I am considering taking on a keyboard project. The goal is to create an ASCII keyboard suitable for use with the Apple 1. The big question is what should I aim for? My initial thought was to create a Datanetics replica. As cool as it would be, I'm having doubts about it because of the lack of clear/reset functionality it would have.
Any thoughts or suggestions on what the ideal Apple 1 keyboard would be?
I use an Apple II keyboard with the Repeat key modified to be Clear Screen which works pretty good. On the Apple II Keyboard the two arrow keys are useless and some people might prefer having the Repeat so I would suggest an Apple II layout with the arrow keys replaced. Move the =- key to the left arrow location and put Clear Screen in the =- location. Woz's monitor code uses the underscore ( _ ) as the backspace so the Right Arrow location should be coded as underscore with a backspace label. I think he got confused by the MOS Technology ASCII Character table which shows the normal underscore location as a left arrow. The Apple II keyboard does not have an underscore so I miss the backspace function. I have another keyboard that does have the underscore and it does work to remove the last keystroke although the cursor does not move on the screen.
That's my thoughts
I was kind of thinking that the ESC key on an Apple II keyboard might be in nice location for an Apple 1 clear function. However I suppose there is a fairly high risk that the ESC key might be used for some application on the Apple 1.
The ESC key is used as the line kill (restart line) on the Apple 1 so it is not available. The CLR Screen could be put to the left of the 1 key.
I'm on building my second Apple I replica, an A-One Extended + wooden case. I have the same problem, the Keyboard. I can't find nothing here in italy. After a bit of googling, i found a Cherry compact keyboard (with an italian layout). It looks like a great keyboard, it has a printed circuit and real buttons, so i can remove the unwanted keys.
http://www.brielcomputers.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=880&sid=a85d0d383cb9e5b4073983f557155aa0 has details, including a parts
The Cherry 696 switches don't seem to be available from digi-key now, so it might require some changes...
I'm debating building a replacement keyboard for a Commodore PET, but replacing the keyswitches might be easier.
ASCII to PS/2 Keyboard Adapter