Author Topic: Got a free keyboard, what is this?  (Read 5032 times)

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Offline Sturmfrau

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Got a free keyboard, what is this?
« on: Wed, 24 December 2014, 06:48:08 »
So our company decided to clear out some stuff then I see this keyboard and when I tried to press it I immediately knew it was mechanical. When I got home I popped one of they keys out and it's MX Brown but I'm not sure what keyboard this is. Would also love to know how to clean this baby up (keys and casing as well as the trackball) as well as test if all the keys are working. The keycaps I think are pbt (basing it off my hhkb's keycap feel).



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Offline Evo_Spec

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Re: Got a free keyboard, what is this?
« Reply #1 on: Wed, 24 December 2014, 06:54:09 »
if you google compaq 185152-001 you'll get some hits. can't tell you about the history or something on it though.
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Offline inlikeflynn

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Re: Got a free keyboard, what is this?
« Reply #2 on: Wed, 24 December 2014, 07:01:56 »
nice find on a Japanese g80-11800. don't see those around too much

thing lasered PBT caps on there, originally for Compaq rack mounted KVM setups many years back

look here for more: http://deskthority.net/wiki/Cherry_G80-11800

denture tabs will clean up the caps some, but the cases on these particular keyboards get quite yellowed, more than others even
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Offline Sturmfrau

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Re: Got a free keyboard, what is this?
« Reply #3 on: Wed, 24 December 2014, 07:09:45 »
nice find on a Japanese g80-11800. don't see those around too much

thing lasered PBT caps on there, originally for Compaq rack mounted KVM setups many years back

look here for more: http://deskthority.net/wiki/Cherry_G80-11800

denture tabs will clean up the caps some, but the cases on these particular keyboards get quite yellowed, more than others even

So how do I proceed on de-yellowing the case? or is that impossible? I'm scared to take it apart because of that trackball on it.

edit: HOLY CRAP! just checked the link. So this is a legit cherry keyboard O.O wow
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Offline Touch_It

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Re: Got a free keyboard, what is this?
« Reply #4 on: Wed, 24 December 2014, 09:40:31 »
As far as the yellowing, check out retrobrite.  I've never used it so can't personally comment on it but it should help with the yellowing.  As far as the switch type, I'm guessing it has MX Browns.


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Offline Findecanor

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Re: Got a free keyboard, what is this?
« Reply #5 on: Wed, 24 December 2014, 10:09:21 »
The switch type should be MX Browns. I have never heard of a Compaq-branded Cherry G80-11800 that has had anything else. I have heard that some keyboards have thick PBT caps while others have thin, except for the stabilised keys that are always thick. The beige hue was originally the same on the case and keyboard and is special for the Compaq-branded boards.

The G80-11800 has a sturdier case than most Cherry G80-series keyboards. It disassembles with a few screws - no snaps. The key switches are on a PCB that is connected via a ribbon cable to the controller PCB under it and the controller is screwed to the bottom of the case.

A few of us have modified our keyboards by removing the trackball and the numeric keypad and rebuilt the case to make the keyboard smaller. There is a way to cut the ISO and ANSI circuit boards cleanly and not have to reattach any wire, but I don't know about the Japanese layout.
« Last Edit: Thu, 25 December 2014, 04:46:58 by Findecanor »
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Offline IvanIvanovich

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Re: Got a free keyboard, what is this?
« Reply #6 on: Wed, 24 December 2014, 10:22:27 »
Very lucky find on that Compaq/Cherry G80-11802LPAJA. The Japanese variant is quite rare, please do not even consider cutting it apart mod. I know this one is on few people short list so you could sell it for a good chunk of change.
At least the yellowing appears to be even which is good. It might look just fine after a good cleaning. You can't be afraid to open it and take out the PCBs, it's the only good way to clean a case that dirty so you can scrub on it.

Offline berserkfan

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Re: Got a free keyboard, what is this?
« Reply #7 on: Wed, 24 December 2014, 13:32:18 »
So our company decided to clear out some stuff then I see this keyboard and when I tried to press it I immediately knew it was mechanical. When I got home I popped one of they keys out and it's MX Brown but I'm not sure what keyboard this is. Would also love to know how to clean this baby up (keys and casing as well as the trackball) as well as test if all the keys are working. The keycaps I think are pbt (basing it off my hhkb's keycap feel).

Show Image


Show Image


This is Japanese layout with that rare spacebar; do not throw it away or throw any part away! Even if you don't want to keep it, I promise you that someone on geekhack will want it!
Most of the modding can be done on your own once you break through the psychological barriers.

Offline Sturmfrau

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Re: Got a free keyboard, what is this?
« Reply #8 on: Wed, 24 December 2014, 20:22:29 »
The switch type should be MX Browns. I have never heard of a Compaq-branded Cherry G80-11800 that has had anything else. I have heard that some keyboards have thicker 11 keycaps than others. All stabilised keycaps should be thick and all keycaps (including the Space bar) are lasered PBT in all versions. The beige hue was originally the same on the case and keyboard and is special for the Compaq-branded boards.

