Author Topic: $0.99 USD PS/2 adapter is working perfectly with my Model M... what?  (Read 1280 times)

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Offline RoflCopter4

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I received two things in the post today. One of them is an Apple Extended Keyboard (model M0115) with what I'm fairly certain are orange Alps key switches... assuming I'm not colourblind. This was left for me on my porch by some courier I've never heard of called CanPar, courtesy of that irritating eBay Global Shipping racket program. It also came with an ADB mouse for some reason. The mouse is filthy and the keyboard will need a good washing. Oh well. Ebay.

However, I also had the wherewithall to go out and check those dumb postal boxes that only seem to exist here in Canada to which all mail is delivered. There's one for every postal code (a dozen or so houses) and everone gets a box. I'm told this way is much cheaper than door to door deliveries. Anyway, in it I found a small parcel which I later discovered contained the second of two very cheap PS/2 to USB adapters I bought a while back, also on eBay. The first one showed up around a week ago and the first time I tried it with my Model M nothing happened at all, exactly as I would have suspected. When I plugged my Model M into the second one however, to my shock I saw all three LEDs triumphantly light up, and turn off a few seconds later. I tentatively pressed the num lock key and the num lock light lit up. The caps lock and scroll lock did the same. I opened notepad and again to great surprise the keyboard seemed to be working just fine.

The two converters look very similar, the only differences seem to be very much superficial. The first one is made from a white plastic with an oval indentation in which the MADE IN CHINA logo is centered, while the second one is a grey plastic with a rectangular indent. In fact, it looks a tad cheaper. When I took it out of it's "packaging" the plastic cover for the tiny PCB promptly split in two and revealed the sparce innards of the device. I was surprised enough to see this piece of crap work that I decided to dig out the first one again and give it another go. Well, this time, it worked. In fact, I'm typing with it right now. I did not expect that, to tell the truth.

I was assured by various people that cheap adapters like this would simply not work. They supposedly cannot provide enough juice for the board and in fact don't convert the signal at all but instead require the keyboard to be able to send both a USB or PS/2 signal through the one cable and simply redirect the signal wires to a USB out. And yet these two seem to work. I don't understand. They're actually working better than another more expensive converter I bought, which failed to actually light up the LEDs for some reason, and they seem to be about the same as my Blue Cube. They definitely only provide 6-key roleover but as far as I know the venerable Blue Cube does no better.

Anyone know what the heck is up here?

I suspect that this one was the first to arrive: http://www.ebay.ca/itm/221604670639

and this was the second: http://www.ebay.ca/itm/301227345051

but honestly I don't know for sure. I bought them on the same day and the photos are probably not representative of the actual product.

This converter did not activate the LEDs: http://www.ebay.ca/itm/280839328798
« Last Edit: Fri, 12 December 2014, 22:06:16 by RoflCopter4 »
Acer KB-101A with Blue Alps | HHKB Pro 2 | '85 122 Key IBM Model F | '86 1390131 "Silver Label" Model M | AEK M0115 with Orange Alps | Focus FK-2001 White Alps | Chicony 5181 with SMK "Monterey Blue" Switches | Dell AT101W | Unicomp "Ultra Classic" | Razer Blackwidow 2013

Offline E TwentyNine

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Re: $0.99 USD PS/2 adapter is working perfectly with my Model M... what?
« Reply #1 on: Fri, 12 December 2014, 21:17:52 »
I was assured by various people that cheap adapters like this would simply not work.

The fact is that you're gambling with those adapters, quality varies and there's a good chance they won't work.  Your computer hardware and the converter both factor into whether it will.

