Author Topic: Symbolics 3600  (Read 13876 times)

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Offline lowpoly

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Symbolics 3600
« on: Fri, 03 April 2009, 08:29:36 »
I finally got the Symbolics keyboard I've wanted for a long, long time:



Note the Hyper, Super and Meta keys. No Alt. Caps Lock and Mode Lock are alternate action. And who needs cursor keys anyway.



Seventies keycap shape:



Detachable cable:





Double injection molding. The switches are micro usa, IIRC. These here don't appear to be labeled:



Close up of the mug, it actually fits better to the new slim style 'board:



HHKB size comparison:



Switches are linear which is fine with me as I drift (back) towards linear switches. Nice sound.

And this keyboard is heavy. Didn't put it on the scales yet but an SGI AT101 was light in comparison.
« Last Edit: Wed, 02 May 2018, 06:26:56 by lowpoly »

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Offline FKSSR

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Symbolics 3600
« Reply #1 on: Fri, 03 April 2009, 08:37:05 »
That looks pretty sweet!

Are you planning on recording some sound clips for us?
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Offline lowpoly

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« Reply #2 on: Fri, 03 April 2009, 08:39:50 »
Quote from: FKSSR;26787
Are you planning on recording some sound clips for us?

Let's see if I can find a microphone here. I remember throwing some cheap ones away not too long ago.

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Offline rdjack21

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« Reply #3 on: Fri, 03 April 2009, 09:03:12 »
Looking at that keyboard brings back some memories of when I first started using computers. One of the things I remember most was the feel of the keys and how much I loved them. One of the things I remember most though was that the keys were cupped and your fingers would just kind of sink into them. That one you have there looks to have those cupped keys but it does not look to be as cupped as the ones I remember typing on. I also remember that the keyboard had great tactile feed back even more pronounced than a BS board.

I just wish I could remember the name of that computer but I can't but I still remember the feel of those keys to this day and have always thought I would love to get a hold of one. What I do remember though is that it was a one piece unit (monitor, keyboard, disk drive all in one unit).

Thanks for reminding me of that I'm going to have to start searching ebay and see if I can find it.
Keyboards
Topre Capacitive: Realforce 87U, Realforce 86U, HHKB Pro 2, Topre MD01B0, Topre HE0100, Sun Short Type, OEM NEO CS (x2), NISSHO Electronics KB106DE
Buckling Spring: IBM Model M Space Saver (1291472), Unicomp Customizer x 2
Cherry Brown: Filco FKBN87M/EB, Compaq MX11800
Black Alps: ABS M1
Not so great boards Rare Spring over dome OKI, Sun rack keyboard

Trackballs - Trackman Wheel (3), Trackman marble (2)
Keyboards I still want to get - Happy Hacking Keyboard Pro 2 the White version, Realforce 23U number pad in black and maybe white, μTRON ergo board with Topre switches.
Previously owned - [size=0]SiiG MiniTouch (White Alps), Scorpius M10 (Blue Cherry), IBM Model M13[/size]

Offline FKSSR

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« Reply #4 on: Fri, 03 April 2009, 09:18:21 »
That actually is what I was thinking.  I remember typing on old keyboards at my dad's work when I was really little and how shiny and smooth the keys were, but it didn't really matter if they were very slippery since they had the deep grooves for my fingers to fit into.  Of course, I was a kid then, so they might not feel as deep now.

Man, now I'm feeling all nostalgic for one. ;)
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Offline lowpoly

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« Reply #5 on: Fri, 03 April 2009, 09:30:44 »
The keys have a spherical dimple (word?). Well, not exactly spherical, more like an inverted pyramid with rounded edges. The dimple on modern Cherrys for ex. is cylindrical. F and J are deeper.

The outside of the keys is polished but the grip area is matte.

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Offline FKSSR

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« Reply #6 on: Fri, 03 April 2009, 09:32:12 »
Quote from: lowpoly;26800
The outside of the keys is polished but the grip area is matte.


