Questions tagged [keyboards]

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

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1answer
195 views

Why did the Speak & Spell have an alphabetic keyboard?

Many of us remember the original Speak & Spell from 1978: Image source: Wikipedia One of the interesting things about this early handheld educational game console is the keyboard. It's not normal!...
3
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1answer
273 views

Is this keyboard a clone of IBM Model M?

I have this old Quest keyboard: And I was wondering whether IBM did allow rebranding of their keyboard technology. Physically it seems similar-looking to IBM Model M. Is that a typical el-cheapo ...
3
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2answers
190 views

PS/2 Keyboard not working on Windows 95 and MS-DOS

I received a Packard Bell Multimedia 550 and it came with Windows 95. The problem is that keyboard input was not coming through. Before it attempts to boot into Windows 95, it shows the safemode ...
2
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1answer
229 views

8 pin Mini-DIN to USB converter; where can I buy one?

I have a vintage Sun Microsystems Type 6 keyboard that uses an 8 pin Mini-DIN and I want to use it on a modern computer with at least a USB 2.0 port. I've searched online e-commerce websites but most ...
18
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1answer
2k views

What's the deal with Commodore's RESTORE key?

Most early microcomputers provided either a dedicated key (e.g. Apple ][), keyboard combination (e.g. PC clones), or dedicated hardware button (countless examples) to "Reset" the computer. ...
5
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1answer
165 views

What is the general term for keyboard overlays that show special commands or hotkeys?

I was reminded of the plastic keyboard overlays that I remember from the 1990s. They showed key combinations, hotkeys, and command keys for certain applications. The most common one was just an ...
7
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1answer
157 views

Did the keyboard “scancodes” available to Commodore PET software differ between models?

As mentioned on my Were there any standard tricks to fix PET upper/lower case differences? question, I'm trying to figure out what to expect when running software generically labelled as "PET&...
4
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0answers
146 views

What keyboard protocol do IBM 3151 Terminals speak over RJ45

I've recently acquired an IBM 3151 Terminal without keyboard and I'm not willing to spend any money on an original keyboard. This is why I've tried searching Google for any datasheets of the IBM RJ45 ...
11
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1answer
1k views

Why do Sun keyboards use diamond for meta?

The Sun Type 3 keyboard labelled its meta keys "Left" and "Right". The Type 4 changed this to a hollow diamond, or lozenge: ◇. The Type 5 and on uses a solid diamond: ◆. My ...
10
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2answers
779 views

When does an IBM-compatible PC keyboard controller dequeue scancodes?

There is a not-unheard-of technique in DOS software to detect certain keypresses (like Ctrl+Break) by intercepting the keyboard interrupt (IRQ 1) and reading the scancode directly from the keyboard ...
10
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2answers
611 views

Extending C128D Keyboard cable

I need to make a 25 pin Sub-D extension cable for my C128D keyboard. I think it may be as easy as connecting male pins from one side to corresponding female pins on the other side, but need ...
8
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2answers
557 views

Origin of Ctrl-Alt-Delete key combination to reset

The Ctrl + Alt + Del key combination to reset is known to me to work on older PC/MS-DOS PCs, some versions of Atari TOS, on runlevel 3 / multiuser.tager Linuxes (it can be disabled). The older of ...
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0answers
71 views

Amstrad CPC 6128 - Key cap spring missing

Of course the unthinkable happened and I lost one cap key spring while cleaning the keyboard. I am still searching but assuming all things went south, what would be the best solution to replace them? ...
16
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1answer
1k views

Why are older Shift keys shaped the way they are?

On today's keyboards, the two Shift keys are somewhat elongated horizontally, but otherwise look much the same as any other key on the keyboard. However, in times past it was not altogether unusual ...
4
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1answer
216 views

What is the easieset way to replace some missing key-caps for the AT&T 6300 keyboard?

I have an what appears to be an AT&T 6300 Computer. It seems to work fine, but I am missing the F5, #7 and numpad + key caps on the keyboard. What is the easiest way to find a replacement for ...
8
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2answers
2k views

How ZX Spectrum avoided key ghosting

Was ZX spectrum better at handling than later PCs-keyboards without having diodes in its key matrix? I encountered this comment on ycombinator but I fail to understand it. Couldn't be Speccy method ...
9
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2answers
899 views

Was there an input device capable of entering all Algol 60 symbols with correct appearance?

