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Drken
December 8th, 2010, 07:20 PM
I recently acquired quite an odd piece of Apple hardware. It's an Apple-branded keyboard that, unlike all other Apple II keyboards I've ever seen that have individual key switches for each key on the keyboard, has an rather elaborate system of, for lack of better description, metalic fins. Here's some photos:

http://i873.photobucket.com/albums/ab300/drkenb/RareKeyboard1.jpg The keyboard intact
http://i873.photobucket.com/albums/ab300/drkenb/RareKeyboard2.jpg The keyboard with the back board removed showing the elaborate system of metalic "fins"
http://i873.photobucket.com/albums/ab300/drkenb/RareKeyboard3.jpg A close-up shot of the "fins"

My photos didn't capture the inscriptions above the top row of keys, but they are:

"apple computer inc. 605-4115-0" and "The Keyboard Company ASSY NO K-600-1001-0" and "MADE IN U.S.A."

Anyone ever see anything like this one? Any idea as to when it was manufactured? And it's worth?

Ken

dorkbert
December 9th, 2010, 08:29 AM
Apple has used variety of different keyboards over the years. I think earlier ones on the II/II+ had power light looked like a key.

david__schmidt
December 9th, 2010, 08:35 AM
Anyone ever see anything like this one? Any idea as to when it was manufactured? And it's worth?
It looks like many of the early Apple II/II+ keyboards. The earliest ones had a PCB with keys soldered onto it, then some form of metal support spanning the width of the board to keep it from flexing. That stopped around the time the final II+ keyboard (with matte finish keys, encoder daughtercard) came out... don't know the date for sure, but early 80s - maybe 1982 or 1983. I've not seen one with the fins you show. But the earliest ones, as dorkbert mentions, had the power light that looked like a key with a white top. Then came the square blob like you have, but raised above the level of the machine it sat in. Worth? Whatever someone wants to pay for it.

NobodyIsHere
December 9th, 2010, 09:19 AM
Hi! I believe the early Apple II keyboards are functionally a parallel ASCII keyboard and thus desireable to the S-100 vintage/classic/legacy community.

Thanks and have a nice day!

Andrew Lynch

mwillegal
December 13th, 2010, 02:52 AM
According to my source, this version was made about 1980 or 81 and was the first version of Apple keyboard designed to meet the Part 15 FCC requirements. This doesn't make it particularly early. I don't think that there is a whole lot of value in it. If it is working, there may be some value for people looking for a working ASCII keyboard, though.

I'm starting to put together a history of early Apple II keyboards, do you mind if I use your images on my site?

http://www.willegal.net/appleii/early-a2-keyboards.htm

My source is also gathering information on "The Keyboard Company".

Regards,
Mike Willegal

Drken
December 13th, 2010, 07:44 AM
Hi Mike -

Thanks for the additional info. Yes, please do feel free to use my images on your website.

Ken Buchholz
www.Apple2Online.com

RWallmow
December 20th, 2010, 04:03 PM
I have been looking for a replacement keyboard for my ][+ if you are looking to sell it for a fair price. Mines one of the ones with the individual key switches and almost every one is sticky or broken after 30+ years of use.

mwillegal
December 21st, 2010, 04:53 AM
Whatever you do don't toss that keyboard. Most of those key switches can be revived and replacements are very hard to find. Remove the key caps and use an eyedropper to get some 97% Isopropyl alcohol into the mechanism and work the key up and down. Since the encoding works on a matrix principal, one bad key can make a whole string of them misbehave.

Replacment keyboards come up on ebay from time to time.

Regards,
Mike Willegal

RWallmow
December 21st, 2010, 06:07 AM
Whatever you do don't toss that keyboard. Most of those key switches can be revived and replacements are very hard to find. Remove the key caps and use an eyedropper to get some 97% Isopropyl alcohol into the mechanism and work the key up and down. Since the encoding works on a matrix principal, one bad key can make a whole string of them misbehave.

Replacment keyboards come up on ebay from time to time.

Regards,
Mike Willegal

Oh, im not one who would have ever tossed it, I would have offered it (for just shipping) to someone who wanted to repair it, I just didn't feel like spending $50 on keyswitches and the time soldering them all in.

I had actually tried cleaning all the switches and I have it working better, but most the keys you have to press fairly hard to register a keypress.