Restoring the Sun Keyboard and other Randomness

A few weeks ago I had a Sun type 5c keyboard and mouse donated to me by a co-worker. It is significant because it will allow me to convert my Sparcstation 20 into a desktop workstation. I have a sbus frame buffer card on order and just need to get a 13w3 to VGA converter to complete the machine. I had previously been using it as a server for VPN, HTTP and SVN duties.

Sun Keyboard and Mouse

Sun Keyboard and Mouse

Here is the keyboard as I first got it, obviously it is a bit grubby. Otherwise it’s in pretty good condition, although without the frame buffer I can’t find out how well it works. I decided to remove all the keys and give the whole thing a good clean.

Soaking keys

Soaking keys

Here I have the keys all removed and soaking in warm water with dish washing detergent. With a soft tooth brush I was able to quickly clean up the keys. I rinsed them and left them out to dry for some time. I cleaned the rest of the keyboard with isopropyl alcohol wipes.



Here I’ve finished cleaning all the parts and have begun reassembling the keyboard. I’ve already put the space bar back in this photo. I was fortunate that the key caps were easy to remove and replace.

Keyboard done

Keyboard done

Here it is completely reassembled, I’m quite happy with the results. Most of the keys returned to their original lustre, all except the space bar unfortunately which has yellowed. They must have made it with a different type of plastic. The action of all the keys seems to be in good condition, and I must say I quite like the tactile feel of this keyboard. It is hard to explain but it feels quite nice to type on.

Power supply and Tester

Power supply and Tester

Something else I did this weekend was to inspect and salvage materials from some old power supplies. Pictured is a Antec 350 watt power supply that has failed along with my power supply tester. The tester is a simple device that turns the power supply on and checks all the output voltages, it is a real time saver as doing the same job with a multimeter would take much more time. The down side is that it doesn’t put much load on the PSU which makes it a poor indication of whether it will perform under load.

I had a few dead power supplies, so I salvaged what I could from them. I got a nice pile of thick copper wire, a few good 12v fans, and some fan grills. There isn’t much point salvaging components from the boards so I didn’t bother. Although I may keep one or two just in case.

Lastly it seems that spring is in the air! My local Blue-Toungued lizard is out and about sunning himself on the concrete out the back of my house. He normally hides under the concrete, but today he had a friend visit him.

The warm weather seems to agree with them, although they aren’t moving much. I guess they are just enjoying the afternoon sun, it was certainly worth getting out in it.


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