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New Osborne 1 keyboard replacements

nztdm

Experienced Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2018
Messages
180
Location
New Zealand
Hello!

The Osborne 1 I am restoring for my collection (side-clip injection mold model) had the common keyboard membrane damage due to having the cable squished between the keys and front panel when the keyboard was closed.
The membrane was beyond repair in mine.

I have designed a new keyboard PCB using Cherry MX switches, that will go in place of the metal panel inside the keyboard enclosure that had the membrane and keyswitches on it. The original black metal front panel will remain.

Osborne 1 Keyboard Replacement.png

back.png

It is the exact same layout, with the same key sizes, so the front metal panel doesn't need to be modified.

I think Cherry MX Black are the closest equivalent to the old keys, so I will be using those.

The ALPHA LOCK key is a toggle type. This means I had to source Cherry MX Lock keys. These are out of production and highly sought after and hard to find. They weren't cheap. I bought 5, and will be using 1.

The original keycaps are not Cherry MX compatible.
I have found some keycaps which look like they would suit, from Signature Plastics. I have worked with them to design a keyset for this project.
60 of these keys are ones they have in stock from pre-made keysets. 8 of the keys are custom due to odd text or key sizes. These are top quality double-shot keycaps.
My keyboard has an ISO type '3' key, which has £ instead of #. I can get both types. I have seen very different Osborne 1 layouts, which I won't be getting. What the key registers as, depends on the ROM in your Osborne 1.

Is anyone else interested in a replacement keyboard for Osborne 1? If so, I'll get multiple keycap sets.
The Cherry MX switches can be bought in many places. I will get mine from NovelKeys.

If anyone else wants one of these, I can make up a kit for them (easy soldering), or build and test it for them.

Price for a kit would be $174 USD with just the Cherry MX Lock switch, or $214 with all keyswitches.
You may be able to save about $20 by sourcing the standard keyswitches yourself locally.

Price breakdown of that is:
PCB: $8
IDC connector: $1
67 x Cherry MX keyswitches: $40
Cherry MX Lock keyswitch: $18
Cherry stabilisers for 8u Space and 2u Return keys: $2
Custom Osborne 1 keycap set: $145

Shipping is about $15 globally.

Just gauging interest to see how many keycap sets I should order. I won't offer the kits for sale until I have mine all built and tested. Anyone with a faulty Osborne 1 keyboard, or is interested in a reliable replacement as spare?
I doubt I'll get much interest, as this is a very niche thing (number of people who happen to be looking at this forum who think $214 is worth a replacement Osborne 1 keyboard). But if interest is higher than expected, the keycap price will drop a bit.

Cheers
JD
 

nztdm

Experienced Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2018
Messages
180
Location
New Zealand
Is this also compatible with the Executive?

I don't have an Osborne Executive, but based on pics, the keyboard layout and connector look identical to the Osborne 1 version.

So I'm 95% sure it would be electrically compatible, and 80% sure it would be mechanically.


Can you show some good pics of your existing keyboard?

The service manual mentions a "Type A" and "Type B" keyboard, with pictures showing the same connector, but in different locations inside the keyboard. The board itself may be the same. I don't have the technical manual for executive.
 

nztdm

Experienced Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2018
Messages
180
Location
New Zealand
Success!

Success!

I've finally finished this project.
It works perfectly and feels incredible!

I have two spare complete kits I can sell at a loss at $200 USD each, including shipping globally.
You can choose between getting an ANSI or ISO '3' number-row key, depending on the ROM of your Osborne 1. Mine came with an ISO key, so I used that (with GBP symbol). ANSI key has hash symbol.

Also 3 spare bare PCBs. $20 including shipping.

I have opened the source of this project, and more info about it can be found here:
https://github.com/monotech/Osborne1-KeyboardReplacement

20200422_131123.jpg 20200422_131150.jpg 20200624_160328.jpg

20200624_160347.jpg 20200624_160354.jpg 20200624_162740.jpg
 

thunter0512

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2020
Messages
833
Location
Perth in Western Australia
Hi, I am very interested in your kit. I have a "stuck key" problem with several keys on my Osborne 1 (with the ribbon cable interface). Several keys are stuck. I had temporary success by removing the top key mechanism on the affected keys and poke in the now exposed two diagonally opposed mounting holes with a hooked probe and lift the top membrane away from the middle and bottom layers. This worked for a few days and then the problem returned and also shifted to new keys.
I too developed the idea to build a replacement keyboard PCB from scratch, but it seems you have already done all the hard work. It is disappointing that you couldn't reuse the Osborne key caps as they are the main expense. Are there possibly other key switches that would be close enough?
Do you still have complete kits available?
Thanks and best regards
Tom Hunter
 

