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777ismyname

1200XL Keyboard Spring Recommendation

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 I finally got one of my 1200XL’s home and the Mylar re-re-re-repaired (I must be the 3rd or 4th owner). I really like the keyboard versus my other Atari machines (sans 800, which I need to find and compare against for the first time in many years). I was wondering whilst wandering if anyone can recommend some springs that might make the keystrokes feel more like old school buckling springs. Any idea if  something like modern Cherry springs might work? 
 

Ultimately I want the 1200XL to be the one to get all the bells and whistles one day. I’ve even thought of trying to find a mechanical PS/2 keyboard (with a Transkey POKEY adapter)that is slightly smaller than the keyboard opening and fashioning an appropriately sized trim piece to hold the PS/2 keyboard in place. 


I have popped keys of several keyboards I have lying around the house, but none of them have springs. In storage I do have at least one 80s vintage mechanical keyboard, but I really would not like to part it out. 

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Bumpity bump bump. Time to find the calipers. Cherry type springs are too short, it seems. 

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Are you trying to make the keypress stiffer, or non-linear?

 

You might want to look into a new mylar from Best. The original mylar isn't happy if you take the keyboard apart again.

 

Bob

 

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What sort of business sells keyboard springs? Maybe they will have a match. Doing some quick searches yields spring clothing or keyboard reviews. :(

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"mechanical springs" or "keyboard springs" will get you beaucoup hits.

 

You will need to know size, and operating force on a compression spring.

 

Bob

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16 hours ago, bob1200xl said:

Are you trying to make the keypress stiffer, or non-linear?

 

You might want to look into a new mylar from Best. The original mylar isn't happy if you take the keyboard apart again.

 

Bob

 

Before I hire someone to do the U1MB, VBXE, Rapidus, etc. upgrades, this old 1200XL will have to have another Mylar. It was evidently repaired a couple of times before I got it 10 or 12 years ago. I started a repair with a conductive pen, but the [email protected]&! pen messed up. I temporarily made some traces with aluminum foil and Scotch tape to hold it down. I was gifted some better repair supplies for my birthday and did a much better job this time. As far as the tactility or feedback, I do want it to be stiffer than what it is now.  Linears or buckling springs, etc...for that stuff I’m really just looking more for the sound. The next time I’m at our workshop I will grab a micrometer and measure the springs in this 1200XL. There are similar sized springs at Amazon in a variety pack with several each of several different weight ratings. 

 

11 hours ago, Sugarland said:

What sort of business sells keyboard springs? Maybe they will have a match. Doing some quick searches yields spring clothing or keyboard reviews. :(

There are several in the first page or two of a quick search (something like replacement Cherry keyboard springs). I’d like to have the budget for Atari stuff that some of these guys spend on mechanical keyboards. 
 

**********************************
 

There will be a custom keyboard arrangement on this 1200XL one of these first days, as a trial for my other 1200XL. I’m going to make a two piece template for the opening (for above above & underneath the case opening) out wood and route/drill where necessary. The decision hasn’t been made whether to go with aluminum (I have free access to a machine shop) or use Lexan/something similar for the “final” version. A real mechanical keyboard could be used then, without having to mess with finding a correct 60% keyboard that can be cut, drilled, and milled to work. 
 

There are still three packages of Atari keyboard stickers on the desk for key caps, but I’d rather have some laser etched. One of these days, maybe :) 
 

 

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With buckling springs, you are going to be out of luck.  This is for many the panacea of mechanical keyboards, but it isn't just a springs, but a whole key mechanism.  Otherwise a Cherry MX (or clone) buckling spring would have happened long before now, since the mechanism is much bigger than the self-contained key modules.  There is one manufacturer that is using the original tooling, to re-create the IBM Model M keyboards, but that is the entire keyboard, not just a key module.  There was one person that created a prototype buckling key module, but haven't heard anything since, and in addition, it was much taller than the Cherry MX style.

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There is no way a normal spring can 'buckle'. This refers to a vertically mounted strip that is 'over center' and the force of the key press buckles it to flip over the other way and make contact.

Why mess with your beautiful Mitsumi? They have excellent touch as they are.

 

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I understand and realize that there is more to buckling springs than the spring and it is the entire mechanism...I am looking for something like an analog of it. Some good ole clickety clackety and a bit more springiness :) 

 

My brother and I did make a very rough prototype out of wood to fit the keyboard opening and affix to the keyboard PCB, that will also hold a mechanical PS/2 keyboard. When we get one cut, routed, and drilled that doesn’t look too janky, I‘ll post a picture or two and get recommendations from there. 

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I've been experimenting myself, and probably the closest IMO to a buckling spring, would be a Kalih Box Navy key, of the ones that I have tried. 

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5 hours ago, wildstar87 said:

I've been experimenting myself, and probably the closest IMO to a buckling spring, would be a Kalih Box Navy key, of the ones that I have tried. 

Thank you, wildstar87, I will look into these. Good grief, I had forgotten how bad the XE keyboards can be. I finished doing a mild refurb on a 130XE a few days ago and used it a good deal and tonight I moved not out of the way and put the 1200XL in its place. The difference is night and day, with the 1200XL keyboard miles better. The next refurb for me will be my original XEGS from 1987ish. It had less than ten hours on it, went into storage for many years, and when I brought it out of storage a few weeks ago it showed no signs of life. It will definitely be getting the plug-in PS/2 keyboard adapter from The Brewing Academy. 

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