-adjustable feet have three settings (neutral, and two height settings) and deploying them is simple and can be done without having to reach under the keyboard like some other designs. The drawback is that returning them requires a bit more effort as the legs must be pulled directly outward to compress an internal plastic locking spring before they can be collapsed. LEDs are an amber colour and occupy the top-right of the keyboard in the standard location. It appears that the LED plate can be removed with relative ease, meaning that a single enclosure design covers the 101 and 102 variants. The keycap inserts on the mounting plate also appear to be removable and are not moulded to the metal case.
Stabilisation is only done on the space bar, with the stabilisation bar itself fixed underneath the top of the keyboards case. This means the stabilisation bar is actually outside of the footprint of the space bar, hence the two cut-outs on the space bar itself to accommodate the bar when bottoming out.
Olivetti rubber dome keyboards generally receive positive reviews from keyboard enthusiasts. The ANK 25-101 have extremely short travel, perhaps as low as 2 mm. Popular mechanical switches by comparison are usually around the 4 mm mark. This results in an interesting typing experience and might be considered unfavourable for users who prefer not to bottom out keypresses. Binding is absent, and the design of the keycaps, with diagonally placed pegs in the bottom-left and top-right mean that twisting doesn't really occur on the single unit keycaps.