Sunday 20 May 2018

Commodore PET replacement keyboards

This is an old post, preserved for reference.
The products and services mentioned within are no longer available.

Here is my new Commodore PET replacement keyboard.
This can be used to directly replace a keyboard on a Commodore PET 2001, or can be used with any PET with a graphics keyboard.
The graphics keyboard is the one with 20 keys on the numeric keypad, and no numbers on the top row. These are found on most 40 column PETs, both 9" and 12", but not usually on any of the 80 column machines.
The keyboards on these machines do suffer from keys not working or being hard to press. You can get these back with a good clean of the contacts, but the problems do seem to come back.
The new keyboard is the same size as the smaller "chicklet" keyboard found on 2001 machines with a built in datasette drive.
This is held in place with 8 screws on the back.
The new keyboard can be screwed into place to directly replace it.
The replacement keyboard fits into the same cutout on the case.
Maybe white wasn't the best colour to choose. I thought my PET wasn't too yellowed until I fitted it.
Not as colourful as the original keyboard, but a lot easier to use.
The cable plugs in where the original did.
Thanks to the PETs hinged hoods, you can just lift the lid and plug the keyboard in and use it when you need to.
It is also very useful for bench testing PET boards, as it doesn't take up as much space as the full size keyboards, and is doesn't suffer from responsiveness problems.
Each of the keys has a set of carefully drawn graphics to match the originals, with the normal character below, and the shifted character above the switch.
The switches I use in the kit and built versions are good quality Panasonic light touch switches which are easy to type on. These are the same I use with the Minstrel keyboards.
The Commodore PET replacement keyboards are available from my Tindie store as PCB only, as a kit or fully assembled and tested.
They optionally can include a cable, or you can reuse one from a dead PET, VIC20, C64 or C64 keyboard.