Looking for a good Apple 1 keyboard solution

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Looking for a good Apple 1 keyboard solution

Building an Apple 1.  Got the PCBs.  Got the Uncle Burnie kit.  Still getting all the sockets, transformers, and large capacitors (but I know where to get them).  However, one thing continues to illude me...  The keyboard.

 

I found a bare replica Datanetics keyboard PCB online but the switches are almost impossible to find.  So unless someone knows of an affordable, but compatible alternative, I'm thinking that this might not work for me.   Any suggestions?  I don't want to use an Apple II keyboard.  

 

First because they're expensive.  Second, because they lack the appropriate reset/clear screen, and third, and most importantly, because I love my Apple IIs!  And I'd rathrr not sacrifice one for this.  

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I fully understand if it

I fully understand if it doesn't meet your asthetic, but I do personally find the Commodore 64 keyboard with @P-LAB's 'Appledore' adapter to be quite functional. Loose C64 keyboards are less costly and the restore key works as reset, and clr/home acts as clear. https://p-l4b.github.io/appledore/ 

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You're right that this wouldn

You're right that this wouldn't be my ideal solution, but I do have a few (mostly incomplete) Commodore keyboards that might be good temporarily, but where would I get the adapter?  I'm not too experienced with making PCBs and there appears to be a microcontroller of some kind???  Or is that the encoder?

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Hi DistantStar001,It seems

Hi DistantStar001,

It seems that Chris from Adwater and Stir has made some extra Appledore PCBs for himself and the remainder are for sale here:

 

https://adwaterandstir.com/product/appledore/

 

Maybe that's the one for you.... :-)

 

Best regards,

Claudio - P-LAB (the designer of Appledore)

 

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Got it.  Thanks!  But since

Got it.  Thanks!  But since this can be interfaced with an Apple II as well, it might be a little too useful to leave attached exclusively to my Apple 1.  

Looking at another post ( https://www.applefritter.com/content/datanetics-keyboard-build-guide-and-some-additional-information )t, it seems that the Datanetics PCB can be adapted to Cherry switches.  But what about ALPs?  I'm asking because I have a tone of them. 

 

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Hi DistantStar001!

Glad to have you with us. You can build your own Datanetics replica keyboard using the usual Cherry MX caps and the readily available ATMega644P controller. Here is a link to the project - https://github.com/schlae/replica-datanetics.

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Another option is the URK

Another option is the URK (Universal Retro Keyboard).  The information is available on GitHub with the Gerbers to order PCBs, etc.

 

And occasionally Newton Mike has his Datanetics based keyboards.  He modified the Datatanetics PCB design to fit Cherry MX type key switches.

 

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DistantStar001 wrote:Got it.
DistantStar001 wrote:

Got it.  Thanks!  But since this can be interfaced with an Apple II as well, it might be a little too useful to leave attached exclusively to my Apple 1.  

 

I haven't used it with an apple II [yet] but the apple II socket is great for the replica 1 plus. Either way though my actual use has been for Apple I / Replica, since all my apple II's have functional keyboards (Thankfully). 

 

If you can handle the solcering of the Apple I / Uncle Bernie kit, you can definitely handle building an Appledore. It's neat that gentlemen is offering extras; I also have enough parts for several of them on hand (in blue or purple). You can optionally install female headers for the nano to have it socketed, which it makes it slightly more convenient to reprogram without disconnecting the Appledore PCB itself from your system and keyboard. 

 

Even if just a temorary solution, certainly an economical one :) Either way I look forward to your progress, as I'm slowly plugging away at a "real" Apple 1 replica myself. 

 

Cheers,

Alex

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skate323k137 wrote
skate323k137 wrote:
DistantStar001 wrote:

Got it.  Thanks!  But since this can be interfaced with an Apple II as well, it might be a little too useful to leave attached exclusively to my Apple 1.  

 

I haven't used it with an apple II [yet] but the apple II socket is great for the replica 1 plus. Either way though my actual use has been for A

 

You can't plug an Apple II keyboard directly into an Apple-1.  However, there are adapter boards available and even Gerbers you can download from GitHub to have PCBs made to build your own.  However I generally prefer not to steal a keyboard from a useful machine like an Apple II.  A new made keyboard is a better option in my opinion.  If a keyboard must be stolen, better from a junk machine like a C64.

