Talk:IBM PC keyboard

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Additional key on 102-key keyboard[edit]

102-key "Enhanced" keyboard layout - additional key to the left of the <Enter> key)

Isn't the key between 'shift' and the 'z' key? Edward 00:43, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)

See the Standard Keyboard Layouts page's '102-Key "Enhanced" Keyboard Layouts item':
  • An extra key containing the supplanted "#" and "~" symbols has been added to the left of the main <Enter> key. This seems a major step backwards given the complaints about an extra key in this location in the 83-key layout.
  • Another step backwards: the backslash / vertical bar key has been relocated back to its former place--to the right of the left <Shift> key. Bizarre.
Perhaps the key you refer to is the relocated backslash / vertical bar key? --Wernher 20:29, 9 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Yes, it is. Edward 00:43, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)

...I've seen it in both places, as well as above (and rightmost vs) an enter key that's reduced from it's usual L-shape to a horizontal bar taking up just one line, and even sometimes squashed into the bottom line between Ctrl and Alt (mostly but not exclusively on older keyboards, predating the "windows key" days). It seems to vary by manufacturer, even. That said, I'm most familiar with (as I'm in the UK) an inverted-L enter key, three symbol keys to the right of each of "M" (, . /) and "L" (; ' #), two to the right of "P" ([ ]) and "0" (- =), and one each to the left of "1" (`) and "Z" (\) (ie between Z and shift). The other layouts are a touch unusual, most often seen on cheap and/or subminiature laptops (but still some desktop ones besides) and often cause some at least initial and sometimes ongoing user confusion. (talk) 13:56, 18 May 2014 (UTC)

PC/XT keyboard[edit]

Does anybody have any photos of ancient PC/XT keyboards that came out before the PC/AT keyboards? If they do, I want to see some. I am curious about the past. --SuperDude 05:33, 27 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Er, were you thinking of something like this ? --Wernher 21:31, 27 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Here is a good photos to a new ...

Windows/Context menu keys[edit]

Aren't these just the equivalent of Ctrl+Esc and Shift+Ctrl+F10? Should that be mentioned?


More info about the sequence of development, especially dates, would be informative. -- Beland 02:11, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

Key lockouts[edit]

If you are using multiple keys at once (for games primarily) then certain combinations of keys don't work - is there any logic behind which can work together and which can't, and is it something worth adding to the article? I assume there is a resource somewhere that would explain the reasons/details of this, but couldn't find it with several attempts in google -- (talk) 14:30, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

Rollover_(key)-- (talk) 23:04, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
The reason for this is that the keyboard was designed for text input (typing text that is) and not much else -- entering multiple keys at the same time was not considered something that had to be supported and thus the protocol (essentially) allowed keyboards to wire the keys in a way that made it impossible to input certain combinations at the same time. The combinations are different from keyboard to keyboard meaning it cannot be relied on. Some keyboards will fail if too many keys are pressed at the same time regardless of which they are (most?) some will fail to register key inputs when certain combinations are pressed (such as CTRL, D and H at the same time, for instance -- not a reference to an actual example). High-end keyboards will usually detect key inputs with more keys than low-end keyboards or with fewer failing combinations, but again, this cannot be relied upon. I definitely think it's worth including (along with any real information about the actual design of the device). (talk) 01:06, 3 August 2010 (UTC)

Keyboard layouts and images[edit]

There may be a dispute as to what keyboard images are appropriate or not for this article. I recommend we discuss it further on the talk page to prevent any question of WP:EDITWARRING on either side.

To Mrmazada, I want to thank you for your contributions to Wikipedia and your desire to add to this great knowledgebase that we all volunteer to maintain together. Now I am not saying you were engaged in an edit war, but some people might consider it close. If you have not had a chance to review WP:AVOIDEDITWAR it gives some great ideas how to discuss changes that you believe are desirable and find consensus with the other editors also working on that article.

