Restoring an Apple IIe keyboard

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Joined: Jan 11 2011
Posts: 8

Hi all,

After many many years of contemplating getting an Apple IIe (I could never afford one when I was a kid), I have just got one on eBay last week.
Unfortunately, although described as "Good working order", the left SHIFT key had been glued depressed, so no amount of force will move the key down. I strongly suspect there was something wrong with the key switch to start with. I also have a recalcitrant S key but I am hoping this one will be cured with contact cleaner.
Anyway, being nostalgic and all that, I decided to try to solve the SHIFT key problem, proceeded to un-solder it, but for the life of it I cannot workout how to get the switch off the baord once un-soldered. It doesn't seem to move one bit when clicking the switch...
Has anybody tried this before and can share their experience?
Also, should a switch replacement be necessary, where could I find one?
Many thanks in advance!
Jean.

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Dog Cow's picture
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Joined: Dec 11 2008
Posts: 461
Re: Restoring an Apple IIe keyboard

Raidersan wrote:

I also have a recalcitrant S key but I am hoping this one will be cured with contact cleaner.

Here is a quick-fix tip for that key:
Step 1: Get a helper
Step 2: Instruct the helper to press the S key several hundred times.

Often, a key needs a "work out session" if it hasn't been used for several years. I had the same problem with the W key on my IIe.

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Joined: Dec 13 2005
Posts: 264
Re: Restoring an Apple IIe keyboard

For the "S" key it is the up stroke that can fix it sometimes. Pulling the cap off and working the shaft with a slight pull on the up stroke. The contacts get sticky and do not completely make or release sometime. Pulling the keys off can be a little tricky. I use a large paper clip make into a U then bend the 2 ends of the 90 degrees slightly larger the length of the cap. Both ends (feet) should be the same way so it looks like L from the side. Now pull them apart and place them around the key cap. With both feet like parts under the cap. The feet, like ends, should be around the shaft so both sides of the key cap have one foot each. Pulling STRAIGHT up evenly the caps comes off. The key cap is balanced with the clip pulling on 2 different sides.

On the the IIgs their was 2 different types of key switches. One was a short throw one was a long throw. The actual lengths of the shafts were different. If next to one another one was longer than the other. That may be the case with the II and IIe keyboards as well. Just something to look for.

Take Care,
Geo

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Joined: Dec 13 2005
Posts: 264
Re: Restoring an Apple IIe keyboard

On removing and replacing the switch.

First they have some on Ebay right now. 5 of them.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Vintage-Apple-IIe-keyboard-swtiches-Lot-5-/220724647823?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item336436d78f

Looking at the blown up picture of it with the white background it is what I thought. On two side of it, it is barbed like clip. Both clips have to be pushed in to for it to be removed. These are on opposite sides. It may require a little effort to do. When pushing in on the clip, you can also push on an angle up. You may get on side out but not the other, at first. But you will succeed.

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Joined: Jan 11 2011
Posts: 8
Re: Restoring an Apple IIe keyboard

Thanks for the tips, I will try harder to pull that switch off. Unfortunately, this auction (well spotted!) is US only, and I am UK...
I will keep an eye for more
Thanks again!

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Joined: Dec 13 2005
Posts: 264
Re: Restoring an Apple IIe keyboard

Hi,
There are 2 different sellers of switches on Ebay not for the IIe. But on is a short throw and one is a long throw. You can tell by the lengths of the stems. You can also see the clips/barbs that hold them in very clearly from the pictures.

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Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 57
Re: Restoring an Apple IIe keyboard

I'd be happy to sell you an entire new (unused) IIe keyboard and I don't mind shipping to the UK, but the things are a little heavy and shipping would probably be in the neighborhood of $20.

Also, the keyboards I have are for the "Platinum" model with the keypad, which may not work for you. But if you can overcome all those obstacle, I'd be happy with $15 plus shipping.

Here's some photos:
IIe Keyboard Front
IIe Keyboard Back

trag@io.com

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Joined: Jan 11 2011
Posts: 8
Re: Restoring an Apple IIe keyboard

Hi and thanks for the offer, but it's an absolute mess in the differences between US and UK, hard to understand why they would need to mix and match switches, key colors and layout between UK and US??

I dont have a keypad, and the replacement switches sent graciously by Andy are not the same type. The left SHIFT key is a different color, size & lettering!!! My key switch seem to be the same as the one on older US Apple II. Very very frustrating, as there doesn't seem to be the same following of enthusiasts here as they are in the US.

Thanks all for your help anyway, if I can find a way to post some pics I'll illustrate the differences for documentation purposes

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Joined: Feb 9 2011
Posts: 19
Re: Restoring an Apple IIe keyboard

I know how you feel! I just bought an Apple ][e standard version from ebay and in shipping several keys broke on my keyboard. I am interested in replacing them and getting some new "switches" to plug the keys into! I hope your search goes well!!!

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Joined: Jan 11 2011
Posts: 8
Re: Restoring an Apple IIe keyboard

Where are you from? Do you have white or black stems on your switches?
I'll let you know what/where I find.

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Joined: Oct 4 2005
Posts: 2609
Re: Restoring an Apple IIe keyboard

Raider,

You never did state whether this is a standard/enhanced IIe, or a Platinum IIe. Smile

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Joined: Jan 11 2011
Posts: 8
Re: Restoring an Apple IIe keyboard

I believe it's a standard UK IIe, with a 80col card. It has a switch under the keyboard to switch between Uk and US keyboard maps.
The key switches have a long white stem

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Joined: Jan 11 2011
Posts: 8
Re: Restoring an Apple IIe keyboard

Hi,

I am back after a year of unsuccessfully looking for a spare shift key and keyswitch for my UK Apple IIe. When I bought the unit the key was glued to the switch and the switch stuck up probably due to the glue getting into it.
I did receive a set from a very generous US fan, but unfortunately the shift key for UK is single width, US is double width, and they also have a different keyswitch! UK is white long stem, US seem to be black and short.
I have been looking on eBay here in the Uk and US for replacement, or even just a partially working keyboard, to no avail, and I am coming back to look for inspiration as I have run out and my project has come to a halt.
Thanks in advance!