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Compaq Plus seems to have unresponsive keyboard

ch3dd4r

New Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2018
Messages
1
Hey, y'all. I'm new here. Hi.

I just got a hold of a fairly beat-up Compaq Plus Luggable. It was complaining of a disk error but after oiling the stepper motor that seems to have been resolved. Now when I go to boot it up, it shows these lines, which I'm not sure is normal. To be quite honest, I'm just now getting into DOS outside of DosBox so I don't know if this is like an autoexec.bat or something. It shows these lines:

C>path c:\dos

C>set wp=/nk/nc

C>path c:\;c:\wp

C>prompt $p$g

C:\>
C:\>_

where the last underscore is blinking, which I would think means it's at an interactive terminal. However, I'm unable to type on it.
Any suggestions?
Thanks in advance.
 

Casey

Veteran Member
Joined
May 31, 2016
Messages
608
Location
Fairfield, Ohio
Those are definitely from an autoexec.bat file. If one was not present you would see the time & date inquiries and not much else.

Do you have a boot disk handy? Maybe see if you can bypass the autoexec file. It might be waiting for some input.

If you press a key and hold it down, does the speaker eventually start dinging (i.e. key overflow)? Does the speaker make a click when you press a key? Compaq added a small click to give users some feedback. Don't recall the key combination that increased/decreased the volume of the click.

Point being that if the keyboard is working, you should hear the key clicks.

You can check the keyboard cord where it connects to the motherboard, but you'll have to take the sucker apart first. I hope the keyboard itself hasn't gone bad; from what others have reported here the solution is workable, but tedious.
 

alank2

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2016
Messages
1,722
Location
USA
Try all the keys, some may work. You may find that the capacitive foams in the keyboard have degraded and no longer function. There is a thread around here about replace pads that someone builds. On my keyboard, I was able to take it apart and type on it just fine directly on the keyboard with my fingers (I guess they have enough capacitance). Make sure that if there is a voltage regulator that you leave something on it to dissipate its heat - I set a quarter on mine.
 

PhilipA

Experienced Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2013
Messages
470
Location
Larose, LA, USA
If when you switch it on and it doesn't give code 301 then the keyboard is operational and has passed test. As stated above the foam pads will almost guaranteed to have disintegrated so the keys won't do anything until you replace them. There's information on how to on here and people do kits for them to restore the keyboard to full function. Doesn't take too much, patience and a couple screwdrivers if you buy the repair kit.

If not, hole punches and glue and foam and silvered mylar sheet... That's possible also. Brief "how I did mine" in here- http://www.oldbrokenjunk.com/wordpress/?p=68

Phil
 
Last edited:

PhilipA

Experienced Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2013
Messages
470
Location
Larose, LA, USA
Any chance you could restore the images in that blog post?

Gosh, it was working. Looks like the image hosting is having issues. I'll see what I can do.

Edit: Refresh the page a few times and wait, seems to wake up the server.

Phil
 

Juror22

Experienced Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2011
Messages
186
I have a similar issue with my compaq plus keyboard (I was able to type the number 5, 4 times before it failed entirely) and would like to get some specifics on the materials.
What is the diameter of the foam pieces, will a 'standard' hole punch work?
how thick a piece of foam?
Do mylar balloons work, or do I need to get a 'space blanket' like the poster in the blog used?
 

Juror22

Experienced Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2011
Messages
186
Thanks for pointing me over to that post, it is exactly what I was looking for. I was going to make my own, but now I'm leaning toward buying them from sarawill. Unfortunately, it looks like they are not available, until testing the new materials against other keyboards has been completed?
 

RadRacer203

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2016
Messages
1,463
Location
Burlington VT
Send her a message, she still has some of her old stock. I got a set for my Franklin Ace 1200 with the same sort of Keytronics keyboard and they work great
 

sarawill

Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2018
Messages
43
Location
Texas
Thanks for pointing me over to that post, it is exactly what I was looking for. I was going to make my own, but now I'm leaning toward buying them from sarawill. Unfortunately, it looks like they are not available, until testing the new materials against other keyboards has been completed?

Hello Juror22,

Just thought I'd chime in here to let you know the foam and foil pads are back in stock now. They have been officially installed successfully in a couple of Compaq machines now. Still working on growing the list of machines they have helped repair. :) Here's the link:

https://texelec.com/product/foam-capacitive-pads-keytronic/
 

Juror22

Experienced Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2011
Messages
186
Looks like I waited too long - these have been out of stock for a bit, can you pm me when they are back in stock?
 

sarawill

Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2018
Messages
43
Location
Texas
Looks like I waited too long - these have been out of stock for a bit, can you pm me when they are back in stock?

So sorry, I am just seeing this! They are back in stock. I am keeping up with it better now so we should be in stock more consistently.
 

normanator

Experienced Member
Joined
May 12, 2017
Messages
72
Location
Lone Star State
Ran across this link while searching for something else. It's a hobbyist's procedure on fixing the capacitive foam keypads under each key. The article is for a TRS-80 II, but I'm 99% sure they share the same keys a the Compaq Portable.
https://www.insentricity.com/a.cl/257/its-user-serviceable-if-you-have-gift-wrap-and-weather-strip


I replaced all of the foams in my Compaq Portable Plus a couple of years ago with keycaps from an old Sun keyboard (Canadian French keyboard). There's another thread here on the VCFED forum about folks destroying older keyboards by cannibalizing them for other purposes. I will admit it gave me some heartache to take apart an otherwise working keyboard, but it was for a good cause to resurrect my vintage Compaq.
 

sarawill

Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2018
Messages
43
Location
Texas
Ran across this link while searching for something else. It's a hobbyist's procedure on fixing the capacitive foam keypads under each key. The article is for a TRS-80 II, but I'm 99% sure they share the same keys a the Compaq Portable.
https://www.insentricity.com/a.cl/257/its-user-serviceable-if-you-have-gift-wrap-and-weather-strip


I replaced all of the foams in my Compaq Portable Plus a couple of years ago with keycaps from an old Sun keyboard (Canadian French keyboard). There's another thread here on the VCFED forum about folks destroying older keyboards by cannibalizing them for other purposes. I will admit it gave me some heartache to take apart an otherwise working keyboard, but it was for a good cause to resurrect my vintage Compaq.

You're correct! The pads are all the same for KeyTronic keyboards. In fact, I just had someone post their TRS-80 Model II pad replacement.

https://www.facebook.com/kharmaconsulting/posts/588442191627615

They are all originally 3/16" tall by 7/16" in diameter. I just had someone use these pads in a BTC keyboard successfully as well. :)
 
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