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Beetle

600/800XL Keyboard variants

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So were those Alps keyboards actually supplied in 800XLs out of the factory? My Alps (like those pictured here, although Tezz's photo is hard to read) has "600XLKB" written on the bottom, and since I can't recall whether it was originally in a 600XL (I've swapped keyboards around somewhat), I wondered if they were 600XL only.

 

Yes 800XL's had/have them from the factory. I just checked one and yes it also says 600XLKB even though it's an 800XL.

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I can't recall whether it was originally in a 600XL (I've swapped keyboards around somewhat), I wondered if they were 600XL only.

So how many keyboard variations came on 600XLs?

Edited by SS

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Beautiful job on bridging those traces across the cracks with small strands of copper!

 

I have some deep scratches on an 800XL motherboard that although are still passing continuity, I think would benefit from a similar treatment. Because the solder mask has been scratched off, I wonder if there is a good coating to re-apply to prevent corrosion of those exposed areas in the long term.

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Yes 800XL's had/have them from the factory. I just checked one and yes it also says 600XLKB even though it's an 800XL.

This one was also from a Taiwan 800XL and states 600XLKB on the PCB.

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You are a really.... brave man.

 

I looked at the circuit-trace soldering... my immediate reaction.... BEAUTIFUL job, there... that's laborious, without mentioning the skill and patience required.

 

:-o :-o :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Thanks, I find these repairs really satisfying.

 

Beautiful job on bridging those traces across the cracks with small strands of copper!

 

I have some deep scratches on an 800XL motherboard that although are still passing continuity, I think would benefit from a similar treatment. Because the solder mask has been scratched off, I wonder if there is a good coating to re-apply to prevent corrosion of those exposed areas in the long term.

Thanks, I was thinking about finishing it off with some UV curable solder mask, I certainly have the weather for it right now.

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I have read this thread and scoured over the pictures so many times now! I cannot look at a picture of an XL anymore without immediately trying to identify the keyboard type.

 

I now own a Type 1 800XL, a Type 2 600XL, and a Type 4 800XL. I honestly have no complaints about any of them. I've used the Type 4 for 33 years now so it feels the most familiar to me; I worry about the Mylar going bad a some point though so I purposely went looking for the others.

 

Of the three, I would say that my favorite is the Type 2. It is nice and springy and has a satisfying typewriter kind of click to it. What nudges it over top of the Type 1 for me is that the Type 2 takes slightly more pressure to push the keys down than the Type 1 does. It is more like the Type 4 in this aspect but is way less "spongy" feeling. Type 4 is kind of rattily too. If I ever do get another 800XL (which I totally DO NOT need!), it'll be a Type 2.

Edited by SS
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Guest

Hi Beetle

your comments are spot on - the ALPS keyboards are the best - followed by the AWC flavour.

thanks for the info - I am currently also doing some work on keyboards.

i'm trying to customise a keyboard by using MX keys with an atari XL which leads to two options,

 

■ 3d design/printing of ALPS to MX stems

we've had some success here, but to get a nice fit (both ends) the keys sit too high and "rock" a little.

■ finding an MX compatible atari keyboard

this brings me to your breakdown

 

Type 1 - ALPS - compatible with other ALPS keys - variation is centre "column" inside mount

Type 2 - AWC - possible MX compatibility?

Type 3 - AWC - possible MX compatibility?
Type 4 - ???? - non-std TOPRE variant (incompatible with std TOPRE)?
Type 5 - Mitsumi - non-std TOPRE ? (incompatible with std TOPRE)

 

would it be possible to post some pics of the actual stems/inside keycaps of types 2 & 3?

i'm intrigued to see how "close to MX" these are

thanks

Edited by Guest

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This is my first 600XL in 36 years... got the virus again :) this forum is superb, i never knew how much these machines were still used and cared for, amazing.
Anyway, my 600XL had a bent (type 2) keyboard:

IMG 2495

IMG 2508

The metal struts were straightened easily, but the circuitboard was still warped. I tried to carefully apply some pressure to bend it back but... it snapped almost immediately, luckily not all the way through. I think the board became hard en brittle over the years. Anyway, nothing that can't be fixed. Glued the board back together, soldered some 0.3mm thin copper over the traces... should be fine :)

IMG 2517

 

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This is my first 600XL in 36 years... got the virus again :) this forum is superb, i never knew how much these machines were still used and cared for, amazing.
Anyway, my 600XL had a bent (type 2) keyboard:
The metal struts were straightened easily, but the circuitboard was still warped. I tried to carefully apply some pressure to bend it back but... it snapped almost immediately, luckily not all the way through. I think the board became hard en brittle over the years. Anyway, nothing that can't be fixed. Glued the board back together, soldered some 0.3mm thin copper over the traces... should be fine :)

 

 

all that misery could have been avoided using a long soaking heat and slow pressure. Not hot enough to melt plastic oven temp. I've straightened them in the kitchen oven over the course of a day using dumbell weights slowly increasing till flat.every so often hit non switch side with hot air gun and add weight. When done, Let it cool with weight still on... close enough for government work ;) nothing snaps and you can put it back together works fine...

Edited by _The Doctor__
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Thanks, i got some keys that don't do anything if i push them, looks like a mechanical issue, the multimeter doesn't beep if i measure directly on the key contacts, so i wondered how these can be opened up... i understand that they need to be unsoldered, and legs unscrewed before they can be opened, according to this :) you can see some clips around the key, if it wasn't for this info i would have probably tried to force the top of, ruining the key completely...

