Apple Extended Keyboard II Color restoration

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by drewsof07, Mar 29, 2015.

  1. drewsof07 macrumors 68000

    drewsof07

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2006
    Location:
    Ohio
    #1
    Just finished putting my AEKII back together after a massive disassembly, cleaning, and color restoration. Thought I would post some before & after pics. If you have questions about disassembly/reassembly, feel free to ask. I didn't find a lot of resources online that facilitated the teardown. I used a small amount of developer creme (12% Hydrogen Peroxide), clear plastic wrap, and about 4 hours of direct sunlight.

    Before:
    [​IMG]

    After:
    [​IMG]

    I followed basically the same steps, minus a UV bulb, as here.
     
  2. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #2
    Looks great!

    I have 10 of these things, and several of them are badly yellowed. Even worse are the ones that were used with an overlay on the F keys(which was surprisingly common) and are bright white under that area but yellow everywhere else.

    I've been rotating through about three of them-as I find bad keys(which all of them seem to have somewhere), I mark the keys with a little bit of masking tape and then rebuild the switches as I the chance. Once I find a bad key(whether dead or one that repeats, both problems which I find actually have the same root cause at least in Alps switches), I try to go through and check all the others so that I only have to make one trip into the keyboard. It takes me less than 5 minutes to disassemble, clean, adjust, and reassemble an Alps switch, and another minute or two to solder it back on. What takes a really long time is using a VOM to locate the solder joints for the bad key on the circuit board(especially since getting a bad one close can be difficult in the first place), and then getting all the old solder off so the switch can be removed and disassembled.

    In any case, great work on yours, and I'm definitely going to give it a try! I'll report back in this thread with my success(or failure).
     
  3. fhall1 macrumors 68040

    fhall1

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2007
    Location:
    (Central) NY State of mind
  4. Eugene, Mar 31, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2015

    Eugene macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2002
    #4
    I also recently deyellowed my AEKII, but went the extra step of adding a USB microcontroller (removed left ADB port,) and soldering in new Matias linear keyswitches.

    [​IMG]

    I sprayed all the sliders with a bit of Boeshield T-9, then further lubed the keyswitch internals with some Krytox GPL-205. The result is one of the quietest keyboards I've ever used.

    Yes, I do realize a quiet, linear AEKII might be a bit blasphemous...
     
  5. drewsof07 thread starter macrumors 68000

    drewsof07

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2006
    Location:
    Ohio
    #5
    Nice!!! You definitely breathed new life into that beautiful piece of geekery.
     
  6. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #6
    Great work! Having unsoldered my fair share of those keyswitches, I know that it's no small job to go through and do that 100 or so times over.

    As I mentioned earlier, I rotate through my "stash" of these and mark bad keyswitches where I find them, then tackle a bunch at the same time. Rebuilding the Alps switches doesn't take me very long at all(5 minutes or less), but I've found unsoldering them to be a royal pain.

    You won't have to worry about key switch problems for a LONG time, and the built in USB conversion saves you having to track down the increasingly hard to find ADB-USB adapters. I love those cream damped Alps switches so much, though, that I'd be interested to see how different the keyboard feels with those switches installed. I can't see myself doing that, though, as I actually do still spend a fair bit of time using them on ADB-equipped Macs(as well as USB Macs with an iMate).

    I really wish that Apple would reintroduce the power button on the keyboard. On computers where it works(ADB Macs and USB Macs up through the Quicksilver G4 era), it's a huge convenience.

    (This entire post-stubbornly-typed from a Unicomp Model M :) )
     
  7. Eugene macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2002
    #7
    I find that a simple solder sucker works best for keyswitches. Better than solder wick/braid and even guns like the Hakko FR-300. The only issue is having to clear the tip of the sucker every couple of joints.

    I still have the right-side ADB port intact on the keyboard, but I chose to use a permament USB cable. In the future I might try to install B-type port on the left side.

    The Teensy 2.0 + ADB->USB firmware I use has a working power button as well. Still works with all the Macs in my house.
     
  8. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #8
    I've been using braids for years, as I never found a solder sucker I liked. Perhaps I should try one again...

    Almost every soldering product I own came from Radio Shack, with the exception of my 100 watt Weller gun. I actually prefer my 100 watt Radio Shack gun just because I feel "natural" with it-much more so than the Weller-and I like having a light. I refuse to use dual-power guns, as the two stage triggers bug the heck out of me.

