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Keyboard woes, just for laughs.

Casey

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Fairfield, Ohio
My daily driver, like most modern systems, only has 1 ps/2 port on it. Since I never liked the included keyboard (flat keys, feels like a laptop keyboard, rearranged cursor keys) I used an old IBM rubber dome keyboard I had for years and the included USB mouse. I rather like the Asus mouse. ;)

The IBM keyboard finally gave up the ghost after 20 years. I guess I spilled tea on it once too many times. No big deal as I found several nice keyboards (Dell, HP, even a MS internet model) at a local thrift store for 99 cents each one day.

About a week ago, the Dell started acting flaky, so I dropped in the HP. Same behavior. I finally figured out for some reason the ps/2 port was going bad; at least the (previously unused) USB keyboard worked fine. I just cant STAND the action or the layout. So I bought a converter. At least they said it was a converter... I plugged the Dell into that, and it worked fine for an hour, then locked. The system wouldn't even boot with that sucker plugged in. So I reverted to the loathed Asus keyboard. Ug. Shall I point out that the Asus keys are marked with light grey letters on black keys? Very hard to read.

Thing is, I like a full-sized, sculpted key layout. No L-shaped enter key, no "improved" key layout, just what God & IBM intended. I can't afford a model M, but there are some decent rubber dome versions out there. My old IBM is one, the Dell is another. I started looking on eBay only to find that the Asus was representative of many inexpensive USB keyboards. Black with low-contrast lettering, short-stroke laptop-like action, cramped "space saving" layout with improvements.

I finally found a Lenovo USB keyboard with what looks like a decent layout & action. Still black but at least the keys have white labels. Took the plunge & ordered one. It should show up in a day or two, now.

...This past weekend I remembered a keyboard a friend had given me; a Compaq model 9978. I looked beat up so I dropped in the spares box and ignored it. I got it out, and realized it was more dirty than broken, and the missing keys were useless ones across the top (media keys and such). And... wait for it... it's USB. After I ordered the other keyboard I dug this out. I plugged it in and all the normal keys work just find, and the action is very good for a rubber dome. Sigh. Oh, well, I'll have two usable USB keyboards soon.

Funny thing is, I plugged the Compaq into a front USB port to see how well it worked, so both keyboards were functioning at once. No conflict, and pressing Caps Lock, Num Lock or Scroll Lock not only changed the LEDs on the Compaq, they changed on the Asus keyboard as well. Go figure.

...And the moral of the story is: always check the spares box first.
 

ngtwolf

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...And the moral of the story is: always check the spares box first.

Lets be honest.. even if you had checked the spares box, you wouldn't have seen it until after you ordered another. I've lost many a thing that didn't show up until I ordered a replacement. Ironically one of those things was a 5 pin din to PS/2 connector that got lost just long enough for me to get another and then turned up in the same area that I had checked at least 3 times but just under something.
 

Casey

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May 31, 2016
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Fairfield, Ohio
Heck, I've ordered tape drives when I forgot that I already had one. Try losing one of those.... :)

I lost a Ditto internal tape drive. I honestly can't remember if I tossed it, or if it got dumped while I was in the hospital. I generally stopped binning things a long time ago (unless they were hopelessly broken), sooo....
 

Casey

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Lets be honest.. even if you had checked the spares box, you wouldn't have seen it until after you ordered another. I've lost many a thing that didn't show up until I ordered a replacement. Ironically one of those things was a 5 pin din to PS/2 connector that got lost just long enough for me to get another and then turned up in the same area that I had checked at least 3 times but just under something.

You may be correct. :)

P.S. Nice collection.
 

Unknown_K

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If you have massive collections built over long periods of time you will eventually start forgetting what you have or at the very least forget where you put it when last seen 10 years ago. The problem is worse if you never had to move house where taking inventory and item placement gets refreshed.

I try storing like loose items in locations where I can have a quick look as needed but I also tend to forget what is installed in each machine over time.

As far as keyboards go I hate using different models because of different key placements (at least the older ones). I gave up using my Northgates on my main machines for IBM Model M's a decade ago and when I switched to USB only KVMs I had to get some USB to PS/2 adapters. I still have a ton of Mac ADB keyboards and the usual collection of PC/AT type keyboards I use with vintage machines. Last time I looked around I have maybe 6-10 IBM Model M's.

No matter how much crap you stock as spares the part you currently need is probably not in there.
 

Chuck(G)

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Pacific Northwest, USA
In this case it was a SCSI interface Travan TR4 drive that can also do QIC80 and QIC3020. Most of the small-format QIC and Travan drives out there are garbage.

Funny thing is that I spent a fair amount of time on the web looking for one, actually shelling out for at least 3, only to have my money refunded after the sellers stated that the drive wouldn't work. So about 2 weeks later, I'm reorganizing my equipment shelves and I find an external drive and say "What's this?"

Yeah, you guessed it. BTW, the drive works fine.
 

ngtwolf

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In this case it was a SCSI interface Travan TR4 drive that can also do QIC80 and QIC3020. Most of the small-format QIC and Travan drives out there are garbage.

Yeah, you guessed it. BTW, the drive works fine.

To keep on old topics and go off topic on this one, I was given by a friend of mine (or maybe I just whined enough til he gave me one of his spares) a Colorado tape backup unit so I'm going to make another attempt at recovering my old Qic-80 tapes since they didn't work on the iomega drives I had. No idea if it'll work with the tape I have labeled 'Maynard Mini Disk Cartridge 340' though. Wish me luck! :)
 

IBMAT5170

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Sep 10, 2017
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Porter County, Indiana, USA
Casey, I have two Model M's, M for Mechanical hehehe. I know what its like to want something and not be able to afford what you want. If you like, I would be willing to donate the "dirtier" model m. it needs some cleaning but once cleaned up I think it would be quite nice. let me know
 
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