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View Full Version : I B M~ Model M "Clicky" Keyboard!



RAV TUX
June 8th, 2007, 07:59 AM
I am thinking of buying one of these and was just wondering if anybody else is using one?


WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN PURCHASING AN IBM MODEL M KEYBOARD
The IBM model M keyboard is that rare piece of computing technology which is both a vintage collectible item and also a useful tool in today's computing environment. IBM model M keyboards are unique in that each one is individually labeled with a serial number and the "date of birth" is printed on the back. They were first built in 1985 and were produced through the 1980s and 1990s, until 1999. Under each keyboard key there is an individual spring that when compressed converts physical force into an electrical signal. Most modern "free with purchase" keyboards used cheaper rubber-pad based technology. In addition, inside each model M keyboard is a steel curved plate for durability while providing a slight ergonomic curved angle to typing. The individual key tops are removable for easy cleaning or for switching the format of the keyboard for different input languages Finally, the lettering on each individual key is physically molded and integrated into the plastic key top (not painted on or a sticker, like on cheap keyboards). If you have made the decision to purchase your first vintage IBM model M keyboard to replace your existing lowest-cost-to-produce / disposable keyboard, there are a few tips on how to select the best keyboard.

There are a number of variants of the IBM model M keyboard. Most people are looking for the original IBM extended keyboard with 101 keys, with the model # 1391401 with a standard PS/2 plug on the end of the keyboard cable. These keyboards either have the IBM logo in black text on white background, or (a smaller number) blue text on gray background.


http://www.clickykeyboard.com/modelsm/1987.jpg
1391401 keyboard

Alternately, model # 1390120 (1986- 1987) and # 1390131 (1986 - 1987 and 1993) are similar keyboards that will also work with the modern-day PC, but will require the use of a 5-pin DIN AT to mini-din ps/2 connector. Minor differences include slightly heavier construction and the use of a silver metal IBM logo in upper right-hand corner. 1390120 does not have any LED indicator lights, while 1390131 has set of three standard LED lights.
http://www.clickykeyboard.com/modelsm/1986.jpg
1390120 keyboard

http://www.clickykeyboard.com/modelsm/1390131-002.jpg
1390131 keyboard


IBM model 42H1292 is also a relatively common IBM model M keyboard. It has a permanently attached keyboard cable and has slightly poorer build-quality vs. a 1391401 keyboard. but it still has mechanical keyswitches and is much better than 95% of new "rubber dome" keyboards produced today.
http://www.clickykeyboard.com/modelsm/1994.jpg
42H1292 keyboard

Beware of buying IBM model M keyboards intended for IBM TERMINAL COMPUTERS. These have a 5-pin DIN connector or RJ-45 like connector at the end (looks like an Ethernet cable or telephone cable end), but they CANNOT be used or interfaced to work on a PC.
IBM model M keyboards (#1390238 or #25H2142) are for IBM TERMINAL computers and are also clearly labeled as model M, but they are NOT compatible with modern PC desktops
These keyboards usually have 122-keys or 101-keys.

http://www.clickykeyboard.com/modelsm/ibm_122-001.jpg

These collectible IBM keyboards were produced from 1985 to 1999.
Some people claim that they are selling an IBM model M from 1984, based on the fact that the printed label on the back says 1984 . I have collected 800 - 1000 and from various other online references, the earliest IBM model M keyboard in my collection clearly has a production date from November 1985.
If you have a seller that is trying to say that his keyboard was built in 1984.. he's either ignorant of these keyboards.. or is trying to fool you into buying something that was probably built in the 1990s. How much genius does it take to read a label in the format of 12-19-91 and not be able to translate the date in December 19, 1991 (and not just read the (c) IBM Corp. 1984 logo and think keyboard was built in 1984.

http://www.clickykeyboard.com/2005/jul3105/jul3105-002.jpg
Other very nice IBM model M variants are

