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Adding buttons to an IBM keyboard - Is it possible??

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June 6, 2008 2:59:13 AM

Hey guys. I'm new here, so here goes....

I'm a real nut for those old IBM keyboards, and I've been thinking about taking an extra one and modding it. I was thinking about a paint job some LED backlighting, etc...

But what I'm really after is adding a few buttons. I want to put some media buttons (play, pause, next, previous) as well as a few volume control buttons, etc...

So, I want to know:

1. Is it even possible with this keyboard.

2. I'd obviously need to do some custom keyboard layout stuff. How would I do that??

3. Has anyone done anything like this before?
June 6, 2008 4:28:20 AM

rochmndx said:
Hey guys. I'm new here, so here goes....

I'm a real nut for those old IBM keyboards,


Me too. What model and production date is yours? Mine is a third-generation (PS/2 with drain holes) 52G9700 made by Lexmark 9/20/93. It's not one of the great original ones but it's still an honest-to-god Model M.

Quote:
and I've been thinking about taking an extra one and modding it. I was thinking about a paint job some LED backlighting, etc...

But what I'm really after is adding a few buttons. I want to put some media buttons (play, pause, next, previous) as well as a few volume control buttons, etc...


:ouch: 

You do realize that analogous to putting a coffee-can muffler and spinners on a 1964 1/2 Mustang, don't you? While technically possible, it is discouraged.

Quote:
So, I want to know:

1. Is it even possible with this keyboard.


You would have to do some modding to the case to get the space for the extra holes. I'd think that making a new case and just transplanting the guts of the M + the extra stuff into it would be the easiest way.

Quote:
2. I'd obviously need to do some custom keyboard layout stuff. How would I do that??


I suggest making your own case out of sheet metal. You'll need to learn how to cut, bend, and weld metal. Those are all useful skills.

Quote:
3. Has anyone done anything like this before?

I saw a Steampunk mod once that was tasteful IMHO so you *can* mod an M but it's non-trivial. The real appeal to the Model M is that it is unlike other keyboards- a real GOOD kind of throwback, just like the 64 1/2 Mustang. It is loud, heavy, sturdy, has an excellent key feel, and doesn't even have those useless Windows flag keys on them. There are tons of crappy keyboards with the 200 additional keys for those who don't know what a "run command" dialog is and enough blinkenlights to guide a 747 in for a landing- if that's what you want, just save yourself the trouble and get one.
[/quotemsg]
June 6, 2008 7:41:17 AM

...and doesn't even have those useless Windows flag keys on them. said:
...and doesn't even have those useless Windows flag keys on them.


You'd be amazed how often I use my "useless Windows flag key".
Windows-M to minimize
Windows-R for the run command
Windows-L to lock the machine
Windows-tab if I fancy showing off to people who've not seen vista...
Windows to open the start menu and use the search there
Windows-F for the find dialogue.

The windows key is for people who prefer sticking with a keyboard, where possible/practical, over the mouse
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June 6, 2008 8:16:44 AM

damn it mi1ez you beat me to it!
June 6, 2008 5:31:20 PM

Yes, I know it's considered un-holy to mod an IBM keyboard, but I want to do it anyway.

All three of the desktop machines in our house have one, and I have an extra one with cord, and two missing cords. My dad works at IBM, and often pull them out of the junk bins.

Here's what the back of my keyboard says...

Part No: 1397599
Frv No: 1392090
Date: 02-01-93
Plt no: S1
Model M
Made in the USA
copyright 1984 IBM Corp
(detachable cable)

Here are the other keyboards in our house:
-An IBM Model M from Jan 1987 (missing cable)
-A Lexmark Model M from July 1994
-A Lexmark Model M from February 1994
-A IBM Model M from June 91 (with cable)
-A IBM Model M From June 1987 (missing cable)


Just for the heck of it, I might try an older keyboard to see if it has better spring. From casual testing, I see very little difference.

So, back to the original questions:

1. I'm wondering about adding extra buttons on an electronics basis. Is there some kind of map of the keyboard matrix?

2. No... I meant in terms of keyboard drivers.

3. I know about steampunk. I was thinking in terms of people adding keys, etc...
June 8, 2008 3:26:16 AM

mi1ez said:
You'd be amazed how often I use my "useless Windows flag key".
Windows-M to minimize
Windows-R for the run command
Windows-L to lock the machine
Windows-tab if I fancy showing off to people who've not seen vista...
Windows to open the start menu and use the search there
Windows-F for the find dialogue.

The windows key is for people who prefer sticking with a keyboard, where possible/practical, over the mouse


First, I do not run Windows so the key is just another modifier key like Ctrl or Alt but is generally not bound to anything by default due to non-Windows machines (and their non-flag-key keyboards) being widely supported. Most of the things in Windows that are bound to the flag key are bound to Alt:

Alt + F1 = Main (Applications) menu
Alt + F2 = Run command
Alt + F3 = Open a terminal (mapped by me, not bound by default)
Alt + F4 = Close window
Alt + F5 = Un-maximize window
Alt + F6 = Move between main app window and the app's popup window
Alt + F7 = Move window
Alt + F8 = Resize window
Alt + F9 = Minimize window
Alt + F10 = Maximize window

And for the other actions you mentioned:
Ctrl + Alt + L = lock the screen
Many keymaps = show off HW-accelerated desktop goodies (Ctrl-Alt-arrow keys are good for this)
Alt + F11 = Search for files/folders
June 8, 2008 1:00:50 PM

I bought a Razer Lycosa because is suited my needs, I am a little fussy about the accesories but just wanted to say how great it is that people are happy to refurbish and modify old favourites, best of luck.
!