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Grand_National

Radio Shack 1200XL keyboards

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How common were these?  (these are current photos)  RS must have struck a deal probably with the manufacturer since the 1200XLs had trouble selling due to the price.

I always thought this was strange because they contained no spec sheet at all (not even voltage or pinouts, let alone a key mapping).  The hobbyist back in the day would have needed to decipher this on their own in order to use.

1200XL_RS_kbds.jpg

1200XL_RS_kbd_closeup.jpg

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If you do a search of the forum, you’ll find other discussion over the years. My supposition is that after the 1200XL’s very short production run, Mitsumi was stuck with a bunch of keyboards it had tooled up to build but were never delivered. They probably languished in a warehouse for 10 years until they were surpluses, when some smart (?) buyer for Radio Shack snapped them up to offer to hobbyists and tinkerers. 

 

At least some have reported that they are keyboard mechs only, without an internal membrane. I don’t know if that’s true or not. 

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I've got one that I picked up many years ago.  Last time I checked my 1200XL keyboard still works so I haven't used it. However,  given the time elapsed, it's possible that I would find that neither keyboard works right now.

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7 hours ago, DrVenkman said:

If you do a search of the forum, you’ll find other discussion over the years. My supposition is that after the 1200XL’s very short production run, Mitsumi was stuck with a bunch of keyboards it had tooled up to build but were never delivered. They probably languished in a warehouse for 10 years until they were surpluses, when some smart (?) buyer for Radio Shack snapped them up to offer to hobbyists and tinkerers. 

 

At least some have reported that they are keyboard mechs only, without an internal membrane. I don’t know if that’s true or not. 

Radio Shack wasn't the only one to sell these, I found them in a Princess Auto and Farm Machinery store in Grande Prairie Alberta in the early 90's in the surplus section priced for only CDN$1.50. I thought they were for the 1200XL but wasn't certain since I had never seen other than in pictures at the time,  they were complete keyboards ready to plug into a 1200XL. As I now have 3 1200XLs I'm happy that I took a chance a purchased a few.

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8 hours ago, kheller2 said:

RS also did this for other computer keyboards.  You can find TI99/4A, various Commodore keyboards, etc. 

I actually bought one of the TI99 ones.  Not for a TI99, but just for kicks (they always wrote "The Wizard" on my receipt because I came in there so often).

 

I think that one had a pinout diagram though.  Probably still have the keyboard in my box of electronic junk.

 

... if only I could find the box.

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My friend Lance got ahold of some somewhere and we tried to sell them at a CHAOS meeting. That's how I got my one.

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I recently installed one. Even though it was essentially NOS, the keyboard Mylar "card edge" (for lack of a better phrase) still needed a compression clamp added to work.

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I bought one several months ago on ebay and it didn't work until I peeled off the mylar and cleaned everything with alcohol. Then it worked perfectly.

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