Jump to content
toymailman

Help fixing TI-99/4A Keyboards

Recommended Posts

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!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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 ;) ).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...