Jump to content

Photo

Help fixing TI-99/4A Keyboards


16 replies to this topic

#1 toymailman OFFLINE  

toymailman

    River Patroller

  • 2,196 posts

Posted Mon Apr 5, 2010 9:58 PM

I have come across 3 TI-99/4A systems so far and NONE have 100% working keyboards. One is at 2%, another at about 50% and a third at about 98%.

Does anyone here know how to fix them or can point me in the right direction of a good resource/website? Thanks!

#2 jaybird3rd OFFLINE  

jaybird3rd

    Quadrunner

  • 9,240 posts
  • "Excuse me, sir? I have a question ..."
  • Location:806.4616.0110

Posted Mon Apr 5, 2010 10:19 PM

Tex*In Treasures still sells new keyboards for the beige 99/4A.

#3 toymailman OFFLINE  

toymailman

    River Patroller

  • Topic Starter
  • 2,196 posts

Posted Tue Apr 6, 2010 8:36 AM

Tex*In Treasures still sells new keyboards for the beige 99/4A.

Thanks, I'd prefer a black one as I have the silver system, but if it turns out they can't be repaired I will probably get one of those.

#4 labrat OFFLINE  

labrat

    Moonsweeper

  • 335 posts
  • Location:Our Fair City, MA

Posted Tue Apr 6, 2010 10:41 AM

I have come across 3 TI-99/4A systems so far and NONE have 100% working keyboards. One is at 2%, another at about 50% and a third at about 98%.

Does anyone here know how to fix them or can point me in the right direction of a good resource/website? Thanks!


Try running the keyboard through the dishwasher. You will want to let it dry for several days before you try to use it again. I've done it with a C64 keyboard that was filthy and it worked great afterward. It was working fine before too, but if your keyboards are non-functional because of built-up crud then a good wash may fix them.

#5 unhuman OFFLINE  

unhuman

    Stargunner

  • 1,227 posts
  • Location:Vienna, VA

Posted Tue Apr 6, 2010 10:49 AM

Beige keyboards work fine in black TI's, btw.

#6 toymailman OFFLINE  

toymailman

    River Patroller

  • Topic Starter
  • 2,196 posts

Posted Tue Apr 6, 2010 5:44 PM

I can try washing them, but they are fairly clean already so am not sure they are non-functional due to gunk. Howeever, with the one that is only 2% working what do I have to loose?

I know the beige ones will work, I just want to keep it looking the way it is supposed to for a silver system.

#7 zylon OFFLINE  

zylon

    Quadrunner

  • 6,902 posts
  • 5200 OE HSC Queen
  • Location:Kennesaw, GA

Posted Tue Apr 6, 2010 7:58 PM

I've got a black keyboard pulled from a bad system. Screen displayed all garbled up. The few keys I tried worked.

#8 tremoloman2006 OFFLINE  

tremoloman2006

    Stargunner

  • 1,777 posts
  • Location:Boston Bruins Country

Posted Wed Apr 7, 2010 7:58 AM

I had a black/silver TI that had issues with keys that would output 2 or 3 times on each keystroke. ("A" would display "AAA" and so forth). I asked around various forums and was told to replace the keyboard as there were some that were faulty. I got a replacement keyboard and viola! :)

Funny you have so many TI's with keyboard issues. In the 20 or so I've come in contact with over the years only one had keyboard issues.

For a measly $4.95 USD, I'd install the beige keyboard. I know you would prefer a black keyboard as would I but I do believe in "function over fashion".

Put a post in the "Wanted" area for a black working keyboard. Someone my respond and be able to help out. Better yet, search craigslist or fleabay as systems go for so little these days.

#9 unhuman OFFLINE  

unhuman

    Stargunner

  • 1,227 posts
  • Location:Vienna, VA

Posted Wed Apr 7, 2010 8:00 AM

Can you pop black keycaps and put 'em on grey keyboards? Or they just fundamentally different? I might wind up going the other route. One of my TIs will power up but keyboard is TOTALLY dead. Other one is just dead. Don't remember which one is bad vs. which one is just keyboard-bad.

I had a black/silver TI that had issues with keys that would output 2 or 3 times on each keystroke. ("A" would display "AAA" and so forth). I asked around various forums and was told to replace the keyboard as there were some that were faulty. I got a replacement keyboard and viola! :)

Funny you have so many TI's with keyboard issues. In the 20 or so I've come in contact with over the years only one had keyboard issues.

For a measly $4.95 USD, I'd install the beige keyboard. I know you would prefer a black keyboard as would I but I do believe in "function over fashion".

Put a post in the "Wanted" area for a black working keyboard. Someone my respond and be able to help out. Better yet, search craigslist or fleabay as systems go for so little these days.



#10 tremoloman2006 OFFLINE  

tremoloman2006

    Stargunner

  • 1,777 posts
  • Location:Boston Bruins Country

Posted Wed Apr 7, 2010 9:04 AM

Can you pop black keycaps and put 'em on grey keyboards? Or they just fundamentally different? I might wind up going the other route. One of my TIs will power up but keyboard is TOTALLY dead. Other one is just dead. Don't remember which one is bad vs. which one is just keyboard-bad.


