Random Notes

Viewing posts for tag keyboard.

Converting IBM Wheelwriter to USB Keyboard

The first part of this post contains background on how I got the keyboard and how I progressed with it. If you’d like to jump straight into the conversion instructions, click here.

Quick link to GitLab repo of this project: Nicd/qmk_firmware

Obtaining the Wheelwriter

After getting my Cherry finished, my brother messaged me that his company was emptying their old office and were throwing away some sort of IBM typerwiter. He asked if I would be interested in taking it instead, to save it from going to the landfill. Of course I was, and so I was soon in possession of a working IBM Wheelwriter 6747-2. The Wheelwriter is an electric typerwiter introduced by IBM in 1984 to replace the earlier Selectric. It has a keyboard with similar construction to that of the famous IBM Model M, using the same buckling spring mechanism. The unit my brother saved for me is from 1986.

I myself had no use for a typewriter, but I was very interested in its keyboard, that seemed to be in perfect condition. All the keys responded properly, so it was just a matter of disconnecting the keyboard and converting it into USB usage. This is how my conversion story started.

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Restoring a Cherry G80-1000 Keyboard

I’ve always loved retro keyboards. Back at my previous job I used to use a Keytronic keyboard that I salvaged from the university’s trash room. I liked the 80’s/90’s beige aesthetic, the huge keys, and the sound of typing on it. But it wasn’t a mechanical keyboard, just rubber dome. Once I got to type on a mechanical keyboard, I knew I wanted one, but that meant I had to put my trusty Keytronic to the side.

So about a month ago, I was very surprised and excited when I found an old looking keyboard in the trash bin at my current employer.

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TOHKBD Review

If there’s one thing I miss from the old pre-touchscreen phones we used to have, it’s physical keyboards. Physical QWERTY keyboards, to be exact. From the Nokia 6800 series, to the Communicators, the E70 and all the way to the N900, I’ve always loved their typing speed and power, especially with regards to terminal usage where special characters are essential. Sadly, after Nokia’s betrayal and the subsequent flop with the N950, the market wasn’t looking that good. There were mostly a couple of Android phones, but I’ve never been a fan of the OS.

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TOHKBD

My wife just sent me an email that the TOHKBD I have been waiting for has finally arrived! I believe this accurately displays my feelings right now.

I will be posting pictures of the unboxing and some sort of review of using it later this week (no promises, but I’ll try).

AAAAAA! 😊