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Questions tagged [keyboards]

For questions about the maintenance, usage, or history of retro keyboards.

9
votes
2answers
2k views

How can I connect a modern USB keyboard to a system requiring PS/2?

I have a DEC VT525 terminal base (recently repaired) that requires a PS/2 keyboard. The Digital OEM keyboard was a LK 411, with a PS/2 plug. There was also a PC-style keyboard available. I could get ...
4
votes
1answer
156 views

Use of E,S,D and X for cursor movement

The standard cursor movement keys on the TI-99/4, /4A and apparently /8 were Function + E (for up), S (for left), D (for right), and X (for down). These keys were also often used (without needing the ...
2
votes
2answers
209 views

Cost of a chiclet keyboard

Early personal computer keyboards could be membrane (Atari 400, ZX80, ZX81), chiclet (PET 2001, ZX Spectrum, Oric, IBM PC Jr) or mechanical/full-travel (later PET, Apple II, TRS-80, Vic-20, and most ...
5
votes
1answer
297 views

Who established the original F1 desktop BIOS key and why did laptops use a different key?

It seems early on IBM, MS, and DOS clones established a standard of holding the F1 key down during boot to access the BIOS setup. Yes there were a few much less common combinations that used the DEL (...
5
votes
2answers
364 views

Atari 400 vs 800

Apparently when the two Atari 8-bit machines were released, the 400 outsold the 800 2 to 1, which is unsurprising considering they were priced at approximately $500 and $1000 respectively. Indeed, ...
43
votes
4answers
8k views

Why did F1 become the Help Key?

There was actually a pretty big push among some vendors in the 1980's to have a dedicated Help Key (conveniently labeled as Help). Atari introduced it in 1983, and kept it to the end. The Commodore ...
2
votes
2answers
374 views

3D Printed Replacement Key Caps for Atari 1040ST

How can I replace/repair broken Atari 1040ST key caps using 3D Printer? Switches are in good condition. Only the key caps are to be replaced. Did Atari followed any industry standards like Cherry MX,...
3
votes
1answer
116 views

Thinkpad 350 keyboard

Am wondering how to use the keyboard from a Thinkpad 350. There are three cables, with 6, 10, and 18 pins (but the big connector on the motherboard seems to have only 17). I assume this is a grid of ...
5
votes
2answers
296 views

When did the tilde first start to appear on standard keyboards?

Someone at work made a joke, "He's so old that keyboards didn't have that key". When would the ~ have first appeared on keyboards?
10
votes
6answers
1k views

Why did tactile-feedback keyboards lose popularity?

IBM spoiled me for hardware quality. I've gone through many computers, including a TRS-80, Heathkit H-89, Commodore Vic-20 and C-64, and countless PC's but my first original IBM PC will always be my ...
1
vote
1answer
162 views

Apple II Plus Modifier key doesn’t work

I received my Apple II Plus today from eBay. I powered up my computer without adding anything into it (it didn’t came with any card either). It started up in the ROM Applesoft BASIC just fine. However,...
2
votes
2answers
138 views

Macintosh Performa 200 Mouse and Keyboard Issue

I have a Macintosh Performa 200 and I’m trying to get it working again. It powers on normally and then it brings up the normal Mac OS screen but the mouse and keyboard don't work. Yesterday they were ...
7
votes
2answers
621 views

Custom keyboard layout in DOS?

Is it possible to customize the keyboard layout in DOS? I use a custom keyboard layout on modern computers and I am wondering if I can do the same on old.
5
votes
1answer
207 views

Anyone know the specific differences between a Northgate Omnikey 101 and 102?

Quick background-- I really love old school springy/mechanical keyboards. I haven't used one in years but it's been on my "to purchase" list for years to get an IBM Model-M for my work. After doing ...
7
votes
2answers
528 views

Can the ADB keyboard and mouse be converted to the 128K Macintosh?

As you probably know, the original Macintosh 128K, 512K (Fat Mac) and the Macintosh Plus (IIRC) have a different keyboard and mouse connection than the later ADB versions such as the Macintosh SE ...
13
votes
1answer
910 views

Why are the | and ¦ keys labelled the wrong way around?

Note to close-voters: There is a meta question concerning the on-topicness of this question. Please provide an answer or comment. A comment from downvoters wouldn't hurt either. The UK QWERTY ...
20
votes
3answers
2k views

What was the purpose and history of the C64's special keys?

