IBM Model F 122-key keyboard cleanup/resto

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IBM Model F 122-key keyboard cleanup/resto

Postby Washerman » Sat Jan 23, 2016 11:10 am

Just a bit of a log on cleaning up a 122 key Model F. Haven't got that far yet, but I'll update this thread as it progresses.

This was an accidental purchase - I'd been looking for a Model F to go with a 5160, and the seller advertised it as an XT keyboard, so I threw a bid on it. Forgot about my bid, which was just the asking price, and ended up winning it.

Stupidly I only did my research after buying and found that it was not for use with a regular PC/XT, or an AT for that matter - the connector is completely different for starters. Instead, it was used with a 3270 terminal emulation PC - - requiring a special keyboard controller and adapter cable. Neither of which I have :( the alternative was to pick up Soarer's converter (, and use it as a USB keyboard instead. There doesn't seem to be an available converter to XT use.

Anyway, it arrived, and was fairly grubby with surface dirt but mostly intact. I keep picturing it being in use at an airport or bus terminal in the States.

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Out of the box and plugged into the USB adapter it worked perfectly (as described in the Athlon MP thread). There are some mappings that I'm not sure of/are immediately intuitive - e.g. the location of Esc! - but all the letters, cursor keys and keypad work as expected.

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There is a large chunk of plastic missing from the rear trim cover underneath, but it's only cosmetic (the trim piece in the picture below should be pretty much symmetrical). The only other thing missing is one keycap.

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The top cover was only held on by a handful of bolts. The plates underneath are in need of rust conversion and painting, possible replacement of foam (looks badly perished) and of course cleaning the key caps - there are two pieces to each cap, so that probably means washing 244 pieces. There is a white substance that looks like mold on it.

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Build tag says 25 July 1984, so coming up to 32 years old. Pretty amazed that it worked first go!

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After this initial disassembly, I only got as far as washing the top cover with dishwashing liquid, sponge and old toothbrush. It came up pretty clean easily, so it had probably been wiped down relatively recently. The caps are much dirtier though. The cover will get a quick and careful rub over with a magic eraser (melamine sponge) to take off some of the more ingrained dirt, but the it's otherwise finished.

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Also need to get the Ranex going on that rust :D

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