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Thread: New Model F (PC/XT) Keyboards

  1. #1

    Default New Model F (PC/XT) Keyboards

    I recently came across 3 rather filthy & tired IBM Model F keyboards. One of them has a very sticky smooth cable that I intend to fix/replace. While searching the web for ideas on rebuilding a Model F I found this.

    https://www.modelfkeyboards.com/

    I'm aware of the company that is making new Model M keyboards, but this is a new one on me. I did a quick search here on the forum and didn't find any recent posts on the topic, so I figured I'd share. I looks like some kind of kickstarter campaign that is ending soon so, if anyone is interested, time is probably of the essence.
    "It's all bits on the bus, Cowboy! It's all bits on the bus!" -- Tom Beck, #1ESS Instructor, Southern Bell Opa Locka Training Center

  2. #2
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    They are selling those $380, plus I am not sure why they are calling them model F keyboards, they are not. For one thing they do not have the Model F key layout. These are more like the small model M.

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  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by lutiana View Post
    They are selling those $380, plus I am not sure why they are calling them model F keyboards, they are not. For one thing they do not have the Model F key layout. These are more like the small model M.
    To be honest, I'm not all that familiar with the various incarnations of the F or M lines. The post may well be of some use to someone, but I'll leave it up to you to decide if it should be kept on the forum or deleted.

    "It's all bits on the bus, Cowboy! It's all bits on the bus!" -- Tom Beck, #1ESS Instructor, Southern Bell Opa Locka Training Center

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by lutiana View Post
    ... I am not sure why they are calling them model F keyboards, they are not. For one thing they do not have the Model F key layout. These are more like the small model M.
    They appear to be referring to mechanical build qualities being more like the F than the M. It looks like these are modern USB interface keyboards, not PC/XT compatible keyboards. The name is quite confusing.

  5. #5
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    They have no dedicated function keys, so that's an automatic pass for me. If I want a space-saving keyboard with annoying function keys, I'll break out one of my PCjr keyboards.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trixter View Post
    If I want a space-saving keyboard
    Or any keyboard without a 2" wide border to the case.

    I think my current 104 key is physically smaller than those "F77 Model F"s with the keypad

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by lutiana View Post
    They are selling those $380, plus I am not sure why they are calling them model F keyboards, they are not. For one thing they do not have the Model F key layout. These are more like the small model M.
    The model letter (F or M) is used to distinguish the key switch type -- model Fs use capacitative switches, model Ms use membrane. There's no one "Model F key layout" -- the IBM XT, AT and 3270PC all have Model F keyboards but with different layouts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnElliott View Post
    The model letter (F or M) is used to distinguish the key switch type -- model Fs use capacitative switches, model Ms use membrane. There's no one "Model F key layout" -- the IBM XT, AT and 3270PC all have Model F keyboards but with different layouts.
    Good to know.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trixter View Post
    They have no dedicated function keys, so that's an automatic pass for me. If I want a space-saving keyboard with annoying function keys, I'll break out one of my PCjr keyboards.
    Honestly, the price is pretty much where I pass, I'd not pay that for a keyboard no matter who made it or what it was based on.

    IBM 5160 - 360k, 1.44Mb Floppies, NEC V20, 8087-3, 45MB MFM Hard Drive, Vega 7 Graphics, IBM 5154 Monitor running MS-DOS 5.00
    IBM PCJr Model 48360 640kb RAM, NEC V20,, jrIDE Side Cart, 360kb Floppy drives running MS-DOS 5.00
    Evergreen Am5x86-133 64Mb Ram, 8gb HDD, SB16 in a modified ATX case running IBM PC-DOS 7.10

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by lutiana View Post
    They are selling those $380, plus I am not sure why they are calling them model F keyboards, they are not. For one thing they do not have the Model F key layout. These are more like the small model M.
    They are reproductions of two types of keyboards from the IBM 4707 banking terminal. The original keyboards are very rare, sought after and reach insane prices in the keyboard enthusiast circles, so that's why someone started a project 6 years ago to reproduce them as accurate to the originals as possible. The project took much more time than expected to get the final product, but now they are starting to deliver the keyboards ordered many years ago. They are mass producing from scratch all the required pieces with insane levels of quality.

    They are Model F because they are using the capacitive buckling spring mechanism, it was originally patented by IBM but the patent expired long ago so anyone can freely make now reproductions. That was exactly the same mechanism used in the model F XT, model F AT, model F 122 and many others. They are so exactly similar that the parts (barrels, springs, and keys) are fully interchangeable between the new and vintage keyboards, you can even use model M keys, vintage or new keys made by Unicomp.

    You have a lengthy 192 page thread in Deskthority.net that goes through all the process https://deskthority.net/viewtopic.ph...0dc4205fbc9a21

    As Trixter says, 60% layouts without dedicated function keys are not to everyone's taste, but if it is your thing you get an indestructible piece of equipment that will last you a lifetime.

  10. #10
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    The last new keyboard I paid any decent price for was a Northgate 102 back in 1993.
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