Questions tagged [keyboards]

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

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10
votes
1answer
666 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
150 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
votes
0answers
137 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 ...
71
votes
7answers
13k views

Why wasn't ASCII designed with a contiguous alphanumeric character order?

Anyone who has dealt with strings at a low level (e.g., writing a parser in C), knows that doing so tends to involve frequent checks of—either manually, or through isalpha(), isalnum(), etc—whether a ...
10
votes
2answers
755 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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
127
votes
5answers
16k 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 ...
4
votes
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 ...
4
votes
2answers
667 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
599 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
6k views

How do I use my adapted PS2 keyboard & mouse on a windows 10 computer?

I want to use my old PS/2 mouse & keyboard with my Dell Latitude, which has no PS/2 ports. I am fully aware that the easiest way to do this would to use an active PS/2 to USB converter, like this ...
8
votes
2answers
543 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
656 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. ...
34
votes
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 ...
0
votes
0answers
66 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? ...
17
votes
6answers
9k 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
205 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 ...
16
votes
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 ...
2
votes
1answer
195 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 ...
7
votes
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
votes
2answers
850 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" ...
35
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4answers
9k views

Why do keyboards have an asterisk?

While we're all accustomed to using * as the multiplication symbol (not to mention other esoteric meanings in programming) it is of course not actually the everyday standard symbol for multiplication. ...
17
votes
2answers
4k 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
votes
3answers
290 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
121 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?
8
votes
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
votes
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 ...
56
votes
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 ...
7
votes
2answers
676 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
72 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
votes
1answer
71 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
votes
1answer
216 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 ...
24
votes
4answers
38k 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 ...
0
votes
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
votes
2answers
234 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
votes
1answer
489 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, ...
17
votes
1answer
741 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
104 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 ...
35
votes
6answers
4k 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 ...
27
votes
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
votes
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 ...
12
votes
2answers
788 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 ...
43
votes
3answers
4k views

Why are the symbols on the number keys of PC & Mac keyboards different to ASCII keyboards?

On a US-layout PC keyboard, the symbols above the number keys are as follows: Whereas the keyboard on an Apple II is different: Note, for example, the '(' and ')' symbols are now above 8 and 9, and '...
1
vote
1answer
287 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
votes
2answers
520 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
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
714 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 ...
60
votes
4answers
10k 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
254 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? ...