IBM model M2 or 1395300. These keyboards weigh about 3 pounds (1/2 of a full-size IBM model M). They use the same mechanical key switches and are as satisfying to type on as full size 1391401.
IBM 84-key space saver keyboard (model# 1391472, 1397681, 1370475, 1392464, 1392934,1395100 ). This is essentially similar to an IBM model M keyboard, but it does not have the numeric keyboard on the right-hand side. It does not require as much desktop space as a full-size model M keyboard and can be used with 19" rack mount servers.


http://www.clickykeyboard.com/modelm/modelm%20015.jpg
1391472 keyboard
IBM keyboard with trackpoint pointing device (part# 82G3281, model M13).. These are similar to IBM thinkpads and other laptops in that there is a pointing stick built into the keyboard. While a keyboard and a separate mouse is the common and optimal configuration for most users.. there are some environments where the use of a mouse is not possible. In these cases, the IBM trackpoint built-in a keyboard is a handy alternative. IBM keyboard with trackpoint pointing device (part # 13H6710 or 13H6705, model M13). These are the only IBM clicky keyboards that come in black

. http://www.clickykeyboard.com/modelm/modelm%20002.jpg
13H6705 keyboard
http://www.clickykeyboard.com/buyersguide.htm

RAV TUX
June 8th, 2007, 08:00 AM
I am thinking of buying one of these and was just wondering if anybody else is using one?

http://www.clickykeyboard.com/buyersguide.htm

Also:



IBM keyboard for industrial PCs (part# 1394946, model M). These keyboards are interesting for their particular color which deviates from standard computer "white" or "black". The color is sometimes described as gray, but we think it looks more like military olive drab http://www.clickykeyboard.com/modelsm/ibm_industrial-001.jpg
1394946 keyboard

IBM keyboard without mechanical "buckling springs" (part# 71G4644). While it appears identical and shares same physical dimensions to a "traditional IBM model M", this keyboard uses "rubber dome" key switches and as such does not "click" "clack" noise as in other keyboards of this series. Keyboard is as well constructed as 1391401, but it is intended for environments where noise control is an issue (libraries, quiet offices, shared cubicles), etc..
http://www.clickykeyboard.com/buyersguide.htm

RAV TUX
June 8th, 2007, 08:02 AM
I honestly want the original model:


There are a number of variants of the IBM model M keyboard. Most people are looking for the original IBM extended keyboard with 101 keys, with the model # 1391401 with a standard PS/2 plug on the end of the keyboard cable. These keyboards either have the IBM logo in black text on white background, or (a smaller number) blue text on gray background.


http://www.clickykeyboard.com/modelsm/1987.jpg
1391401 keyboard

daschmidty
June 8th, 2007, 08:12 AM
I totally have one of these!! It's currently connected to my bleeding edge PC-AT 12MHz 286 ;)

Spr0k3t
June 8th, 2007, 09:32 AM
I've got one of the black ones and a couple of the M2s on my servers. I hate typing on them as they are too loud and the rate of travel from top to pressed is too much for my taste. When I'm at my peak in typing speeds, I'll top out around 100wpm and these clacky keyboards sound like machine guns at that rate. I like the scissor switches (similar to those found on a laptop) or the membrane type. The ones I prefer are the individual spring keys... but those keyboards are expensive as all getup. As indestructible as the cherry switches but quieter than the scissor type.

cunawarit
June 8th, 2007, 09:33 AM
I totally have one of these!! It's currently connected to my bleeding edge PC-AT 12MHz 286 ;)

WOW! What OS do you run on that?

maagimies
June 8th, 2007, 09:50 AM
I had one of these connected on my older computer, which then went to my little brother... who dropped it on the floor! Didn't remember what exactly happened to it but it went pretty much to pieces. Damm...

steven8
June 8th, 2007, 10:33 AM
I'll look and see what mine is.