Edited by jowi

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If it's broke you can fix it, if you can't, it needed replacing anyway.

No downside to trying.

You might learn something to fix things in the future.

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Thanks, i got some keys that don't do anything if i push them, looks like a mechanical issue, the multimeter doesn't beep if i measure directly on the key contacts, so i wondered how these can be opened up... i understand that they need to be unsoldered, and legs unscrewed before they can be opened, according to this :) you can see some clips around the key, if it wasn't for this info i would have probably tried to force the top of, ruining the key completely...

 

That gallery link has the opening instructions. "Opening the retention tab, after the legs are removed" So it seems like desoldering the switch from the PCB is required.

 

I tried the type 2 recently for the first time and.... The resistance is too much for my taste. I'm wondering if the spring can be changed out. Desoldering all switches to swap the spring seems like a lot of work though. The type 1's can be a tad too loose after a lot of use but not in a bad way.

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I tried the type 2 recently for the first time and.... The resistance is too much for my taste. I'm wondering if the spring can be changed out. Desoldering all switches to swap the spring seems like a lot of work though. The type 1's can be a tad too loose after a lot of use but not in a bad way.

 

The "Type 2" keyboard is my absolute favorite of the three variations that I own for exactly this same reason; I really love the forceful resistance that it provides. My main machine has a "Type 1" style but it feels just slightly too loose to me by comparison.

 

I am on the lookout for another, unmodified 600XL with a "Type 2" keyboard so that I can put my SOPHIA and ANTONIA boards into it.

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As an aside, in 1985 my best friend was the ONLY other person that I knew who owned an Atari computer.

Of the three, I would say that my favorite is the Type 2. It is nice and springy and has a satisfying typewriter kind of click to it. What nudges it over top of the Type 1 for me is that the Type 2 takes slightly more pressure to push the keys down than the Type 1 does.

 

The "Type 2" keyboard is my absolute favorite of the three variations that I own for exactly this same reason; I really love the forceful resistance that it provides. My main machine has a "Type 1" style but it feels just slightly too loose to me by comparison.

 

Same here, my best friend was also just the only one person l knew, who had an Atari. I had a 600XL Type 2, he had a 800XL Type 1.

 

Absolutely agree to your Type 2 / Type 1 comparison! Plus, the silver function keys of my friend's Type 1 descended into the case over time, which looked quite ugly - a big downside of the Type 1, I have to say. The only thing I was jealous about my friend's Type 1 was the fully inverse CONTROL and ARROW keys - the Type 2 seemed to lack some key paint at this point.

 

Best silver function keys: Type 4 - downside: the rough surface of the keys, needs getting used to.

 

In the last few years I could test them all, Type 1 to 5 - my personal rating:

Type 2 > Type 4/1 > Type 3/5

 

 

 

 

So how many keyboard variations came on 600XLs?

 

Type 1 to 4 - at least I've never seen a Type 5 built in.

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For the longest time, I would have swore that 600XLs only shipped with Types 2 & 4. However, a month or two back there were suddenly two 600XLs with Type 3 keyboards up on eBay at the same time. I bid on one of them but was too low so I didn't get it; I probably should have bid higher because that variant seems to be pretty uncommon. I have yet to see a 600XL with a Type 1 style keyboard but I am sure that they are out there. I am amazed by the huge mix-and-match variations of keyboard styles, power supplies, and RF switches that came with the later Hong Kong made XLs

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I once had a Type 3 600XL, about 2 years ago, more or less. The keys felt somewhat like rubber and were very wobbly, gave an ugly and uncomfortable feel while typing. Sold it right after that. Don't know if that was normal for a Type 3 or due to wear.

 

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Best silver function keys: Type 4 - downside: the rough surface of the keys, needs getting used to.

 

Agreed the type 4 function keys are the best of all XL's. And yes the type 1's give too little resistance and go wobbly and sink down, except RESET. There must be way to fix mod them.

 

But... The type 4 keycaps are, in my opinion, ugly. Even uglier and cheaper looking than the C64 keycaps. The type 4 color is worse than 1 & 2. It's a dark chocolate (or poop) color whereas type 1 & 2 are very nice milk chocolate. Even though the font on type 4 is more true to the 800 and 1200XL, I much prefer the 1 & 2 font. Atari had a marketing opportunity and premium sell with the type's 1 & 2. Nothing on the box about it. Luck of the draw on what we got.

 

Then there's the sound. The two type 4's I have sound frictiony and dull, perhaps due to age. The type 1's still sound the same as they ever did, and I love the sound. Best sounding keyboard I've ever used, better even than modern cherry mech's.

Edited by Sugarland

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Then there's the sound. The two type 4's I have sound frictiony and dull, perhaps due to age.

 

It's not due to age. My "Type 4" has always had that dull "thud" on a keypress.

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Am I correct in assuming that Type 1 keyboards are most likely to found on Hong Kong produced XLs?

After a LOT of looking, I can safely say that I was incorrect on this assumption. Type 1 (Alps) keyboards are fairly uncommon to begin with but I'd say that the ratio between finding them on Hong Kong vs Taiwan made 800XLs is probably around 4:6 in favor of Taiwan. Alps keyboards seem to be very rare for 600XLs. Edited by SS

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I have a clean 800XL (made in Hong Kong) with a keyboard that is not functioning. Most of the keys don't work at all. A few work occasionally and will sometimes return the wrong character (e.g. F -> 4). I ordered a new mylar from Best and when I cracked it open discovered that it has a Type 1 Alps keyboard. No new mylar for this one!

 

800XL-Alps-Keyboard.jpg

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