Baxter Hills

IBM Model F 83-key XT USB Converter

The IBM Model F is the lesser-known older brother of the Model M, using buckling springs over a capacitive PCB instead of buckling springs over membranes, like in the Model M. The Model F is objectively superior to the Model M, with a higher mean time between failure of 100M keystrokes, full n-key rollover, and better build quality, using metal tabs instead of plastic rivets to hold it together. The key feel is also lighter and crisper, which many (including me) prefer over the Model M. The XT version came with the IBM PC/XT introduced in 1983. There is also an AT Model F, which is different and more easily usable with modern computers.

The keyboard is really great, and a couple of years ago I decided to build a (rather sketchy) converter that would allow me to use it with a modern computer using USB.

Parts used:

I hardly ever solder things together so it doesn't look very clean, but it does the job. I would use a smaller case next time because this Altoids tin is way bigger than it needs to be.

It does the job
Plugged in

A member on Deskthority and other keyboard forums called 'Soarer' made the software which I loaded on the device. It supports layout remapping, layers, macros, full n-key rollover, 1000hz polling rate, and more. The converter works great and I have converted quite a few other keyboards using it without problems.

Converter software I used

Last modified: 18 May 2021