I never had a Commodore 64 but I've always been curious what the purpose and history of some of the special keys were. In particular: C= Run/Stop Clr/Home Restore I'm mostly used to the standard ...
5
votes
1answer
245 views

Using a 1995 model M with a modern setup

Looking to get my Model M keyboard working on a modern setup, I believe I need an active converter to go from PS/2 to USB. What adapter / part would be compatible with this keyboard?
11
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the name of the back arrow key on C64 keyboard?

What is the name of the back arrow key on top left corner of the C64 Keyboard? Is it escape or back? Also I don't recall using this key. What was the intended usage of it?
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Amiga-looking keyboard for PC

I would like to use an Amiga-looking keyboard on my PC. (I prefer not to use my old original A2000 keyboard with an adapter, partly because it lacks many keys present on modern 105-key keyboards, and ...
6
votes
1answer
168 views

IBM Model M2 stuck on Scroll and Caps Lock, no keys reacting

Today I tried out an old M2 for the first time with an USB/P2 adapter. For the first 10 minutes it worked fine. Then I set it aside on my desk, left the room for a second, came back and suddenly the ...
7
votes
2answers
168 views

Zenith SupersPort 286e 24 pin ribbon cable keyboard to modern computer

I have an old dead Zenith SupersPort 286e and it an a really high quality mechanical keyboard. The keyboard is connected to the motherboard with a 24 pin ribbon cable of approximately 3.15 cm of ...
5
votes
1answer
158 views

How to fix Apricot Xi keyboard

I've got a reasonably large collection of old computers that I've mostly picked up at such things as car boot sales, etc., before I went to University. Now that I'm working, I'm starting to look at ...
11
votes
2answers
428 views

Troubleshooting and reparing an Atari 800XL with a single key not working

I recently purchased an old Atari 800XL off eBay. The machine was untested/as-is and not guaranteed to work, but it was cosmetically in mint condition with original box, manuals, and even the ...
8
votes
2answers
526 views

How to fix a TI99/4a membrane keyboard?

I recently purchased a 1982 TI99/4a that has a defective keyboard. The keyboard is a Mitsumi with normal keys, but membrane type contacts. When I press the contacts (gently) with a plastic stylus ...
13
votes
3answers
11k views

How can I connect a DIN plug keyboard to USB?

I have a wonderful IBM Model M keyboard, which has the best key action of all keyboards I ever used. The problem is it has the big round 5-pin DIN connector used in AT PCs. I have some PS/2 to USB ...
13
votes
2answers
344 views

How can I use a modern keyboard with the Panasonic JB 3000?

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. ...
7
votes
1answer
764 views

Black Amiga 500 Keys

I am creating a black Amiga 500 casing for my retro pi unit. I have already bought the casing, a 1200 keyboard and keyrah unit to convert the keyboard to USB. I have some vinyl dye paint for the ...
12
votes
2answers
346 views

How do I replace a ZX Spectrum 48k keyboard membrane?

I have a ZX Spectrum 48k on which the keyboard membrane has cracked over the years and, while the Speccy itself is operational, has rendered the computer unusable. I am now in possession of a ...
23
votes
1answer
3k views

What do the keys on this Symbolics Space Cadet keyboard do?

Old keyboards like the one below seem to have contributed a lot to the design of modern keyboards. So, obviously, some of the keys are familiar because they are on my own average (modern Windows and ...
8
votes
1answer
294 views

How are held-down keys handled in CHIP-8?

The CHIP-8 has, among its instructions, the following ones: Ex9E: Skips the next instruction if the key stored in VX is pressed. ExA1: Skips the next instruction if the key stored in VX isn'...
8
votes
1answer
199 views

Cleaning membrane keyboards

I have a 3003b CoCo 1 (the white one) with the melty keyboard. A few of the keys do not work. On a few of them, there appears to be a slimy substance that I've cleaned from the surface. The badge on ...
7
votes
1answer
265 views

Commodore 64 with partly working keyboard

My Commodore 64 has developed a fault with the keyboard. Some of the keys are working and some aren't. As far as I can see there is no pattern and they are randomly distributed across the keyboard. ...
13
votes
1answer
405 views

How can I interface with an old Atari from a modern computer?

I have an old 8bit Atari at my dad's house which would be fun to play with. It has a keyboard, computer and screen, turn it on, and program BASIC. But I'll possibly want to load the code from a ...
23
votes
3answers
2k views

Adapting a “modern” keyboard to a ZX Spectrum

Is there a way, such a specific interface adapter, which would allow me to connect a PS/2 keyboard to an original ZX Spectrum? I expect the keyboard to work similarly to the ZX Spectrum itself -- in ...