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Thread: Did DEC make any mechanical keyboards?

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by rpiguy2 View Post
    Well worth collecting if you are a keyboard aficionado.
    Um, could you not?
    = Excellent space heater

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by cruff View Post
    You could also find a VT500 series terminal and use the type of keyboard you like if it has a PS/2 connector.
    I believe that uses a PS/2 PC style interface with a clock and data line. This won't work on the VLC. It requires a standard serial output.
    Dave
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    Looking for Analog Computers, Drum Plotters, and Graphics Terminals

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raion-Fox View Post
    I may go with Cruff's suggestion, or I may investigate the DEC keyboard protocol. If it is based off a serial protocol, maybe an adapter can be fashioned?
    I don't believe that Cruff's suggestion will work on the VLC. I believe that the later Keyboards with the PS/2 connector also use PS/2 protocols. The LK201 and Lk401 use async serial protocols and interfaces so it should be easy to set up a converter using a PIC chip or arduino. I think the LK401 is a better feel than the LK201. Its what I use with my VLC. More infor here:-

    https://hackaday.com/2017/08/08/diy-vt220-keyboard/

    and

    https://dreamlayers.blogspot.com/201...-linux-is.html

    ... and if its not been done already you probably want to replace the battery in the Dallas Chip....
    Dave
    G4UGM

    Looking for Analog Computers, Drum Plotters, and Graphics Terminals

  4. #14
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    When I hear "mechanical keyboard", I always think of the one in my IBM Electronic Typewriter 50. From the outside it looks like a Selectric III, but there is a brain between the keyboard and print mechanism. It has a Selectric III keyboard (pawls, interposers, selector bails, etc.) but the selector bails trigger reed switches, instead of the usual linkages and tapes that go up to the print ball mechanism. So it has all the real feel and sound of a Selectric, but an electronic output. Not quite appropriate for this forum, I have of course brought all this (and the printing side, which will go un-discussed) out of the typewriter for external interfacing.

    Because it's a real Selectric III keyboard, the reed switches provide the tilt and rotate data to position a ball. It 'aint ASCII or EBCDIC, it's tilt and rotate for a 96 character ball.

    That's a "mechanical" keyboard!

    Lou (Do Not Encourage, pleads his wife, who wants no more Selectric typewriters stinking up the house with lubrication oil!)

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by NeXT View Post
    Um, could you not?
    Why buy a nice new mechanical keyboard when you can just pull one from a vintage system and then hack it up so it sorta works with another system
    -- Brian

    Retro PC's: Apple IIe/II+, Atari 800, Atari 520STFM, Commodore 64, Commodore Amiga 3000, Commodore SX-64, IBM PS/1 2121-B82, Tandy 1000 SX, TI-99/4A, TRS-80 Model 4 GA, Kaypro 2/84 (Not working )

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by g4ugm View Post
    I believe that uses a PS/2 PC style interface with a clock and data line. This won't work on the VLC. It requires a standard serial output.
    I think cruff meant to buy a VT-525 or something and then just plug your PS2 mechanical keyboard of choice in to that, under the assumption that the OP is going to run the VLC headless anyway.

    To answer the original question, no. DEC never made a particularly good keyboard, although I haven't been able to try the later HP/Compaq LK versions. Shame HP doesn't offer the USB LKs anymore, which are effectively unobtainium. As far as I know, the LK-401 (compatible with the VLC) and the LK-411 (PS2 version made for later terminals and alphas) use the same switch mechanism.

    Technically any terminal with basic vt-100 emulation (i.e. virtually every terminal and terminal emulator) should be capable of interfacing with the VLC, but you'll need the correct set of adapters to connect to the MMJ port. The 25-pin port may work but may require a software switch done in boot which, of course, requires a terminal to access it since it's intended to be used for printers by default.

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