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Converting a Tandy1000 keyboard module to work with modern machines

retro
diy
#1

Some background:
This Tandy 1000 keyboard module is a membrane keyboard using the Fujitsu leaf spring switches, They are the smoothest linears I have tried so far and they feel great to type on. The problem is that literally all i have is a shall with switches and membranes, no electronics or PCBs to interface with.

If you remove the metal back-plate, the only ting presented is the membrane

Pictures


What i have:
The keyboard module I want to convert

Pictures

A couple of Teensy LCs, A breadpoard, Whatever those pins are called and some copper wire.

Pictures

What I need to acquire:
I need to find a Ribbon connector for the ribbon cable (Don’t want to ruin the original ribbon cable)
If anyone has any tops for finding this it would be appreciated, it’s is the thing holding me back as of now

What i will have to do:

  • Get the ribbon connectors
  • Make the keyboard module in CAD
  • Figure out how the Teensy LC works
  • Convert the damned thing
  • Make a case for it (If i manage to get stem 1-3 done) (hopefully I’ll get in touch with someone with a big enough 3d printer for prototyping this stage)
Misc notes

Total width: 40cm
Height: 15cm
Case height needed to cover switches: 2cm
Space right of space 16.2/3cm
Left of space: 6.7cm
Top ribbon: 13 pin
Lower ribbon: 12 pin
8u spacebar

[Update]

Thanks to @gordonthree I now know it’s a Card Edge Connector
A couple of these have now been ordered, Will probably come in 19-31 days. So time for more waiting
While waiting I will try to play around with freecad, couldn’t find a 3d model/cad file or whatever you use of the computer/keyboard, so I will have to make it myself.

Obsolete/Wrong

I have found some leads on ribbon connector, it seems like this might be the standard one " FPC FFC [insert 0.x number]mm Pitch [insert correct number of pins] Pin Flip Type Ribbon Flat Connector".
There are some on ebay, but it seems like there is more to choose from at aliexpress, just annoyed that i have to create an account to browse their wares.

Changelog

  • Added pictures of the keycaps, some more “Misc Notes”
  • Added some info about the keyboard
  • Added Pictures of the internals of the keyboard
  • Updated the “Updates” section with the current status
  • Updated the ToDo list
9 Likes

#2

It doesn’t have Alt and Mod4 tho. Are you just not gonna use them or will you also remap some keys?

I want to do something similar with my old laptop keyboard, so keep us posted :stuck_out_tongue:

0 Likes

#3

Does the other side of the ribbon cable come out? I would remove it rather than trying to interface with it. Behind the metal plate should be another connector.

You have that copper wire, should be able to solder to the pins of the ribbon cable connector on the keyboard itself.

Hopefully the keyboard is a simple matrix and not using some weird old interface chip. Do you have pictures of the PCB? Matrix keyboard will be easy for the Teensy. Weird interface chip, might need a logic analyzer (bus pirate.)

0 Likes

#4

Thisis the contentI come to this forum for.

0 Likes

#5

…note, there ARE converters,but this is cooler.

If you are in the us, and happen to be near dallas texas, theres a place called computer reset. Its a warehouse full of new in box shit from the 60s to 1998. Might be better than overpaying online xD

0 Likes

#6

Yes, I will remap keys, not sure exactly what I’ll put where, will have to actually use it and see

1 Like

#7

I would love to, but sadly I’m Norwegian

1 Like

#8

This is just the keyboard module, and it is a membrane keyboard, so the ribbon cable is all i have to interface with.

No idea how this will work, but these switches are great

0 Likes

#9

Forgot to add this to the picture section.
Thick keycaps, (Left is The tandy’s keycap, Right is Varmillo PBT (around the same thickness as GMK keycaps))

1 Like

#10

Looking how things are made today, everything made back in the day looks as if it were made to survive a nuke. Those key caps are thick!

1 Like

#11

Keeping the cable then, ok.

Technically that cable is called a flex pcb, not a ribbon cable.

This might work, it is called a card edge connector:

image

They come in different pitch (pin size and spacing) , you will need to measure your cable, from the center of one conductor to the next and find a close match.

3 Likes

#12

Thanks

1 Like

#13

I have one with all the electronics that I’ve been in the process of modding with an internal USB conversion for a few years… one of these days I’ll write the firmware. Hardware is done.

0 Likes

#14

A whole 4 lines xD

0 Likes