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09-3-2016 22:42:54  #1

USB Typewriters, Backlit

There was a discussion here a few months ago that turned to repurposing units as USB-typewriters (http://www.usbtypewriter.com/), so I thought I'd share my experiences. I'd found an old Remington 5 at an antique mall in Ohio for $40, and decided to clean and refurbish it, and buy one of the USB conversion kits and use it as the keyboard for my laptop. Although it took quite a bit of time and effort to install and calibrate (and recalibrate, and re-recalibrate), I've been quite happy with the result.  


As you can see from the photo, this entailed soldering (or hot-gluing) a row of gold-plated sensors across the bottom of the unit, attached to a small processor attached to the body. Since a number of special-function keys (backspace, enter, spacebar, etc.) would not strike the sensor-bar, you need to add powerful magnets (two are visible here on the shift-lock on the right of the picture, and backspace on the upper left), as well as corresponding magnet sensors (the cord running down to the spacebar. The others are hidden). 

While I was tinkering with this, I thought that one of the things I like best about laptop computers nowadays are the backlit keyboards, that allow typing even in low light situations. So I tried to emulate that by mounting an adhesive strip of LED lights (available on Amazon) around the inside walls of the unit. There are all sorts of colors available. I chose blue, and was quite happy with the result:

The light does illuminate some of the wiring for the USB typewriter, in particular the spacebar wire, but I'm still quite pleased with it. You can see the USB unit on the outside of the typewriter in this picture.

Since I have other units for conventional typing, I removed the ribbon from this refurbished unit, disengaged the drawband and place a small piece of cork (or a cardstock business card) for the keys to strike instead of the platen. 

Not to be outdone, my brother did the same to his salvaged Royal 10, except in orange and without the USB device. It is hard to argue with the results. 

Anyway... enjoy!


10-3-2016 15:23:01  #2

Re: USB Typewriters, Backlit

Well done! Making the keys back-lit was a really bright idea


10-3-2016 15:51:39  #3

Re: USB Typewriters, Backlit

I see what you did there...

Currently looking for a Hammond, or Underwood 3 Banks to purchase.

Selling off most of my collection to start fresh.

PM me!

26-4-2017 09:00:08  #4

Re: USB Typewriters, Backlit

Very cool! Are there tutorials of this DIY online?

http://i50.tinypic.com/33ym35d.jpg Read between the lines, I'll be there.

26-4-2017 17:42:55  #5

Re: USB Typewriters, Backlit

No tutorials that I know of. The USB-Typewriter mechanics come with their own instructions. Many of the LED light strips that you can get out there (on Amazon, for example), you can cut to a particular length, and come with an adhesive backing, so you can just adhere it to the inside of the frame however you like!

     Thread Starter

24-5-2017 20:11:00  #6

Re: USB Typewriters, Backlit

Looks like this guy in Connecticut not only backlit his Royal, but also made it into a functioning computer system. Interesting!

     Thread Starter

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