IBM Model M Keyboard on OS X

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by gowanis, Sep 22, 2012.

  1. gowanis macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2007
    #1
    Recently bought a rMBP and I'm unable to get my old IBM Model M keyboard working with it. I have a more recent Dell USB keyboard that works fine, but the IBM keyboard is not recognized. I should note that the IBM keyboard is PS2 (purple connector), and I'm using a PS2 to USB converter. This works fine on my Windows machine. When I connect it, I get the dialog that asks me to enter the key to the right of my left Shift key, says its looking for my keyboard, but never finds it. Any suggestions? Do I need a different PS2 to USB converter?
     
  2. gowanis thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Sep 22, 2007
    #2
    I did a little more research, and I'm wondering if the issue is that my PS2 to USB converter might be a passive connecter vs. an active converter. I should reiterate that the connector I have does work on my windows 7 machine.
     
  3. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    Atlanta
    #3
    I would highly recommend you get the Apple wired or wireless keyboard and mouse and/or trackpad. There are all sorts of little things what will not work with 3rd party keyboards. For example, where is the eject key on those keyboards?
     
  4. gowanis thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Sep 22, 2007
    #4
    the point really is to have a true "clicky" tactile keyboard. The old school model M's are just fantastic. I'd be willing to give up the mac buttons to have a keyboard with a real feel. I always have the laptop keyboard if I need to do something with the Mac keys.

    My other alternative will be to get the DAS Keyboard Model S Pro for Mac:

    http://www.amazon.com/Das-Keyboard-...d=1348287490&sr=8-1&keywords=das+keyboard+mac

    This keyboard goes for the feel of the IBM Model M, but is updated for Mac. Only problem is that it costs $125
     
  5. RMo macrumors 65816

    RMo

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Location:
    Iowa, USA
    #5
    What silly advice! Any keyboard will work, although for PC keyboards the modifier keys will be, by default, slightly different, and you'll lose out on some OS X-specific function keys (most of which are easily recoverable with their F equivalents if you want them). And to answer your question, holding down F12 is equivalent to eject.

    As for the original poster, I'm not sure--my best advice would be to try a different adapter. (Do you know if this adapter has worked with other keyboards on this Mac or different keyboards on this Mac?) I have an old one that I got probably 7 years ago on NewEgg that worked for a PS/2 keyboard I had on my old MacBook. Haven't tried it on anything recently.

    I've read about the "active" vs. passive difference before but don't know any "active" adapters off the top of my head (some people also seem skeptical of them--I don't really know enough about how they work to pass judgement on them). An apparently passive adapter that lots of people seem to have had luck with for Model Ms on the PC, at least, is this Adesso adapter. Some people mention using it with Macs (in particular Mac minis with a KVM, since cheap ones usually only have PS/2), but I'm not sure anyone has tried the Mac+Model M combination, and it probably depends on the Mac you're using anyway.
     
  6. gowanis thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2007
    #6
    Just got back from Radio Shack and I'm pleased to say I found one that works:

    http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3932760

    It was only $19.99. Now I need to see about how this translates on the Mac and if I can map some keys. All of the letters work (obviously), but the "home" button, for example, does not, and things I'm used to like CTRL-C and CTRL-V are different (not sure what CTRL key even maps to on the Mac). I'll need to play around and see if I can get this useable. If not, I will eventually dish out the $125 for the DAC keyboard, which should give the same feel and has all of the proper Mac keys.

    I'll tell ya though, just typing on this Model M is like coming home after using the crap Dell keyboard I had going in the interim. (The MacBook pro laptop keys kinda suck also)
     
  7. RMo, Sep 22, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2012

    RMo macrumors 65816

    RMo

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    Aug 7, 2007
    Location:
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    #7
    By default, the modifier keys (Ctrl, etc.) are mapped differently. Ctrl+C on a PC is like Cmd+C on a Mac, except if you're using a PC keyboard, by default Cmd is mapped to the Windows logo key (and Alt on the PC keyboard is mapped Mac Option/Alt, so at least the labels make sense if the positions are different). The Ctrl key itself, however, should be the same--it's just that OS X uses Cmd as the default modifier rather than Ctrl. To change the Cmd and Option keys into a Mac-like position rather than corresponding to their PC labels, go to System Preferences > Keyboard (then choose the "Keyboard" tab if it isn't already selected) > Modifier Keys. Set Option to Command and Command to Option for the external keyboard (you can choose at the top). EDIT: Just be clear, this means PC Alt will be Mac Cmd, corresponding to its next-to-spacebar position on actual Mac keyboards (helpful if you ever have used or ever will want to use a Mac keyboard). Option will then be the logo key. Ctrl remains the same, as it is in the same position with the same label on both.

    Home on the Mac is also different from Home on the PC--it goes to the beginning of the document, not the beginning of the line. For the beginning of the line on the Mac, use Cmd+Left Arrow. For more PC-Mac correspondences like this, you can Google for some guides or ask around here if you aren't sure. If you're desperate for any special keys (e.g., media) that the Model M lacks, there are third-party tools to help with that (e.g., KeyRemap4Macbook, which works on all Macs despite the name), but you'll generally have to sacrifice other, actual keys for that.
     
  8. takeshi74 macrumors 601

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    Feb 9, 2011
    #8
    You clearly don't get why Model M fans are Model M fans. That's an irrelevant recommendation.
     
  9. gowanis thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Sep 22, 2007
    #9
    Thanks for the mapping info, I will get to work on it shortly.
     
