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I spent some good money and time getting my SE/30 uplifted and retrofitted for modern use. Both the motherboard, analog board and power-supply have been recapped, it has 32M RAM installed and a SCSI to CF adapter to ensure quiet operation and no surprise disk failures. The one failure I encountered was the keyboard and mouse. As well loved as the Apple mechanical ADB keyboards and squared, ball-mice were in the day, today they are nowhere as easy (on your fingers) to use as modern USB thin chiclet-key keyboards or a usb optical mouse.
The smaller SE-era Apple ADB keyboards are wonderful, but still require more finger pressure than modern keyboards due to the larger travel. Iused these a great deal in the 90’s and enjoyed them but as time has passed and more modern Macs have evolved with ever thinner and thinner keyboards and travel my tastes have changed with the times. I personally loved from the first moment the Apple chiclet style keyboards since they debuted on the original polycarbonate Apple MacBook. Going back from heavy daily use on these modern Apple keyboards to older ADB keyboards wasn’t a pleasant experience for me, but clearly many people enjoy these keyboards as there are adapters and projects to use them with modern USB computers. However– I was looking for the exact opposite type of conversion for my SE/30.
The best ADB keyboard, but still not the best keyboard.
Eventually one day my current ADB keyboard just died and Iâ€™ve was unable to use the SE/30. Looking around on eBay you will find most nice, clean ADB keyboards (pre-Apple extended keyboard) are around $30-$60 dollars. When shipping is factored in that is a fair bit of money for keyboards I don’t really enjoy using and are 30+ years old- and subject to breaking at any time. What I needed was a ADB to USB converter. After realizing that someone must have solved this problem I began to search for the product that I hoped was out there. I quickly found the WOMBAT (created by Big Mess O’ Wires) and ordered one. It arrived quickly and I eagerly plugged it in and attached an Apple external USB keyboard and mouse, and then booted the SE/30. It worked perfectly as designed and now my SE/30 is usable with modern USB keyboards and mice that allow me to type for extended periods without finger strain.
A wonderful, quiet, and easy to use keyboard.
And as a bonus the USB scroll wheel on the mouse seems to be mapped to the up and down keys and now you can do seamless scrolling in windows in OS 7.5… USB bus is also supported as you can plug the mouse into the keyboard ports if the keyboard has them- which is the only way to use the wombat without a small hub as it has a single USB-A port.
BMOW’s site (https://www.bigmessowires.com/usb-wombat/) has the wombat and now a case for it. It’s worth getting as usability insurance for any Apple ADB computer you want to keep using.
BMOW is also the creator of the FLOPPY-EMU – an amazing product that gives you a virtual floppy drive for Apple II, Mac and Lisa Computers.
I’m ordering the case and will post pictures here when it’s arrived.