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Thread: Compaq Plus seems to have unresponsive keyboard

  1. #1

    Default Compaq Plus seems to have unresponsive keyboard

    Hey, y'all. I'm new here. Hi.

    I just got a hold of a fairly beat-up Compaq Plus Luggable. It was complaining of a disk error but after oiling the stepper motor that seems to have been resolved. Now when I go to boot it up, it shows these lines, which I'm not sure is normal. To be quite honest, I'm just now getting into DOS outside of DosBox so I don't know if this is like an autoexec.bat or something. It shows these lines:

    C>path c:\dos

    C>set wp=/nk/nc

    C>path c:\;c:\wp

    C>prompt $p$g

    C:\>
    C:\>_

    where the last underscore is blinking, which I would think means it's at an interactive terminal. However, I'm unable to type on it.
    Any suggestions?
    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2016
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    Fairfield, Ohio
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    Default

    Those are definitely from an autoexec.bat file. If one was not present you would see the time & date inquiries and not much else.

    Do you have a boot disk handy? Maybe see if you can bypass the autoexec file. It might be waiting for some input.

    If you press a key and hold it down, does the speaker eventually start dinging (i.e. key overflow)? Does the speaker make a click when you press a key? Compaq added a small click to give users some feedback. Don't recall the key combination that increased/decreased the volume of the click.

    Point being that if the keyboard is working, you should hear the key clicks.

    You can check the keyboard cord where it connects to the motherboard, but you'll have to take the sucker apart first. I hope the keyboard itself hasn't gone bad; from what others have reported here the solution is workable, but tedious.

  3. #3

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    Try all the keys, some may work. You may find that the capacitive foams in the keyboard have degraded and no longer function. There is a thread around here about replace pads that someone builds. On my keyboard, I was able to take it apart and type on it just fine directly on the keyboard with my fingers (I guess they have enough capacitance). Make sure that if there is a voltage regulator that you leave something on it to dissipate its heat - I set a quarter on mine.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Larose, LA, USA
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    If when you switch it on and it doesn't give code 301 then the keyboard is operational and has passed test. As stated above the foam pads will almost guaranteed to have disintegrated so the keys won't do anything until you replace them. There's information on how to on here and people do kits for them to restore the keyboard to full function. Doesn't take too much, patience and a couple screwdrivers if you buy the repair kit.

    If not, hole punches and glue and foam and silvered mylar sheet... That's possible also. Brief "how I did mine" in here- http://www.oldbrokenjunk.com/wordpress/?p=68

    Phil
    Last edited by PhilipA; July 19th, 2018 at 06:52 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Chicagoland, Illinois, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilipA View Post
    Brief "how I did mine" in here- http://www.oldbrokenjunk.com/wordpress/?p=68
    Any chance you could restore the images in that blog post?
    Offering a bounty for:
    - The software "Overhead Express" (doesn't have to be original, can be a copy)
    - A working Sanyo MBC-775, Olivetti M24, or Logabax 1600
    - Documentation and original disks for: Panasonic Sr. Partner, Zenith Z-160 series
    - Music Construction Set, IBM Music Feature edition (has red sticker on front stating IBM Music Feature)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Larose, LA, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trixter View Post
    Any chance you could restore the images in that blog post?
    Gosh, it was working. Looks like the image hosting is having issues. I'll see what I can do.

    Edit: Refresh the page a few times and wait, seems to wake up the server.

    Phil

  7. #7

    Default

    I have a similar issue with my compaq plus keyboard (I was able to type the number 5, 4 times before it failed entirely) and would like to get some specifics on the materials.
    What is the diameter of the foam pieces, will a 'standard' hole punch work?
    how thick a piece of foam?
    Do mylar balloons work, or do I need to get a 'space blanket' like the poster in the blog used?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    Marietta, GA
    Posts
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    There is actually an ongoing thread right now where more specific specifications are being hammered out right now: http://www.vcfed.org/forum/showthrea...m-replacements

    Some mylar materials can be hit and miss because manufacturers ignore the electrically capacitive qualities. And finding the right foam is not quite as simple as it looks either.

  9. #9

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    Thanks for pointing me over to that post, it is exactly what I was looking for. I was going to make my own, but now I'm leaning toward buying them from sarawill. Unfortunately, it looks like they are not available, until testing the new materials against other keyboards has been completed?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
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    Shrewsbury, MA
    Posts
    745

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    Send her a message, she still has some of her old stock. I got a set for my Franklin Ace 1200 with the same sort of Keytronics keyboard and they work great

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