SlayerMan
June 8th, 2007, 12:54 PM
I have one of these. It is currently attached to a fully functional IBM PS/2 Model 30-286 (with harddrive!).

daschmidty
June 8th, 2007, 04:40 PM
The PC-AT runs IBM PCDOS 2.0 from a 20 meg MFM HD. (It's sitting next to my NEC V20 powered pc8801 running CPM/80 2.2 :p)

mips
June 8th, 2007, 05:39 PM
Those are some of the best keyboards around. Some people wont use anything else, wish I could get my grubby paws on one.

matthinckley
June 8th, 2007, 06:28 PM
yeah das keybaord was based on the IBM keyboard as seen here. (http://www.daskeyboard.com/v1/big.html)

but they have replaced that with the Das Keyboard II (http://www.daskeyboard.com/) which uses Cherry mechanical switches that are pretty awesome.. I want one but my wife won't let me get one.. I'm just gonna have to sneak it in one day.

BTW you guys with all these historical PC's should post pics of them for good times sake! :)

mips
June 8th, 2007, 06:37 PM
but they have replaced that with the Das Keyboard II (http://www.daskeyboard.com/) which uses Cherry mechanical switches that are pretty awesome.. I want one but my wife won't let me get one.. I'm just gonna have to sneak it in one day.

:shock: :shock: :shock:

US$90 for a keyboard is a bit steep, I can understand your wifes point of view though :)

ssam
June 8th, 2007, 08:06 PM
pah, i want this one
http://steampunkworkshop.com/keyboard.shtml

(its build from a model M)

RAV TUX
June 8th, 2007, 10:37 PM
yeah das keybaord was based on the IBM keyboard as seen here. (http://www.daskeyboard.com/v1/big.html)

but they have replaced that with the Das Keyboard II (http://www.daskeyboard.com/) which uses Cherry mechanical switches that are pretty awesome.. I want one but my wife won't let me get one.. I'm just gonna have to sneak it in one day.

BTW you guys with all these historical PC's should post pics of them for good times sake! :)

no letters or numbers on the keys, I like that!

forrestcupp
June 8th, 2007, 11:01 PM
Why is this better than a cheap keyboard? I have never worn a keyboard out yet, so why do I need to spend extra money on a keyboard like that? Personally I think the noise level of the key clicking would majorly get on my nerves. I would rather buy a keyboard that is made to be quiet.

yabbadabbadont
June 8th, 2007, 11:08 PM
The last company that I worked for is a huge IBM shop. I don't know how many of these they threw away when they upgraded all the old comptuers in the training labs... and they did it when I was on vacation :x or I would have been doing some dumpster diving. :D

RAV TUX
June 9th, 2007, 03:35 AM
The last company that I worked for is a huge IBM shop. I don't know how many of these they threw away when they upgraded all the old comptuers in the training labs... and they did it when I was on vacation :x or I would have been doing some dumpster diving. :D
you would have made a small fortune on E-Bay

jrusso2
June 9th, 2007, 03:50 AM
I have been using this model M IBM 1391401 keyboard since I bought my 286 in 1989. This thing is heavy. weighs more then the whole pc.

Either people love these or hate them. Some people just don't like the clicky clack.

yabbadabbadont
June 9th, 2007, 03:53 AM
I used a Tandy keyboard once that felt exactly like the IBM model M, only it didn't make a sound. It was wonderful to use.

Compucore
June 9th, 2007, 04:30 AM
I remember hearing way back in the early 90's over here when I was going through college and I had even a similar keyboard for a clone xt 8088 computer over here. When IBM made the original keyboard for the xt and AT machines they would test the keyboard from a two story building they were so durable. ANd I mean drop it from the roof of the two story building. And even make those ciicky clicky noise as you type. And I love those so much over here. It is so hard to find and I love those kind of keyboards. I wish it was still possible to get them for todays computers in either a ps2 or usb connection. I would be so happy over here with that kind of keyboard.

COmpucore

Stew2
June 9th, 2007, 04:40 AM
I have two of the 1391401 models. They are one of the best keyboard ever made, bar none. Very sturdy, I think they weigh around 6 or 7 pounds and have no flex in them like the cheaper keyboards. I think the biggest advantage of the mechanical keyswitches is the fact that you very rarely if ever miss or double a keypress. I am a touch typist and absolutely love them. I have a 1988 and a 1993 model with PS2 connectors. The clicking noise is music to my ears.

