Model M Key Cap Replacement

Earl Baugh earl at
Tue Jun 7 14:43:37 CDT 2016

> my real IBM clicky keyboard does not have usb  so I tried   various usb
> adapters  and they could be  flaky,...
> you would have to  start computer then have to unplug  and reinsert
> keyboard connection etc...
> anyone  have a solve  for this? thanks  Ed#

Yes, if you look on ebay, there is at least one person who makes cables
that snap into the IBM Model M plug with USB, I believe it has some sort
of in-line electronics near the plug.  It's worked flawlessly with the
Model M's I've used it with (and bought some more, all work great).
I used it on '86, '89, '91 ones.

BTW, I can confirm that Unicomp did buy the molds, etc. from IBM/Lexmark.
(spoke to the owner during a call a while ago...)
The "innerds" they make are form identical to ones that came from IBM.
I can confirm this in that here at work I bought the "guts" and some Mac
keycaps (guts with the USB cable hard-wired... that's the only difference)
And found an old Model F (which was a UK version of a model M, not
sure what else was difference) and the guts dropped in.  I did cut off the
tabs to allow for the additional keys next to the space bar.   This works
out because the mold had a cross-beam where the tabs connected to
the bottom edge, so you can get a smooth even edge without much
cutting, etc.

That's the only shortcoming I've found from Unicomp, the "enclosures"
are light weight, and definitely not the same plastic as IBM (in composition
or weight).  So a case from a donator model M fixes that problem.
(usually run the case thru the dish washer before to get it squeaky clean...
yes, my wife lets me do that, as long as I'm not running dishes too...
she's a keeper :-) )


p.s. If you do ever order the "guts" (not sure if they still do that or not,
make sure you indicate what you want on the keycaps... I didn't mention
and got completely BLANK keycaps... works for me since I'm a touch typist,
but had me laughing.... and I did have plenty of spare caps, so put normal
ones on and have the blanks in the parts bin)

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