  10. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #10
    Correct. I gave up on IBM PC products in the 80s after I got my first Mac. I did not know I needed to be an IBM PC fanboy to join this thread. My mistake. Sorry for the noise.
     
  11. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Location:
    Poole, England
    #11
    I would get the Matias Tactile Pro.

    ----------

    The point is that the current Apple keyboards are pretty to look at, but horrible to type on. No feedback due to the lack of key travel and poor ergonomics.

    Even a cheap $15 Logitech keyboard is more comfortable. I use a Matias Tactile Pro at home. It's worth every penny, but the wife complains about the noise. I see that Matias has just release a "silent" version of the Tactile Pro so I'll give that a go.
     
  12. gowanis thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #12
  13. theSeb, Sep 24, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2012

    theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Location:
    Poole, England
    #13
    The Matias Tactile Pro is far closer to the Apple Extended keyboard and the IBM M. I've used the one that you've linked to in the past a couple of times and the Matias is superior, in my opinion. It feels meatier and weightier. In fact, I've just tried it out again since there is one lying around here, and the key response feels very rubbery and sluggish in comparison to the Matias.

    The G3 keyboard is better than the current Apple keyboards, but nowhere near something with mechanical switches. I've not looked up the specs, but I am 100% sure that it does not have mechanical switches.

    The Matias is noisy though. I would say that is the only downside. Choosing between the Das and the Matias would be tricky, but I couldn't find a Das Mac version with UK layout so I went with the Tactile Pro.

    Edit: I would check out the new Matias Quiet Pro as well. I didn't realise that it was already available in the UK (with a US layout but I can live with that). I just hope that it passes the wife test. :D

    http://matias.ca/quietpro/
     
  14. jtara macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2009
    #14
    I'm surprised nobody brought up Unicomp. They still make the model M's (with USB interface) and either now hold the patent or under license. Pretty sure it passed to LexMark from IBM and then to Unicomp.

    Some claim that the Unicomps don't match the orginal model M's, but they seem the same to me. I know that *very* early Model Ms had capacitive (or Hall Effect?) switches rather dome switches, but it's unlikely many who have used Model Ms over the years have ever used one of those let alone can tell the difference, as that was only for the first couple of years after the introduction of the IBM PC.

    (The key to the Model M is not the switch mechanism itself, but the "buckling spring" that provides it's unique feel. You get a "click" before the key bottoms-out. When you hear and feel that click, it is certain that the key has registered, and you train yourself to release pressure. Thus, you do not bottom-out the keys.)

    The buckling-spring mechansim simply operates the same type of dome switch used in almost all modern keyboards - albiet a very reliable one.

    I have two Unicomp keyboards (I had a second one for work, until Sony made me take it back home due to complaints from the next cube over...) one full-size, and one compact with a pointer stick. (I have to point-out that the pointer stick is *not* the excellent IBM design used on the old ThinkPads. The Unicomp pointer stick is practically worthless, but it is handy to have both that and mouse buttons on the keyboard. I've often used this keyboard as a spare for bootup, as I run my keyboard/mouse on my Linux machine, and use Synergy2 to provide keyboard/mouse access to my Mac Mini. Think I'm going to switch that around the other way and put the keyboard/mouse on the Mini. The reason it is the way it is is becuase traditionally, Synergy did not support Mac as a "server" for keyboard/mouse.)

    Anyway, I just discovered that Unicomp sells an 18-key Mac keycap set for $19:

    http://pckeyboard.com/page/Buttons/MAC

    I beleive these *should* also work on legacy Model Ms. There are some restrictions as to which Unicomp models these will fit.

    They've also recently introducted the SpaceSaver-M, designed specifically for Macs:

    http://pckeyboard.com/page/SpacesaverM/UNIZPHA

    Dunno if this is simply a Spacesaver with the Apple keycaps, or if it is also reprogrammed for the different key positions. I would assume the latter, since Unicomp can provide keyboards with custom programming.

    There's also a black version, but it's so ugly I refuse to provide a link. ;)
     
  15. Giuly, Oct 26, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2014

    Giuly macrumors 68040

    Giuly

    #15
    [​IMG]
    Seriously?

    Get an Apple Extended Keyboard II from eBay and buy or build an ADB-to-USB adapter.
    [​IMG]

    Or a new Mathias Quiet Pro / Tactile Pro.
    [​IMG]
     
  16. BinaryTim macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2011
    Location:
    Dakotas
    #16
    Clicky is good

    I have an Apple Extended Keyboard II that I bought on eBay a few months ago. It was new in the original box. I also have a Matias Tactile Pro that I got new from OWC earlier this year. I love the "clicky" feel to them. It makes it feel like I'm typing on a real keyboard, not like I'm mashing down on a bunch of marshmallows. :rolleyes: I avoid all of Apple's newer keyboards as much as possible.

    I am currently using the AEK II as my daily keyboard, connected via a Griffin iMate ADB to USB adapter, while I have the Tactile Pro (USB) in storage. But in my opinion, they are both equally awesome. :)
     
  17. dyn macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Location:
    .nl
    #17
    When it comes to these kind of mechanical keyboards one does not simply use any switch ;) One uses the type of switch one likes best. For some that will be the Alps in the old Apple mechanical keyboards or the new Matias ones, and for others it will be the buckling springs found in the IBM model M keyboards or the well known and easy to get Cherry MX switches (both the Alps and Cherry MX come in different varieties).

    Any recommendation for a different keyboard that does not hold the same switch is silly (not to mention rubber domes but I must admit that Apple does make one of the most decent rubber dome keyboards one can buy!).
     

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