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Thread: Big Tandy keyboard refoaming

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    Netherlands
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    428

    Default Big Tandy keyboard refoaming

    What are the possibilities to refoam a keyboard of a Big Tandy.
    Unfortunately, it is very common that such a keyboard does not work properly or not at all.
    Usually the degeneration of the foam in the keys is the cause of the problem.
    There are 3 ways to solve this problem.

    1) The most expensive method is to purchase a little used keyboard from SUN type 4, unfortunately most users know this solution and these keyboards are expensive and scarce, often there are solid shipping costs and costs from customs. By disassemble the keyboard, you get over a hundred key sets that one on one can be exchanged with the Tandy keys. The profit is in the quality of the foam of these keyboards that are perfect and lasts for many years. Furthermore, there are still plenty of parts left for any other repairs of a keyboard.

    2) On Ebay you can order a set of 100 separate foam discs from a German seller, which have a glue layer on both sides. You must use the mounting disc and the mylar disk of the original keys to repair the key. This is often a problem because the parts then need to be cleaned properly. Often the mylar disk is so bad that it also needs to be replaced. You'll have to die this one from a sheet of mylar. It's a very time-consuming and tricky job to fix the keys in this way. The advantage is that the foam is of excellent quality and the glue is enormously strong. This is also a disadvantage, because if you press too hard for a while, the top side is stuck at the bottom and never goes loose again. Expect a loss of 5%. I'm working on repairing a keyboard for about 4 hours. The costs are rather low and the results are sufficient.

    3) Recently TexElec also delivers repair kits for those keyboards. In this case, it are completely assembled foam sets, consisting of the mounting disc, the foam layer and the mylar disk. To repair a key, the old foam layer plus mounting disc must be wiped out of the key and completely replaced by the ready-made set. The repair becomes a simple business. I fixed a keyboard in an hour.
    The foam layer of these sets is slightly thinner as the original foam layer and the mounting disc is slightly less sturdy as the original disc. However, I do not see any problems in this. The costs are approximately equal to those of the sets from Germany.

    The result of all three methods is fine and the keyboard works again as new, it is quieter and the keystroke feels comfortable again.

    Foam.jpg

    1) Bad keyfoam.
    2) Foamset taken from a SUN keyboard.
    3) Foam pad from Germany. (No mounting disc or mylat disc)
    4) Repair set from TexElec.
    5) Home made mylar disc.

  2. #2

    Default

    Thanks for this post Hans. I have heard of TexElec but whenever I look on eBay for these I don’t find them. Do you have to reach out to him?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Netherlands
    Posts
    428

    Default

    @TXNathan

    Here are the URL's for both suppliers:

    TexElec:
    https://texelec.com/page/2/

    The German supplier:
    https://www.ebay.de/itm/Victor-9000-...QAAOSwVtxa9a5x

  4. #4

    Default

    Thanks Hans. I don’t know why I thought texelec was an eBay seller. I appreciate the link. Now I can finally get these pads and look at my big Tandy keyboard

  5. #5

    Default

    Many thanks for this thread. Just ordered the TexElec set, and i'll let you know how I get on with my keyboard refurbishment.

    Steve

  6. #6

    Default

    The one issue I had with the TexElec discs was that the mylar seemed to have slightly different qualities than the OEM. Where I tested a M2 keyboard circuit board with both TexElec and OEM discs, the OEM disc worked perfectly but the TexElec disc was intermittent. I had to clean the circuit board pads very well with an eraser for them to work consistently. I do worry about whether they will continue to work in the long term as the circuit pad gets dirty and oxidizes with use. Maybe the new mylar just needs to be broken in? I look forward to long term test reports of the TexElec discs.

    The Sun Type 4 approach is definitely my preferred approach, but I wonder how long that foam will remain in good shape. In a few years those foam discs will be as old as the Tandy discs. However, to me, the Sun discs are a better quality foam so I am hopeful this will be a good solution for years to come. The Sun collectors will continue to hate us though.

    I've also bought the German discs and they do work well, but as Hans mentioned it is a lot of work. You have to reuse/replace the mylar discs which do wear out with use.

    There is always the option of making your own discs, which others here have done. I tried it and ended up with a mess of mylar and glue everywhere so I gave up. Definitely this approach requires the most effort and patience.

  7. #7

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    Yeah, i did consider the Sun Type-4 keyboards, but to get one, and ship to the UK, was horrendously expensive.

    Steve

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Western North Carolina, USA
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    1,330

    Default

    Is it just the type 4? Type 5 won't work? I've got dozens of type 5's.....
    --
    Thus spake Tandy Xenix System III version 3.2: "Bughlt: Sckmud Shut her down Scotty, she's sucking mud again!"

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by lowen View Post
    Is it just the type 4? Type 5 won't work? I've got dozens of type 5's.....
    AFAIK, it’s only the Type 4 that has the keytronic foam pad design. Maybe you could open one up to be sure?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Western North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    1,330

    Default

    Yeah, I can do that to at least see before I spring for a type 4. I have a mod II and a 6000 keyboard to work on.
    --
    Thus spake Tandy Xenix System III version 3.2: "Bughlt: Sckmud Shut her down Scotty, she's sucking mud again!"

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