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Thread: Kaypro II keyboard rebuild - update

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Cleveland, OH, USA

    Default Kaypro II keyboard rebuild - update

    About a year ago I posted ( my troubles with missing keys on a Kaypro II keyboard. People were kind enough to respond; some suggesting I purchase replacement key "foams" from eBay. A reseller there was selling kits of replacement foam disks; as I recall it was something like $30 for 20-30 and they were not drop-in replacements as you needed to re-use the mylar disk at the bottom of the key. And he was shipping from Germany.

    Cheapskate that I am I tried to make my own. The first attempt didn't work very well but I learned something from the effort. I tried again recently and succeeded, so I am posting the results.

    In the first attempt I made several errors: The foam I used was too thick and too stiff; the glue I used (super glue) was too thin and runny, and seeped onto the face of the mylar foil, ultimately preventing good contact. I tried several manufacturers of foam without success, then one day in Home Depot I found what I was looking for, on the cover of a paint roller. Thin, soft and flexible, and cheap.

    I made a cutter of sorts by sharpening one end of a 1/2 inch copper tube and cut dots out of the cover. The 1/2 inch tube was a little large so I had to trim them with a razor blade. A diameter of about 0.370 works well.

    The keyboard key moves a spring-loaded plunger; the plunger pushes a sandwich of plastic disk, foam and mylar down to meet the keyboard circuitry. The plunger travel is about 0.300 inch and of course the mylar has to sit above the circuit. I found a thickness of about 0.250 inch for the foam works well. I cut a piece of a DigiKey foil bag as a replacement mylar. I used white glue to join the pieces and tucked the plastic disk back under the tabs of the plunger when dry.

    Disassembly and reassembly of the keyboard probably was the most time-consuming part of the job. When reassembled I tested my work and was pleased to find it was effective. Note too that you can swap key switch positions (from the underside of the board; there are little tabs holding the bodies in place) so even if you don't have time to fix a key you can swap it out with something you never use - like the line-feed key, for example.

    Hope this helps... happy hunting (and pecking...)


    Last edited by clh333; April 23rd, 2018 at 01:35 PM.

  2. #2


    Hats off to you for posting this. Luckily I have not needed to do this yet, but when I do this will save me some research time. Most of the keyboard restoration work I've done has always been tedious regardless of what system it's for, but the thought of foam/foil replacement work has always made me cringe a little.

  3. #3


    I had to do the same thing on my SOL-20 and NorthStar Advantage. Turns out they use the same size foam disks or close enough. So the ones I had left over from the SOL-20 worked on the Northstar Advantage. If I remember right, I used some foam used by modeling rail road people, some good silvered Mylar, and spray cement to glue the two together. Then used a 9/16 inch hollow punch I got from Harbor Freight to make the pads. Used rubber cement to glue them into the keyboard. Once I got a rhythm going it wasn't too bad making the pads or putting them in.

  4. #4


    I've used the foams from the seller in Germany and found they work great.

    It's great to have more directions for "rolling your own" though!

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