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Possible to use t61 to control p50 via remote desktop or some other method?

T60/T61 series specific matters only
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andre#4
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Possible to use t61 to control p50 via remote desktop or some other method?

#1 Post by andre#4 » Fri Apr 17, 2020 8:52 pm

I didn't know where to post this question. I recently got a brand new (never used) p50 thinkpad for the purpose of creating and editing extensive video files.

have a couple questions about how to either add a different keyboard and screen, or do remote desktop and control it from another machine. I've tried to keep my question short by putting most of it above the dotted line, and if you want to read my ideas about it see below the line.

At first I was amazed at the quality of the machine (it won't bend even slightly!) the amazing 4k ips screen, incredible specs compared to my t61p (64GB ram, the p50 has more ram than my t61 has ssd capacity!), (trying hard to forgive or ignore the flawed screen shape of the p50) but when I tried to type on it I'm down from 100 words per minute on the t61p, to 15 wpm on p50. The keys on the board are incorrectly shaped, the edges are the highest points of each key instead of the lowest point! They seem to have been installed upside down. It's like making a car with square wheels. Also the screen seems to give me headache. SO I'd like to either buy and connect an older thinkpad USB keyboard to it with built in trackpoint, and use an external monitor, or

Perhaps it is possible to use t61 to control p50 via remote desktop or some other method?

For the remote desktop method I would be willing to put win10 on the t61 if necessary.



For more elaborate details about the problem, see below the line:
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I am interested in any advice on any of these ideas or other possible answers. I can't type on that p50. I feel with this "upgrade" that I have traded in a Rolls Royce with 200 horsepower for a Chevy with 2,000 horsepower. Besides the keyboard being lousy, the left and right trackpoint buttons are also very poor, they only work reliably if pressed very hard (or multiple times) or pressed dead center. On the t61, I can press any key at any point on it's surface and it works equally well (and better than the newer machine does under ideal conditions).

I also noticed that microsoft sells tablets with 3:2 screens and they are usable as external monitors for any computer, and they are only about a quarter inch thick, so I could attach that tablet right in front of the screen of the p50 to fix the screen headache problem, and if the old thinkpad usb keyboards will function on a modern win10 p50, that old keyboard could sit right on top of that terrible p50 keyboard. I'm not sure if the drivers will work in win 10, as those keyboards have a mouse driver which has trouble sometimes with the middle scroll button on some new OSs.

Alternatively, I found IBM has server keyboards (which look identical to thinkpad usb external keyboards, with trackpoint and trackpad), but instead of a USB interface they have PS2 cables, one for mouse and one for keyboard. I thought perhaps this keyboard would work without a special driver, hoping that somewhere inside the p50 was a legacy for ps2 connections. I have heard of folks having good luck with ps2 to usb adapters, and putting ancient (even 1980s vintage) ps2 mice and keyboards on to new machines without any drivers. If anyone can help, please do. It's a strange conflict, as I have a love for thinkpads, and a love for brand new machines, too, with their pristine condition and soft feel, and new computer smell. It's a shame not to be able to use it, and I must use it for business. If it turns out that the accessory keyboards won't work with this machine, I will actually remove each key from an old t61 and attach each key with double sided 3m tape onto the chicklets of the p50. Hopefully hat will fix 90% of the trouble with the keyboard. For the screen maybe I can turn the brightness all the way up, and then find a film of dark window tint to put in front of it, maybe then it will be dim enough not to blind me, but not give me a headache from the pulsing of the dimmer. If that is what was causing the headache to begin with I don't know.

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Re: Possible to use t61 to control p50 via remote desktop or some other method?

#2 Post by RealBlackStuff » Sat Apr 18, 2020 2:18 am

PS/2 to USB is no problem, see e.g. this: https://www.ebay.com/itm/302472433332
Possibly the refresh rate of that screen can be changed somewhere in the Display settings.
And an external screen should be no problem either.

OT: I'm a retired IBM mainframe programmer, but I have never learned to type with more than 2 fingers.
There was no "need for speed" there either.
In the 'old' days I used mostly Assembler and Cobol, which required very few words to accomplish a heck of a lot, compared to the ridiculously overblown 'flowery' programming languages they use nowadays.
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Re: Possible to use t61 to control p50 via remote desktop or some other method?

#3 Post by dr_st » Sat Apr 18, 2020 5:08 am

RealBlackStuff wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 2:18 am
PS/2 to USB is no problem, see e.g. this: https://www.ebay.com/itm/302472433332
This is just a plug adapter, not a converter. It will not work unless the keyboard knows how to talk USB. Most PS/2 only keyboards cannot talk USB.

Unless one already has the PS/2 keyboard of their dreams, it is better to just buy a good USB keyboard.
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Re: Possible to use t61 to control p50 via remote desktop or some other method?

#4 Post by f1reverb » Wed Apr 29, 2020 11:55 am

I use UltraNav PS2 Travel Keyboards with all my Thinkpads and my homebuilt desktops. Model SK-8840 via an ACTIVE PS2 to USB adapter. The only issue is that the trackpad is always active too, but I use a (cut to fit the actual trackpad) felt piece to block the trackpad, which is the only material that I've found to block the capacitance.

