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Thread: Just picked up a Kaypro II. Have some questions.

  1. #1

    Question Just picked up a Kaypro II. Have some questions.

    Hey everyone, wmh here! It's been over three years since I've posted on the VC forums, and it looks like a lot's changed since then. It's great to see most of you guys are still around though.

    Anyways, for the past year or so I've been looking for a solid Kaypro II to add to my "collection." (It's not much of a collection but I guess that's besides the point haha.) I just picked up this one from eBay today. I realize the price was pretty high, but the SN seemed low and the machine looked to be in good condition so I didn't have a problem with that.

    After making the purchase, I started Googling around to get more information on the machine, but it seems that there isn't much more than cursory information available. As a result, I have a few remaining unanswered questions regarding the Kaypro:

    1. How early is the machine that I bought? It's SN is 002749, and I can tell it was made prior to the Kaypro 2 rebranding but I can't find out much else than that.
    2. Are there any good Kaypro II emulators available? MAME/MESS can supposedly emulate the Kaypro II, but I haven't found any way to make this work.
    3. Can I use a standard landline extension cable as a keyboard cable for the Kaypro? I saw it mentioned somewhere that I could do this, but I just wanted to double-check since the machine I bought is missing its cable.


    Thanks for any help you can give guys, it's really appreciated.

    -wmh
    Last edited by WMH; April 21st, 2016 at 05:55 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Saraland, AL just north of Mobile
    Posts
    79

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    Hi WMH,

    The phone cable that plugs into the wall will not fit the sockets on the Kaypro. What you should use instead is the coiled cable that connected the old handset to the base. That cable has the smaller connectors that will fit.

    Phillip

  3. #3

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    Hey Phillip, thanks for the info! I was a bit afraid I was going to have to make my own cable; it's great to know I can just grab something off the shelf.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Marietta, GA
    Posts
    3,491

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    The plugs might fit, but are one of those wired correctly for that?

    I'd double check the power/ground just to make sure, otherwise things can go boom.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by SomeGuy View Post
    The plugs might fit, but are one of those wired correctly for that?

    I'd double check the power/ground just to make sure, otherwise things can go boom.
    True thanks for the reminder, I'll definitely double-check once the machine gets here. It comes with the original manual, which if I'm not mistaken has a diagram of the original J3 connector that would've come from the factory.

  6. #6

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    A phone cable may not work. Here is the keyboard section from the service manual. That said, I have not ever tried a phone cable on my Kaypro so YMMV.

    13.0 KEYBOARDS

    The 76-key alphanumeric, detachable keyboard is connected to the computer by a four-wire cable and is powered by +5 VDC through the cable. The CAPS LOCK indicator light allows a quick check on whether the keyboard is receiving pcwer.

    The impedance of the connecting cable can be a critical factor in proper operation of the computer. Replacement of the standard cable with a phone cord can create malfunctions in signal transmission to the computer. This is because the wire in phone cords is too small; therefore, the impedance over the total length of the cord can be too high for reliable operation.


    Wire in the standard keyboard cable is 28-gage copper, and the cable length is six feet. Should you desire a longer keyboard cable, restrict the length to not more than twelve feet, and use wire no smaller than 28 gauge.


    Keyboard Cable Pinouts

    Pin 4 (Black) - Serial Data out (to keyboard), TIL level.
    Pin 3 (Red) - Ground
    Pin 2 (Green) - Serial data in (from keyboard), TTL level.
    Pin 1 (Yellow) - +5 VDC

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by pski View Post
    A phone cable may not work. Here is the keyboard section from the service manual. That said, I have not ever tried a phone cable on my Kaypro so YMMV.
    Thanks for that bit from the manual pski, that really helps.

    I just Googled around and found the pinout for a standard handset cable. It seems to have a different pinout than the Kaypro cable did. I could be wrong though; I'm not the best at reading pinout diagrams tbh.


  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by WMH View Post
    I just Googled around and found the pinout for a standard handset cable. It seems to have a different pinout than the Kaypro cable did. I could be wrong though; I'm not the best at reading pinout diagrams tbh.
    I don't think that diagram applies. The keyboard cable itself (as well as a standard phone handset cable) is simply 4 parallel conductors. The diagram you provided is what happens after the signals leave the cable in the handset.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by pski View Post
    I don't think that diagram applies. The keyboard cable itself (as well as a standard phone handset cable) is simply 4 parallel conductors. The diagram you provided is what happens after the signals leave the cable in the handset.
    Got it. Just wondering, would buying a 28-gauge, ~6 foot 4P4C cable like this one be worth it? It would be closer to the original spec:

    Wire in the standard keyboard cable is 28-gage copper, and the cable length is six feet.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by WMH View Post
    Got it. Just wondering, would buying a 28-gauge, ~6 foot 4P4C cable like this one be worth it? It would be closer to the original spec:
    Seems like a good match. Let us know if it works. I might pick up a few.

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