Robert Moskowitz wrote:
> what ever became of solid IBM clicky keyboards? :)
They emulate an IBM Selectric typewriter. I
ABORE these keyboards.
I bet they don't... The Selectric typewriter had a unique feel to it,
no click as the key was pressed down, you just pressed the key down to
the end-stop with a bit of a clack, and the spring resistance was
matched so that didn't hurt your fingers. You could type really fast
and easily on them.
The sproingy IBM (and others) computer keyboard, which makes a hell of
a racket as a spring suddenly bends part way through the key being
depressed, is an entirely different affair. And nowhere as good for
As someone who's used both, they are nothing like each other.
Some of the early dumb terminals had great keyboards, somewhat like the
feel of using a Selectric kind of keyboard (tensioned hold-up springs
behind the buttons, actual switches but silent).
If you want a lasts-forever keyboard, you've got about two choices.
One that no-longer exists, its keys dipped pins into pools of mercury
(silent, and bounce free), or a hall-effect system where the keys whiz
a magnet past a sensor (again, silent and bounce free).
The cheap ones use that plastic/silicon-rubber dome bubbles to hold the
keys up, which suddenly dimples in when pressed. The feel of that
action is often terrible, but occasionally okay. Underneath them
there's two common ways of doing the electrical switch:
Pressing two flexible plastic circuit boards together so there's a
capacitive change under the key press. As grot gets in, or the
conductors get ground, they start to fail, and you have to hit some
keys harder and harder for them to work. You might also get multiple
key presses believed by the keyboard encoder.
Rarer and older, a conductive carbon pad on the key dome was pressed
across two circuit board traces when you hit the key. As grot gets in,
or the carbon pad crumbles or gets contaminated with air polution, they
go unreliable. Though some of that can be cleaned off by disassembling
the keyboard (not a fun task, with a gazillion springs everywhere,
often not actually attached to anything). I've done that on custom
keyboards which can't actually be replaced any more.
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