Keyboard problems

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anarkavre's picture
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Joined: Oct 18 2005
Posts: 59

I just got my Apple IIe I bought on eBay and I'm having some minor problems mostly with the keyboard. The Q key I have to press downward a bit to get it to print Q and the O key isn't even working at all. Is there anyway I can find out what the problem could be? Thank you.

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Joined: Dec 19 2003
Posts: 832
Yeah, a couple of solutions. . . .

Your description may indicate a common problem with older systems still in use; a ton of dust, hair and other assorted crud can make its' way past the key caps. Except for the space bar, the keys can be pulled off by pulling them straight up (if you're not careful, though, they can be broken.) Then I would suggest putting on safety goggles, unplugging the computer and blowing out the keyboard cavity with compressed air thoroughly. Good luck to you.

Mutant_Pie

anarkavre's picture
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Joined: Oct 18 2005
Posts: 59
Further Details

After further inspection of the keyboard I found out that the circuit does work. I put a small screwdriver to the two solder joints to complete the circuit and the letter o appeared on the screen. So my guess is that the problem is with the switches. Are there any places I can buy the switches to replace or is there any way of disassembling the keyboard for further inspection?

mmphosis's picture
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Joined: Aug 18 2005
Posts: 314
APPLE ][ Keyboard

Here are some previous applefritter comments:
http://www.applefritter.com/node/3948

Here are some new and old APPLE ][ keyboards for sale:
http://www.shrevesystems.com/keyboards.html

And, possibly here...
http://www.gse-reactive.com/

My APPLE ][+ has keyboard problems too.

I think the previous poster is on the right track, I need to get all the dirt, dust and other crap out and the keyboard may work. In the meantime, I removed the motherboard and put it into a APPLE ][+ clone case Sad with a keyboard Smile, problem is the clone keyboard is starting to fail also. Sad

What would be cool?

I always wanted a detachable (even wireless) keyboard for the APPLE ][. The not quite working original keyboard could remain where it is and I could bash away on a keyboard of my choosing.

Wish list, anyone?

A USB (HID "Human Interface Device" keyboard) to 16-pin DIN APPLE ][ keyboard parallel interface with reset, repeat, and fully programmable keys including reset.

And/or, a serial (PC keyboard) to 16-pin DIN APPLE ][ keyboard ... and fully programmable keys including reset.

This might be a project for someone, maybe even me? What parts do we need?

16-pin DIN, to plug into the APPLE ][ keyboard in

16-pin DIN, to plug into the APPLE ][ game port for the 3 button presses: open apple, closed apple, and shift-key modification.

USB port, to plug a USB keyboard into (and/or serial port to plug a PC keyboard into.)

a (cheap) low-power programmable chip, CPU, FPGAL, (that will work off the 5volt line)

non-volatile random access memory, to store the programming for the programmable chip, keyboard buffer and the "user" key programming, this must be cheap and hopefully removable and plug compatible so that the memory can be backed up and "reprogrammed."

some wiring, connectors, probably some capacitors and other components thrown in there.

a hardware schematic of how all this would fit together.

And, software specifications. And, here they are...

USB and/or serial keyboard to APPLE ][ keyboard input "programming" specification:

The programming needs to:

- handle USB HID (keyboard only), and/or serial interface (for a serial PC keyboard)

- provide keyboard buffering as an option

- convert key codes to what YOU want (not what someone else thinks you want -- like oops I just hit that function key in AppleWin that does something wierd.) Yes, you get to assign the key mapping, reset key, repeat speed, how CAPS and/or Shift lock, and Shift works, maybe, have different switchable modes, like a "classic" APPLE ][+ mode where there is no lower case, and shift-M = ], shift-P = @, and shift-N = ^.

- send keystrokes in parallel (keyboard strobe, timing, keyboard clear) and holding/unholding reset line to the APPLE ][.

Comments? What am I missing?

woogie's picture
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Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 267
Keyboard problems...

It might just be cheaper to replace the entire
keyboard unit in your Apple IIe. It's definitely
easier. Try checking the buy/sell thread here,
also A2 Web (Google it), or even E*** for a
replacement. That'll get your machine up and
running the quickest.

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Cats rule! Member since 8/01

Ex-parrot's picture
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Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 6835
You can quite often desolder

You can quite often desolder the keys, open them up and clean them out or otherwise modify them to make them work. The keys on the Mac Plus keyboard I had with similar symptoms just needed their springs rebent a little so the contact was a little firmer.

If you can get at the switch contacts, try taking to them with a pencil eraser to clean off light surface corrosion.

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Michael