6

Some time ago I've found a working Wyse WY85 terminal, and a keyboard that can (physically) connect to it, marked WY60/ASCII. I was now trying to make the terminal work, but noticed that none of the keyboard keys is acting correctly: they all have a different function than the one indicated on the keycap. I've found that I can access the terminal setup screen by pressing the Prev PAGE Next key, and found the arrow keys to navigate in the setup, but can't find any keyboard-related setting that might correct the problem.

I fear that the WY60 keyboard is not supported by the WY85 terminal, in which case I might have to build a converter using a microcontroller. I didn't find any useful information in the manuals I found online.

Is there a simple way to make that keyboard-terminal pair work? Or the only solution would be a key code converter to insert between the keyboard and the terminal?

3
  • It is possible that someone switched keycaps around? Feb 7 at 15:00
  • @user3840170 No, the keyboard looks like a regular QWERTY keyboard, but basically no key does what it is supposed to. I'm suspecting that key codes from the WY60 keyboard are very different from those of the regular WY85.
    – Ale
    Feb 7 at 15:28
  • 4
    From this old forum (verycomputer.com/185_496e87acfdb39fa2_1.htm) looks like someone tried the opposite (WX85 keyboard on WX60 terminal) with similar results... I think I need to make the converter.
    – Ale
    Feb 7 at 16:06

3 Answers 3

6

The Wyse 85 is a DEC VT-compatible terminal. That is a bit different from the low-end (e.g., Wyse 30) and the "everything else" terminals (Wyse 60, 99GT, 150, etc.). One of the biggest differences between the models is the keyboards. The Wyse 85 has a very different group of extra keys (F-keys, cursor movement, etc.) than the others in order to have maximum DEC compatibility. I am not that familiar with the DEC world, but there may have been scan-code compatibility issues for the DEC world, or they may have been pure ASCII. For the 60/99GT/150, etc., they had 3 keyboard types available, including Ascii, enhanced pc and ansi. However, they all used the same codes (ie you didn't need to use enhanced pc to use pc emulation) and I'm pretty sure the ansi keyboard was different from the wyse 85 keyboard.

Obviously, the 60/99GT/150, etc. would send regular ASCII when in a non-PC-mode emulation, but I would expect the native code of the keyboard to be PC scan codes for ease of implementation. On the other hand, even if the Wyse 85 terminals only sent pure ASCII to the host, they would need (a) a scan-code style implementation for internal use (e.g., so that CAPS LOCK, SHIFT, etc. could produce visual effects in the local terminal) and (b) they would need additional scan codes for the non-PC keys (e.g., F-keys > 12).

While an interesting project to program a microcontroller to translate keyboard types, I would recommend hunting down a genuine WY-85 keyboard. Except that in a quick search, it seems that Wyse terminals, in general, are now priced as collector's items. Maybe I shouldn't have thrown out dozens of them 10-15 years ago...

2

Looks like good info on Wyse keyboard protocol can be found here:

https://deskthority.net/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=7424&start=

2

Early DEC desktops worked with the LK201 keyboard. If you have to build a converter, you may want to know the LK201 scan codes. To see them, click here.

Alternatively, you may be able to obtain a working LK201 keyboard second hand.

2
  • 1
    Would a WY85 terminal work with such a keyboard?
    – Ale
    Feb 8 at 16:18
  • I doubt it, but I'd be happy to be proven wrong. Feb 9 at 12:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.