Another cool feature is the ability to remove the keycaps for cleaning, or you can reorient them into a Dvork configuration if you so desire. Very easy keyboard to disassemble and clean. Quite amazing how much crud can get in a keyboard :D.

The only thing that you have to watch is that some motherboards don't like them. My gaming machine has an Asus P4P800E deluxe motherboard and it requires the keyboard modification with resistors to work with the model M. I guess the model M uses a higher voltage than modern keyboards and some mobo's don't detect them.

All in all, I would say they are my favourite keyboard. They look a little dated but are a dream to type on :D. <Stew hugs his "M">

Compucore
June 14th, 2007, 04:43 AM
I wish they would still make them for those who still like them. Fine update it a little bit to keep it up with the times of today's design. Stew2 I believe you on that when it comes to cleaning them.

Compucore

iMav
August 23rd, 2007, 01:14 PM
I wish they would still make them for those who still like them. Fine update it a little bit to keep it up with the times of today's design. Stew2 I believe you on that when it comes to cleaning them.
Unicomp makes an updated version of the Model M keyboards.
http://www.pckeyboard.com

-grubby
December 19th, 2007, 04:31 PM
I want one!

Whiffle
December 19th, 2007, 04:49 PM
i have one too :) I got it off ebay. Its a 1987 Model M, #1391401. Its in perfect shape and types amazingly well. Way better than either of the two logitechs I had before it. The response of the keys is just so nice and perfect :D I could probably beat someone up with it if I had to, its a beast.

popch
December 19th, 2007, 04:54 PM
I have one of those, too (p/n 1391412, built 1996). Although it is my private property, I use it at the office where I am employed.

vishzilla
December 19th, 2007, 05:12 PM
I seriously like the Clicky keyboards, very nostalgic. My keyboards boring!

D-EJ915
December 19th, 2007, 10:53 PM
The PC-AT runs IBM PCDOS 2.0 from a 20 meg MFM HD. (It's sitting next to my NEC V20 powered pc8801 running CPM/80 2.2 :p)
ah I've got a 32MB drive in mine. Also got one of these hooked up to it:

http://www2s.biglobe.ne.jp/~yav/comp/pc/keyboard/ibm84.html

Lostincyberspace
December 19th, 2007, 11:22 PM
There are a number of variants of the IBM model M keyboard. Most people are looking for the original IBM extended keyboard with 101 keys, with the model # 1391401 with a standard PS/2 plug on the end of the keyboard cable. These keyboards either have the IBM logo in black text on white background, or (a smaller number) blue text on gray background.

http://www.clickykeyboard.com/modelsm/1987.jpg

My friend had one until he spilled his soda on it a couple of months ago.

macogw
December 19th, 2007, 11:36 PM
Mine fell prey to the fact that when I move into my dorm each year, my electronics break :( Last year a wireless MS mouse & keyboard and my mp3 player went. This year it was my clicky keyboard, Logitech mouse, and motherboard.

henry cow
May 22nd, 2011, 02:28 AM
After several years of happiness with a Compaq SK-2800 ("internet"keyboard) I bought a Model M and can't get off it.

I truly, deeply miss the "media" buttons on the Compaq, especially the "pause" and "mute" for when the phone rings! And also the fact that all my major applications are one quick keystroke away (why are keyboard shortcuts so difficult and frustrating?).

For a rubber dome keyboard, the IBM KB-8923 and the Compaq SK-2800 are about as good as it gets.

But, typing on this Model M is heaven on earth.

You can get one on ebay for $30 + $15 shipping if you are willing to clean it, $10-20 more if you get one refurbed by someone else, and it is worth every nickel.

For half the price, and less than half the noise, the Dell AT101 is a sweet compromise and easy and cheap to get. I have a couple of them and they are wonderful. If the noise of the Model M is a problem for you or those around you, get the Dell and you will not be sorry.

lisati
May 22nd, 2011, 02:35 AM
<Grampa Simpson voice>
Huh? What?
</Grampa Simpson voice>

May this thread rest in peace.