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View Full Version : Key Tronic KB5151 keyboard: Yay or nay?



Andrew T.
January 17th, 2014, 07:49 PM
I'm fascinated by unusual and early "extended" layouts, and I've been eyeing a mid-80s IBM-replacement Key Tronic KB5151 on eBay (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Keytronic-KB5151-Professional-Keyboard-vintage-/271178349816?pt=US_Vintage_Computing_Parts_Accesso ries&hash=item3f237d3cf8) with the thought of making it a mini tech project. The design has 99 keys, and it certainly looks interesting. But doubts have been creeping into my head...

* Given the era of this keyboard, it's bound to use the PC/XT protocol. Does any adapter exist that would allow it to be used on a newer (AT through present day) computer?

* This is bound to have the same construction as the OEM keyboards for the Apple Lisa and Compaq Portable, and it's bound to have 99 tiny foam-and-foil pads that need homebrew replacements. Do I even want to go about doing that?

* The layout may be a pain to actually use. The "Ctrl" and "Alt" keys are in impractical locations for touch-typing. I also don't remember 1980s Key Tronic keyboards as having a very good "feel"...it's no Model M, after all.

Should I bite, or should I pass? :confused:

Caluser2000
January 17th, 2014, 09:15 PM
I'm fascinated by unusual and early "extended" layouts, and I've been eyeing a mid-80s IBM-replacement Key Tronic KB5151 on eBay (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Keytronic-KB5151-Professional-Keyboard-vintage-/271178349816?pt=US_Vintage_Computing_Parts_Accesso ries&hash=item3f237d3cf8) with the thought of making it a mini tech project. The design has 99 keys, and it certainly looks interesting. But doubts have been creeping into my head...

* Given the era of this keyboard, it's bound to use the PC/XT protocol. Does any adapter exist that would allow it to be used on a newer (AT through present day) computer?

* This is bound to have the same construction as the OEM keyboards for the Apple Lisa and Compaq Portable, and it's bound to have 99 tiny foam-and-foil pads that need homebrew replacements. Do I even want to go about doing that?

* The layout may be a pain to actually use. The "Ctrl" and "Alt" keys are in impractical locations for touch-typing. I also don't remember 1980s Key Tronic keyboards as having a very good "feel"...it's no Model M, after all.

Should I bite, or should I pass? :confused:Did you read this? http://www.nytimes.com/1985/07/23/science/peripherals-comfortable-keyboards.html

Chuck(G)
January 17th, 2014, 09:54 PM
I couldn't stand the KB5151 on the XT, because the function keys ran across the top instead of the left of the main keyboard area. ISTR that later versions of this model could switch to AT, so it depends when the keyboard was made.

The KB5151 does not have the "clicky" feel of the Model F used on the 5150. But it was a solid keyboard.

Stone
January 18th, 2014, 02:51 AM
I have two Key Tronic keyboards that are available:

1) Key Tronic (model MB 101) AT/XT switchable (in a Key Tronic box)

2) Key Tronic (model KB101 Plus) AT/XT switchable

Both work fine. They've seen no use in over 20 years (other than to test them) as they've been sitting on a shelf all that time.

Chuck(G)
January 18th, 2014, 08:58 AM
After Keytronic bought the keyboard division of Honeywell, how does one tell the Keytronic boards from the Honeywell? For example, I have a couple of Honeywell WN101 keyboards that look suspiciously like the Keytronic MB101 keyboards (2 DIP switches accessible through the bottom to set the mode).

Andrew T.
January 19th, 2014, 10:53 AM
I don't see an XT/AT switch or a DIP switch accessible on the bottom panel, so this KB5151 might not be switchable.

Could they have marketed two separate models of keyboards in 1984; one for the PC/XT and one for the AT? I do know that a variant model was produced for the PCjr.

Stone
January 19th, 2014, 12:37 PM
I don't see an XT/AT switch or a DIP switch accessible on the bottom panel, so this KB5151 might not be switchable.Correct, there is no AT functionality.