Strange Apple II keyboard types

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Strange Apple II keyboard types

Edward Harro Walsh documented on his website (currently suspended) some very bizarre keyboard switches reportedly found in Apple II computers. The only switch type depicted with photographs was the Alps type¹ — all the rest were shown with diagrams. The keyswitch types used in Apple II computers are fairly well understood: Datanetics DC-50, Alps KBB¹, ITT snap-action array (possibly Datanetics DC-70), SMK J-M0404 series, Mitsumi KAM, Apple hairpin spring and Alps KCM.

¹ normally KCC at this point in time, but inexplicably referred to as “KBB” by Apple in their bill of materials

What Edward depicted bore no resemblance to anything I’ve ever seen in an Apple keyboard, and his site offered no clear information or references (no suggestion of what models had these keyboards, and where he came across this information), and no way to contact him. In fact, none of the designs looked like anything I have ever seen in any keyboard, from any manufacturer anywhere in the world. Even the bill of materials offers no suggestion of anything else existing. (The illustration showing KBB is a scan of a poor-quality photocopy, so I cannot be sure what those are, but they should be KCC, which is what we know was used.)

Where are all these strange Apple II computers with non-standard keyboards?

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Any ideas?

Any ideas?

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Without seeing images of them

The only place I have seen KBB is anecdotal, and as I understand things,  it is for the SKCC switches. Perhaps there was an earlier iteration. I do have a ][+ with Alps style switches. I suppose I could pull and check one of those once I clean it. It is in extremely rough shape.  That KB is next on my list to remove and clean. If the switches are in fact unusual, then it may not be possible to repair, but it could be a rare opportunity to document it. 

 

It is probably an internal part ID that slipped, or an earlier revision of the Alps switch that Alps never used as a designation. My pure guess is that it meant keyboard style B, to separate it from the Datanetics models, as style A. 

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Sadly the illustration of all

Sadly the illustration of all the weird switch types, at the end of the page, was not archived:

http://web.archive.org/web/20200124140441/http://www.harrowalsh.de:80/APPLEBOX/APPLE2/appleboxkeypage.htm

The page does suggest that one of the types was foam pad capacitive, like the Lisa keyboard.

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Daniel Beardsmore wrote:
Daniel Beardsmore wrote: Sadly the illustration of all the weird switch types, at the end of the page, was not archived: [url]http://web.archive.org/web/20200124140441/http://www.harrowalsh.de:80/APPLEBOX/APPLE2/appleboxkeypage.htm[/url] The page does suggest that one of the types was foam pad capacitive, like the Lisa keyboard.
 
 

I will clean, examine, and photograph the KB that I have that I believe to have these switches,  this or next week, as soon as I have a chance to clean it. The ref to KBB is from the Apple II Level  Service docs, and again, I believe this refers to KB Model 'B', while Datanatics is Model 'A' and the later (e.g. blue pcb/RFI) is Model 'C'.

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Thanks.

Thanks.

Edward depicted four unknown keyboard types, in a very crude diagram. I didn’t recognise any of them. Sadly now the diagram is lost.

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Daniel Beardsmore wrote:
Daniel Beardsmore wrote: Thanks. Edward depicted four unknown keyboard types, in a very crude diagram. I didn’t recognise any of them. Sadly now the diagram is lost.
 
 

 This Diagram?

 

https://www.applefritter.com/files/2021/01/17/Keyswitches.pdf

 

 

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baldrick wrote:Daniel
baldrick wrote:
Daniel Beardsmore wrote: Thanks. Edward depicted four unknown keyboard types, in a very crude diagram. I didn’t recognise any of them. Sadly now the diagram is lost.
 
 

 This Diagram?

 

https://www.app

I believe that he means the diagram in the original Apple Service docs, for what Apple called 'KBB'.

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baldrick wrote:Daniel
baldrick wrote:
Daniel Beardsmore wrote: Thanks. Edward depicted four unknown keyboard types, in a very crude diagram. I didn’t recognise any of them. Sadly now the diagram is lost.
 
 

 This Diagram?

Thanks, that’s the one — it is on page 5 of the PDF, and depicts four weird switches. No. 1 is a foam-pad type, possibly capacitive but conceivably also conductive, but with an internal return spring, something I have never seen. Foam pad capactive switches (C. P. Clare, Cherry, Key Tronic, BTC etc) all had the return spring under the keycap … except whatever that one is.

It is claimed to be an Apple II keyboard, and if so, it must be a particularly rare type. I would not be surprised if it were KBB — I am having a fresh trawl though all of the アルプス電気 スイッチ patents on J-PlatPat for 1968–1982, to see if anything new has appeared since I checked originally. Alps keyboard switches from around 1980–1985 were grouped into KEx (elastic contact), KCx (complex contact assembly with metal foil contact) and KFx (plain sprung metal contacts). KBB falls outside of any of that, and foam pad would be a reasonable argument for what it might denote. Before around 1980, the series nomenclature is poorly understood, but the known forms are AKx (only seen in an early 70s ad) and SCx, where it seems SCH became KCC, and possibly SCK became KCA (just a guess). There are numerous patents for products yet to be seen.

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Pretty sure I have that

Pretty sure I have that diagram saved. Sadly I have no clue how to upload a pdf file here.

 

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Which diagram? The one

Which diagram? The one already found? It is also already archived here:

https://www.applefritter.com/appleii-box/D03_1_AppleIIKeyswitchesKeyboardsPage.htm

I discovered that when trying to locate whatever it was that Corey986 apparently found (which I still can't find any trace of, or anything else Edward claimed to have seen).

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