I had planned to do exactly what you mentioned. I bought a new beige keyboard but couldn't find any way to take the keys off without ruining the it. I pulled pretty damn hard and they didn't budge.

#11 jaybird3rd OFFLINE  

jaybird3rd

    Quadrunner

  • 9,240 posts
  • "Excuse me, sir? I have a question ..."
  • Location:806.4616.0110

Posted Wed Apr 7, 2010 11:18 AM

Can you pop black keycaps and put 'em on grey keyboards? Or they just fundamentally different? I might wind up going the other route. One of my TIs will power up but keyboard is TOTALLY dead. Other one is just dead. Don't remember which one is bad vs. which one is just keyboard-bad.


I had planned to do exactly what you mentioned. I bought a new beige keyboard but couldn't find any way to take the keys off without ruining the it. I pulled pretty damn hard and they didn't budge.

I had that problem, too. Another issue is that TI's keyboards seem to have been manufactured by different companies (I've seen keyboard mechs from Cherry and Mitsumi, for example). The key caps aren't exchangeable between them.

#12 Tursi OFFLINE  

Tursi

    Quadrunner

  • 5,641 posts
  • HarmlessLion
  • Location:BUR

Posted Wed Apr 7, 2010 12:28 PM

Yeah, there are all kinds of TI keyboard mechs (they are all electrically compatible though)... everything from discrete switches to printed plastic contact sheets. The switch ones seem to last forever unless they are in really dirty environments, the contact sheet ones I've had little luck with (and I don't know if they respond to being cleaned). More than likely the issue is oxidation and lack of use, so it might be possible to scrub them up, but it's generally easier to replace. So many spare keyboards flooded the "experimenters" market after TI dumped the console that they still aren't really rare (I have a box of them myself ;) ).

#13 snume OFFLINE  

snume

    Star Raider

  • 74 posts
  • CAD Draftsman
  • Location:Prince Albert, SK, Canada

Posted Wed Apr 7, 2010 4:26 PM

So many spare keyboards flooded the "experimenters" market after TI dumped the console that they still aren't really rare (I have a box of them myself ;) ).


All beige, I suppose?

On somewhat of a similar note, do you have any plans online on how one could make the keyboard adaptor you developed for the TI-99/4A? I remember seeing pictures of your board but I can't recall seeing instructions or schematics. Heck, I'd even buy one if you had one or plans to sell them. Seems like the dying keyboard epidemic would lend itself to an expanding market for you.

Edited by snume, Wed Apr 7, 2010 4:30 PM.


#14 toymailman OFFLINE  

toymailman

    River Patroller

  • Topic Starter
  • 2,196 posts

Posted Wed Apr 7, 2010 6:51 PM

Mine are all the printed plastic contact sheets. Would be nice to have a fully functioning switch version that will last a long time. If you have extras of this type (preferably in black of course, but either will work) then I'd be interested.

#15 wood_jl OFFLINE  

wood_jl

    Quadrunner

  • 6,910 posts
  • Location:West TN, USA

Posted Wed Apr 7, 2010 7:04 PM

My first TI-99/4A arrived via UPS today.

The Ebay seller did NOT reply to my message, in which I asked him if he could put it in another box. He wrapped the original box with "stretchy plastic" like what you wrap pallets of boxes with to keep them from tipping. This, I suppose, was because I told him the original box didn't look strong enough to ship with. Then, he wrapped outside of that with brown paper (like grocery bags).

The box was - OF COURSE - somewhat squashed. Inside, the "1" key (upper right corner, of course) was OFF and loose in the box. I could see a little microswitch down in there. I placed it back and it works. There seems to be another issue with the thing that I'd like to ask about later, but will have to take a pic to show.

So maybe the keycaps are removable? Maybe mine's broken?

#16 remowilliams OFFLINE  

remowilliams

    Quadrunner

  • 10,609 posts
  • Location:Detonation Boulevard

Posted Wed Apr 7, 2010 7:32 PM

The switch ones seem to last forever unless they are in really dirty environments

My original unit from when I was a kid (and the main one I still use today) has those spring loaded dual metal open switches. It's so unbelievably durable, that it will likely outlive me. :D


He wrapped the original box with "stretchy plastic" like what you wrap pallets of boxes with to keep them from tipping. This, I suppose, was because I told him the original box didn't look strong enough to ship with. Then, he wrapped outside of that with brown paper (like grocery bags).

Ugh. What a tool... :(

The key caps are removable on many of the keyboards I'd say.

#17 labrat OFFLINE  

labrat

    Moonsweeper

  • 335 posts
  • Location:Our Fair City, MA

Posted Wed Apr 7, 2010 9:12 PM

Speaking of keys for the TI-99, I need the shift-lock (lower left) key for mine. Its beige and the keycaps lift right off. If anyone with a dead or misfunctional keyboard would like to mail me one, please PM me. Thanks a lot...




0 user(s) are browsing this forum

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users