 

 

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I use Claudio's Appledore and

I use Claudio's Appledore and use a Commodore 64 keyboard with my Replica-1.  I use Michael's Datanetics keyboard with my Apple-1 replica.  I also have a PS/2 adapter made from Mike Willegal's design that I keep around for testing.

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I forgot atbout the various

I forgot atbout the various PS/2 keyboard adapters...  That's certainly a viable option, albeit not one that looks "period correct" at all.

 

 

 

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Its a point that using Apple

Its a point that using Apple ][ keyboards for A1's is probably resulting in A2's being parted, but at least there were lots more A2's about and they work perfectly with a modern encoder.

 

I used an A2 RFI keyboard with puerto06's encoder plus which is perfect and with adjustable debounce allows a dodgy keyboard to work without having to do the painstaking overhaul the RFI's often need.

Not sure they are still for sale though ?

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I found this!  Can it be
I found this!  Can it be adapted?  And if so...  How?

 

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sheesh

That will require more research on your part... pictures of random keyboards don't tell about circuitry or interface means.

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Sorry, I thought I had posted

Sorry, I thought I had posted the daughter board/interface and back matrix.  I know the top doesn't tell you anything.  

 

 

From the looks of it, It appears pretty customizable.  The only markings on it say it's a Microswitch.  I'm not holding out too much hope for the daughter board, as it doesn't appear to have an encoder on it, but the keyboard itself might be adapted if I could map the matrix and adapt the interface to a new(er) encoder.

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An older design (mid 1970s?)

An older design (mid 1970s?) based on the Micro Switch SW series Hall-Effect switches. Very distinctive from the 4 in-line pins from each switch.

See some docs at http://telcontar.net/KBK/Micro_Switch/SW 

I think they don't need an encoder because they are able to use 2-of-N circuits.

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Bit-paired

Note that this is a bit-paired layout (as opposed to typewriter-paired). You can tell because boards with double-quote on the '2' key are usually bit-paired. This type of layout was most common for computer terminal keyboards through the mid 1970s because it's easier to implement using a minimum of logic. The character sent by a key in the unshifted and shifted condition has a related binary code.

For example, in ASCII the code for 2 is hexadecimal 0x32, while the code for " is 0x22. On a bit-paired keyboard, a simple device like a NAND gate is used to select which code is sent depending on the shift key position.

A typewriter-paired keyboard, where the '2' key has an atsign @, needs to be more complex because the ASCII code for @ is 0x40. This either requires much more logic, or a highly integrated encoder with an internal lookup table. By the late 1970s, PMOS encoders like the AY-5-3600 were available that could send the appropriate code for any arbitrary key layout.

 

The Micro Switch SW switches have two independent outputs (on the two middle pins) which are wired to different horizontal lines on the upper section of the PCB. There is a different combination of 2 of these lines for each key, which the daughterboard translates into character codes (most likely ASCII but possibly EBCDIC). Some adaptation and measurement will be required to connect it to an Apple I. See here for how a similar keyboard was adapted (but take note that the specific pins to use may be entirely different).

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FRAME ROLL

It may be possible to find the model of terminal this keyboard is from (the "FRAME ROLL" key is somewhat distinctive).

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Mike Newton’s Datanetics replica keyboard

Hello Distant,

 

Another option would be Mike Newton's replica Datanetics keyboard, he is an eBay seller based in China that makes the Newton Apple I replica PCBs, keyboards, etc. Sometimes he sells them fully assembled. The keys are not the same color but still closely resemble the original Datanetics keyboard used on the Apple I. Additionally, it supports apple II input.

 

You can find the keyboard here, it is currently available. https://www.ebay.com/itm/256110872175?mkcid=16&mkevt=1&mkrid=711-127632-2357-0&ssspo=ODs0xQVESVG&sssrc=4429486&ssuid=PbonYFceRfW&var=&widget_ver=artemis&media=COP

If it is gone by the time you see this link, you can also contact him and ask him to assemble one for you (there is a queue) but on a normal basis he posts one every few weeks.

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robespierre wrote:An older
robespierre wrote:

An older design (mid 1970s?) based on the Micro Switch SW series Hall-Effect switches. Very distinctive from the 4 in-line pins from each switch.

See some docs at http://telcontar.net/KBK/Micro_Switch/SW 

I think they don't need an encoder because they are able to use 2-of-N circuits.

Older.  The IC date codes on the encoder are from 1969.

