Keyboard repair

desert.snake

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Has anyone dealt with repairing old keyboards?

They found an old keyboard in a comrade's barn, and it seems that the small hook that holds half the space bar has broken. It doesn't stay in the cutout in the plastic. Looks like it's hard to find parts right now

What surprised me the most is that they sell them on ebay for ~$100.
 

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pnwoutdoors

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Has anyone dealt with repairing old keyboards?

They found an old keyboard in a comrade's barn, and ...

Those older, original "IBM PC" keyboards were great. Loved the ones of ~1986 vintage. For a proper typist, these keyboards had the right angle and rise of the keys, a moderate degree of resistance to key press, and they seemed to take an inordinate amount of abuse. A good 20yrs ago, the prices on used examples began to rise. Doesn't surprise me that they're often north of $100 now.

Most modern keyboards, by comparison, are typical low-grade plastic garbage that can't even last a year of significant "banging" of daily use. I buy them two at a time, knowing full well that a good half dozen keys will tank within 12-15mos of purchase ... I mean, literally get worn and full of holes from so much typing. Let alone typical issues of "spring-back" and whatnot, due to internal pieces giving up the ghost.

With keyboards, they sure don't make 'em like they used to.

1986 vintage Model M/101 keyboard for the IBM PC:
640px-IBM_Model_M.png

There is at least one company making keyboards similar to the old ones (at least, a limited run of them) -- Model F Labs:
 

letschat7

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IBM key boards rock just make sure you get a PS2 one. They tend to cost a bit more money like as much as your whole retro computer cost. They were $250 locally in 2017.
 

pnwoutdoors

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IBM key boards rock just make sure you get a PS2 one. They tend to cost a bit more money like as much as your whole retro computer cost. They were $250 locally in 2017.

And, the crazy thing? These suckers could have been picked up for a $ten-spot about 20yrs ago, before people began to really appreciate just how darned good they were. Big pig size, sure, but otherwise about as bomb-proof as one could hope for.

Soon it'll have been 50yrs since I learned to type on an old 1950s-1960s style Olympia manual. "Ding!" Ahhh, those were the days! Couldn't bust one of 'em for love or money, no matter how hard you banged on the things.

il_fullxfull.121197012.jpg
 

bykfixer

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I remember when my mom's work got "mag card machines". The keyboard was whisper quiet and could type when you talked to it. Want a copy? Just hit "print" and it would type out a copy. Way better than those blurry purple photocopies.

The keyboard as we call it was a real nice typewriter too. She had one in the mid 70's until she retired in '89.
 

letschat7

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I used to type my reports on a Smith Corona and when I went to prison I used a Swintec electric for special projects or legal work for Negros or Sex Offenders.

This was from my ESL class that was a front for ChiCom propaganda (News China.)

Back to keyboards I don't know why everyone wants a smaller keyboard. I have a feeling the customer isn't making these choices.
 

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aznsx

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I remember when my mom's work got "mag card machines". The keyboard was whisper quiet and could type when you talked to it. Want a copy? Just hit "print" and it would type out a copy. Way better than those blurry purple photocopies.

The keyboard as we call it was a real nice typewriter too. She had one in the mid 70's until she retired in '89.
Possibly similar to the fancy IBM Selectric system my Mom used during that same timeframe.:)

They (a college) used it to provide that individually addressed thing, and that individually typed (not a photocopy) 'look' to the recipients they mailed to. I used it some myself, and it was fairly advanced at the time, to be sure!
 

bykfixer

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She was a clerk for a local government council and would "print" out the adgenda and the meeting minutes using that thing. She even had a (gasp) electric stapler and.... a stamp licker wheel. 👍
 

pnwoutdoors

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Possibly similar to the fancy IBM Selectric system my Mom used during that same timeframe.:)

I remember those. On numerous occasions, I typed so fast and furiously that the ball just up and jumped off the spindle. Never did have that happen with the old Olympia, even if it had a max speed limit.

Don't see many of those IBM Selectric machines, these days. Or the boat anchors (eh, the Olympia), either, come to think of it.

If we ever experience an extended period of no electricity, the value of those old manuals will skyrocket. Can't imagine many makers of them exist, anymore. Imagine, people finding out about Wite-Out and inked ribbons and jammed keys ...
 

Monocrom

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All my physical resumes (yup, horrendously obsolete) I used to type out on a Brother word-processor. (Still have it.) Basically a modern-day typewriter with keys much easier to hit and a digital strip on it that let you know what keys you hit. Hear the beep. You were done with that line. Hit enter and it printed that line. Onto the next line.

Paid one time to have a professional typing service create a very professional looking resume for me. After that, simply updated the info. if I needed to find a new job. Yeah, the typing service went out of business. But ironically, only very recently.
 

bykfixer

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Has anyone dealt with repairing old keyboards?

They found an old keyboard in a comrade's barn, and it seems that the small hook that holds half the space bar has broken. It doesn't stay in the cutout in the plastic. Looks like it's hard to find parts right now

What surprised me the most is that they sell them on ebay for ~$100.
I got to thinking this morning; if there's a place where flashlight collectors go to discuss flashlights, there is quite likely a place where keyboard collectors discuss old keyboards. I found some places that sells keys by the set but not individual keys. But somewhere that folks discuss old Mac and IBM personal computers would be a good place to start.
 

letschat7

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I used to be on just such a site but it is probably no longer around. Where I live so many old PCs are still in use that I can just visit a PC shop to discuss IBM PC compaitibles or retro Apples.
 
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