I had one of those cheapo adapters working with an M for maybe a decade, then I got a new laptop and it wouldn't work.  Bought a bluecube and it was fine.
Daily driver: SSK or Tenkeyless IBM AT
1984 Model M Industrial Prototype ⌨ 1992 Black Oval Industrial SSK ⌨ 1982 5251 Beam Spring ⌨ 89 Key "SSK" ⌨ M13 triplets

Offline fohat.digs

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Re: $0.99 USD PS/2 adapter is working perfectly with my Model M... what?
« Reply #2 on: Fri, 12 December 2014, 21:25:37 »
I have had a bunch of those cheap-o "Y" adapters and they have mostly worked fine.
Were our leaders just stupid? Well, maybe. But there’s a deeper explanation of the profoundly self-destructive behavior of Trump and his allies: They were all members of America’s cult of selfishness. You see, the modern US right is committed to the proposition that greed is good, that we’re all better off when individuals engage in the untrammeled pursuit of self-interest. In their vision, unrestricted profit maximization by businesses and unregulated consumer choice is the recipe for a good society.
Support for this proposition is, if anything, more emotional than intellectual. I’ve long been struck by the intensity of right-wing anger against relatively trivial regulations, like bans on phosphates in detergent and efficiency standards for light bulbs. It’s the principle of the thing: Many on the right are enraged at any suggestion that their actions should take other people’s welfare into account. This rage is sometimes portrayed as love of freedom. But people who insist on the right to pollute are notably unbothered by, say, federal agents tear-gassing peaceful protesters. What they call “freedom” is actually absence of responsibility.
Rational policy in a pandemic, however, is all about taking responsibility. The main reason you shouldn’t go to a bar and should wear a mask isn’t self-protection, although that’s part of it; the point is that congregating in noisy, crowded spaces or exhaling droplets into shared air puts others at risk. And that’s the kind of thing America’s right just hates, hates to hear. Anger at any suggestion of social responsibility also helps explain the looming fiscal catastrophe.  – Paul Krugman 2020-07-28 NYT

Offline mr.squishy

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Re: $0.99 USD PS/2 adapter is working perfectly with my Model M... what?
« Reply #3 on: Fri, 12 December 2014, 21:39:58 »
What are you planning on doing with the Apple Extended Keyboard? I just acquired an Apple Standard Keyboard with orange alps (M0116) that is unfortunately missing a few caps, but should be functional (hey, it was free  ;D )

Offline dorkvader

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Re: $0.99 USD PS/2 adapter is working perfectly with my Model M... what?
« Reply #4 on: Sat, 13 December 2014, 00:17:24 »
I have had a bunch of those cheap-o "Y" adapters and they have mostly worked fine.


I just gave mine away recently because it would "reset" every few days. Very annoying for long-term use.

But yeah: mostly works fine.

Offline MGH

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Re: $0.99 USD PS/2 adapter is working perfectly with my Model M... what?
« Reply #5 on: Sat, 13 December 2014, 00:23:41 »
http://www.ebay.com/itm/270962163563?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

These are absolutely flawless and do mouse and keyboard. Only problem is its a little big for my liking, but its awesome for my M13

Offline RoflCopter4

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Re: $0.99 USD PS/2 adapter is working perfectly with my Model M... what?
« Reply #6 on: Sat, 13 December 2014, 01:38:42 »
I was assured by various people that cheap adapters like this would simply not work.

The fact is that you're gambling with those adapters, quality varies and there's a good chance they won't work.  Your computer hardware and the converter both factor into whether it will.

I had one of those cheapo adapters working with an M for maybe a decade, then I got a new laptop and it wouldn't work.  Bought a bluecube and it was fine.

This may be the case, but they are around 1/20th the cost of a Blue Cube.

I have had a bunch of those cheap-o "Y" adapters and they have mostly worked fine.


I just gave mine away recently because it would "reset" every few days. Very annoying for long-term use.

But yeah: mostly works fine.

I can imagine there being problems with something this cheap. I just thought it was actually impossible for it to work at all. Looking at the Deskthority Wiki page on converters and on several forum posts on the topic the general opinion seems to be that these "adapters" don't actually have the capacity to actively convert a PS/2 signal, especially from something like a Model M. Clearly either I've misread something quite terribly or there is some misinformation going around.

What are you planning on doing with the Apple Extended Keyboard? I just acquired an Apple Standard Keyboard with orange alps (M0116) that is unfortunately missing a few caps, but should be functional (hey, it was free  ;D )

Cleaning it and using it at work probably. I feel bad using a Chicony 5181 there, it's a tad loud. Nobody has complained but I get the feeling it's annoying nonetheless. This is actually the first tactile non-clickey board I've used for more than just a minute or two in a store. I didn't like the Cherry Browns I tested but I actually kind of like this board. Thankfully it isn't that dirty. Mostly just a fair amount of dust and lots of yellowing by the look of it. My Chicony board was absolutely filthy. It was just caked in this strange unidentifyable orange filth. Very unpleasant.

