Author Topic: is a rubber dome keyboard of any interest?  (Read 2094 times)

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Offline peethagoras

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is a rubber dome keyboard of any interest?
« on: Mon, 14 July 2014, 12:47:27 »
I just got given an IBM Aptiva (machine #2158) which, according to the user manual is a "104-key, 105-key or 109-key rubber dome Rapid Access (TM) keyboard".

Is this a good keyboard or mucho crapolatum?

regards.

Offline JPG

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Re: is a rubber dome keyboard of any interest?
« Reply #1 on: Mon, 14 July 2014, 12:48:53 »
There are better rubber domes than others. Don't know for this one. Probably not of much interest but maybe someone will tell you otherwise.
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Offline Vanilla

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Re: is a rubber dome keyboard of any interest?
« Reply #2 on: Mon, 14 July 2014, 12:52:31 »
Topre's are the best rubber dome generally* speaking.

Offline Defect

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Re: is a rubber dome keyboard of any interest?
« Reply #3 on: Mon, 14 July 2014, 14:11:16 »
Topre's are the best rubber dome generally* speaking.

Here come the Topre posts.


Rubber dome boards are not bad.  But most are.  Most RD boards were focused on cost reduction and use cheap cap materials, poorly designed sliders, and cheap dome sheets.

There are good RD boards and usually they include higher quality caps, individual domes, (sometimes) slider over dome, etc.

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Offline Techno Trousers

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Re: is a rubber dome keyboard of any interest?
« Reply #4 on: Mon, 14 July 2014, 14:48:37 »
Some are okay, but the vast majority are made with the cheapest possible materials, and designed to last just beyond the 1 year mark for warranty purposes (regardless of their MSRP). Typing experience and feedback are not even a consideration for those.

I came of computing age during the 80s. I was fortunate to find a decent quality keyboard with white Alps that lasted about 10 years and through three computers before the switches started failing. Then I went through a very long dark age. I kept buying expensive "gaming" rubber dome boards, hoping that at least one of them would have put some quality into the typing experience, but NOPE! Always mush city, and sooner rather than later the legends would rub off and a key would fail.

Now thanks to finding Geekhack a few years ago, I've gone back to the future with capacitive buckling spring. Rubber dome is forever tainted for me, and honestly I don't even want to try Topre because of my bad past experiences. I know it's just a preconception on my part, but there it is.

Offline terrpn

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Re: is a rubber dome keyboard of any interest?
« Reply #5 on: Mon, 14 July 2014, 17:00:20 »
honestly..............no
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Offline dorkvader

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Re: is a rubber dome keyboard of any interest?
« Reply #6 on: Tue, 15 July 2014, 00:39:02 »
The IBM rubber domes are plate mounted and pretty great feeling. They have sweet dyesub PBT keycaps too.

A far cry from the buckling spring variant though/

Offline peethagoras

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Re: is a rubber dome keyboard of any interest?
« Reply #7 on: Tue, 15 July 2014, 15:42:36 »
Well thanks for that great FB everybody. If the KB is crap then no loss as its a freeby.

Can perhaps someone enlighten me: what is "capacitive buckling spring"? I seem to remember some keyboards used inductive coupling, and some used capacitive membranes, some even used Hall effect devices, but "buckling spring"?

Excellent forum by the way.

Offline hwood34

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Re: is a rubber dome keyboard of any interest?
« Reply #8 on: Tue, 15 July 2014, 15:43:37 »
The IBM rubber domes are plate mounted and pretty great feeling. They have sweet dyesub PBT keycaps too.

A far cry from the buckling spring variant though/
This. The rubber dome variant of the Model M is a pretty darn solid keyboard
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Offline Techno Trousers

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Re: is a rubber dome keyboard of any interest?
« Reply #9 on: Tue, 15 July 2014, 19:34:39 »
Can perhaps someone enlighten me: what is "capacitive buckling spring"?

That is the original buckling spring technology, which supplanted beamspring, and was used in the various incarnations of the IBM Model F. The most famous of these are the original IBM XT 5150 and 5160 keyboard (terrible layout), and the original IBM AT (with the "big ass" enter key). There were also various terminal versions. My favorite of these are the Model F 122 key keyboards. With some work and a little extra cost to build a Soarer converter, or swapping in an Xwhatsit replacement controller, they can be modded to near-ANSI layout and a USB interface. Take a look at fohat.digs' great thread about that layout mod. I think it's one of the best things on Geekhack.

The IBM Model M is membrane buckling spring. It's not bad, but if you think about it, it's really just a cost-saving evolution of the Model F, and after comparing both, those cost reductions really hurt it.
« Last Edit: Tue, 15 July 2014, 19:38:15 by Techno Trousers »

Offline Elrick

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Re: is a rubber dome keyboard of any interest?
« Reply #10 on: Tue, 15 July 2014, 22:47:36 »
The IBM rubber domes are plate mounted and pretty great feeling. They have sweet dyesub PBT keycaps too.

A far cry from the buckling spring variant though/

Totally agree here, plus they pop up sometimes on Ebay and worth the purchase.  I know the hardcore IBM enthusiast despises them for some reason but I like them a lot, plus I type faster on an old rubber dome IBM then on any newer keyboards sold today  :thumb: .

Offline ClarusWorks

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Re: is a rubber dome keyboard of any interest?
« Reply #11 on: Wed, 16 July 2014, 08:02:22 »
Totally agree here, plus they pop up sometimes on Ebay and worth the purchase.  I know the hardcore IBM enthusiast despises them for some reason but I like them a lot, plus I type faster on an old rubber dome IBM then on any newer keyboards sold today  :thumb: .

I think the Unicomp rubber dome boards that are still manufactured now are the same domes as the old 'quiet touch' Model Ms.  I've used one once and it was decent - not a proper Model M, but still a lot better than the 75 cent boards you usually get with a PC.  Of course, I'm not sure how much sense it makes to spend $70+ on a rubber dome keyboard when the rubber Model Ms usually sell for cheap.  Some 90s Keytronic rubber dome boards were also reasonably nice.

When it's all said and done though, rubber domes are the solid state guitar amp of keyboards.  Cheap, functional, and even somewhat nice when you spring for a high-end one like Topre, but at the end of the day, they're still just an imitation of something better.