Author Topic: A visit to my local electronics shop (DECwriter, Apple Extended II, Hall pads)  (Read 8353 times)

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Offline CommunistWitchDr

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Picked up a few vintage boards at a local electronics store last week. Thought I'd share.

Apple Extended II

Not much to say, simple enough old Apple ALPS board.


I do rather like the foot system.


Hall keypads



People say these are about the smoothest and most linear boards out there. They're everything people say and more.

And they have nice caps.



OLD Cherry board










I have no idea what this is, all I know is that the switches are all on one block, linear, and actuate like this-


« Last Edit: Fri, 05 July 2013, 21:08:18 by CommunistWitchDr »

Offline TheFlyingRaccoon

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Re: A visit to my local electronics shop
« Reply #1 on: Fri, 05 July 2013, 00:48:10 »
Great to see some more pictures Commie! Awesome boards you got there.
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Offline smknjoe

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Re: A visit to my local electronics shop
« Reply #2 on: Fri, 05 July 2013, 00:53:01 »
Pretty cool stuff! Did the Cherry come with a case and are you able to test it?
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Offline CommunistWitchDr

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Re: A visit to my local electronics shop
« Reply #3 on: Fri, 05 July 2013, 00:56:54 »
Pretty cool stuff! Did the Cherry come with a case and are you able to test it?
There was no case, and the cherry board is supposedly for an 8 bit machine or something. I would need to teensy mod it to use it.

Offline Hak Foo

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Re: A visit to my local electronics shop
« Reply #4 on: Fri, 05 July 2013, 00:59:31 »
The PCB on the Cherry board says "LK001-A" and has a DEC logo on a connector.  I'm gonna join the dots there.
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Offline smknjoe

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Re: A visit to my local electronics shop
« Reply #5 on: Fri, 05 July 2013, 02:06:48 »
Digital was still making stuff into the late 90's, but I didn't even notice the pcb markings other than Cherry. Thanks.

Still cool stuff Commie!

A quick google search suggests that the keyboard may be from 1980ish: http://manx.classiccmp.org/details/1,1629
« Last Edit: Fri, 05 July 2013, 02:13:17 by smknjoe »
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Offline dndlmx

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Re: A visit to my local electronics shop
« Reply #6 on: Fri, 05 July 2013, 02:17:19 »
Show Image


Neat find, it is similar to old unix terminal keyboards.
« Last Edit: Fri, 05 July 2013, 02:19:07 by dnix »

Offline dorkvader

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Re: A visit to my local electronics shop
« Reply #7 on: Fri, 05 July 2013, 02:58:16 »
The cherry keyboard does not have cherry switches. They are sometimes called "stackpole" and show up in a lot of vintage keyboards from that era.

I got my information from here:
http://deskthority.net/photos-videos-f8/hp2382a-terminal-keyboard-t5471.html

The same switches have been used in some DEC keyboards.

---
Something interesting is that the keyboard is not bit paired.

Offline rootwyrm

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Re: A visit to my local electronics shop
« Reply #8 on: Fri, 05 July 2013, 02:58:23 »
Now THAT is a rare damn DEC board. Read again: UB80-01AA.

That's a genuine DECwriter keyboard. It was also serviced by Electronic Service Specialists of Wisconsin - which means post-DEC service life. 8 bit machine my ass - that is literally a keyboard that is part of a printer that attaches to a PDP-11. (Which is one of the early 16-bit.)
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Offline Luke

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Re: A visit to my local electronics shop
« Reply #9 on: Fri, 05 July 2013, 03:06:40 »
Awesome stuff :D

Offline rootwyrm

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Re: A visit to my local electronics shop
« Reply #10 on: Fri, 05 July 2013, 18:20:12 »
Okay, so I mentioned DECwriter and I have a bit so let's elaborate so you all can bask in the awesomeness of CommunistWitchDr's find.

This is a DECwriter.



Specifically this keyboard is from a DECwriter - I'm pretty sure it's an LA36. You may have also noticed that the keyboard appears to be missing the number pad - it's not. That's a separate part assembly. The Berg connector at top is semi-proprietary Digital, which is why it's stamped uniquely - it connected to the control board via rainbow cable or ribbon cable.

Those cluster of keys on the left are the printer controls, with some also on the right. (Specifically Line Feed and Repeat.) Line Loc is used to indicate current line location. FDX/HDX is to switch between Full Duplex and Half Duplex modes. 110 and 300 are the baud rates. Alt Char Set and Char Set Lock set the printing character set. Auto LF is Automatic Line Feed. Here Is, I honestly don't remember how to use. Yes, I've actually had to work on a DECwriter III - it was hooked up to a VAX.
Here's some pictures to give you an idea of the internals.