thunter0512

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2020
Messages
833
Location
Perth in Western Australia
Hi, I am very interested in your kit. I have a "stuck key" problem with several keys on my Osborne 1 (with the ribbon cable interface). Several keys are stuck. I had temporary success by removing the top key mechanism on the affected keys and poke in the now exposed two diagonally opposed mounting holes with a hooked probe and lift the top membrane away from the middle and bottom layers. This worked for a few days and then the problem returned and also shifted to new keys.
I too developed the idea to build a replacement keyboard PCB from scratch, but it seems you have already done all the hard work. It is disappointing that you couldn't reuse the Osborne key caps as they are the main expense. Are there possibly other key switches that would be close enough?
Do you still have complete kits available?
Thanks and best regards
Tom Hunter
 
Joined
Nov 29, 2021
Messages
31
Location
Switzerland
Hello!

The Osborne 1 I am restoring for my collection (side-clip injection mold model) had the common keyboard membrane damage due to having the cable squished between the keys and front panel when the keyboard was closed.
The membrane was beyond repair in mine.

I have designed a new keyboard PCB using Cherry MX switches, that will go in place of the metal panel inside the keyboard enclosure that had the membrane and keyswitches on it. The original black metal front panel will remain.

View attachment 1065644

View attachment 1065645

It is the exact same layout, with the same key sizes, so the front metal panel doesn't need to be modified.

I think Cherry MX Black are the closest equivalent to the old keys, so I will be using those.

The ALPHA LOCK key is a toggle type. This means I had to source Cherry MX Lock keys. These are out of production and highly sought after and hard to find. They weren't cheap. I bought 5, and will be using 1.

The original keycaps are not Cherry MX compatible.
I have found some keycaps which look like they would suit, from Signature Plastics. I have worked with them to design a keyset for this project.
60 of these keys are ones they have in stock from pre-made keysets. 8 of the keys are custom due to odd text or key sizes. These are top quality double-shot keycaps.
My keyboard has an ISO type '3' key, which has £ instead of #. I can get both types. I have seen very different Osborne 1 layouts, which I won't be getting. What the key registers as, depends on the ROM in your Osborne 1.

Is anyone else interested in a replacement keyboard for Osborne 1? If so, I'll get multiple keycap sets.
The Cherry MX switches can be bought in many places. I will get mine from NovelKeys.

If anyone else wants one of these, I can make up a kit for them (easy soldering), or build and test it for them.

Price for a kit would be $174 USD with just the Cherry MX Lock switch, or $214 with all keyswitches.
You may be able to save about $20 by sourcing the standard keyswitches yourself locally.

Price breakdown of that is:
PCB: $8
IDC connector: $1
67 x Cherry MX keyswitches: $40
Cherry MX Lock keyswitch: $18
Cherry stabilisers for 8u Space and 2u Return keys: $2
Custom Osborne 1 keycap set: $145

Shipping is about $15 globally.

Just gauging interest to see how many keycap sets I should order. I won't offer the kits for sale until I have mine all built and tested. Anyone with a faulty Osborne 1 keyboard, or is interested in a reliable replacement as spare?
I doubt I'll get much interest, as this is a very niche thing (number of people who happen to be looking at this forum who think $214 is worth a replacement Osborne 1 keyboard). But if interest is higher than expected, the keycap price will drop a bit.

Cheers
JD
Hello,

Question: Does it also fit the Orborne II Executive?

Regards,
Cliff
 

TechDad

New Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2022
Messages
8
Sorry to revive this old thread, but are any of these kits still available? Asking before I embark on the painful adventure of building my own... Thanks!
 

kc4bqk

Experienced Member
Joined
Sep 22, 2018
Messages
100
Location
Henderson KY
Sorry to revive this old thread, but are any of these kits still available? Asking before I embark on the painful adventure of building my own... Thanks!
I am building some that do not use the toggle key. Look for the other keyboard post. I will have some more ready to sell this weekend.
 

kc4bqk

Experienced Member
Joined
Sep 22, 2018
Messages
100
Location
Henderson KY
Sorry to revive this old thread, but are any of these kits still available? Asking before I embark on the painful adventure of building my own... Thanks!
More kits available.
 
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