2024-01-12

IBM Model M keyboard

For a very long time my preferred keyboard has been an IBM Model M keyboard. It uses "buckling spring" keys which have good tactile feedback and are clicky and loud...

This has been my preferred keyboard since they really were actual IBM Model M keyboards. These days it is UNICOMP that make them, and as I have moved to Mac as my main machine, and UK Mac keyboard layout.

It works well, I love it.

But it has broken. Some keys get iffy, and this has happened now. It had happened once before, years ago. I assume somehow muck gets in there - but the whole thing is all sealed to a metal plate inside, so not easy to debug or fix. Last time I got a new one.

So, this time, as they have no Mac layout ones, I ordered a PC layout, and sorry, no, I just cannot get used to it. I'd rather have no Z and an iffy S than use a PC layout. Yes, I had to *hit* the Z hard to type that.

As UNICOMP have none of the Mac layout - I am a bit stuck, and, for the first time, in literally decades, looking at another keyboard.

I'll update this post when it arrives. Worrying times when a mad has to change his keyboard. But it may save muting Jitsi when I type.

Updates:

  1. The keys do not map correctly by default on a Mac, notably ±/§ and ~/` reversed. Annoying, but solvable...
  2. The tools to allow remapping using "VIA" app website did not work! It got stuck after connecting to the keyboard, so I fixed the remapping in the OS.
  3. The keys are too sensitive, so being slightly different spacing I keep hitting adjacent keys just enough to register - but I will get used to the spacing. It is quieter.

5 comments:

  1. if it's "stuff" in the keys, some of them can be brought back to life with a shower (pressure to get the "bits" out) and rinse with distilled water (depends on hardness of your water) then left to dry somewhere "warm". I think I got about 20 working ones out of ~100 ICL buckle spring keyboards a "few" decades ago... YMMV

    ReplyDelete
  2. If it's dying anyway so you have nothing to lose, you could risk just washing the whole thing. Once upon a time as a poor student I spilled a drink over my lovely old clicky keyboard. Figuring I had nothing to lose, I rinsed the whole thing thoroughly under the tap with warm water (just pure water), opened it up as much as I could, and left it to dry for a month. When I put it together, it worked fine! I think a couple of keys needed a few taps to work properly, or perhaps a squirt of contact cleaner. (Note: I was in a soft water area; probably not something you should try with hard water.)

    ReplyDelete
  3. From time to time someone brings one of these objectionably noisy buckling spring keyboards into the open plan office at work. They have to be politely asked to take it away, they're far too noisy when other people are trying to concentrate. However good they may be for typing, the work environment of others has to be considered.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I use an old Apple A1048 keyboard, must be over 20 years old and solid as brick, heavier than my Macbook Pro too.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Matias sell Mac keyboards with mechanical keys. The Keyboard Company sells them in the UK (which is where I bought the Mac Quiet Key Pro that I am typing this on).

    ReplyDelete

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