From what I have seen in the recent edits, it looks like Mrmazada has proposed additions to the images of keyboards. Even before these images were added I had trouble following the text and images. I think we need to consider a new layout whether they stay or not. As I read the article for the first time I saw the great text above the images, but had a hard time matching the text to the images. What about a table that matches the text and images something like this:

Keyboard Layouts
Keys Description Image
83-key PC/XT – original left-hand side function key (F key) columns, F1 through F10; electronically incompatible with PC/AT keyboard types 83-key PC/XT keyboard
84-key PC/AT – additional <SysRq>, i.e. System Request; numerical block clearly separated from main keyboard; added indicator LEDs for Caps/Scroll/Num lock 84-key PC/AT keyboard

Then we should probably discuss the criteria which should govern whether we add more images. I don't think we want a flood of images. I think each image should represent something significant about they layout being different from other layouts. I am not sure all the new ones Mrmazada added are actually a different layout, but I think this table above would enable it to be made clear to users. § Music Sorter § (talk) 05:43, 6 July 2011 (UTC)

The table with description is a good improvement IMO. I also agree that the images/descriptions should represent significant layout differences. --Trevj (talk) 05:52, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
+1 —Ruud 08:14, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
I also like the idea with the table. --Berntie (talk) 11:30, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
+1 on table with description.

I'm glad to see someone besides Berntie finally weighed in on this. :-) The article really doesn't imply any particular scope as to layout variations. The new table layout may be a way to address that shortcoming.

When I did my 21 June additions I originally included an image (location since forgotten, and now can't find) of an OmniKey 101, which in preview I recognized just duplicated the 101 that was already there.

I'm a firm believer that the 102 and ergoLogic/FlexPro represent significant variations in that none of the others have the separate cursor and numpad sections along with ergonomic (left side only) function keys and standard right side (separate/standard inverted-T cursor and num pad). No more recent keyboards, except the very expensive and thus very rare Avant Stellar, which is a direct descendant of the Ultra-T, made by the buyer of Northgate's tooling at liquidation, couple oversize RETURN with oversize BS with (optional at least) CAPS next to the spacebar, and unextended inverted-T, not to mention the left F keys. IMO, oversize RETURN constitutes a not insignificant variation. When I try to use any keyboard lacking one, I get frequent "\" where RETURN was expected. Left function keys are definitely of no small significance. I turn into a hunt-and-peck user when needing to find F keys at the top of a keyboard lacking them at left.

Originally I had in mind to create a separate page for the included left function models, but then I noticed the 8 July 2010 merge and decided against. It still might make sense to have a separate Northgate or left function keyboard page. The Northgates, and their Avant progeny, represent highest quality in addition to sensible layout. Anyone unfamiliar with their worth should check their prices on eBay, and note the price of the Avant Stellar last I checked was $325 USD. The ergoLogic/FlexPro I included are mostly about ergonomics, as their quality is among the worst I've encountered in terms if key feel and anticipated longevity. cf. Anykey which likely deserves mention if not its own table image on the subject page for its unconventional cursor pad layout.

FWIW, the cleaning process I used to in order to photograph the 102 rendered it unacceptable for use by any computer I've tried it with since. :-( I'm hoping when I have time to remove the keycaps and blow away some junk causing one or more keys to stick to cause this problem. Mrmazda (talk) 13:28, 6 July 2011 (UTC)