The G80-11800 has a sturdier case than most Cherry G80-series keyboards. It disassembles with a few screws - no snaps. The key switches are on a PCB that is connected via a ribbon cable to the controller PCB under it and the controller is screwed to the bottom of the case.

A few of us have modified our keyboards by removing the trackball and the numeric keypad to make the keyboard smaller. There is a way to cut the ISO and ANSI circuit boards cleanly and not have to reattach any wire, but I don't know about the Japanese layout.

I think all the keycaps are thick pbt (I'm just comparing this with the hhkb's thin pbt). Thanks for the inside look on it. So now I know what's inside without opening it. I might clean this maybe next month if I get the time.

Very lucky find on that Compaq/Cherry G80-11802LPAJA. The Japanese variant is quite rare, please do not even consider cutting it apart mod. I know this one is on few people short list so you could sell it for a good chunk of change.
At least the yellowing appears to be even which is good. It might look just fine after a good cleaning. You can't be afraid to open it and take out the PCBs, it's the only good way to clean a case that dirty so you can scrub on it.

With what do I scrub the casing with? Scotchbrite and dish washing soap?

So our company decided to clear out some stuff then I see this keyboard and when I tried to press it I immediately knew it was mechanical. When I got home I popped one of they keys out and it's MX Brown but I'm not sure what keyboard this is. Would also love to know how to clean this baby up (keys and casing as well as the trackball) as well as test if all the keys are working. The keycaps I think are pbt (basing it off my hhkb's keycap feel).

Show Image


Show Image


This is Japanese layout with that rare spacebar; do not throw it away or throw any part away! Even if you don't want to keep it, I promise you that someone on geekhack will want it!

This sounds promising. How much would this be if every key is working and it's cleaned like it's brand new?
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Offline IvanIvanovich

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Re: Got a free keyboard, what is this?
« Reply #9 on: Wed, 24 December 2014, 22:25:10 »
Yes, it's what I do as first step clean. take out the electronics and simply wash case parts with dish soap and a scrubbing pad. If heavily soiled I may let it soak in the sink or something for a bit first. Same goes for the keycap, just place them in a tub with some dishsoap and let them sit for a bit, then rinse off... if needed can scrub them also.
Confirm it working properly, if so even in its current state as is dirty I suspect you should be able to get $80-100. It being functional is the important part. If you intend to sell it, it may be wise to just let someone more experienced with restoration take care of it instead of going to more advanced cleaning with thing like retrobrite.

Offline Findecanor

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Re: Got a free keyboard, what is this?
« Reply #10 on: Thu, 25 December 2014, 05:06:52 »
A very simple way to clean keycaps is to use denture cleaning tablets. This community got the idea from LEGO collectors, and the tablets are useful also for washing other complicated objects of plastic such as parts of kitchen appliances. The tablets should be available in pharmacies and in some supermarkets near the toothpaste. There are threads about them but here is the short version:

Put the keycaps in a washing bag (like what women wash their metal wire bras in) and place that and four-five tablets in a bowl with high edges. Then pour hot water from the tap until it covers the caps. The tablets will now fizz a lot and you will be happy that you chose a large bowl. I usually wait an hour or so until there is no fizz left. Rinse the bag of keycaps a couple of times and then hang it up to dry overnight.
A washing bag is not strictly necessary, but it is incredibly convenient.
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Offline JDorfler

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Re: Got a free keyboard, what is this?
« Reply #11 on: Thu, 25 December 2014, 07:02:55 »
Hmm, what kind of connections are on that bad boy?

Offline Findecanor

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Re: Got a free keyboard, what is this?
« Reply #12 on: Thu, 25 December 2014, 09:15:57 »
It has a Y-cable with two PS/2 connectors: one for the keyboard and one for the trackball.
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Offline Sturmfrau

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Re: Got a free keyboard, what is this?
« Reply #13 on: Thu, 25 December 2014, 09:43:23 »
What's a retrobrite?

Anyway thanks for the reply guys. Would update once I actually go clean it.
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Offline rainb1ood

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Re: Got a free keyboard, what is this?
« Reply #14 on: Thu, 25 December 2014, 09:53:55 »
Its a name of a project used for cleaning old, yellowed computers

http://retr0bright.wikispaces.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retr0bright

Offline eth0s

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Re: Got a free keyboard, what is this?
« Reply #15 on: Thu, 25 December 2014, 11:29:30 »
That's a really nice keyboard you found!  As others have said, it's a Cherry G80-11802, re-branded for Compaq.  It was made for use in a server rack shelf.  Don't take it apart or try to retr0brite if you aren't confident in what you're doing, you'd be better off just selling it as is.  Or trade it for something you want more.
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Offline Doyniish

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Re: Got a free keyboard, what is this?
« Reply #16 on: Thu, 25 December 2014, 14:12:47 »
Awesome find man! It makes me wonder if there are more at your work lying around. If you do end up cleaning it you should post some after pictures, I'm interested to see how it turns out!  :))

Offline Findecanor

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Re: Got a free keyboard, what is this?
« Reply #17 on: Thu, 25 December 2014, 16:51:51 »
Indeed! See if you could get more of those.

