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Can anyone help me identify the key switches used in my Apple IIe, and (hopefully) find some replacements?

Huxley

Well-known member
As seen in this album, I'm restoring and repairing this beautiful Apple IIe computer. It's gone well so far, but the keyboard is in rough shape, with mis-matched key-switches and several broken switches too. There were apparently a pretty wide range of switches used in Apple IIe systems, and I'm not sure what specific switches I should be searching for, or where I might buy them.

Given that the ones in this system are literally falling apart with age (the plastic housings are super brittle!), I'd love to replace them with modern switches that will still pair to the original key-caps, but I'm not sure if that's an option. Either way, I really want to find some correct-type replacements (new or old), so any guidance here is most appreciated!

Thanks for any tips or suggestions!
 

Huxley

Well-known member
Update: I think I jumped the gun (kinda) with this question! When I was pulling the keys off the switches, as you can see in the pics I linked above, some of the switches did come apart, with lots of little orphaned bits of broken plastic.

HOWEVER!

I took some time to really clean the keyboard (without any further disassembly), and it started to look like maybe the bits of broken plastic weren't actually from the switches, but were instead just crap that had fallen into the keyboard over the years. With a newly-renewed sense of hope, I tried reassembling the switches that had come apart, and they all more-or-less came back together! I'm hopeful now that I can keep using the existing switches, rather than having to replace them entirely. Progress!

All that said, I do believe I need to replace the ribbon cable that connects the keyboard to the motherboard - it's frayed and broken on both ends, and just generally doesn't look trustworthy.

Looks to be Alps SKCC Tall Cream or tall black.

Here's an eBay auction for a start.
Great info, thanks! I'll keep this in mind if / when I do end up needing replacement switches :)

Huxley
 

Huxley

Well-known member
If you have the extra money to throw around, maybe a new MacEffects keyboard kit is the better choice (if you want something newer)? https://maceffects.com/products/apple-iie-mechanical-keyboard

I do not know how they are, but like the rest of his products, I'm sure it's great if you want something new and shiny in there.
This is the kind of good advice that's kept me returning to the 68kMLA for 20+ years now 😂

I'll keep that in mind!

Huxley
 
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