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Dubis7

Keyboard Component - Substitute for RF Extender?

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A few months back I picked up a blue whale keyboard component. The one with the integrated tape drive. I finally bit the bullet and purchased a master component and to my surprise it works! Loads cartridges, ejects the tape drive, and the motor runs just fine! Granted I don't have any tapes or a basic cartridge to do anything with it, but this is already more than I expected!

 

I'm having a bear of a time dealing with the RF port though. From my understanding, the keyboard component originally shipped with an extender plug that makes the RF port flush with the back of the unit. Mine is missing that. I can get the cable to slide in and make contact, but there's a significant amount of interference. 

 

Can anyone direct me to a substitute adapter, or maybe the parts to build my own? I've been considering redesigning it and having a cabinet 3D printed to match the original look, but for all I know this could be an existing product that I could buy for a few dollars. 

 

Any help is appreciated!

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I was thinking of building an in between adapter. That's what the original was anyway, just a female coax connector on one end and a male on the other. No modifications, a new part to sit in the middle. If anything I'd need to find someone who has the part already so I can get a few measurements and try to match the look. As rare as these things are I'm sure that piece is even less common. 

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The lack of an extender shouldn't be causing RF interference.  Are you saying the intellivision video signal looks fine without the keyboard component but you have interference with the KC.

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I'm having trouble pushing the cable into the port when I have to get it through the body of the keyboard component. The plug will slip in and leave me with just the cable to push on, which flexes more than it applies force. I don't think there's anything broken here, it's just difficult to make it plug in completely without something solid to push on. I'm sure that's why they had the adapter in the first place. 

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You might try 1 of each of these together?

Screenshot_20210727-145124.thumb.jpg.631bb63b540630e216647d1bb9020935.jpg

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If you're getting bad RF interference make sure you are using an RF shielded cable.  I use an RG6 cable with an RCA male to F female adapter.  The thick plastic shielding makes the cable pretty stiff too.

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That is so cool. I am thinking about trying to back up some of what I have with my old 4 Track Cassette Recorder. I can't help help with the Basic Cart...I have one...but need it for getting mine tested. I got mine in May.

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Congrats! These are amazing machines. I see what they were going for, too bad they couldn't make the idea work. 

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11 hours ago, stupus said:

You might try 1 of each of these together?

Screenshot_20210727-145124.thumb.jpg.631bb63b540630e216647d1bb9020935.jpg

Don't use more than 1 adaptor.  If you build up a stack of these and, while unplugging the RF cable only 1/2 of them come out, you might have a hard time getting the Intellivision out with 1/2 an RF adaptor stack and the cartridge ribbon cable connector.

 

As for me, I just use use a board on top of the KC's big hole so that the Intellivision rests on top instead of inside.  Then it doesn't matter whether you have the RF extender or not.

 

An alternative is to use a strong RF cable and a thin, strong stick or rod to push the cable's RF connector onto the the Intellivision's RF connector.

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I once had someone offer me the cable extender for $750. I passed. Not sure if I should have bought it. 🤔

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7 hours ago, cmart604 said:

I once had someone offer me the cable extender for $750. I passed. Not sure if I should have bought it. 🤔

You'd buy it now. LOL

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On 7/29/2021 at 8:24 AM, BBWW said:

You'd buy it now. LOL

I honestly likely would. Lol

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On 7/31/2021 at 3:50 PM, cmart604 said:

I honestly likely would. Lol

Would you guys be interested if I worked out getting a few repros made? I'm sort of looking at doing the same for the basic cart since I don't have one and it would almost definitely be cheaper and faster to use some of the previous work I've seen to build a replica. If I do one I could probably knock out a few more. 

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I would of course...

 

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Let me do a little research on the topic. If anyone has an extender or knows where to get one for measurements, that would be a fantastic starting point. It looks like a few pieces of custom machined metal with some insulating material in the middle would be a good starting point. You could 3D print the plastic ring, slip it over and add a groove that could lock in place. Probably not how they made the original but I'll bet I've got a few connections already that could make something that would look the same and work just as well. 

