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Dishwasher trick


  is there a trick to clean these older serial keyboards?


 The dishwasher 
 Strip it down as much as possible, don't use soap and make sure it's dry before you reassemble it.
 Works pretty well.
What I meant was to wash the PCB + switches.
Electronics can handle water as long as you don' apply power at the same time  You can wash the rest too if you believe it needs a good cleaning but that's irrelevant.
That's why you must not use soap, it leaves a residue on the PCB and then the keyboard don't work anymore.
Just beware that any stickers and paper bits will be unreadable and/or gone after the treatment.
I've done this myself a couple of times, with 4D keyboards too.

Early Systems

If you happen to have a 4D keyboard you would like to use with an Indigo but don't have an original SGI DB-9 to mini-DIN-6 adapter, here's how you can make one. Tested to work with 4D keyboard (p/n 021-0800-001 rev A) and mouse (p/n 021-0004-002) on and Indigo R4k.

DB-9 pin Signal mini-DIN-6 pin
6 Ground 3
2 K_TX/RCD 1
8 K_RC/TXD 5
5 M_TX/RCD 2
4 -V 6
7 +V 4

See "man 7 keyboard" on your local SGI machine for more info on the pinouts.

This should also work in reverse (ie., using an Indigo keyboard with a 4D system), as noted in this thread.

PS/2 Adapters for Indigo 1 and other older generation machines


The keyboard and mouse share the same PS/2 port on the Indigo. DO NOT plug a standard PS/2 keyboard in without an adapter you risk damage to the main board.

These are available from a nekochan member at a reasonable price. Ask on the forums about them.

You need a straight through PS/2 cable, one of these adapters and then plug an ordinary PS/2 keyboard and mouse into the other end of the adapter.

A nekochan member sells the adapters shown on the right. Look for CK Systems on or

Or send a private message to "TheKeeper"..

From an ebay listing of the same

This auction is for a converter for use with the SGI Indigo, Onyx, and Crimson systems, to allow standard PS/2 keyboard and mouse to be used. As all owners of these systems have known (or found out too late, after receiving the system), SGI designed a proprietary serial interface which happens to use the same mini-DIN connector as the PS/2 standard. Additionally, the voltages are much different, and your PS/2 keyboard is likely to get fried (or worse, your system itself could be damaged) if you plug it into an Indigo or Onyx... This converter has been tested on Indigo, Onyx, and Crimsons, as well as a number of Personal Iris systems. Please note that while the adapter works well with Indigo and Onyx systems, there have been two reports of 4D systems that had problems with the "Shift" key when using this adapter, including a 4D/35T and 4D/20. With that said, there have also been reports from owners of other 4D/35 systems stating that this adapter works properly with their systems. Buyers with older systems have the option of returning the adapter if it doesn't work properly with their system, minus shipping charges. Note that an adapter is not required for the likes of the Indy/Indigo2/O2/Octane/etc. (i.e. systems made within the last 10-12 years), which natively use PS/2 keyboards and mice. Included with this adapter is a cable to connect the converter to your Indigo or Onyx. A custom-made Crimson DB15 or Iris DB9 to Mini-DIN cable can be purchased for an additional $10. Note that an adapter is not needed for Indy/Indigo2/O2/Octane/etc. newer systems, which have native PS/2 support. The best way to know if your system needs an adapter is to count the PS/2 ports on the back. If it has two PS/2 ports, one each for keyboard and mouse, you don't need an adapter. If it only has one PS/2 port for both keyboard and mouse on the back, then you do need an adapter. In case you were wondering, the notch is cut in the heat shrink tubing to allow heat dissipation, and the unit is about the size of a small candy bar.

From memory the Personal IRIS 4D/35 also requires this adapter.. But it has been a while since that has been powered on..

The handbook says the indigo keyboard is backward compatible with the Personal IRIS with a (DB9 to 6 pin mini DIN). FWIW, I usually use an Indigo keyboard with the PowerSeries and Crimson as well. For those you need a mini-DIN6 to DB15 adapter cable. I've got an SGI original one so I'm fairly confident this is a supported combination.

Charcoal Keyboards

Originally distributed with O2 systems.

Granite Keyboards

Originally distributed with Indy systems.

Discreet Logic Keyboards

Used with Discreet Logic Apps like Smoke and Flame has hot key names printed on each key.


PS/2 Style

Main topic: Keyboards (PS/2 Style)

It is possible to use common "PS/2 style" keyboards on MIPS-based SGI workstations that have PS/2 ports. Supported systems include Indy, Indigo2, O2, OCTANE, Fuel, Onyx2, Onyx 300, Onyx 3000, and Tezro. Older systems, such as the 4D series, Indigo, Crimson, and Onyx, are not supported.

Most 101-key keyboards will work on supported systems without requiring custom software configuration. Other types of keyboards may require customized keyboard mappings. Keyboard maps can be modified using the IRIX xmodmap utility.

SGI MIPS Systems, PC Keyboards, and KVMs

While many SGI MIPS systems have the ubiquitous PS2 keyboard and mouse interface, SGI elected to use the less common keyboard "scan code set 3." Scan code set 2 is more commonly used in the PC world. While most PS/2 keyboards work when directly connected to an SGI system, some KVMs seem to translate only a fairly rigid implementation of scan code 2, resulting in compatibility issues.

Some KVMs have the ability to transparently relay scan code set 3, some require a jumper or configuration change to do so, and others apparently pass everything through using the more common scan code 2. For instance, at least one model of KVM works as long as all of the systems connected are SGI MIPS systems; if one of the connected systems is a PC that uses scan 2, as soon as that system is selected, the key mapping is incorrect for the SGI systems and cannot be reset without removing the PC and restarting the SGI systems.

A little background from the pckeyboard man page:

"The keyboard connects to the back of the system unit with a shielded partially coiled cord and is detachable at the system cabinet only. The system communicates with the keyboard via a clocked serial protocol. SGI uses keyboard scan code set 3, which sends a scan code on key press and a "break" code followed by repeating the scan code. Every key has a unique scan code. All keys function the same way, allowing the system software to use keys in any manner."

See also the article on Keyboard_And_Mouse_Sharing.

See also

  • Nekochan wiki topic on Keyboards

Scan Code Sets

The PS/2 Keyboard Interface as described at

  • Scan Code Set 1 - Original XT scan code set; supported by some modern keyboards
  • Scan Code Set 2 - Default scan code set for all modern keyboards
  • Scan Code Set 3 - Optional PS/2 scan code set--rarely used (aside from SGI MIPS systems)

And lastly, an indirect mention in a Belkin support document of how to apply the correct scan code to specific ports on one of their enterprise level KVMs (which may or may not work with other Belkin models):

External link