This question was inspired by recent discussion on early keyboards and character sets, and mention in passing about how the COBOL designers were concerned about not using "non-existent" ...
39
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5answers
9k views

Why do keyboards have an asterisk key?

While we're all accustomed to using * as the multiplication symbol (not to mention other esoteric meanings in programming, command-lines, etc.) it is of course not actually the everyday standard ...
17
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2answers
5k views

Why is there only one PS/2 port on my computer?

I have an old computer from around 1995. It's from a computer brand that I've never heard of called Samanna Compu-Solutions. I am unsure of the model. The problem is, I only have one PS/2 port to work ...
3
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3answers
298 views

When and Which (PC) Keyboards Introduced Browser and/or Multimedia Keys to Windows

Background: Multimedia/Internet keys are additional function keys on PC keyboards that either invoke specific applications like browser, e-mail, media player, etc. or invoked certain function for ...
8
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6answers
8k views

Why do keyboards with a NumPad repeat the numbers?

This question is related to this one. I realise not all keyboards have the NumPad, but why do those who do have a NumPad have two sets of keys for numbers ( the numbers above the letters and below the ...
17
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8answers
4k views

Were there any parallel port keyboards?

I was reading this QA ( Why is the clock frequency of the PS/2 keyboard protocol so high? ) and read in the replies that a high frequency was chosen (at least in-part) to reduce the latency between a ...
132
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6answers
17k views

Why is the keyboard and cellphone / telephone numbers in a different order?

Cellphone / Telephone have the seven bottom-left and the one top-left. While the keyboard has the seven top-left and the one bottom-left How did this come to be? Is there an interesting computing ...
35
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5answers
9k views

Why is the clock frequency of the PS/2 keyboard protocol so high?

The PS/2 keyboard protocol allows the keyboard to generate a clock rate between 10 kHz and 16.7 kHz. At 11 bits per scancode, 10 kHz is a massive 909 scancodes per second. World-record holder Barbara ...
4
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2answers
721 views

Z80 PIO Keyboard [closed]

I am working on designing a Z80 computer and I would like to use a PS/2 Keyboard for input. I would like to use a PIO to communicate with it, but I am having trouble finding any documentation online ...
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1answer
79 views

Part number / model for IBM PC 350 keyboard

what was the part number or model of the original keyboard shipped with IBM PC 350? Trying to restore the full set.
3
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1answer
76 views

What is _KBSE (Keyboard Sense) signal in CDTV and what is it used for

I just managed to unmod CDTV keyboard (swapped wires for CD32) with community's help, but the original wire was gone, so I'm left without _KBSE signal connected. It seems the system doesn't mind. What ...
3
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1answer
228 views

How to unmod CDTV keyboard

I have a CDTV keyboard that someone modded to work with CD32. There are no bridges or extra components on the board, however pinout was changed at the board - wire connector and I'm not sure how to ...
3
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2answers
129 views

Which Commodore CDTV models came with keyboard with grey caps

I've noticed on the Big Book of Amiga Hardware site, that CDTV keyboard came in 2 versions, one with black caps, one with grey ones. Which one came first and with which model of CDTV?
0
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1answer
68 views

keyboard not operating electronica-bk-0100-01

I own a Electronica-bk-0100-01. I have only got around to connecting it up. Before that I opened up the system, checked for bad tracks, obvious issue etc. I also checked the end to end of the ...
3
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2answers
269 views

How do I navigate the boot menu in later model Spectrum emulators?

35 years ago I had an original 48K Sinclair ZX Spectrum. I never had any of the Plus or 128K models and practically never even touched one as I moved onto the Amiga quite early. I'm now playing with ...
5
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1answer
555 views

Trying to use IBM model F (5 pin DIN) with modern Windows PC

I have a vintage IBM Model F which I just bought from eBay, that I am trying to connect to my new Windows Pc. I ordered a DIN to Ps/2 converter from Newegg, because I my pc has a combined ps/2 port, ...
0
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1answer
110 views

Keys on Omnikey Inverted T Ultra

On my Inverted T ultra keyboard, the SF9 key and the number pad asterisk (*) keys perform the same function; the num pad equal (=) key and the F7 keys are similarly tied together. I don't know if this ...
57
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2answers
5k views

Why was the return key symbol ⏎ drawn differently from the motion of a CR-LF?

