Rave 99 keyboard

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The RAVE99 Keyboard Enhancement allows the replacement of the TI-99/4A's 48 keyboard with an 84 or 101 key IBM style XT keyboard. You need to find IBM XT type keyboard with the larger DIN-5 connector. If you see a keyboard with a PS/2 connector, it won't work. Any modern keyboard (USB, Wireless, etc) will not work.

Installing the board is not difficult, but a bit work intensive as you need to disassemble the console and trade this board with the existing keyboard.

If you work on modern keyboards and then switch to your TI you know what a pain it can be without a backspace, arrow keys, etc.? This enhancement allows you to use a full functioning keyboard to get around those pains.

Different Models

Based on information taken from the 99/84 manual that is on the ftp.whtech.com site and information from a copy of the 99XT manual that I have and a copy of a Rave catalog that I have, the following information was derived:

There seems to be 5 different models of the Rave99:? 99/84, 99/101, 99/105, 99XT and the XT/101.

  • The first three models (99/84, 99/101, 99/105) seem to be part of the original production run that started in 1986.
  • The last two models (99XT, XT/101) seem to be next in the series and replaced the first three.
  • The 99/84 was sold with an 84 key XT type keyboard. You can recognize this keyboard because it has the 10 functions keys down the left side.
  • The 99/101 was sold with a 101 key XT type keyboard. This one included 12 functions keys across the top plus other keys like the arrow keys.
  • The 99/105, reportedly but not confirmed, was like the 99/101 model except that it had 4 key modes that allowed the keyboard to be used for TI Writer, Multiplan, E/A and Standard Console.
  • The 99XT was sold without a keyboard and left it up to the buyer to supply their own. The XT/101 seems to be the same as the 99XT except that it comes with a 101 XT Keyboard.

Where can I find a manual for the Rave99 Keyboard Enhancement?

MAINBYTE: http://www.mainbyte.com/ti99/hardware/rave/keyboard.html

WHTECH: ftp://ftp.whtech.com/datasheets%20and%20manuals/Hardware/Rave99/

Trouble Shooting

First thing you have to identify is whether it is the keyboard, the adapter or the user that isn't working correctly. :)

Remember the ESCape key

Remember that when you startup your TI with the Rave99 Keyboard adapter you have to hit the escape key on the keyboard to activate it. This is commonly overlooked by newer users. Also make sure the keyboard is properly plugged in. :)

Set keyboard to XT

On to the keyboard. If it is a switchable AT/XT keyboard make sure the switch is set to XT. This switch is typically on the bottom of the keyboard. Sometimes it is located under one of the feet that lift up. On some keyboards it is located on the top of keyboard, under the label.

After the obvious

Is anything on the keyboard working at all? I had a problem with my keyboard where the 'C' key would not function while the rest of the keyboard was fine. This was clear indication that I had to fix the keyboard rather than adapter.

If you are confident that it isn't a user or keyboard problem then you need to look at the adapter and console. Is everything plugged in? Are there any loose connections?

More technical

If that doesn't work then you are on to more technical problems. The problem may be one of the following: 1) Wrong type of Keyboard - is it an XT type keyboard? 2) Connectors for the Rave99 enhancement are loose? 3) Is your keyboard plugged in? 4) Console is damaged - let's hope not... 5) Rave99 is damaged - let's hope not..

What are the latest ROMs for the Rave99 Keyboard Enhancement?

Here are the roms that we know of:

1987 - v1.2x for U1&U2 
1988 - v1.3x for U1&U2 
1990 - v1.2x for U1&U2 
1992 - v1.2x for U1&U2

As you can see the revision go up and then down. The only thing we can think of is that there may have been problems with v1.3x and so they bump back down to v1.2x but this is only speculation at this point.

This material is taken from the FAQ which was contibuted in 2010 by mizapf.