 

Does anyone know what metal they used for the original? Steel, maybe? 

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On 8/1/2021 at 9:20 PM, Dubis7 said:

Would you guys be interested if I worked out getting a few repros made? I'm sort of looking at doing the same for the basic cart since I don't have one and it would almost definitely be cheaper and faster to use some of the previous work I've seen to build a replica. If I do one I could probably knock out a few more. 

Yes for sure

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13 hours ago, Dubis7 said:

Let me do a little research on the topic. If anyone has an extender or knows where to get one for measurements, that would be a fantastic starting point. It looks like a few pieces of custom machined metal with some insulating material in the middle would be a good starting point. You could 3D print the plastic ring, slip it over and add a groove that could lock in place. Probably not how they made the original but I'll bet I've got a few connections already that could make something that would look the same and work just as well. 

 

Does anyone know what metal they used for the original? Steel, maybe? 

I have one and can provide photos and accurate measurements.  I just need to have the time to do it.

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28 minutes ago, Lathe26 said:

I have one and can provide photos and accurate measurements.  I just need to have the time to do it.

To be clear we're only interested in measurements and pics of the KC extender cable, not the thing Rev wants to see. 

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8 hours ago, Lathe26 said:

I have one and can provide photos and accurate measurements.  I just need to have the time to do it.

That would be greatly appreciated! I have a spare RF adapter piece I'm going to cut apart to check out how they normally construct these things. With any luck maybe I can find a long coax cable that can be cannibalized to build the inside of this thing, have the outer piece CNC lathed and have the plastic bit resin printed. Final product could be a perfect match, maybe make a run of 10 or so to pass around and call it a day.

 

I can't promise timing on this, just a heads up. There's a lot of figuring out ahead of time, I just know I've had success getting obscure parts remade for a few other projects so I'm confident a few of the people I've worked with in the past will be able to build these if we get them the details. 

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22 hours ago, Dubis7 said:

That would be greatly appreciated! I have a spare RF adapter piece I'm going to cut apart to check out how they normally construct these things. With any luck maybe I can find a long coax cable that can be cannibalized to build the inside of this thing, have the outer piece CNC lathed and have the plastic bit resin printed. Final product could be a perfect match, maybe make a run of 10 or so to pass around and call it a day.

 

I can't promise timing on this, just a heads up. There's a lot of figuring out ahead of time, I just know I've had success getting obscure parts remade for a few other projects so I'm confident a few of the people I've worked with in the past will be able to build these if we get them the details. 

Excellent. I'm definitely in for one. 

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Okay, I've been working this over and looking at how the cables are designed. Here's my current thoughts:

The extender would be made of five pieces. A female end, a male end, a male center pin with a flared ring in the middle, a plastic ring and a standard piece of coax cable with the outer insulation stripped off to reveal the dielectric mesh underneath. The central coax core would be stripped back on both ends, one of which would be wrapped around and soldered to the back end of the male center pin behind the ring. You can then pull it back into the male end until the pin was flush with the outer male bit and solder that down. Take the other end of the coax cable and run it through an open hole in the female end and apply solder to the side. The two metal pieces could even be designed with channels to lock into each other like a BNC connector. Then all you'd have to do is slip the plastic over the top and have it designed in a way that it snaps onto both sides of the metal connection between the male and female ends. A design like that would make it fairly easy to assemble by hand once you have the pieces. 

 

It looks like a block of stainless steel will be the best option for construction. Should match visibly and it'll make soldering easy. I figure if we get a prototype cut and tested this could either be available as a hand assemble kit or I could do the assembly for each. 

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Unrelated to the exact topic at hand but relevant to keyboard component users in general: Has anyone identified unofficial tapes that work with the sensor? I recall that being a source of discussion in other threads. I've discovered that the Maxell XL II tape leader works perfectly, at least on mine. I just finished rebuilding the tape drive, and it's able to perfectly detect that leader and operates mechanically without fail.

 

I'll need to pick up an actual program tape to see if I can load anything, but I at least know that it ejects correctly and seems to detect the end of the leader correctly when I try to load a tape. 

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