Author Topic: black replacement key for a model M13?  (Read 4407 times)

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Offline gocantor

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black replacement key for a model M13?
« on: Tue, 09 August 2011, 09:21:13 »
Dear all,

In my search for an IBM keyboard I came across this black M13 which appears to be in okay shape (with the exception of the trackpoint buttons, which I don't care about much). Unfortunately, the 'enter' key is broken and needs to be replaced. The M13 has one piece keys.

Any idea where I could find this item? Already checked with Brandon at clickykeyboards.com and they don't carry any black keys...  I might be able to glue it back but that would be rather ugly.  Help! ;-)

EDIT: checked with Unicomp, no black replacement keys either.

Thanks, G
« Last Edit: Tue, 09 August 2011, 09:48:29 by gocantor »

Offline Chaoticmass

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black replacement key for a model M13?
« Reply #1 on: Wed, 10 August 2011, 23:09:07 »
Ouch. I always wanted an M13. Bummer to get one and yet have a problem with it.

Offline gocantor

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black replacement key for a model M13?
« Reply #2 on: Thu, 11 August 2011, 12:17:12 »
Slightly broader question: what type of keys does the M13 take? Should I expect to be able to install a regular M 'enter' on it? (not black)

Offline rootwyrm

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black replacement key for a model M13?
« Reply #3 on: Thu, 11 August 2011, 20:06:07 »
Quote from: gocantor;397078
Slightly broader question: what type of keys does the M13 take? Should I expect to be able to install a regular M 'enter' on it? (not black)

 
The M13 uses standard M family keystems and caps except G and H keys for obvious reasons. The B key has no cutout on genuine M13s. I've swapped keystems from Unicomp M5-2s to IBM built M13s. There's one exception, but it's so rare, you're more likely to find a Northgate Evolution. Almost all M13s are one-piece keys because of the G/H cutout, but they will accept the two-piece assemblies.
Edit: Wups, just looked. Turns out, at one point, IBM or Unicomp did do a cutout on the B key. But it's definitely unnecessary. My daily M13s do not have the B cutout.
« Last Edit: Thu, 11 August 2011, 20:35:33 by rootwyrm »
"I remain convinced I am the only person alive who has successfully worn out an IBM Model M mechanically."
Daily Drivers: Adesso 625 (NPKC PBT / Kailh Blue), Rosewill RK9000V2 (KC PBT / MX Brown), 1994 Model M13, Sun Type4, and the rare IBM 1394540.

Offline gocantor

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black replacement key for a model M13?
« Reply #4 on: Fri, 12 August 2011, 00:18:57 »
Thanks for the detailed review!

Offline xwhatsit

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black replacement key for a model M13?
« Reply #5 on: Fri, 12 August 2011, 03:41:43 »
I'm surprised Unicomp don't have a black return key. They carry complete 104-key keysets in black (I bought a set as part of a Geekhack group buy a few weeks ago) -- the only catch being that they don't have printing on them (the M13 has rubbish labels that wear off very quickly, so they gave up).
Beam spring IBM 5251 (7361073/7362149) & IBM 3727 (5641316) | Model F IBM 122-key terminal & IBM PC-AT 84-key | Model M Unicomp 122-key terminal | Cherry MX Blue Leopold Tenkeyless

Offline rootwyrm

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black replacement key for a model M13?
« Reply #6 on: Fri, 12 August 2011, 04:46:14 »
Quote from: xwhatsit;397527
I'm surprised Unicomp don't have a black return key. They carry complete 104-key keysets in black (I bought a set as part of a Geekhack group buy a few weeks ago) -- the only catch being that they don't have printing on them (the M13 has rubbish labels that wear off very quickly, so they gave up).

 
That would have to be a change or defect on Unicomp's side or a specific issue to the black keys and how they were made. I can tell you for fact that IBM and Lexmark gray/white keycaps are the only ones to ever successfully withstand me for more than 2 years. (My '92 M13 only has about 10 caps replaced and I've owned it for about a decade.) I haven't got a black keycap example though, but I still can't see how they could screw up that badly. Would love to know what they botched so badly there.
"I remain convinced I am the only person alive who has successfully worn out an IBM Model M mechanically."
Daily Drivers: Adesso 625 (NPKC PBT / Kailh Blue), Rosewill RK9000V2 (KC PBT / MX Brown), 1994 Model M13, Sun Type4, and the rare IBM 1394540.

Offline The Solutor

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black replacement key for a model M13?
« Reply #7 on: Fri, 12 August 2011, 05:13:56 »
Quote from: rootwyrm;397537
Would love to know what they botched so badly there.


They are just made with different techniques, beige keycaps are dye subbed, black ones pad printed, like the Filcos or first price keyboards.

Die sub works well only on light colored plastic, like light gray white or beige.
The problem with quotes on the Internet is you never know if they are true  (Abraham Lincoln)

Offline xwhatsit

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black replacement key for a model M13?
« Reply #8 on: Fri, 12 August 2011, 08:19:56 »
Quote from: rootwyrm;397537
That would have to be a change or defect on Unicomp's side or a specific issue to the black keys and how they were made. I can tell you for fact that IBM and Lexmark gray/white keycaps are the only ones to ever successfully withstand me for more than 2 years. (My '92 M13 only has about 10 caps replaced and I've owned it for about a decade.) I haven't got a black keycap example though, but I still can't see how they could screw up that badly. Would love to know what they botched so badly there.
No, the normal grey/white Unicomp keys are as good as the old IBM ones. They're dyesub PBT and last forever.

The black keys were pad-printed (not being able to dyesub a black key of course) but there's no protective coating or decal thing on top. So they wear off in very short order. I believe the original black IBM boards had the same affliction.

Unicomp's quality is very good -- they very rarely botch anything, because (lol) they don't innovate at all, really. They've carried on doing what they used to when they were IBM/Lexmark and haven't changed anything for more than a decade :P
Beam spring IBM 5251 (7361073/7362149) & IBM 3727 (5641316) | Model F IBM 122-key terminal & IBM PC-AT 84-key | Model M Unicomp 122-key terminal | Cherry MX Blue Leopold Tenkeyless