Damn lucky you got one for free. Mine wasn't all that expensive but shipping things to Canada is always horrible, and the Canadian dollar is just terrible right now.
Acer KB-101A with Blue Alps | HHKB Pro 2 | '85 122 Key IBM Model F | '86 1390131 "Silver Label" Model M | AEK M0115 with Orange Alps | Focus FK-2001 White Alps | Chicony 5181 with SMK "Monterey Blue" Switches | Dell AT101W | Unicomp "Ultra Classic" | Razer Blackwidow 2013

Offline mr.squishy

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Re: $0.99 USD PS/2 adapter is working perfectly with my Model M... what?
« Reply #7 on: Sat, 13 December 2014, 11:13:48 »
What are you planning on doing with the Apple Extended Keyboard? I just acquired an Apple Standard Keyboard with orange alps (M0116) that is unfortunately missing a few caps, but should be functional (hey, it was free  ;D )

Cleaning it and using it at work probably. I feel bad using a Chicony 5181 there, it's a tad loud. Nobody has complained but I get the feeling it's annoying nonetheless. This is actually the first tactile non-clickey board I've used for more than just a minute or two in a store. I didn't like the Cherry Browns I tested but I actually kind of like this board. Thankfully it isn't that dirty. Mostly just a fair amount of dust and lots of yellowing by the look of it. My Chicony board was absolutely filthy. It was just caked in this strange unidentifyable orange filth. Very unpleasant.

Damn lucky you got one for free. Mine wasn't all that expensive but shipping things to Canada is always horrible, and the Canadian dollar is just terrible right now.
Yeah, it needed a deep cleaning, but now all I need to do is figure out how to convert it to usb and also source a few alps caps.
Although the spacebar is missing, and that seems pretty non-standard. It could be pretty difficult finding a new spacebar  :'(

Offline RoflCopter4

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Re: $0.99 USD PS/2 adapter is working perfectly with my Model M... what?
« Reply #8 on: Sat, 13 December 2014, 18:05:47 »
What are you planning on doing with the Apple Extended Keyboard? I just acquired an Apple Standard Keyboard with orange alps (M0116) that is unfortunately missing a few caps, but should be functional (hey, it was free  ;D )

Cleaning it and using it at work probably. I feel bad using a Chicony 5181 there, it's a tad loud. Nobody has complained but I get the feeling it's annoying nonetheless. This is actually the first tactile non-clickey board I've used for more than just a minute or two in a store. I didn't like the Cherry Browns I tested but I actually kind of like this board. Thankfully it isn't that dirty. Mostly just a fair amount of dust and lots of yellowing by the look of it. My Chicony board was absolutely filthy. It was just caked in this strange unidentifyable orange filth. Very unpleasant.

Damn lucky you got one for free. Mine wasn't all that expensive but shipping things to Canada is always horrible, and the Canadian dollar is just terrible right now.
Yeah, it needed a deep cleaning, but now all I need to do is figure out how to convert it to usb and also source a few alps caps.
Although the spacebar is missing, and that seems pretty non-standard. It could be pretty difficult finding a new spacebar  :'(

That's really unfortunate. I doubt you'll easily come accross a spare spacebar for this board. Are the keycaps on Matias boards significantly different from these old Alps boards?

Incidently, I got this thing cleaned up and so far I really like it. I'm surprised at how tactile it is. I wouldn't have thought a non-clicky board would be capable of this. It does bottom out really hard and loud though.
Acer KB-101A with Blue Alps | HHKB Pro 2 | '85 122 Key IBM Model F | '86 1390131 "Silver Label" Model M | AEK M0115 with Orange Alps | Focus FK-2001 White Alps | Chicony 5181 with SMK "Monterey Blue" Switches | Dell AT101W | Unicomp "Ultra Classic" | Razer Blackwidow 2013