The best Dell keyboard ever made

Discussion in 'Dell' started by Ben Myers, Mar 19, 2009.

  1. Ben Myers

    Ben Myers Guest

    I am now clicking away on a Dell 101-key clickety-clack Model M keyboard
    made for Dell by Lexmark in 1995. This is good for me, because I had to
    swap motherboards in my main system here recently, and the newer
    motherboard would not recognize the older IBM-branded keyboard made in
    1989. The main difference between the two is that the newer keyboard
    has an integrated PS/2 cable, while the older one has a detachable
    cable. There must be some difference in the electronics inside, too,
    else the old keyboard would have worked OK too.

    Until I took the time to connect up the new Dell 101 Model M clicker, I
    used a small Dell USB keyboard with much smaller footprint. It worked
    OK, but I made way too many errors because the keys are positioned

    I also found out just now that the old keyboard was not recognized by a
    Dimension 8300 motherboard, so something has changed in the motherboard
    circuitry to not find the older keyboard, long the gold standard for
    PS/2 keyboards.

    So amyone wanting to use a Model M with a Dell (if it still has a PS/2
    port) needs to have one of the newer ones with integrated PS/2 cable.

    .... Ben Myers
    Ben Myers, Mar 19, 2009
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  2. Hi!

    I want! (Or at the very least, I want to see a picture of this if you
    would be kind enough to take one.)

    There is a fix. has some
    ideas on how to solve the problem if you ever need to. I

    Electronics do differ quite a bit between revisions, as shown in these
    board scans:
    Lexmark cheapened the design quite a bit by simplifying it. Their
    versions sometimes have the fixed cable. Nonremovable keycaps also
    show up from time to time. And there was a silent M...still a good
    'board but definitely something else!
    My Dim8300 is using a circa-1990 Model M with detachable cable, and it
    has always worked fine. The Dimension 8400, 2400, 3000, OptiPlex
    GX170, GX400, Latitude D800 (only has PS/2 ports in its dock), and
    170L have also all worked fine with a wide variety of different Model
    Ms. Later Dimensions (E521, GX620 tower and desktop) were fine with an
    "M" running through a USB adapter.

    Long the gold standard? *Still* the gold standard, and still available

    I want one of the dark cased ones with the "grey" keys. I can't yet
    justify the cost because I have *boxes* of Model Ms to this day.

    William (this post brought to you by the One True Keyboard)
    William R. Walsh, Mar 19, 2009
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  3. Ben Myers

    S.Lewis Guest


    S.Lewis, Mar 19, 2009
  4. A little off topic, but wanting to hear your thoughts.

    What ever happened to the 121 key keyboards? I have a Gateway, circa 1996,
    that had such a keyboard, and which I still have today, that had an
    additional function key grouping on the left and an eight way directional
    pad (with center spacebar) where the arrow keys normally are.

    The additional arrows were great when working in Excel or playing games that
    required different movements.

    Just wanting to hear thoughts.
    John Novicki Jr, Mar 20, 2009
  5. Ben Myers

    BillW50 Guest

    In John Novicki Jr typed on Fri, 20 Mar 2009 08:58:23 -0400:
    Sounds interesting! Got any pictures? The only keyboards that I have
    used with more keys are multimedia keyboards. And I only like the
    Pause/Play and the volume buttons on them. I have one '99 HP keyboard
    that has a real volume knob and I like that one a lot. Although is that
    keyboard *huge*.

    I did buy an Avatar computer around 2000 and it came with a wireless
    keyboard and remote control (infrared). That computer had the bad
    electrolyte cap problem and died in about 10 months and Avatar never
    honored their warrantee. And the keyboard was very cheaply made and it
    was terrible to type with. Although the idea was good and it had lots of
    extra keys for closing windows, power, and other things. Also it had a
    mini joystick that worked as a mouse and had two sets of right and left
    mouse buttons. Very nice.
    BillW50, Mar 20, 2009
  6. Ben Myers

    BillW50 Guest

    In Ben Myers typed on Thu, 19 Mar 2009 15:07:08 -0400:
    You mean one of these?

