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FireGryphon
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Wow, I have an IBM Model M (or do I?) (pics!)

Fri May 25, 2018 2:32 pm

I'm looking through some bins that I had stored from years ago and it looks like I have an honest to goodness Model M keyboard! It still has the original connector on it. Is it worth keeping it in pristine condition or should I modify it for USB?
Last edited by FireGryphon on Sun May 27, 2018 1:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Wow, I have an IBM Model M

Fri May 25, 2018 2:48 pm

FireGryphon wrote:
I'm looking through some bins that I had stored from years ago and it looks like I have an honest to goodness Model M keyboard! It still has the original connector on it. Is it worth keeping it in pristine condition or should I modify it for USB?

Just leave it. Worth more with PS/2, likely. Though obviously you'll be able to use it with less machines if that's your plan.
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Re: Wow, I have an IBM Model M

Fri May 25, 2018 2:53 pm

With the original large 5-pin PC/AT plug or the later, 6-pin smaller-diameter PS/2 plug?

If it's a PS/2 plug, just buy a converter. Do not waste your money on a cheap PS/2-USB adapter: those won't work with real Model M's for a couple of reasons, and a real converter (with active electronics and correct power delivery) isn't all that expensive. (You can also get adapters to turn the original PC/AT into PS/2, which you can chain with a converter if necessary).

Of course if you're handy with a soldering iron and like these kinds of projects, go ahead. I personally like to keep these things stock (I own a couple of original Model Ms and use them with converters; I'd never buy a butchered one) but you do you.
 
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Re: Wow, I have an IBM Model M

Fri May 25, 2018 3:21 pm

Just curious, can you gleam the serial number on that unit? :wink:
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Re: Wow, I have an IBM Model M

Fri May 25, 2018 3:27 pm

There's lots of numbers on the bottom: part number, id no, and then a sticker with a 'TYPE' number on it. Which do you want?
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Re: Wow, I have an IBM Model M

Fri May 25, 2018 3:37 pm

FireGryphon wrote:
There's lots of numbers on the bottom: part number, id no, and then a sticker with a 'TYPE' number on it. Which do you want?

Could just post a pic.
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FireGryphon
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Re: Wow, I have an IBM Model M

Fri May 25, 2018 3:42 pm

A pic would require me dusting off my photo storage account which I haven't used for years and don't even remember the name of... easier to type:

Part No 1389162
ID No 1048086
Date 05APR88
Plt No F1
Model M

EDIT: Hmm, it appears that this may be a 'Model F' keyboard, based on Internet pics and some quick sleuthing. It says Model M on the label, but the Model M website is uninterested in my keyboard's part number. Seems these have their own benefits to them over even Model M's. I'm a bit confused as to what this actually is.

I have another old IBM keyboard here, but it's not a Model M. It has an 'A,a / A' toggle on the front and the cable is extremely thick, with a kind of d-sub connector at the end. It's info is:

ID No 380X F1390
Part No 6052101
Date 51-1983
MOD 3 0
PLT 23
MADE IN USA BY IBM
ARMONK, NY, USA
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Re: Wow, I have an IBM Model M (or do I?)

Fri May 25, 2018 4:03 pm

Rule of thumb. Anything older that IBM made is worth keeping, especially if it is in good condition. A lot of that older stuff was bulletproof too, maybe literally as they had heavy metal plates in them or they could be used as a melee weapon. It looks like some of those Model F keyboards are going upwards of $200 on eBay.
 
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Re: Wow, I have an IBM Model M (or do I?)

Fri May 25, 2018 4:11 pm

Both of these keyboards are barely dirty! The clicky keys are delightful. I miss the feedback these old keys give. What a racket, though!
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Re: Wow, I have an IBM Model M

Fri May 25, 2018 4:13 pm

The capacitive Model F actually has n-key rollover which the membrane Model M lacks.

The Model M has a removable cable which you simply change out if you want to convert between AT and PS/2. The reason most PS/2 to USB converters don't work is because IBM's own keyboards violate the PS/2 spec (which IBM wrote) by drawing too much power.

Model F cables plug into the board internally so require some disassembly to swap. If you were going to do that, then most of the USB conversion kits fit inside.

The d-sub models were for terminal use.
 
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Re: Wow, I have an IBM Model M (or do I?)

Fri May 25, 2018 6:08 pm

FireGryphon wrote:
Both of these keyboards are barely dirty! The clicky keys are delightful. I miss the feedback these old keys give. What a racket, though!

Honestly thought you made this thread because of the review on the front page today. You know you can still get buckling spring keyboards today, right?

https://techreport.com/review/33681/uni ... d-reviewed
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Re: Wow, I have an IBM Model M (or do I?)

Sat May 26, 2018 9:49 pm

DancinJack wrote:
FireGryphon wrote:
Both of these keyboards are barely dirty! The clicky keys are delightful. I miss the feedback these old keys give. What a racket, though!

Honestly thought you made this thread because of the review on the front page today. You know you can still get buckling spring keyboards today, right?

https://techreport.com/review/33681/uni ... d-reviewed


Yeah, I saw the article a few hours after posting this. It's pretty cool they make them new, but there's something awesome about an original from nearly 40 years ago. Also, the $2.99 each I paid for these at MicroCenter 20 years ago beats the price of a new one today :lol:
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Re: Wow, I have an IBM Model M (or do I?)

Sun May 27, 2018 12:21 am

The original MSRP of a Model F was $399.00 ($1,100.00 in today's money). As you'd expect for something designed to sell for such a price, many still work perfectly some 37 years later--the keys were rated to 100 million keypresses.

