Cleaning a classic IBM keyboard

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Keith Mickunas, Jun 9, 2002.

  1. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

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    I picked up one of those old PS/2 keyboards that IBM used to make. Remember the ones with the great clicky keys and removable keycaps? I bought it for a whopping $3 at a used computer store and its in pretty damn good shape. Considering it was sitting on a shelf among a pile of old keyboards, and its almost 10 years old, its wonderful. I'd like to clean it up so it looks almost new, but I don't want to risk damaging it because among some people, its a treasured antique.

    Can anybody suggest a good safe way to clean the keys and the cord? I'm concerned about harsh solvents that might remove the lettering, although they aren't the least bit faded so maybe that's not much of a problem. Heck, my 1 year old IBM keyboard shows more wear than this old one.
     
  2. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

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    Here's a pic of this priceless antique.
    [​IMG]
     
  3. Patrick_S

    Patrick_S Producer

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    That needs cleaning? It looks in perfect shape already.
     
  4. John Gates

    John Gates Second Unit

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    (believe it or not, this works):

    A friend, who is a computer technician suggests the following for cleaning keyboards: Wrap the end of the cord in a baggie w/rubber band. Place in dishwasher (no joke) on the top rack far from the heating element. DON'T USE SOAP. Run it in a cycle that will not "dry" with heat at the end of the cycle. Remove keyboard and let sit overnight before plugging back in.

    I have cleaned two keyboards that received coke and coffee spills (and didn't work any longer) in this way, and now they work great!

    If you're skeptical, try this on a keyboard you don't care much for first.

    John
     
  5. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    Yeah, that should work, as it'll clean it, and as long as its totally dry before plugging it in, it should be fine...

    I got one of those clicky keyboards i got with a Daewoo 286 computer, great to work with, they were huge.
     
  6. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

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    The dishwasher may be a bit extreme for this one. This one is spring loaded, it doesn't use the rubber caps like modern keyboards. Couldn't those rust if soaked in water?

    Actually I just need to remove the keycaps and wipe them down with something. I'm just concerned that rubbing alcohol or something similar will remove the letters. The surface of the keyboard is fairly clean, a bit of 409 on a rag will take care of it I'm sure.

    The cable is detachable. Its one of the coil types, and its got a bit of gunk built up on it. So perhaps covering the ends and soaking it will do the trick.

    The thing is pretty clean compared to your average keyboard. I just want to make it as pristine as possible. I may give it to a geek friend that just loves these keyboards like nothing else as I already have a decent collection of ok keyboards already. Yesterday I also picked up a brand new black Dell keyboard with the internet buttons and such. Its USB and has two USB ports on it. Only cost $13. I'm tempted to go buy some more.
     
  7. Rob Lutter

    Rob Lutter Producer

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    I have a Microsoft Natural Keyboard Elite... I will never go back to the old, rectangular keyboards. The askewed design is sooo comfortable [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

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    But Rob, that doesn't have proper arrow keys, I'll never use one of those. I have one of the original MS Natural keyboards, and at work I use the one with the web buttons, but I'll never use the elite.
     
  9. Rob Lutter

    Rob Lutter Producer

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    I didn't see why I should pay $20 more for a bunch of functions I will never use (webkeys... blech) and the satisfaction of having "proper" arrow keys. Heck, I never really use them anyway... I have a "wheel" mouse for the internet and I use the "WASD" keys for games [​IMG]
     
  10. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

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    You have a point about the internet buttons, but the arrow keys, and everything else that's screwed up on that keyboard is significant. It also feels cramped to me compared to the other MS keyboards and standard keyboards. Of course, it could depend on what you do, as a programmer who's been at it for 14+ years (god I'm getting old), I've gotten used to the arrow keys and home, end, etc. being in the right place.

    Also, my guess is you don't have experience with the IBM keyboard, or you'd understand mine and other's excitement about it. There is something to the heft of it, and the wonderful tactile feel of the keys. Its rugged and dependable. While the shape of the ergonomics is nice, no keyboard that I've tried in years has the feel of the IBM.
     
  11. Jeff Lehr

    Jeff Lehr Stunt Coordinator

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    Speaking of getting Coke spilled on keyboards, one thing you can try is Diet Coke for cleaning. Really...
    It works pretty well on tabletops, too.
    Just make sure it's Diet Coke...don't try this with regular Coke.
    I've used it on the plastic of one of my monitors and it cleaned it up pretty well.
    JL
     
  12. Mark Larson

    Mark Larson Supporting Actor

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    Diet Coke is also supposed to be a pretty good spermicide... [​IMG]
     
  13. Matt Stryker

    Matt Stryker Screenwriter

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  14. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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  15. Ken Seeber

    Ken Seeber Supporting Actor

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    A friend of mine who used to work in a computer lab gave me an old IBM keyboard they were going to throw away. I cleaned it with Windex, paper towels and Q-Tips with no problems at all.
     
  16. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

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    Thanks for the advice guys. I'll proceed with the cleaning when I get a chance.
     

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