Author Topic: Unicomp Endurapro Space Bar Failing  (Read 2062 times)

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Offline kip

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Unicomp Endurapro Space Bar Failing
« on: Sun, 08 August 2010, 10:41:24 »
I picked up one of the Unicomp keyboards from a seller on eBay carrying salvage equipment. Mine was a little dirty but not in bad  condition,otherwise. I love the action of the buckling springs and like the form factor for my space much better than bulk and weight of the Model M.

Recently, the space bar has intermittently failed. I'll betyping (like that) and it won't register a space, even though I can hear the spring and know I've gotten the key.  I've pulled the cap to look underneath. I don't see anything that is blocking the switch but blew it out with compressed air just to be safe. Everything worked fine for a little while then the problem returned.

Is there an easy way to fix something like this -- some magic potion to pour in or a spot I can touch with a wand and make it all better?

Failing that, would you recommend: A.) taking the switch apart and trying to repair it, B.) trying to remove the switch and replace it, or C:) consider this a $25 learner's fee and go buy a new Unicomp, now that I'm sure I like them?

Thanks for any help you care to  offer.
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Offline ch_123

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Unicomp Endurapro Space Bar Failing
« Reply #1 on: Sun, 08 August 2010, 10:58:05 »
Unfortunately, due to the way Model M style keyboards are constructed, accessing the switches quite literaly requires you to tear the keyboard open, and subsequently reassemble by drilling holes in the internal assembly so that you can bolt it together again :P

To make matters worse, from your description (the key sounds and feels like other keys, but intermittently works but mainly fails) it sounds like a problem with the keyboard's contact membrane. This can theoretically be repaired with a PCB trace pen, but you're looking at some pretty tedious work between repairing the trace and bolting the thing up again.

Are you absolutely sure that the key doesn't sound or feel different when it doesn't work? Sometimes the keycaps come lose and the thing doesn't work properly. To remove all doubt, remove the key, and reinsert it whilst holding the keyboard upside-down.

Offline dfj

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Quote from: kip;210368

Recently, the space bar has intermittently failed. I'll betyping (like that) and it won't register a space, even though I can hear the spring and know I've gotten the key.  I've pulled the cap to look underneath. I don't see anything that is blocking the switch but blew it out with compressed air just to be safe. Everything worked fine for a little while then the problem returned.

Failing that, would you recommend: A.) taking the switch apart and trying to repair it, B.) trying to remove the switch and replace it, or C:) consider this a $25 learner's fee and go buy a new Unicomp, now that I'm sure I like them?

If you tried compressed air, and everything looks good from the top, then you are looking at opening the thing up fully - i.e. doing a bolt-mod.
  Not a lot sneaky, but it's a certain amount of work. There are some decent guides floating around - on this forum, even.
I'm in need of coffee - I'll edit in the links in a bit if someone doesn't jump in with them first.
 key: use 2mm or #4-40, depending on what you have available, and be aware that the front-side is tight for space, so conical head, or securing from the top is likely needed.

dfj
Fave Switch manus: IBM, Topre, Matias, ...

Offline kip

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Unicomp Endurapro Space Bar Failing
« Reply #3 on: Sun, 08 August 2010, 18:51:58 »
Quote from: ch_123;210372
Are you absolutely sure that the key doesn't sound or feel different when it doesn't work? Sometimes the keycaps come lose and the thing doesn't work properly. To remove all doubt, remove the key, and reinsert it whilst holding the keyboard upside-down.


Thank you for your question and suggestion.  When I listened carefully, there was a difference between the sound of the space bar and a regular key. No 'snap' before it bottomed out.  I tried your suggestion of replacing the key cap while holding it upside down and it 'seems' to be working fine, now. I didn't see the missing space in two pages of text.

Might come back but I'm going to cross my fingers and hope for the best. I looked at a couple of guides to opening the model M here and it is not the sort of project I'd look forward to.  I'm more likely to mess other things up than to fix the original problem, trying that.  Not a 'detail' person, I guess.

Thanks to everybody for your attention.  My keyboard addiction doesn't seem to be going away so I'm sure I'll be back, soon.
  • Compaq MX-11800
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  • Filco FKBN87M/EB
  • Ione Scorpius M10

Offline ch_123

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Unicomp Endurapro Space Bar Failing
« Reply #4 on: Sun, 08 August 2010, 19:09:26 »
Buckling springs have a funny habit of coming loose during transit. When I got my M13, I had to reseat about half a dozen keys, maybe more. Every now and then, we got someone who bought a Unicomp who will have a 'dud' key that is fixed when the key is removed and reinserted properly.

The purpose of holding it upside down, in case you didn't figure it out, is to ensure the spring lines up with the notch on the underside of the keycap properly.