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Newton Keyboard X0044 -- no shift?

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I've had a Newton Keyboard to go along with my MessagePad 2100 for years, and they have always played well together.

Today, though, I find that neither shift key on the keyboard is doing anything.

Typing input with a shift key depressed yields a lower-case letter (or the 'lower-case' typographical symbol on a key-- ';' instead of ':').

Caps Lock still provides capital letters.

Every other key works, including Ctrl, Option and open-Apple.


Same behavior when used with an eMate 300.


Any ideas as to what might be causing this behavior? Is it likely within the keyboard, or in the serial adapter?

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I used to have one that did the same. The problem wasn’t the interconnect adapter, as the latter worked fine with a second Newton keyboard (too much stuff!). I took the defective unit apart to have a look at the internals, but could see no defects in the plastic membranes. That step wasn’t hard, and it went back together just fine.


It was subsequently sold for parts. In retrospect, a multimeter would have been useful, as a trace pen could have fixed the thing, but in those days I didn’t have a multimeter, and as I had a working keyboard anyway, I did not bother further.

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  • 2 months later...

The likeliest cause is surely a damaged or decayed trace. It’s hard to imagine both shift keys going out without it being due to a trace in a circuit common to both keys, but that’s still just imagination until it is confirmed by testing.


There is a really good treatment of membrane keyboard repair here, including how to use a multimeter to pinpoint the problem: http://www.technology.niagarac.on.ca/staff/bgracey/prokeyboardrepair.html . Obviously that’s not a Newton keyboard, but the principles are close enough to make it all do-able.

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