Problem (partially) Solved

At work we had a trio of busted-up old Chyron Infinit! video character generators come through. Big-big keyboard looking appliances with floppy drives and oddball connectors on them. Heavy, for a keyboard. VERY high-zoot, cutting-edge professional studio production technology, for putting characters into a video feed – decades ago, that is. They landed in the low-value scrap pile. One (the first I looked at) had some horrible (foam and foil?) key switches under a few busted-off key caps, so I kept walking. I looked again the next day and found the other two were fully populated (excepting broken/missing keys) with ancient Cherry MX-looking switches. Whites or Clears. NOT the same feeling as NP’s keyboard with MX Blues, but Cherry for sure. And – hence the title of this post – they have cross-stabilized space bars as well as the longer keys. That answers what kind of stabilizers to use, but I thought I would have to give some money for the keyboards. The whole shebang, in good condition, sells for $20-40 plus shipping on eBay these days, so if you want some Cherry MX switches on the cheap, there are more than a full board-worth on SOME of the Infinit! charachter generators out there. There are also some much-different NON-Cherry key switches under identical-looking caps.  Sellers possibly don’t know what kind of switch they have, so be prepared to be disappointed when the device arrives!

I broke out the screwdriver and peeled off the chassis and circuit boardS in the character generators, and caught CO1 in a good moment. I showed him these

and said I wanted them. He laughed. This is not the first odd request for electronics he’s granted this way: Free for the cause, but with the condition that I have to show him the finished result. I also got a Microsoft Ergo 4000 keyboard to hack up, also free. Also rescued from the recycle, also free. Thanks Jesus! (and Boss!)

So these keys are old. The switches are somewhat inconsistent in the way their actuation feels as keys are pressed. I blew one out with compressed air and the feel improved. I’m guessing this becomes an exercise in disassembling and cleaning some switches. Fortunately, these were mnufactured in such a way as to make cleaning a possibility. The switches look to all have diodes in them, where LEDs would go on illuminated switches – except the Caps Lock keys, which are illuminated. Clear stems for most of the keys, Tactile Gray for the space bars.

And they’re plate-mounted. This is not a problem, but it makes disassembly a little more complicated.

DW helped me pull the caps off. They’re all doubleshot, which is nice, but they don’t have standard US keyboard legends on them. They were not part of a regular keyboard, so it makes sense. They have huge, silly European style large Enter keys, which I don’t prefer.  They are also opaque, which answers the question of backlighting rather completely for now.

Speaking of “now” . . . this is where they are, currently.


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