    I like these very much. Although I only wish they were wireless and had
    a Pause/Play and volume buttons too. A Sleep/Power button would be nice
    too. ;-)
    BillW50, Mar 20, 2009
  7. Ben Myers

    Ben Myers Guest

    Keyboards like the Gateway Anykey fell out of favor because there was
    not a wholesale move by the industry to the 121-key layout. I don't
    think it had anything to do with software (but might have). The
    keyboards with more than 101-keys generally generate extra scan codes
    for the keys that are not among the treasured 101. But maybe the
    software does get in the way.

    From time to time, there are moves to promote a newer better keyboard,
    but inertia in the industry seems to gravitate back to 101- and 104-key.
    There are also two Microsoft keyboards with a supposed better
    ergonomic design, and one of them has a row of handy buttons across the
    top, above the F-keys. Dell sold a keyboard with similar extra keys
    across the top... Ben Myers
    Ben Myers, Mar 20, 2009
  8. Ben Myers

    Ben Myers Guest

    Yep, that's the one. It's a pretty good one, but it suffers from the
    same glaring defect found in most modern and cheaply made keyboards
    nowadays. I've sold a lot of them to a client who likes them, even used
    in good shape. The other day, I saw one of the keyboards that had seen
    maybe 6-9 months of pretty heavy daily use, and some of the letters were
    already wearing off the keys. Still, for the price, it is a good value,
    then a throwaway when too many letters get worn off. But no more 15-20
    years use like the good old Model M... Ben Myers
    Ben Myers, Mar 20, 2009
  9. Ben Myers

    BillW50 Guest

    In BillW50 typed on Fri, 20 Mar 2009 09:01:02 -0500:
    I found a picture of this keyboard if you are interested in seeing it.
    Notice the joystick in the upper right?
    BillW50, Mar 20, 2009
  10. Hi!
    That and the old IBM "host connect" keyboard are the only ones I see
    regularly with 120+ keys.

    I have one of the Gateway 'boards that is like the one you describe,
    as well as a generic "no name" board that is set up much the same way.
    Whether I could find either one in a timely fashion is debatable. :)

    I suspect that the main reason for their demise has something to do
    with cost of manufacturing and customer feedback. I would suspect that
    large numbers of customers either never noticed (yes, really) or never
    saw fit to say "hey that's a great idea!" to Gateway.

    There are lots of "elite" keyboards out there, but the only thing I've
    found that even holds a distant candle to the tried and true Model M
    are the HP/Keytronic boards that were sold with HP Vectra (and
    probably other) computers for a while. They are quiet rubber dome
    'boards, but they are *very good* quiet rubber dome 'boards at that.

    William R. Walsh, Mar 20, 2009
  11. Hi!
    Due in no small part to a particularly strict high school typing
    teacher, I don't even look at the keyboard when I'm typing. (If you so
    much as dared to do so with her in the room, you would hear about it.
    And then you'd get a cardboard box-thing over the keyboard to stop
    you. Perhaps even more amazingly, all I ever got was the lecture and
    not the box-thing.)

    I heard later that they actually got keyboards with *no* letters on
    them. Never saw them, however.

    My mother never learned to type, even though her dad tried to force
    the point by covering the letters on the typewriter with electrical
    tape. It blows her mind every time I am sitting in a dark room, flying
    along the keyboard.

    William (and no, I've never seen the letters come off a Model M...)
    William R. Walsh, Mar 20, 2009
  12. This would be it:
    John Novicki Jr, Mar 20, 2009
  13. Ben Myers

    Tony Harding Guest

    IIRC people loved their Northgate keyboards in the early to mid 90's
    (along with IBM).
    Tony Harding, Mar 20, 2009
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