I have fourteen of the 8840 units, and one of the USB versions. I bought case of ten new ones about 10 years ago off ebay for 150 bucks, and I had earlier purchased four new ones for 17 bucks each. 12 are still brand new in the box. I can also use IBM M13 trackpoint keyboards with them, but I decided that I like the 8840 better, so the M13s are still new in the box, two black and one industrial green. I am anal about my keyboards. There is a procedure using the old UltraNav USB drivers so they work with full functionality on the desktops. I use the 8840 with all my Thinkpads, R52/Z60t/T61/T410/T420/W540/P50 and one of the AMD Thinkpads whose model I forget. No driver's needed on the Thinkpads. Oh yeah, I have a correcting Selectric too.

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Re: Possible to use t61 to control p50 via remote desktop or some other method?

#5 Post by f1reverb » Wed Apr 29, 2020 1:16 pm

Here's a link to the procedure to get the SK-8840 to work with any desktop. The thread is from 2009.

https://forums.lenovo.com/t5/Options-Ac ... td-p/96230

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Re: Possible to use t61 to control p50 via remote desktop or some other method?

#6 Post by RealBlackStuff » Thu Apr 30, 2020 1:49 am

You're sitting on a small fortune!
SK-8840 on eBay, asking price US $249.99
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Re: Possible to use t61 to control p50 via remote desktop or some other method?

#7 Post by f1reverb » Thu Apr 30, 2020 11:29 am

Nah. What I'm sitting on is having great keyboards until I kick the bucket. 250 buck is a full gouge. If you really wanted it from that person, offer 'em a max of a hundred bucks, and even that is high today.

I haven't had the slightest problem with the 8840, other than one I experimented with to see if I could cut a trace or somehow disable the trackpad permanently. I knocked it off my desk and tore the ribbon cables in half, so I just use that one for parts, and I've only needed one of the rubber feet that I somehow lost.

The USB version, the 8845, does not function any different than the 8840, so there is no advantage to it over using an active ps2>usb adapter with the 8840. The 8840 is light and easy to pack with a Thinkpad, and then you don't wear out the keyboard and palmrest on the Thinkpad. I'm typing on the 8840 right now plugged-in to a T410.

Using the 8840 with a desktop I can disable the trackpad with the UltraNav software, but not on the Thinkpads, so that's why I use the felt on the pad, stuck on with some double-sided gum tape from Harbor Freight. When you remove the felt you can just roll the gum off and the pad is still like new. The thin felt is used for speaker cabinet backing and for five bucks I got enough to make thousands of pad covers. The 8840 trackpad buttons are disabled with the desktops using the UltraNav software to disable the trackpad, and I prefer the felt cover as I like having the pad buttons usable on the Thinkpads.

Keep an eye out on ebay, or a saved search and you'll find you could get an 8840 these days for fifty bucks or less.

Jay

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Re: Possible to use t61 to control p50 via remote desktop or some other method?

#8 Post by RealBlackStuff » Thu Apr 30, 2020 11:23 pm

I'd be interested to know which KB they used in the SK-8840.
They look like T4x/R5x Series.
Since you have one for parts, some forum member is looking for a key replacement: viewtopic.php?f=18&t=130530
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Re: Possible to use t61 to control p50 via remote desktop or some other method?

#9 Post by f1reverb » Fri May 01, 2020 10:13 pm

The parts are for me, not for thee.

But a quick search on ebay yields many persons selling keys of that vintage, for example:

IBM Laptop Keyboard KEY Keys Thinkpad X40 X41 Tablet

https://www.ebay.com/itm/IBM-Laptop-Key ... xyuGFRzxRl

I believe an X40/41 should have the same keys as T40-43. I could be wrong.

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Re: Possible to use t61 to control p50 via remote desktop or some other method?

#10 Post by MikalE » Sat May 02, 2020 5:45 am

dr_st wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 5:08 am
RealBlackStuff wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 2:18 am
PS/2 to USB is no problem, see e.g. this: https://www.ebay.com/itm/302472433332
This is just a plug adapter, not a converter. It will not work unless the keyboard knows how to talk USB. Most PS/2 only keyboards cannot talk USB.

Unless one already has the PS/2 keyboard of their dreams, it is better to just buy a good USB keyboard.

I'm using a Model M IBM keyboard with a USB converter on a T510. No problems in over four years.
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Re: Possible to use t61 to control p50 via remote desktop or some other method?

#11 Post by axur-delmeria » Sat May 02, 2020 8:14 am

MikalE wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 5:45 am
dr_st wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 5:08 am
This is just a plug adapter, not a converter. It will not work unless the keyboard knows how to talk USB. Most PS/2 only keyboards cannot talk USB.

Unless one already has the PS/2 keyboard of their dreams, it is better to just buy a good USB keyboard.
I'm using a Model M IBM keyboard with a USB converter on a T510. No problems in over four years.
That's not the point. The issue pointed out by dr_st is that the ebay item linked by RBS is not a proper USB to PS/2 converter, but a passive physical adapter--meaning the USB data pins are wired directly to the PS/2 port without any conversion. It only works with a keyboard or mouse that's designed to autodetect the incoming signal and switch between USB and PS/2 signalling as needed.

If you use it with a PS/2-only device like the IBM Model M, you're bound to damage either the keyboard, the USB port, or both. :cry:
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