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Any interest in a SOL-20 keyboard replacement?

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    #46
    Wonderful!
    retro computing at: www.neoncluster.com ....is dead

    Comment


      #47
      I'm interested!

      I'm not normally a joiner, but I found this thread which really struck a cord, so I signed up just to follow (encourage) this project! I am *very* interested in this project, having a SOL-20 which I am just now getting around to bringing back to life. I got it from a former employer for a "Here, let me help you throw away this broken computer..." I'm one of those owners Hugo Holden mentioned earlier (#9) in the thread.

      JimT

      Comment


        #48
        I have the PCBs and keycaps, if you're up for building one. Are you comfortable soldering some parts onto the PCBs? Feel free to PM me.

        Dave
        http://osiweb.org
        http://osiweb.org/osiforum

        Comment


          #49
          Silly question - will the original Sol keycaps fit on cherry switches? I've got a Sol that's going to hit the restoration bench at some point and I know I'll have to go through the keyboard as part of that. It would be neat if I could swap in a new keyboard and still use the original caps.

          Excellent work!

          g.
          Proud owner of 80-0007
          http://www.f15sim.com - The only one of its kind.

          Comment


            #50
            Originally posted by geneb View Post
            Silly question - will the original Sol keycaps fit on cherry switches? I've got a Sol that's going to hit the restoration bench at some point and I know I'll have to go through the keyboard as part of that. It would be neat if I could swap in a new keyboard and still use the original caps.

            Excellent work!

            g.
            Unfortunately, the caps are completely different. The good news is that you have your keyboard, and these keyboards are designed to be repairable. No unobtainium encoder or other chips, and the keys themselves don't have any contacts to get dirty or corrode, so just replacing the gunked up discs, and a bit of cleaning, can restore these keyboards to new.

            Dave
            http://osiweb.org
            http://osiweb.org/osiforum

            Comment


              #51
              Hi all,

              I have built up one of Dave's keyboard replacement projects using Futaba keyswitches and the through hole ATMEGA328P board. The PCBs were earlier boards that Dave had offered for shipping cost due some layout/spacing issues. The boards built up nicely but required a small modification to the encoder board as these were very early pre-production boards. Once I did the mod everything worked as expected. Here are a few pics of the built up boards. I built up a small hex decoder board to display the ASCII code for the key pressed. Pictures are the ASCII codes for 'A' (41) and CR (0D). I plan to build up another using Cherry MX switches.

              IMG_2674.jpgIMG_2677.jpg 20201106_070558.jpg20201106_070812.jpg

              Comment


                #52
                The Sol-20 keys go bad due to the foam disintegrating over time.
                Replacements can be found here...
                https://texelec.com/product/foam-cap...ads-keytronic/

                Comment


                  #53
                  Good link, good to know too

                  *Raise your hand if you have or have had a compaq portable needing these and couldn't find them - LOL*
                  Nothing beats the roar of a 36yr old drive coming to life after a decade in storagg

                  Comment


                    #54
                    I see our vintagecomputermuseum friend has installed the new keyboard in the keyboardless Sol20 he acquired on ebay and has adjusted the asking price to his usual markup. I must say until I got to the photo showing the keyboard PCB I did not clue in that it was not original. Well done!

                    I wonder if I went this route with my SWTPC KBD build if they could match the SWTPC font. I am using the original plans and am working on a 3d print of the original Mechanical Enterprises keyswitches.

                    Comment


                      #55
                      Thanks!

                      I asked Signature Plastics about a custom font, and they said they can put a custom font on their keys, for a one-time charge of $50 per key, since they need to create tooling for the double-shot injection molded keys. I decided that their default font, Gorton, would do just fine. It looks good enough, and is period correct.

                      There's an SWTPC keyboard on Ebay right now. Not cheap, but way less expensive than custom keycaps. I seriously doubt there will be a bidding war.

                      Although I'd love to see your final result with 3d-printed caps.

                      Dave
                      Last edited by dfnr2; February 9, 2021, 11:01 PM.
                      http://osiweb.org
                      http://osiweb.org/osiforum

                      Comment


                        #56
                        Originally posted by dfnr2 View Post
                        Thanks!

                        I asked Signature Plastics about a custom font, and they said they can put a custom font on their keys, for a one-time charge of $50 per key, since they need to create tooling for the double-shot injection molded keys.

                        Dave
                        On the other hand, double-shot molded caps aren't the only option. It may be cheaper to use a custom font with pad printing or dye sublimation.
                        http://osiweb.org
                        http://osiweb.org/osiforum

                        Comment


                          #57
                          I keep thinking there's gotta be a way to do some kind of transfer of white ink or toner to a black keytop. The keytop I can make, and this isn't a keyboard I'd anticipate using much anyway. I just want to do it for the challenge and see how close I get. I've got the plans.. why not use them.

                          Comment


                            #58
                            If you're 3D-printing the keycaps, could you include the font as a depression in the top, then fill it with white epoxy (for black keycaps)?
                            http://osiweb.org
                            http://osiweb.org/osiforum

                            Comment


                              #59
                              That's an interesting idea. I wasn't going to 3d print those.. I was going to cast them.. but hmm...

                              Comment

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