That is really nice.  It keeps the looks but makes sure fingers don't slip too easily.
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Offline rdjack21

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« Reply #7 on: Fri, 03 April 2009, 10:00:26 »
Oh man I think I found it. It was one of these two:

Heathkit H89 http://oldcomputers.net/heathkit-h89.html
or
TRS-80 Model III http://oldcomputers.net/trs80iii.html

But I don't think I will be able find one I can buy. I remember learning basic on that machine. Man I'm getting old :(

EDIT: I can't find a good picture of the keyboard but they look very similar to the Symbolics pictured above. Also take a look at the F/J keys in the first two pictures and see how deep those keys are cupped. lowpoly great find I actually wouldn't mind getting one of those as well.
Keyboards
Topre Capacitive: Realforce 87U, Realforce 86U, HHKB Pro 2, Topre MD01B0, Topre HE0100, Sun Short Type, OEM NEO CS (x2), NISSHO Electronics KB106DE
Buckling Spring: IBM Model M Space Saver (1291472), Unicomp Customizer x 2
Cherry Brown: Filco FKBN87M/EB, Compaq MX11800
Black Alps: ABS M1
Not so great boards Rare Spring over dome OKI, Sun rack keyboard

Trackballs - Trackman Wheel (3), Trackman marble (2)
Keyboards I still want to get - Happy Hacking Keyboard Pro 2 the White version, Realforce 23U number pad in black and maybe white, μTRON ergo board with Topre switches.
Previously owned - [size=0]SiiG MiniTouch (White Alps), Scorpius M10 (Blue Cherry), IBM Model M13[/size]

Offline FKSSR

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Symbolics 3600
« Reply #8 on: Fri, 03 April 2009, 10:11:37 »
I don't remember having a one-piece computer, but those advertisements are awesome.  I love the one with the chick and the old computer.  In fact, in a few min, I'm going to make that my avatar (until I get a proper one - which I already have plans for).

I want a one-piece computer that I can basically strip and rebuild with modern electronics.  That project may not happen until next year, though.

EDIT: Made it my avatar.  I added my self-made FKSSR logo to her shirt, but you can't really read it, since the avatar is so small. :(  Oh well.
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Offline lowpoly

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« Reply #9 on: Fri, 03 April 2009, 10:29:30 »
There is also a Heathkit Hero robot in that pic. I always wanted a Hero Jr. when I was young. Got an ad somewhere that I kept for a long time.

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Offline xsphat

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« Reply #10 on: Fri, 03 April 2009, 10:48:25 »
@lowpoly that keyboard is one I've always wanted. Are you going to try to hook it up to a modern computer?

And what did you mean by, "as I drift (back) towards linear switches"? Are you talking Cherry ML or blacks or what?

Offline lal

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Symbolics 3600
« Reply #11 on: Fri, 03 April 2009, 11:10:09 »
Wow, a space-cadet keyboard! This guy has successfully hooked it to a modern PC.
BS: Customizer, Model Ms; Alps: CSK-2101, FK-2002, AT-101 (SGI & Dell), MCK-860, FKBN87Z/EB; Cherry: Poker X, FKBN87MC/EB, WY60, G80-3000, G84-4100, TDV 5010

Offline lowpoly

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« Reply #12 on: Fri, 03 April 2009, 11:14:31 »
Quote from: xsphat;26822
@lowpoly that keyboard is one I've always wanted. Are you going to try to hook it up to a modern computer?

kbdbabel has a Symbolics adapter. Also, I found some guy in Germany how built some and still might have one.

I want to build it myself but it will take more time and money. But then I could build others like (pc xt) as well. But this would draw time I could spend on the mini... Right now it has to wait, I guess. :)

Quote from: xsphat;26822
And what did you mean by, "as I drift (back) towards linear switches"? Are you talking Cherry ML or blacks or what?

I used my Cherry blacks keyboard a lot lately and liked it but the springs are still too strong for my taste. I think red will be my switch.

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Offline lowpoly

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« Reply #13 on: Fri, 03 April 2009, 11:19:31 »
Quote from: lal;26826
Wow, a space-cadet keyboard!
Not sure if the newer ones qualify. This is a space cadet keyboard:



Quote from: lal;26826
This guy has successfully hooked it to a modern PC.
That's the guy who made a couple of the adapters. Edit: He made the kbdbabel ones.

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Offline xsphat

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« Reply #14 on: Fri, 03 April 2009, 11:21:50 »
Quote from: lowpoly;26827
I think red will be my switch.


Have you (or anyone else) tried a Cherry red? I am wondering if it bunches up at the bottom like blacks.  I know it has the same weight as the browns, so I'm a little confused. If the switch is just a brown without the light tactile bump, would that make the red a "alternate action linear switch?"

Offline lal

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Symbolics 3600
« Reply #15 on: Fri, 03 April 2009, 11:27:34 »
Quote from: lowpoly;26830
Not sure if the newer ones qualify.


