Sunday, September 08, 2013

Northgate Omnikey Evolution Cord Replacement

I have ended up rescuing items from the trash far too often this summer. Honestly I’m slightly embarrassed and worried I’m becoming a contemporary high-tech rag-and-bone man. That said if people are going to throw away keyboards that still fetch close to $100 on Ebay, then I shall be upending myself in trashcans forever.

The keyboard. As you can see it has issues in the cord area. I’m not going to go on and on about mechanical keyboards the way some people endlessly do, but they are neat things.

Northgate is no longer with us.

I needed a PS/2 cable and this keyboard was a perfect donor.

Good for learning touch typing, but not much else. It’s worth noting that the lettering on the Northgate won’t rub off because it’s part of the molding of the key.

The existing cord was the old AT style. It is extremely easy to convert AT to PS/2.

The circuit board in the donor keyboard. The wires were labeled but I double checked anyway. (Voltage, Clock, Data, Ground, with Drain being another ground)

1995. So it’s only 18 years old.

Removing the top is done by removing screws coming through the bottom. No point giving a step-by-step.

What is interesting is that the cord and buttons for the optional trackpad are in place. This means that the cord that is attached was original but at some point was flayed and separated from the cord for the trackpad, possibly because it didn’t have a trackpad and it was in the way? Or people are crazy.

The place where the wiring attaches to the keyboard. To remove the keyboard PCB from the bottom of the case those screws on the side were removed. Note the missing Atmega IC in the space between the two green LEDs, if it was there then this would have been one of the programmable keyboards. Although people remove them because the programmability was only using software that ran in Windows 98. Or something like that, bored yet?

This is a really exciting picture.

As is this one. It was mainly for reference.

Hooked up for testing.

Yes, that’s an old Gateway 2000 P4D-66 running Windows For Workgroups 3.11, with Word 2.1 open…

All hooked up correctly. In order from left to right is Ground, VCC, Data and Clock. You can see the area of missing Atmega chip clearly in this picture.

After testing I gooped the cable with hot glue. The original was gooped down instead of mechanical strain relief, or in addition to.

So now I have a nice old keyboard. Honestly I hate ergonomic keyboards so I’ll either sell it or hold onto it for the computer museum.

Some helpful Northgate links:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have new original Evolution cables in stock.