Data General 6348-A Terminal Keyboard

Data General 6348-A Terminal Keyboard

This one will have a bit more substance than other posts on this blog, because this keyboard gets mentioned literally in one line on the Deskthority wiki page for Fujitsu Leaf Spring switches.

This is a terminal keyboard and it came originally with some 8 or 9-pin DIN cable. I'm not sure what terminal it was for, and I have no idea of what the protocol it was talking was. It has clicky FLS 3rd generation switches, which appear to achieve their clickiness through a plate spring that gets inverted when the switch is actuated by the slider pressing on the leaf spring. This makes a noise very reminiscent of a jam jar lid.

Due to the nature of the board, the controller needed to be replaced. As there's absolutely no documentation of how this board works anywhere online, here it is! This is the keyboard's matrix:

...and this is the pinout you'll need on the PCB. I removed all the ICs from the board:

Columns are red, rows are blue - enter a witty end to the rhyme here

I used a Teensy++ for this with QMK. You're likely to need a Teensy++ - there aren't enough I/O ports on a Teensy 2.0 or Pro Micro for this keyboard.

Some wiring - I forgot to take a picture of this when it was complete.

I put the Teensy in the same place as the original controller and took the wires over the top. I do not recommend this! It makes the case incredibly difficult to close at the end. Mount your controller and route your wires near the cutout in the PCB for the cable, it will make plugging in your USB cable and closing the case a hundred times easier.


On to the keyboard:

This thing is well built! The back case is fully metal, top case is thick plastic, and the keycaps are super thick doubleshots.

THICC

It has flip out feet with two positions - a Mount Everest style incline, and a more normal typing profile. It takes quite a bit of force to go from the steep incline to the more normal one.

It also has a fairly normal layout, save for 1U backspace and a nightmare cluster around where a normal Enter key would go:

I haven't figured out how to map this in any sensible way yet.

It also features one of my favorite legends of all time: on line!

Typing demonstration: