Apple II keyboard ribbon cable question

2 replies [Last post]
Joined: Apr 13 2006
Posts: 39

Hi all,

I have an old Apple II keyboard. I don't know if it works or not and I can't test it because one of the pins (I think pin 1) is broken clean off of the header.
I want to use this keyboard for the Apple 1. If I remove the header I will need to be able to identify which wire color corresponds to which pin on the Apple 1 socket.

The header has a black arrow pointing to the first of 16 staggered "holes" in the header. Looking inside the hole, the wire underneath is RED. However, this is not the outermost wire, it is the second wire. The outermost wire is BROWN. i.e. here is the order of wires by color, starting from the side with the black arrow marking pin 1:

Brown Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Purple Gray White Black Brown Red Orange Yellow Green Blue

Apparently the colors can repeat like so:

Brown = 1, 11, 21 ...
Red = 2, 12, 22 ...
Orange = 3, 13, 23...
Yellow = 4, 14, 24....

(In other words, the first Brown wire is pin 1, the next brown wire would be pin 11, the next brown would be to pin 21)

So is this correct? Brown is pin 1, Red 2, Orange 3, etc?

I'm considering using a 16 pin DIP Header with "forks" for the end of the cable that will plug into the Apple 1. Or is there a better way for me to do this?

thanks for any tips.



John Calande

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Joined: Jun 5 2008
Posts: 381
I think what you are talking

I think what you are talking about is cutting off one end of a dip-16 to dip-16 ribbon cable, (like the ones used for Apple II keyboards) and substituting an Aries series 600 type header ( on one end. You would solder the wires manually to get the right connection.

This is exactly the approach I would use, if I was to make a single cable. Someone else may have a better idea, though.

Pinout on both ends of the Apple II keyboard cable should be exactly the same, and the little arrow you speak of, should point to pin 1. After cutting off one end, simply use an ohm meter to check connectivity from the pins on the remaining plug to the wires. And then solder in appropriately. One thing about those headers, the plastic used is not extremely high temperature and it can be tricky to solder the wires on without melting the plastic. Put the header in a stack of sockets you solder it. The extra sockets pins will act as a heat sink and slow the process of heating the plastic and keep the pins in alignment at the same time.

Mike Willegal

Joined: Oct 9 2011
Posts: 21
Re: Apple II keyboard ribbon cable question

I had a heck of a time finding a replacement cable for apple ii+ keyboard to motherboard jumper cord or wire or whatever you call it the dip 16 connector. the pins were very brittle and broke off just by removing the cable. Vince Briel was kind enough to point me in the right direction. Digikey part# C6PPS-1606G-ND. I guess they actually make them when you order them but they are considered "in stock" so they were not on back order and should ship soon and the cable only cost like $2.75