Since everybody prefers the tabular form I've done that. In accordance with Music Sorter's comment above ("Then we should probably discuss the criteria which should govern whether we add more images.") I've also reduced the photos to the absolute minimum (minimum, not maximum) that should be included.
Starting with that, we should now discuss which pics could be added to the table. --Berntie (talk) 17:50, 7 July 2011 (UTC)
Maybe it's also worth including "Year of first introduction" or similar.
Keys Description Year of first introduction Image
083 PC/XT – original left-hand side function key (F key) columns, F1 through F10; electronically incompatible with PC/AT keyboard types TBC 83-key PC/XT keyboard
--Trevj (talk) 23:38, 7 July 2011 (UTC)
As the current table shown from Berntie's changes I assumed that some of the entries in the 101 key section of the table are different keyboards with different keys since they have a different count and different characters on them. I would propose that either we bridge the leftmost column for the initial key layout showing the "key family" name, but each different keyboard would have its own row with associated image. I believe some of the images now removed actually matched up to them. Further I think some of the very unique ergonomic keyboards be added when we can get a photo. As for year of intro, I will guess most of the entries of the unique keyboards may all be blank. I would vote no, but not strongly. § Music Sorter § (talk) 05:59, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
"I believe some of the images now removed actually matched up to them." Yes, that's true. As I said above, I've removed everything except for the absolute minimum of pictures needed. Before Mrmazda added his pictures, every photo had a corresponding entry in the text (now the table), and I'd very much like to have them included again, without provoking a "flood of images". --Berntie (talk) 10:49, 8 July 2011 (UTC)

Since the discussion here seems to have stopped, I've boldly re-added some images and adapted the table layout. Feel free to comment/improve. --Berntie (talk) 19:21, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

I didn't cease interest, just forgot about because busy, and "watching" doesn't provide any email notification option I can find. I'll come back when I have time to think deeply about the changes made, but in concept I like the table overhaul.

I'm pretty sure the Omnikey 102 was the first well known enhanced with left function keys, predating the AnyKey, FlexPro & ergoLogic by at least 5 years. Also its later editions were programmable, and probably either the first so, or in conjunction with release of the probably also noteworthy OmniKey Ultra, which besides being programmable, was the first with function keys on both top and left.

Later came along the AnyKey, which differed from the OmniKey Ultra by adding diagonal keys instead of preserving the inverted-T.

Recently the cursor pads on many models have been rearranged, likely to reduce overall width a bit. These may deserve mention at the end of the table. --Mrmazda (talk) 19:30, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

Signalling rate?[edit]

OK, the table that shows the different generations of keyboard and their connectors mentions the how the data frame for each one is constructed - 1 start bit, 8 data bits, 1 parity, 1 stop, and all that - but not how fast the signalling clock runs. How many bits and/or frames (and thus how many discrete key on/off commands...) could be sent per second with each of these? (talk) 13:50, 18 May 2014 (UTC)

Good question. The signaling rate is specified by the CLK signal and could, theoretically, be anything. It would need to be at least about 1,000 bps, but a quick scan shows speeds ranging from 2Kbps to 10Kbps. (talk) 14:43, 18 May 2014 (UTC)

Non-standard keyboard layout?[edit]

What's up with this keyboard layout? It looks like the Win key and Alt are swapped! Should the Wiki should mention something about this possibility, or is it too obscure? Doubledork (talk) 16:31, 18 March 2015 (UTC)

Isn't the Alt key supposed to be next to the space bar, like that? Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 21:50, 18 March 2015 (UTC)
There have always been manufacturers that didn't really get it right, or tried a variant that didn't catch on. We saw them back then with keyboards, mice, etc., and still see them now in things. I've been around PCs since the 80s but just as an end user, and Unicomp doesn't ring a bell with me, but that's not saying a lot. Unless you have a reason to think this was a special / official keyboard one way or another, I personally would assume it was just some unremarkable variant. But you can put it on the main page if you want, shrug. Thanks for thinking of the page! -RedKnight7 (talk) 22:59, 19 March 2015 (UTC)
Unicomp is an extremely remarkable keyboard maker. They arguably make the best keyboards in the world. They are the factory that made the classic IBM keyboards (e.g. Model M keyboard) and they are still made by hand in the USA. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 00:19, 20 March 2015 (UTC)

5-pin DIN keyboard connector for PC XT AT[edit]

The article lists three different 5-pin DIN keyboard connectors: PC, XT, and AT. Please add additional tech details about the communications protocols in these three cases, and whether there is any forward/backwards compatibility between them. Also, what keyboards were ever made that were switchable between these three uses, either manually or automatically?- (talk) 21:10, 17 April 2016 (UTC)