They do :)
There's a picture of the simplified low-profile version in the jargon file entry that has the same layout as yours.  And if ESR chose it as an example, I think you can safely call it a real space-cadet keyboard.
BS: Customizer, Model Ms; Alps: CSK-2101, FK-2002, AT-101 (SGI & Dell), MCK-860, FKBN87Z/EB; Cherry: Poker X, FKBN87MC/EB, WY60, G80-3000, G84-4100, TDV 5010

Offline cchan

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« Reply #16 on: Fri, 03 April 2009, 11:28:02 »
Quote from: xsphat;26831
Have you (or anyone else) tried a Cherry red? I am wondering if it bunches up at the bottom like blacks.  I know it has the same weight as the browns, so I'm a little confused. If the switch is just a brown without the light tactile bump, would that make the red a "alternate action linear switch?"
Alternate action is when you press it down and it locks, you press it down again and it pops back up. The red would best be described as ergonomic/low force linear.
HP Envy17: Core i7-2760QM, 8GB DDR3, 128GB Crucial m4 + 750GB Hitachi, Windows 7 Home Premium x64, Cherry ML4100, Logitech M500, HP zr22w
IBM Thinkpad X60: Core Duo T2400, 2GB DDR2, 128GB Samsung 830, Xubuntu 12.04 x86, Cherry ML4100, Logitech M205, HP zr22w
Raspberry Pi Model B: BCM2835, 0.25GB DDR2, 8GB Samsung SD card, Raspbian Wheezy, human interaction devices as above

Offline rdjack21

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« Reply #17 on: Fri, 03 April 2009, 11:31:50 »
Quote from: lowpoly;26830
Not sure if the newer ones qualify. This is a space cadet keyboard:

Show Image



That's the guy who made a couple of the adapters.


Oh wow I'm drooling man I love that board. Look at how deep the keys are cupped. Man I just have to find one of those. And when I do I bet it is going to cost me a arm and a leg to get. But I don't care I just have to have one.
Keyboards
Topre Capacitive: Realforce 87U, Realforce 86U, HHKB Pro 2, Topre MD01B0, Topre HE0100, Sun Short Type, OEM NEO CS (x2), NISSHO Electronics KB106DE
Buckling Spring: IBM Model M Space Saver (1291472), Unicomp Customizer x 2
Cherry Brown: Filco FKBN87M/EB, Compaq MX11800
Black Alps: ABS M1
Not so great boards Rare Spring over dome OKI, Sun rack keyboard

Trackballs - Trackman Wheel (3), Trackman marble (2)
Keyboards I still want to get - Happy Hacking Keyboard Pro 2 the White version, Realforce 23U number pad in black and maybe white, μTRON ergo board with Topre switches.
Previously owned - [size=0]SiiG MiniTouch (White Alps), Scorpius M10 (Blue Cherry), IBM Model M13[/size]

Offline itlnstln

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Symbolics 3600
« Reply #18 on: Fri, 03 April 2009, 11:36:26 »
I have always liked the shape and lettering of these old keyboards.


Offline lowpoly

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« Reply #19 on: Fri, 03 April 2009, 11:38:42 »
Quote from: xsphat;26831
Have you (or anyone else) tried a Cherry red? I am wondering if it bunches up at the bottom like blacks.  I know it has the same weight as the browns, so I'm a little confused. If the switch is just a brown without the light tactile bump, would that make the red a "alternate action linear switch?"

Didn't try them yet. I like the spring force of the browns but the tactile point started to irritate me after a while. I like the feeling of the blacks except for the spring force. Cherry reds sound like the solution. The linear switches on my Toshiba T5200 are also lighter than the black Cherry. I probably just want that back.

Quote from: lal;26834
They do :)
There's a picture of the simplified low-profile version in the jargon file entry that has the same layout as yours.  And if ESR chose it as an example, I think you can safely call it a real space-cadet keyboard.


Yay! :)

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Offline cb951303

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Symbolics 3600
« Reply #20 on: Sat, 04 April 2009, 11:12:41 »
you're now on the list of people that I hate. I need that keyboard. If you send it to me I will forgive you:mad:
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Offline Hak Foo

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« Reply #21 on: Sat, 04 April 2009, 14:40:11 »
What's amazing to me is that in spite of its dozens of bizarre keys, the general typing area layout is still closer to that of a modern PC than, say, many Atari and Commodore products.

