Custom Apple 1 Keyboard

When I needed a keyboard for my Apple 1, I did what many others did. I got a standard Apple II keyboard, created an adapter, and hooked it up. This comes along with several challenges and considerations. First, it is very easy to hook up backwards and blow a 7404. Second, you will still have to hook up separate clear switch. You could do what I did and build a clear and reset on power on circuit, but you won’t have a manual clear switch.

This is where Wendell Sander came in with a couple of fantastic add-ons that turn an Apple II keyboard, into a real custom Apple 1 keyboard. The first step was to replace the the encoder board on the Apple II keyboard with one that is wired directly for the Apple 1. On top of that, it uses a keyed header on the ribbon so you do not risk plugging it in backwards. This made perfect sense, so instead of having an Apple II encoder card with an Apple 1 adapter, you would have a single Apple 1 encoder card.

Original Apple II Encoder Card Custom Apple 1 Encoder Card Apple 1 Encoder Card Attached

Now that I have an Apple II keyboard properly wired for an Apple 1, Wendell took it a step further and created custom key caps for the Apple 1. These key caps are double-shot injection molded black plastic, with a custom layout for the Apple 1. The repeat key was replaced with a Clear Screen key, the left arrow was replaced with a Rub Out key, and the right arrow was replaced with a blank key. These keys look fantastic, and have a great retro feel to them.

Custom Keys Custom Apple 1 Keyboard

With these two additions I now have a great keyboard, that is custom designed for the Apple 1.