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robespierre wrote:Note that
robespierre wrote:

Note that this is a bit-paired layout (as opposed to typewriter-paired). You can tell because boards with double-quote on the '2' key are usually bit-paired. This type of layout was most common for computer terminal keyboards through the mid 1970s because it's easier to implement using a minimum of logic. The character sent by a key in the unshifted and shifted condition has a related binary co

At this point, I don't think this is the right keyboard for my Apple 1.  There's just a bit too much going on with it.  Basically, it overkill for this computer.  Still, I may try to connect it anyway, just to make sure it works.  

The question I should ask is how do I identify which pins do what?

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robespierre wrote:It may be
robespierre wrote:

It may be possible to find the model of terminal this keyboard is from (the "FRAME ROLL" key is somewhat distinctive).

Here's hoping!  I posted over at Vintage Computer Fed to see if anyone recognized it.

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TechyyThings wrote:Hello
TechyyThings wrote:

Hello Distant,

 

Another option would be Mike Newton's replica Datanetics keyboard, he is an eBay seller based in China that makes the Newton Apple I replica PCBs, keyboards, etc. Sometimes he sells them fully assembled. The keys are not the same color but still closely resemble the original Datanetics keyboard used on the Apple I. Additionally, it supports 

I've seen this.  And I've been tempted to get it.  Although I will admit, I would be more tempted if it wasn't already assembled.  Putting it together is half the fun after all.  Hunting can be fun too.  If I could get the PCB on its own, that would be fun.  Scrounging parts!  But I will confess, the keycaps on these are near perfet, and probably impossible to find better.

As for my MicroSwitch, the person who gave it to me is in a bit of a purging process, so maybe there's another board coming my way that will be better suited.

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The way I use an apple ][ keyboard on an Apple I

Hello Distant,

 

Regarding the keyboard made by Newton, yes in fact it is more fun to assemble it and source out parts. I can't help you much with the MicroSwitch as I do not know much about it but Newton tends to sell datanetics bare PCB's.

 

 Other than the MicroSwitch, you would have 2 options you could get a bare PCB from Newton (he normally sells them as a bundle along with the Apple I replica PCB but I believe you can contact him and ask for it to be sold by itself. If you manage to acquire one, you can use the Apple ][ switches and solder them on the PCB. The only disadvantage is some keycaps will not be labeled according to their function. (If you were to use the same apple ][ keycaps)

 

Your second option would be to use an Apple ][ keyboard with an encoder compatible with apple I and take out the POWER switch to make it look cosmetically closer to the keyboard used with the apple I

 

ill try to find more answers for the MicroSwitch, I'll let you know once I figure out something.

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I will be building this

I will be building this project, to me it looks great and there are no problems with components, everything you need can be bought on aliexpress.

https://github.com/schlae/replica-datanetics

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reverse engineering

I agree that the old keyboard is close to ideal from a style and appearance standpoint.

The way you would identify the function of the pins would be (ideally) to use an oscilloscope. If you can start by identifying some of the chips on the daughterboard and look up their datasheets, you will know where power and ground must be connected. A tip is to not connect power and ground to the edge connector with alligator clips because they like to slip; better to use minigrabber leads on chip pins or other protruding metal points that offer more secure points of connection. The wide traces that snake around the edge of the daughterboard are power and ground (most likely +5 VDC and GND).

The other (non-power) pins of the edge connector will be bits 1 to 7 of a character, modifier key bits, and a strobe. You can establish which ones are what by putting the oscilloscope probe on each pin while you actuate the keys. The pin that pulses once no matter which key is pressed is the strobe. Some of the special function keys may not activate the strobe, though. The B1 through B7 pins will change every keypress to indicate the last key struck according to a code. For instance, if there are two pins that are (positive, ground) after hitting the '1' key, and (ground, positive) after hitting the '2' key, then in the ASCII code those are pins B1 and B2. By making a chart of all the ASCII characters you can identify firstly if the keyboard uses ASCII and second what the pin assignments are. This is a basic exercise in reverse engineering, which the post I linked above from ChristopherB describes in detail for another Micro Switch keyboard.

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Macintosh_nik wrote:I will be
Macintosh_nik wrote:

I will be building this project, to me it looks great and there are no problems with components, everything you need can be bought on aliexpress.

https://github.com/schlae/replica-datanetics

[[{"fid":"37162","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","alignment":"","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"fi

Now that is a pretty nice setup.

 

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