In the operating system (DOS) of IBM PCs, newlines were represented by a carriage return (CR) character, followed by a line feed (LF) character. The motion of a printer or teletype receiving such a ...
27
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4answers
8k views

Why are the homing bumps on D and K on Apple keyboards?

Some Apple keyboards, such as the Apple //e, some early Macintosh models, and the venerable Apple Extended Keyboard have the homing bumps on the D and K keys instead of the standard F and J keys that ...
26
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3answers
3k views

What do the '80/40' and 'keyboard' buttons on my Apple IIc do?

Above the keyboard of my Apple IIc there are two buttons that say "80/40" and "Keyboard". On my machine, they both kinda feel broken. When I press them, they recede into the case and remain there for ...
8
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2answers
736 views

Why did the Sinclair QL keyboard lack a Delete key?

It seems like an odd key to omit, given how frequently used it is and given that both the Spectrum + and 128 have one, which acts like backspace does on a modern PC. They could have swapped it for two ...
4
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1answer
1k views

How I can install Windows 98SE in Hyper-V, but can't run it after

Create the Gen 1 machine with less than 512MiB Ram (above requires you to put MaxFileCache=524288 and MaxPhysPage=40000 in the system.ini later). Add either a virtual or physical IDE drive (physical ...
1
vote
1answer
291 views

How to make old keyboard more responsive

Have an old (HP Omnibook from 1993+) keyboard that feels too sluggish. It takes a little bit too much effort to press the buttons. There is no difference between individual buttons. This particular ...
3
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2answers
545 views

Did the BBC ask for any unusual key colors on the BBC Micro?

Perhaps the most visually distinctive feature of the BBC Micro is the row of red function keys on the keyboard. I don't know who came up with that. I could swear I read somewhere that the BBC asked ...
12
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2answers
794 views

Did the Oric-1 improve on the Spectrum's keyboard?

So I've been whiling away some of a quiet Saturday night reading up on an early eighties computer called the Oric-1, which seems to be a curious little machine that has been largely unsung; moderately ...
10
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1answer
748 views

How do I clean/refurbish an Apple IIc Keyboard?

My Apple IIc is what appears to be the first US model: A2S4000 with version 255 ROMs. The keyboard PCB is marked 820 0108 03 ©1983, and the keyswitches are the "cross" type as seen below, without any ...
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2answers
263 views

ASCII ASA X3.4-1963 and Finite State Machines?

I'm reviewing the historical original ASCII standard. There are many control characters. Does anyone know the history of them and where finite state machines that made use of them may be documented? ...
12
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1answer
2k views

On what Apple II and II+ keyboards can the ']' character be generated?

It had long been my impression that while brackets [ and ] could be displayed by the Apple II, the standard Apple II keyboard was not capable of generating them. Some time ago I noticed that on this ...
5
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1answer
522 views

What were Commodore's keyboard layouts before the VIC-20?

Starting in 1980 the VIC-20 keyboard seems to have become sort of a standard for Commmodore, being re-used on the MAX Machine (in membrane form), C64, C16 and (with additional keys added) the 128. ...
4
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2answers
3k views

Replacing cord for IBM model M keyboard

I bought a model m keyboard for use at work. The keyboard functions fine, but the cord is in bad shape. Functionally, the cord does not cause any shorts, but the plastic is very brittle and large ...
20
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1answer
2k views

Why does PAUSE key have a long make code and no break code?

On IBM keyboards, scan code sets 1 and 2 have a long make code and lack a break code for the Pause/Break key. Moreover, when Ctrl is pressed, the make code is different, although break code still ...
11
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3answers
768 views

Commodore 64 with partly working keyboard (part 2)

I have a C64 that has recently stopped responding to two 'columns' of keys, namely '9,0' 'i,o' 'j,k' and 'n,m' - I've swapped the CIA chips (U1 and U2) to no effect, so I pulled a keyboard from a ...
42
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6answers
9k views

How did the SysRq key get onto modern keyboards if it's rarely used?

Was the SysRq key ever used on any common operating system? Google tells me it wasn't. But then how did it end up on so many keyboards?
43
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2answers
5k views

Locked-up DOS computer beeped on keypress. What mechanism caused that?

Long time ago I had an old IBM PS/2 that I had fished out of a dumpster. It ran IBM DOS 5.0 and was a solid little machine. Occasionally I would encounter the following scenario, and I recently ...