The DECwriter served as both printer and console. Yes, as in the terminal. Here's a video of one in action. The operator would enter commands (with feedback from the printer, but you still wanted to be VERY careful) and the computer would write to the printer for output. What's got me scratching my head though is that the LA36 did not come in bidirectional from what I've found (HDX/FDX means it's bidi.) The change from toggle switches to pushbutton mid-flight would not surprise me at all. Especially since the LA34 (just a printer, not a console) used a keyboard-style push button set identical to these.
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Offline mkawa

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Re: A visit to my local electronics shop
« Reply #11 on: Fri, 05 July 2013, 18:58:38 »
The DECwriter served as both printer and console. Yes, as in the terminal. Here's a video of one in action. The operator would enter commands (with feedback from the printer, but you still wanted to be VERY careful) and the computer would write to the printer for output. What's got me scratching my head though is that the LA36 did not come in bidirectional from what I've found (HDX/FDX means it's bidi.) The change from toggle switches to pushbutton mid-flight would not surprise me at all. Especially since the LA34 (just a printer, not a console) used a keyboard-style push button set identical to these.
umm, isn't this how all teletypes worked? hence, the modern tty socket?

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Offline CommunistWitchDr

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Re: A visit to my local electronics shop
« Reply #12 on: Fri, 05 July 2013, 21:06:46 »
Okay, so I mentioned DECwriter and I have a bit so let's elaborate so you all can bask in the awesomeness of CommunistWitchDr's find.

This is a DECwriter.
Show Image

Show Image


Specifically this keyboard is from a DECwriter - I'm pretty sure it's an LA36. You may have also noticed that the keyboard appears to be missing the number pad - it's not. That's a separate part assembly. The Berg connector at top is semi-proprietary Digital, which is why it's stamped uniquely - it connected to the control board via rainbow cable or ribbon cable.

Those cluster of keys on the left are the printer controls, with some also on the right. (Specifically Line Feed and Repeat.) Line Loc is used to indicate current line location. FDX/HDX is to switch between Full Duplex and Half Duplex modes. 110 and 300 are the baud rates. Alt Char Set and Char Set Lock set the printing character set. Auto LF is Automatic Line Feed. Here Is, I honestly don't remember how to use. Yes, I've actually had to work on a DECwriter III - it was hooked up to a VAX.
Here's some pictures to give you an idea of the internals.

The DECwriter served as both printer and console. Yes, as in the terminal. Here's a video of one in action. The operator would enter commands (with feedback from the printer, but you still wanted to be VERY careful) and the computer would write to the printer for output. What's got me scratching my head though is that the LA36 did not come in bidirectional from what I've found (HDX/FDX means it's bidi.) The change from toggle switches to pushbutton mid-flight would not surprise me at all. Especially since the LA34 (just a printer, not a console) used a keyboard-style push button set identical to these.
Huh, certainly is interesting, explains the lack of a case. Thanks for the info.
I don't have a DECwriter so no idea what to do with it yet.

Offline rootwyrm

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The DECwriter served as both printer and console. Yes, as in the terminal. Here's a video of one in action. The operator would enter commands (with feedback from the printer, but you still wanted to be VERY careful) and the computer would write to the printer for output. What's got me scratching my head though is that the LA36 did not come in bidirectional from what I've found (HDX/FDX means it's bidi.) The change from toggle switches to pushbutton mid-flight would not surprise me at all. Especially since the LA34 (just a printer, not a console) used a keyboard-style push button set identical to these.
umm, isn't this how all teletypes worked? hence, the modern tty socket?

Yepyep, except there are DECwriters which are also NOT consoles. (Like the LA34.) They are literally just printers. Digital did this because "screw customers that's why" I guess. There's also different flavors with the same name - some are wheel, some are dot-matrix.

Get your Jackie Chan GIFs ready folks, because it gets better.

This model would date to about 1979. Or 9 years after the introduction of the VT05 terminal and 5 years after the VT52 which is also the VT61 AND the VT62 which was PDP-11 + TRAX specific. Oh, and a good year after the VT100. Meaning a compatible CRT-based console had been available for nine full years before the introduction of this printer console.

