Beetle Posted April 10, 2007 Share Posted April 10, 2007 (edited) Hi Often i hear about the cheap and bad XL keyboards, and many people say the XL keyboards were almost as good as the 1200XL keyboard (which is built completely different to the 600/800XL keyboards). How can this opinions differ so hard? Well, there are many different keyboards out there! When i write about XL keyboards from now on, i relate only to 600/800XL ones, not to 1200XL's. The additional wiring on my keyboards are conversions to german layout (QWERTZ). I own 4 different XL keyboards, and did own a 5th type (i am not sad i gave it away ). In this thread i will write some words to every keyboard and give it a simple name. Here is my favorite XL keyboard lets call it "type 1", manufactured by Alps. Notice the narrow "O" and that the "CONTROL" label is fully inverse. It is slightly stepped; space bar, shift, control, tab and return key have a "hook" for easy typing. The key tracers are easy and precise to press, with very similar pressure needed compared to 1200XL keyboard. Each switch is soldered with 4 solder joints to the PCB. The tracers are shorter than in other keyboards, so it mounts a bit flatter in your XL. ---------------------------------------- Now i show you a Keyboard of "Type 2", made by AWC (number 70166201). It has similar keycaps as Type 1 but the "CONTROL" label is outlined here. This one has hooks only for space bar and left shift key, but the keys don't block because the tracers give good guidance to the keycaps. Keys are soldered with 2 solderjoints to PCB. IMO the second best XL keyboard you can get. The springs under the keys are a tad stiffer than the type 1, which will make this keyboard #1 choice for many Atarians. ---------------------------------------- OK, here comes "type 3". This one has single tracers soldered with 2 joints to a PCB and its made by AWC, too (70166205). The "O" is less narrow, the labels are printed wide and more bold, compared to the Type 2 AWC board. Outlined "CONTROL" label as well. The keycaps look quite different here: smaller top area and more stepped than the first two keyboards. It has the same hooks as the Type 2 keybaord, but the tracers are of lesser quality and sometimes block, if you press the wide keys not in the center area. Well, i used this keyboard for years, and if you keep it clean it will last very long. It still gives you a solid keyboard (but the upper ones are clearly better). ---------------------------------------- Time for presenting Keyboard "Type 4". It can polarize, some love it, some hate it. On the one hand, it is very heavy quality, the heaviest keyboard of all, due to a 1mm thick metal plate, covering the whole keyboard underneath. This keyboard is not stepped at all, which some people prefer, some don`t. The shape of the keycaps are somewhat close to those of the 1200XL, but they have a rough surface. The drawback of this keyboard are the shift keys with no hooks at all (they block easy and often) and the circuitry, which is not a PCB but a mylar foil with vapour-deposited traces. They are prone to oxidation and in consequence fail. I know of no reliable method to fix such a foil (besides replacing). Some like it, some hate it. Easy to see, mine is dead, too. I kept it to slay burglars... ---------------------------------------- Last, but not least, the 5th XL keyboard i know of. It has big, almost sharp edged keykaps, with remarkably big labeling. Although there is a PCB for the curcitry, there are no single tracers. The keys press conductive rubber pads onto the PCB. This keyboard was manufactured by Mitsumi. This keyboard is stepped but gives by far the cheapest quality feedback. The keys are loosely guided and rattle while typing. This keyboard is the main reason for the prejudice "XL keyboards are bad and cheap". Nevertheless, i never saw one of that keyboards broken, and all the wide keys have hooks so blocked keys is not a problem here. Just give the PCB and rubber stamps a cleaning if needed. Most people will even prefer the XE keyboards over type 5 XL keyboards. Thanks to miker for making this pictures! I hope this comparison is of use to someone here. If you have a keyboard other than those mentioned here, please send me pictures in at least 1024x768 and the same angles as the pics above. I will add them to my post with credits to you, so this first post stays up to date. Greetings, Beetle Edit: thanks to JellE for helping me with my poor english Edited June 28, 2007 by Beetle 14 3 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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