The SparcStation 1+ is still pulling its weird “Illegal Instruction” error, but at least now we know the keyboard works.

When a friend picked up the keyboards from the local classifieds, the seller gave him two (plus a Sun SCSI cable). One keyboard had a missing “D” key, and the other keyboard had a number of problems. Neither of its shift keys seemed to work, and the return key didn’t work either.

Bridging the contacts of the missing “D” key’s switch with a pair of tweezers seemed to make the keyboard type “D,” so it was obviously working besides missing the key. I swapped in the “D” key from the no-shift-or-return keyboard, and now I have what appears to be a 100% working Sun keyboard. I’m guessing the other keyboard has a broken trace of some kind in the matrix, which is a problem for another day.

Even with a working keyboard, the following boot commands all appear to do nothing and then return “Illegal Instruction,” like in the previous entry:

  • boot sd(), the reason I had to replace the “D” key
  • boot
  • boot net
  • boot floppy
  • boot cdrom

Making an OpenBSD boot floppy showed that eject-floppy worked to automatically eject the floppy disk, but boot floppy didn’t make the floppy drive even attempt to read the disk. It stands to reason that something higher up than the actual hardware is bad, and we already know the PROM battery is dead…

My next step will be to fix the dead PROM chip, probably with an external battery holder, and then see if it will work afterward. Reportedly, set-defaults requires a full power cycle to really “take,” so it is very likely that some part of the PROM configuration is corrupt without it.