Its a name of a project used for cleaning old, yellowed computers
More about bleaching than cleaning. The active ingredient in the recipe is hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) - a kind of bleach. The point of the washing liquid (which also contains bleach) is that it contains TAED which helps H2O2 work at room temperature. You don't want the washing liquid to make the solution foamy.
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Offline JDorfler

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Re: Got a free keyboard, what is this?
« Reply #18 on: Thu, 25 December 2014, 23:29:01 »
I do believe I could use something like that back in the States.  Any idea where I can get one?

Offline infiniti

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Re: Got a free keyboard, what is this?
« Reply #19 on: Sat, 27 December 2014, 09:35:04 »
Nice find buddy!

I'll be cleaning, retr0brighting, and bolt modding a Model M after the holidays (just need that 5.5mm nut driver and some more ingredients).  If you need help, let me know. :thumb:

Offline Sturmfrau

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Re: Got a free keyboard, what is this?
« Reply #20 on: Sat, 27 December 2014, 09:48:28 »
Awesome find man! It makes me wonder if there are more at your work lying around. If you do end up cleaning it you should post some after pictures, I'm interested to see how it turns out!  :))

of course will post pics post cleaning :D There are some other boards at work but I don't think they're mechanical. There's one that looks ergo type with tab at the center. Not sure if it's mechanical though. I don't have my own keycap puller and haven't gotten around to making one.

Nice find buddy!

I'll be cleaning, retr0brighting, and bolt modding a Model M after the holidays (just need that 5.5mm nut driver and some more ingredients).  If you need help, let me know. :thumb:


Dat model M finally here O.O How's it? I'll prolly need help retr0brighting this kb. And yeah after the holidays too. Would also love an application that would help me test all the keys on this.
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Offline infiniti

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Re: Got a free keyboard, what is this?
« Reply #21 on: Sat, 27 December 2014, 22:25:25 »
Here ya go: Aqua Key Test https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=34670.0

The Model M needs a real serious cleaning. I'll let you know once I'm ready to start.

Offline Sturmfrau

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Re: Got a free keyboard, what is this?
« Reply #22 on: Fri, 20 March 2015, 22:15:10 »
Necroing my own thread after being inactive for a while.

infinity did the cleaning and testing of this KB and it turned out pretty well and it almost looks as if it's brand new (see here). I'm looking to sell this cause I need funds for a laptop. You guys have any idea how much I could sell it for now that it's properly cleaned, retr0brighted, and everything is confirmed to be working?
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Offline KHAANNN

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Re: Got a free keyboard, what is this?
« Reply #23 on: Fri, 20 March 2015, 22:40:14 »
infiniti cleans up pretty good, that's a very nice looking kb

I'm always wondering why there aren't any trackballed kb's any more, would go well to replace the prtsc/scrlk/insert/del/page block of the TKL's ...
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Offline IvanIvanovich

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Re: Got a free keyboard, what is this?
« Reply #24 on: Sat, 21 March 2015, 19:31:36 »
Price check thread is the right place to ask really but... Going off the after pictures I would say somewhere around $150.

Offline Touch_It

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Re: Got a free keyboard, what is this?
« Reply #25 on: Sat, 21 March 2015, 19:34:05 »

Nice find buddy!

I'll be cleaning, retr0brighting, and bolt modding a Model M after the holidays (just need that 5.5mm nut driver and some more ingredients).  If you need help, let me know. :thumb:

Why retrobrite?

Everything should be pbt correct?  Or is it one of the weird ones that has an abs spacebar?


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Offline IvanIvanovich

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Re: Got a free keyboard, what is this?
« Reply #26 on: Sat, 21 March 2015, 19:37:22 »
Case bodies are not made from PBT, which was what needed the attention really.

Offline Touch_It

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Re: Got a free keyboard, what is this?
« Reply #27 on: Sat, 21 March 2015, 19:43:57 »

Case bodies are not made from PBT, which was what needed the attention really.

Gotcha.  Didn't realize that.  With that being said I've never really seen a case that was yellowed.


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Offline Sturmfrau

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Re: Got a free keyboard, what is this?
« Reply #28 on: Sun, 22 March 2015, 21:02:34 »
Price check thread is the right place to ask really but... Going off the after pictures I would say somewhere around $150.

Thanks :D Will make a topic there.
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