The Model M was less expensive to make and replaced much of the metal with plastic. It initially sold for $249.00 but by the end of IBM-branded production went for around $100.00. That Unicomp can today make them in the USA and sell them for less than this in today's devalued money shows how impressive the cost-reduction was. Like Lexmark, Unicomp was one of the OEM suppliers to IBM.

Relatively few IBM keyboards were actually sold at retail as most of them came bundled with an IBM PC. When they exited the PC business I too bought many surplus Model M keyboards for as low as $2.
 
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Re: Wow, I have an IBM Model M (or do I?)

Sun May 27, 2018 1:08 am

Wow that is top!

Pictures please? Imgur will host your stuff, no accounts needed.
 
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Re: Wow, I have an IBM Model M (or do I?)

Sun May 27, 2018 1:50 pm

All right, here are some pics of the Model F/M and the other keyboard:

First, the Model F/M:

Image

Here's a pic of the label on the back of the Model F/M:

Image


Now a pic of the other keyboard:

Image

...and the other keyboard's label:

Image


Sorry for the poor quality, but it's all my iPhone 6s+ can muster after being abused for the last two and a half years :P
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Re: Wow, I have an IBM Model M (or do I?) (pics!)

Sun May 27, 2018 8:28 pm

That top one looks like a terminal keyboard, had a similar looking one we used on our AS400 back 20 plus years ago.
Image
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Re: Wow, I have an IBM Model M (or do I?) (pics!)

Sun May 27, 2018 10:14 pm

This is a scan of a page from a 1986 issue of Byte Magazine -- note the price of a (knock-off, non-IBM) mechanical keyboard down at the bottom.
(Also marvel at the prices of low-power UPSes, "high resolution" monitors, and 10MB/20MB -- yes, MB -- hard drives).
 
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Re: Wow, I have an IBM Model M (or do I?) (pics!)

Mon May 28, 2018 2:59 am

Thanks FireGryphon! That is indeed top stuff right there.

@UberGerbil
MDA was very indeed very nice. Text was so much clearer compared to CGA. And going from floppies to one of those 20MB HDDs? Far bigger jump in responsiveness compared to going from HDD to SSD in the modern day.
 
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Re: Wow, I have an IBM Model M (or do I?) (pics!)

Mon May 28, 2018 5:59 am

UberGerbil wrote:
This is a scan of a page from a 1986 issue of Byte Magazine -- note the price of a (knock-off, non-IBM) mechanical keyboard down at the bottom.
(Also marvel at the prices of low-power UPSes, "high resolution" monitors, and 10MB/20MB -- yes, MB -- hard drives).


While marveling at the prices, factor in 32 years of inflation.

Then look at the enormous form factors.

"They don't make them like this anymore."
"Yes, because we've learned from experience."
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Re: Wow, I have an IBM Model M (or do I?) (pics!)

Mon May 28, 2018 9:43 pm

K-L-Waster wrote:
While marveling at the prices, factor in 32 years of inflation.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI calculator says a factor of 2.29. So a $70 keyboard and a $300 10MB HD. But that $65 720x350 monochrome monitor is a steal.
 
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Re: Wow, I have an IBM Model M (or do I?) (pics!)

Thu May 31, 2018 11:33 am

UberGerbil wrote:
K-L-Waster wrote:
While marveling at the prices, factor in 32 years of inflation.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI calculator says a factor of 2.29. So a $70 keyboard and a $300 10MB HD. But that $65 720x350 monochrome monitor is a steal.

Run that the other way; K-L-Waster wasn't contradicting your point, he was enhancing it. Those were the prices then. Multiply by 2.29 to see what it would look like now if we still had to pay those prices: $365 for the keyboard, $1600 for the disk drive, $341 for the monochrome monitor.

And don't forget the $1700 ($800+ then-money) you spent on your Zylog Z80/8086 hybrid CPU with dual floppy drives to support all that gear, and another $575 ($250 then-money) on the dot matrix printer.

And presumably, don't let your Significant Other see you playing a shareware knock-off version of Pac-Man on this pile of black-on-beige electronics that just drained the family's car-replacement fund.
Last edited by ludi on Thu May 31, 2018 11:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wow, I have an IBM Model M (or do I?) (pics!)

Thu May 31, 2018 11:37 am

Aldo was one of hte first games I remember. That and Alphabet, the game with the firefighters catching people jumping out of a building designs out of the geometric shapes. I don't remember the names of any of those; I was 6 at the time.
 
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Re: Wow, I have an IBM Model M (or do I?) (pics!)

Thu May 31, 2018 8:58 pm

ludi wrote:
UberGerbil wrote:
K-L-Waster wrote:
While marveling at the prices, factor in 32 years of inflation.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI calculator says a factor of 2.29. So a $70 keyboard and a $300 10MB HD. But that $65 720x350 monochrome monitor is a steal.

Run that the other way; K-L-Waster wasn't contradicting your point, he was enhancing it. Those were the prices then. Multiply by 2.29 to see what it would look like now if we still had to pay those prices: $365 for the keyboard, $1600 for the disk drive, $341 for the monochrome monitor.

And don't forget the $1700 ($800+ then-money) you spent on your Zylog Z80/8086 hybrid CPU with dual floppy drives to support all that gear, and another $575 ($250 then-money) on the dot matrix printer.

And presumably, don't let your Significant Other see you playing a shareware knock-off version of Pac-Man on this pile of black-on-beige electronics that just drained the family's car-replacement fund.

My father had a solution to all of that: he was putting money into a college fund for me and my siblings, and would wait until one of the local banks would offer a *FREE COMPUTER* in exchange for opening up a new fund of X dollars. It was always something at the end of its marketable life, like an original 128k Mac after the 512 had taken over the market, but they still worked.

We got a new computer once every few years through the 1980s - my beloved Epson QX-16, that Mac, an Apple IIgs that was fantastic for games.

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