IBM 6094 Lighted Programmable Function Keypad - bulk buy on eBay

Michael B. Brutman mbbrutman-cctalk at
Fri Feb 15 08:01:30 CST 2008

I don't have a lot of debug equipment.  Make that none.  An oscilloscope 
is on the list of things to learn and purchase.

I am well versed in serial communications, and used a breakout box and a 
multimeter.  I confirmed the pinout on the connector, and used the 
frequency counter feature of the meter to see if the bits for the data 
lines were wiggling - nothing.  In that case, I don't think a better 
tool is going to tell me more.

I remember that I traced it back to the 8031 derivative, and that seemed 
to be the source of the problem.  It was holding all of the data pins 
either high or low.  The data pins in turn were fed to a Maxim IC to get 
them to proper serial levels, but by then it was too late ..  bad input 
equals bad output.

Details can be found in the list archives ..  it was just this past summer.


Ethan Dicks wrote:
> On Thu, Feb 14, 2008 at 11:47:34PM -0600, Michael B. Brutman wrote:
>> The protocol is explained on the referenced 'codeninja' page, but I 
>> never got my samples of the 6094 to talk.  They seem to function in 
>> stand-alone mode (lights will change when a key is pressed), but nothing 
>> ever comes across the serial connection to a PC.
>> I've tried a variety of cables, breakout boxes, multimeters, etc.  I'd 
>> love it if somebody else tried and tell me what I am doing wrong.
> Even if we get the lot to distribute amongst list members (I'm in!),
> I wouldn't be able to lay my hands on one until October.  In the meantime,
> for the one that you have now, have you tried a serial analyzer like
> an HP4951?  They sit between a computer and a modem/terminal, or between
> any two devices, and can snoop traffic in both directions.  You also
> have the ability, as a standalone device, to program a limited amount
> of protocol traffic, enough so that we were able to simulate the BIND
> for an SNA session, and keep the PU Type 2 device on the far end thinking
> it was still connected to a PU Type 4.  That was the max we could do -
> there wasn't enough programmable memory to allow a real session, but it
> does illustrate the point.
> You could also try an oscilloscope - for a single key press (no repeat?),
> a storage scope might work better, or a real logic analyzer - to capture
> the bit stream, just to see it.
> Those are the sorts of tools _I_ use when I'm snooping strange serial
> streams.  Dunno what you have on hand.
> -ethan

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