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I still own my very first computer - a Panasonic JB 3000. The keyboard it came with now has many faulty keys. It has reached the stage where I can no longer use the computer, because I can't type. I would like to buy (or possibly even solder up) an adapter which will allow me to use a more modern keyboard with the computer. Unfortunately the computer and its existing keyboard uses a 6 Pin DIN connector:

Panasonic JB-3000 keyboard Panasonic JB-3000 Din-6 keyboard connector

The JB-3000 was released around 1983 and was a PC clone. However it seems that the IBM-PC it was based off used a 5 Pin DIN for its keyboards. It also looks like the JB-3000's keyboard doesn't match the layout of the 84 model F keyboard in use with the original IBM-PC.

My questions are:

Does anyone know anything about these 6 Pin DIN keyboards?

Would it be electrically compatible with a any other type of keyboard, for example the Model F, or the Model M?

Is there any way I can adapt another keyboard to run with my JB 3000?

Note: This is a cross post from SuperUser, it was suggested I ask here.

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    I'd like to suggest you take the keyboard apart and post a few pictures of the internals, there's a chance that switches may be replaceable (if that's what broke), and the electronics inside may allow to figure out how sophisticated the keyboard is. – Kuba Tyszko Jun 22 '16 at 12:13
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    Good suggestion- though I am a little worried I may break it. If nobody else can provide any info, I'll open it up this weekend. – Luke Sleeman Jun 22 '16 at 12:14
  • Also (unrelated), the keycaps really resemble penumbra keycap style with all the yellowing (not sure if "natural" or due to age). If the caps match any modern keyboard I'd advise to keep them and reuse. – Kuba Tyszko Jun 22 '16 at 12:20
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    This page states that there are 2 rebadged models, the Ericsson Step/One and Matsushita National mybrain 3000 (if you're looking at possible replacement parts): vcfed.org/forum/… – Joe Jun 22 '16 at 23:06
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    Maybe contact the KBDBabel Project, even if there's no premade adaptor available, I bet he's can create the needed converter parts/tables rather easy as soon as he gets a hold of your keyboard :) – Raffzahn Aug 11 '17 at 18:03
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Given this is a PC/XT clone, there are two difficulties:

  1. adapting the unusual plug - it's unlikely you find a ready-made adapter, you probably have to make it yourself, have one made, or fit the original cable to another keyboard

  2. protocol - the PC/XTs used a different protocol - keyboards in the late 80s, early 90s were often switchable; modern AT-style ones with PS/2 connector won't work

Another option is to repair the original keyboard; depending on the contact technology this can even be easy - or impossible.

Corroded threads can be soldered over or repainted with conductive silver, and worn conductive rubber can be reworked with some aluminum foil and double-faced scotch tape.

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    While it was the first Japanese computer to run MS-DOS, it's unlikely to be a 100% PC/XT clone. Most PCs that ran MS-DOS that came out in 1983, the like the Tandy 2000 and the Epson MBC-550 weren't 100% compatible. There's every chance that keyboard uses a proprietary interface, just like the Tandy 2000 and MBC-550 did. – Ross Ridge Aug 12 '17 at 15:34
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Check out this source file for the technical details of the keyboard:

https://github.com/mamedev/mame/blob/master/src/devices/machine/myb3k_kbd.cpp

The source file contains all information you need to build your own keyboard. The serial protocol that the keyboard speaks to the host computer is unfortunately not even remotely similar to standard PC keyboards.

But it is pretty simple, so it should be possible to hook up two gpio pins from a raspberry or an arduino. (Minding any 3v 5v differences.) Then write a small program to relay a standard usb keybord to the JB-3000.

  • This answer is good... but could you provide some information from that source file in this answer? Link-only answers are discouraged here. (Also, you can read the tour for a badge.) – wizzwizz4 Dec 17 '17 at 17:48

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