    I should break down and buy a good iron, but I have a box full of Radio Shack ones that work well for me and I just accept that one's going to die on me occasionally(they're cheap enough that I don't get too torn up about that). There again, I learned to solder with them, and they just feel natural to me. The main one I'm using now is a 20/40W with a built in stand and sponge, and it covers me well enough for electronics work and most other stuff I do.

    As far as the power button, even my AEKIIs with an iMate will power down pretty much any Mac(including the 2011 MBP I'm typing on at the moment), or at least bring up the shutdown/sleep menu. When I talk about the power button working, I mean being able to power UP the computer from off by pressing the button. When plugged into an ADB port, the power button will do just this(with the exception of some early ADB compact Macs like the SE, which are powered up by a big switch on the back). When Apple switched over to USB in a big way, this capability was carried over to early USB keyboards(the keyboards that shipped with the first iMacs had a power button on it). The ability to power on from a keyboard button started disappearing around 2001-2002. The late model G3 iMacs can't do it, although the Quicksilver G4 tower kept the capability(it was eliminated on the subsequent Mirrored Drive Door G4s). These early G3 USB keyboards can power off any Mac made to this day(or will at least bring up the shutdown menu), but can't power them on from off.

    With the brittle plastic Apple used through the '90s, many of my ADB computers no longer have a power button on them. The power button on an ADB keyboard is the only way to turn them on.
     
  9. thedeske macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2013
    #9
    Nice work guys- esp the OP.

    Great old boards are worth it. Miss mine from 96 ;)
     
  10. TMacGuy macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2015
    #10
    These are amazing! I miss the good keyboards of the past.
     
  11. it9997 macrumors newbie

    it9997

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2013
    #11
    Very nice restoration!
    I intend to do that on mine also.
    I own a Apple adjustable keyboard m1242 (ISO Euroean)

    The problem that i have is that some keys are not registering at once. While some others are double repeating. The only solution to this is to disassembly it and do a unsolder/re-solder process?
     

    Attached Files:

  12. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #12
    I'm not familiar with that particular keyboard.

    If it uses Alps, or Alps-derived switches(I have one at the moment that has Mitsumi switches-they're basically the same but are "mushy" compared to Cream Alps switches), you can unsolder and rebuild the switches. I've seen both dead switches and repeating switches on AEKIIs. I suspect that the repeating switches are switches on the threshold of going bad, and the contacts "bounce" when the switch is pressed. I detailed the process here

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1856369

    I'll just add to that after giving some thought to how the Alps switches work, cleaning up the "tips" isn't actually necessary. If you want to do anything, rub a piece of fine grit sandpaper on the small white PCB just a few times.

    One other thing-I'd suggest using the keyboard and using a small piece of masking tape or other easily removable tape to mark the problematic keys.

    If the switch is not salvageable(I've yet to find one, but heard that they do show up sometimes) you can also pick a seldom-used key and swap the switches.

    If it's a rubber dome keyboard, you might be out of luck.
     
  13. it9997 macrumors newbie

    it9997

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2013
    #13
    Thank you for the useful advices! When i decide to disassembly it (it's a tricky process on this one) i will post here about the procedure.
     
  14. it9997 macrumors newbie

    it9997

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2013
    #14
    @bunnspecial i read your article on rebuilding Alps key switches and as i understand the problem usually lies inside the switch: "On the other side of the part with the solder tabs-are two corresponding fingers."
    Sixth picture: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1856369

    Am i right?
     
  15. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #15
    The Alps switches are actually mechanically fairly simple.

    If you look in my photos, you will see the two sets of "fingers", one of which has a small piece of PCB with two copper traces wedged up in it. When the switch is pressed, the plate on which the "fingers" are attached is pressed up against the two copper traces, closing the circuit.

    I suspect that many times when a switch doesn't function, it's due to wear on the "fingers" causing the "plunger" to not press the "fingers" enough for the plate to make good contact with the copper traces. The intermediate failure is that the plate bounces off the traces, causing(apparently) several actuations with one keystroke.

    Bending the "fingers"-as I illustrate-should restore proper functioning of the switch as it will restore firm contact. Some claim that this procedure will cause a change in the amount of key pressure required. I'm typing this message from a keyboard on which I've probably repaired three switches, and I honestly can't tell which ones have been repaired just from typing on it. I only know which ones they are because I remember doing the repair.
     
  16. it9997 macrumors newbie

    it9997

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2013
    #16
    Mine has about 10 switches that need to be replaced... I also think that in the near feature it might be even more keys. This keyboard i took it recently from my uncle. It was stored in a dark room since 1996. I remember that it was working fine (back then)... Now it doesn't :(
     

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