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Please give me a push in the right direction..

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Really hard to know where to start with this stuff.. so please send me in the right direction. What I'd really like to have is my old IBM Model M2, but without the 10-key pad. One other requirement is that it needs to be lit - so the key markings are visible in the dark.

I have absolutely NO USE FOR BLING.. So no flashing RGB LED junk. i just want adjustable brightness, maybe choice of color(s).

I'm a retired electronic tech, so not at all worried about soldering a kit together. And quality is fairly important.. no featherweight, flimsy crap.

I see some KBs on AliEx that have sold fairly big numbers. Is there any stuff on Ali worth owning? What about eBay, or other such sites?

Anyway, I'd really appreciate some beginner help. Thanks in advance.

Your best bet would be one of the new model F keyboards here, You're not gonna get backlighting with what you want, but you will get a layout fairly close to what you're looking for, a very high quality product, & buckling spring switches. Other than that you'd be full well in custom (as you custom make everything for it) territory, as nothing with buckling springs (capacitive or membrane actuated) is out there with what you want. The only other 2 options that come to mind are grabbing a OG Model M space saver (super expensive & will most likely need restored before use) or a Unicomp Mini M (not being sold brand new anymore & not nearly as high quality as the OG Model M space saver).

For the record, I'm not stuck on having a buckling spring action.. but something of similar quality & feel of the old M2 that I still kick myself for screwing up and pitching it.

Really, there is no shortage of M2 on ebay - I could probably have a nice one for around $90. But again, I would really like to have back-lit keys, and I've no use for the tenkey pad.

Not exactly buckling springs but maybe box whites would be in the Sam vein, that or the new Novelkeys Cream Clickies, but those have 0 tactility.

I would take box whites over membrane buckling spring anyway myself, although they're insanely light. I don't think Unicomp's Mini M is discontinued. Last I heard they were looking for alternative controllers for them? They don't seem to have anything about it on their website at all right now though.

The M2's reputation for quality is ... very poor. If you did buy one on Ebay, you might have to recap it just to get it to work. Any random cheap Chinesium Amazon TKL should be of superior quality, especially if it is one of those exposed aluminum plate ones. There are boards worth owning all over the place these days, for shockingly low prices if the only criteria is literally reliability and durability.

The reason people are suggesting buckling spring boards is there's really nothing else made today that feels or sounds anything like it besides Ellipse's reproductions or Unicomp's uninterrupted continued production of Ms. Do you have no preference at all in switch? Not even a preference between linear, clicky or tactile?


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