Lynwood Alpha

The Lynwood Alpha dates from 1980. I first used one in 1987 and didn’t see one again until I “rescued” one from a truck, full of obsolete electronic equipment, in 2001. This one was a revision 4 model, from about 1982. It had had a hard life, with the cover having been removed to fit it into a rack. The insides revealed that it was powered by a Zilog Z8001 processor, although it was never going to work again, as the boards had been leaked onto by some NiCad batteries.

It has one of the largest terminal keyboards I've seen, again with a metal case, so that the keyboard alone weighs 4.3 kg, or about seven times the weight of my current PC wireless keyboard. There are plenty of custom keys on this terminal, as you can see from this diagram.

Lynwood Alpha keyboard

The keyboard houses a real 63 mm loudspeaker and a potentiometer knob protrudes from the back to control the volume. The connection to the terminal is with a 6-pin DIN socket. Two keys on the top row are missing, though the LEDs underneath are still present; I’ve shown these with hatching. I recall that there was a soft font creator built directly into the terminal’s firmware, which I assume it what the “RAM CH GEN” key was for. On the numeric keypad there are four keys with no legends; these are real keys, not dummies, but I have no idea whether they produce codes.