IBM Model M122 “battlecruiser” keyboard review (buckling springs)

Skip to 9:53 for a typing demonstration.
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I’m Thomas and I do keyboard videos and reviews. Today we look at the IBM M122 battlecruiser keyboard. Definitely quite the thing to have on your desk.

The practice sentence was: “Hello my name is Thomas and I’m typing on an IBM M122 right now. A cool board that’s definitely withstood the test of time, this definitely has that je ne sais quoi about it.”


hugo quelquechosecommeca says:

ahahah one week after i grab azerty one !! good project ! i just fall in love in tis keyboard

Philip Alexander Hassialis says:

“je ne sai quois”…. 🙂

Just Another GAYmer. says:

I have been thinking about picking one of these up as a way to both fill the buckling spring gap and full size (or more) gap in my collection. It does look _very_ nice.

No. says:

The large keyboards like these need a comeback.

Nicholas DeLessio says:

As someone who works with legacy IBM midrange terminals, I can identify what about half of those buttons do.

Link to what an example screen looks like:

– Field Exit (or field escape) just takes the cursor out of any field on the page. If you enter invalid input into a field and an error pops up, you need to do a field exit before you can try to enter data again.

– The F13-F24 keys are actually used. Their use varies between programs, but commonly F16 is a text search function, F20-21 scroll horizontally, F23 rolls through context menus (the numbers on the top in the example), and F24 rolls through function menus (the Fkey functions on the bottom.)

– I’ve never used reset, but it likely just clears all of the fields on the page.

– Play, setup, record are for macro functions.

– Erinp erases the input in the current field I believe (erase input.)

– Attn brings up current system messages directed to the signed on user.

– Help brings up… a help menu (duh). Usually doubled by F1 these days since most keyboards don’t have that key. Can’t say exactly what hex does.

– Interestingly, SysRq actually does something. It brings up a sort of task manager menu that allows you to do basic things like end your current program, dump information, sign off, and see what files your current program is using.


Sounds so nice.

speedkicking is dumb and i don't understand it says:


Invidious Ignoramus says:

Chyro, do you have any idea what Unsavers tend to run for?

Portland One says:

This is my daily driver keyboard and I use the same Soarer’s Converter. I love how the reprogramming of the key layout follows the keyboard, not the computer.


SN NF says:

Already, one thumbs down. I wonder why. I haven’t watched the whole review yet, but I already know it’s good.

pkrissz says:

Typing from this (nutmodded) keyboard right now. Can confirm, fought a dozens of zombies with it successfully. Also Olihalcon’s converters might seem a bit expensive at first, but they make your life so much easier. Can’t recommend it enough. Thanks for the review btw, it’s amazing.

Alrrome 111 says:

i like the sound of the keys of your intro is satyisfying

Maciej Pociecha says:

So do we call the 101 key terminal model the “cruiser?” Sounds bit pervy…

PS. 1392595 terminals are ansi
PPS. If you use the recommended adapter (or any other soarer’s based adapter) with a 101 terminal model, you need to add the following to your .sc file; it will detect it as a 122 key model otherwise.

layer 0


#Nav block fix


#extra numpad button assigned to function key


Austin Pratt says:

You should try to get your hands on a 107 key Model F from the 4704 terminal. Since it has a cast zinc case, the full board weighs almost exactly 10 lbs, or 4.5 kg.

Sarreq Teryx says:

would you be into doing a tutorial on how to flash the protocol convertors? Ori’s description says to use Soarer’s scripting to create the layouts, but then I haven’t been able to find how to actually upload it to Ori’s dongles. assuming they use soarer’s software entirely, what µcontroller .hex do I use?

Rom Hook says:

The PBT space bar on my model m also has grounding wire.

William Murray says:

From now on, you need to have a section in every keyboard review that talks about its battle readiness.

Jesse H. says:

HOLY SHIT he’s pressing the spacebar with his thumb! Hell freezes! Pigs fly! And I just lost a bet with myself 😉

Arsh Mirza says:

I don’t know why you dislike ANSI. Being from Asia, ANSI is a blessing. The “big-ass” enter key shortens the backspace to just one unit.
Nice work tho, I really enjoy these videos even though I can never get my hands on one of these in India

Svetoslav Ivanov says:

I wish I had suck recycling centers in my country 🙂

Flynn Kelsey says:

Not sure if this is the first time I have heard you compare IBM’s keyboards to weapons, but it is definitely the most detailed comparison.

Awesome video, as usual!

Ramon Ochoa says:

My daily work keyboard is the Unicomp Battlecruiser 122 USB like the one shown in the clip. I chose the model with the Windows key in the lower left as I switch back an forth between Windows and Mac quite a bit and it’s the Command key in Mac OS. As big as the keyboard is, it’s no where near as loud as my two other Unicomps, a 103 key for Windows and Spacesaver M for Mac that I use at home.

russianhackee says:

I think I just found my new ASMR channel 8)

Miguel Farah says:

Good video; I specially liked that you took the time to properly distinguish “battleship” from “battlecruiser”. Just one caveat: I wouldn’t call orihalcon’s converters “expensive”, being what they actually are (an active converter instead of a passive adapter).

John Matthias says:

Have you tried a buckling spring anti-ping mod? The one I saw used something like floss in the spring to lower the ping level a notch or two.

Casey Kelley says:

Do you ever sell any of your collection?

MrAntonov225 says:

I recently used one of the Orihalcon’s PCB controllers to convert my IBM 5251 to usb. Great stuff!

hugo quelquechosecommeca says:

anyone have an idea for put scoll lock number lock and caps lock led in him ? i see photo to proof it’s possible but i didn’t see thee pinout for the connection

y11971alex says:

But the F122’s case might shatter if it touches a zombie.

Oxygenic says:

Have you considered using that voice of yours for doing audio books or similar?
I kid you not – you have the perfect voice for this.

Anyway – thanks yet again, for a great video. Very nostalgic for me! 🙂

alexeiz says:

Do I see a SysRq button in the upper left corner? I wonder if it did anything back then.

Lazarus Long says:

These things are practically made for the converters; Orihalcon’s units address every problem of layout when you consider the inbuilt modularity of the 2-part keycaps. I’m using a 122-key F and I put escape to the left of 1, where it belongs (goddamn it spoils you even for the 102-key Ms!), made the blank keys do the locks & System Request. I for one favor the cross-nav.

Arnav Bhatt says:

Hello sir, when I started watching your videos, I got interested in mechanical keyboard. So I started looking for it . But, I got a genuine Cherry MX blue switch keyboard only for 38$!!!
Tvse Gold Usb Bharat Keyboard wwwamazonin/dp/B00U126ZGA/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_hCv8zbFXQ6VP3 (Didn’t put dots so that I wouldn’t be in spam section)
So please take a look to it.

Riflemanm16a2 says:

“I reckon” counter: 3.

Symplesy says:

Somehow, the oval logo looks better to me than the square on the larger terminal keyboards. Usually though, I prefer the square badge. Also, that f122 din connector is so awesome.

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