Told you to get those GIFs ready.
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Offline CommunistWitchDr

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The DECwriter served as both printer and console. Yes, as in the terminal. Here's a video of one in action. The operator would enter commands (with feedback from the printer, but you still wanted to be VERY careful) and the computer would write to the printer for output. What's got me scratching my head though is that the LA36 did not come in bidirectional from what I've found (HDX/FDX means it's bidi.) The change from toggle switches to pushbutton mid-flight would not surprise me at all. Especially since the LA34 (just a printer, not a console) used a keyboard-style push button set identical to these.
umm, isn't this how all teletypes worked? hence, the modern tty socket?

Yepyep, except there are DECwriters which are also NOT consoles. (Like the LA34.) They are literally just printers. Digital did this because "screw customers that's why" I guess. There's also different flavors with the same name - some are wheel, some are dot-matrix.

Get your Jackie Chan GIFs ready folks, because it gets better.

This model would date to about 1979. Or 9 years after the introduction of the VT05 terminal and 5 years after the VT52 which is also the VT61 AND the VT62 which was PDP-11 + TRAX specific. Oh, and a good year after the VT100. Meaning a compatible CRT-based console had been available for nine full years before the introduction of this printer console.

Told you to get those GIFs ready.

Offline rootwyrm

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Show Image


"We got them to buy a $1900+ printer console AND a CRT terminal!"
(No, seriously. The LA36 listed starting at $1900. Before consumables like tractor feed paper and ribbons.)
"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 HaaTa

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Ooo, nice Hall Effect keypad :D

Would you mind pulling out one of the switches and looking for a switch code? There should be one IIRC.
Maybe a better pic of the black label too :P  (there should be a date code there)

The switches themselves are meant to be moved around (sorta). The Hall Effect sensor is soldered but the rest of the switch is held down with the metal tabs. The later Honeywell Hall Effect switches use a steel plate for the same effect.

Another question (if the keypad doesn't have much wear), are there any molding defects on the tops of the keycaps? Specifically around the letters.
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Offline CommunistWitchDr

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Ooo, nice Hall Effect keypad :D

Would you mind pulling out one of the switches and looking for a switch code? There should be one IIRC.
Maybe a better pic of the black label too :P  (there should be a date code there)

The switches themselves are meant to be moved around (sorta). The Hall Effect sensor is soldered but the rest of the switch is held down with the metal tabs. The later Honeywell Hall Effect switches use a steel plate for the same effect.

Another question (if the keypad doesn't have much wear), are there any molding defects on the tops of the keycaps? Specifically around the letters.
Pulled a switch and found no code. There are a few numbers on each pad though.
Bottom- SW-10196
Label- 16SW3-36
Smaller label- 7846

No real moulding defects, not that I can see anyway. There are a couple of scratched up keys though. And not all the keys are doubleshot, a couple are engraved and infilled. 6 total engraved, 19 doubleshot.
« Last Edit: Sat, 06 July 2013, 13:12:19 by CommunistWitchDr »

Offline HaaTa

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kk.

So the smaller label 7846, looks to be 1978, week 46. For these switches is pretty late (I have a keyboard from 1970, with components from 1969).
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Offline dorkvader

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Ooo, nice Hall Effect keypad :D

Would you mind pulling out one of the switches and looking for a switch code? There should be one IIRC.
Maybe a better pic of the black label too :P  (there should be a date code there)

The switches themselves are meant to be moved around (sorta). The Hall Effect sensor is soldered but the rest of the switch is held down with the metal tabs. The later Honeywell Hall Effect switches use a steel plate for the same effect.

Another question (if the keypad doesn't have much wear), are there any molding defects on the tops of the keycaps? Specifically around the letters.

All my green stem "vintage" HE switches have no part numbers on the top and say 1SW17 on the side. From what I am able to determine, they switched to the newer style (with part number on top of teh switch housing) sometime around 1979.
Does your 1970 HE keyboard have part numbers on the top of the switch housing?

---
16SW3-13 should be the microswitch part number for these. My two keyboards are 64sw1-10 and 56SW5-2. Note the first two numbers correspond to the number of switches.
The PCB's and switch housings have different part Numbers of course (1SW17 for a single swith, an IC is stamped with SW 20276), but I believe those are for the keyboard as a unit
« Last Edit: Sat, 06 July 2013, 18:39:12 by dorkvader »

Offline HaaTa

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Can't quite remember where the part number is on the switch...
I'll have to check once my bike trip is done, and I've finished moving in late August.
Kiibohd

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I take requests for making keyboard converters (i.e. *old keyboard* to USB).