I wish I could get some cupped keys.  I have an old C.Itoh dumb terminal (actually proved useful when I wanted to test a Sun Ultra 10 without their weird keyboards) with delightfully cupped keys, but I'm betting there's no way to transplant them onto a 1391401
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Offline Chloe

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« Reply #22 on: Sun, 05 April 2009, 16:46:45 »
Quote from: xsphat;26831
Have you (or anyone else) tried a Cherry red? I am wondering if it bunches up at the bottom like blacks.  I know it has the same weight as the browns, so I'm a little confused. If the switch is just a brown without the light tactile bump, would that make the red a "alternate action linear switch?"


I converted my Cherry G80-1856 with blacks to reds by swapping in springs from browns. The result is just like browns but without the tactile bump. I like them for gaming but found them a little too light and easy to bottom out on without the tactile bump, so I switched most of the board back. I prefer reds for keys often pressed such as WASD, and the springiness of blacks for other keys.

Quote from: lowpoly;26839
Didn't try them yet. I like the spring force of the browns but the tactile point started to irritate me after a while. I like the feeling of the blacks except for the spring force. Cherry reds sound like the solution. The linear switches on my Toshiba T5200 are also lighter than the black Cherry. I probably just want that back.


The bump in browns irritated me too after a while.

Offline xsphat

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« Reply #23 on: Sun, 05 April 2009, 23:11:37 »
Thanks Chloe. I'm another one of you who thought, after a while, the browns are too light. I thought the reds might be the answer. I also thought the reds would similar to the blacks, not the browns. I know the weight is the same and all but I was hoping the reds would bunch at the bottom like the blacks. Do we know for sure that does not happen with the reds?

Offline Chloe

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« Reply #24 on: Mon, 06 April 2009, 14:13:15 »
If you mean the way blacks feel much more resistive towards the bottom, the reds don't feel the same. The increase in resistance is more gradual. I think I would like something in between the two. The first thing I missed was the bounciness of the blacks but they are tiring after a while.

Offline xsphat

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« Reply #25 on: Mon, 06 April 2009, 15:43:55 »
hmm. I think I'll stop thinking about the reds as an option then. I am waiting for delivery of a 'board with Alps yellow linears (I was a little bent when I ordered it so I thought it had Alps blues :eek: ) so maybe that will be my answer.

Offline Alpha Omicron

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« Reply #26 on: Fri, 01 May 2009, 23:52:44 »
I would do horrible things for a Space-Cadet (up to but probably not including paying for one).
I type on a DASK3ULT using the Colemak keyboard layout.[/SIZE]

Offline quadibloc

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« Reply #27 on: Tue, 08 December 2009, 07:52:17 »
I agree that the Space Cadet keyboard is intriguing. That's why I've been doodling designs



that are inspired by that keyboard, while also being intended for connection to a PC (which might well be running LISP machine emulator software under Linux or something).

Offline rdjack21

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Symbolics 3600
« Reply #28 on: Tue, 08 December 2009, 08:03:11 »
Nice... that is one non Topre board I would love to have.

The newer one also looks like the key pitch was changed as well or is that just camera distortion. It looks to me that the typing area is smaller but has the same number of keys so something changed or the camera is distorting the image.
Keyboards
Topre Capacitive: Realforce 87U, Realforce 86U, HHKB Pro 2, Topre MD01B0, Topre HE0100, Sun Short Type, OEM NEO CS (x2), NISSHO Electronics KB106DE
Buckling Spring: IBM Model M Space Saver (1291472), Unicomp Customizer x 2
Cherry Brown: Filco FKBN87M/EB, Compaq MX11800
Black Alps: ABS M1
Not so great boards Rare Spring over dome OKI, Sun rack keyboard

Trackballs - Trackman Wheel (3), Trackman marble (2)
Keyboards I still want to get - Happy Hacking Keyboard Pro 2 the White version, Realforce 23U number pad in black and maybe white, μTRON ergo board with Topre switches.
Previously owned - [size=0]SiiG MiniTouch (White Alps), Scorpius M10 (Blue Cherry), IBM Model M13[/size]

Offline lowpoly

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« Reply #29 on: Tue, 08 December 2009, 08:53:44 »
I wondered when you'd close that gap in your collection. You still need the mug though. :-)

Mine is a rev. C as you said. I think the colors are the same, the white lettering in my keys is just yellowed.

What kind of switches does your 3620 have? I think rev. A was linear mechanical with rubber sleeves?

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