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We have a bunch of kiosks deployed into let's just say... abusive environments. The enclosures we had built are tough as nails, and the HP thin client computers are working great. The keyboards that were purchased for the project have been nothing but problems. They're a generic brand direct from a Chinese manufacturer. They're stainless steel with keys mounted from the inside and a trackball, but they've been deployed for only a month and nearly 20% of them are already out of service due to keys sticking, keys not working, trackball problems, water damage, and a variety of other issues.

Are there any kiosk keyboards that can take a beating without breaking so easily? Ideally they should be tamper-proof (keys can't be removed), waterproof, lettering should be engraved into the keys, trackball, option for a single mouse button would be nice, and some protection to keep debris out of the keys so they don't stick (sticky cleaners, food debris, etc.). Does such a beast exist? Everything we've looked at is susceptible to easy damage. We need the M1 Abrams Tank of keyboards. Any suggestions?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

As a follow-up to this, we eventually found the Q9000B from Operator Interface Technology. It's built like a tank and includes a lot of programmable options to disable the right-click button and other special keys. They have models with a trackball, trackpad, or their custom 8-way rocker switch to control the mouse. The construction of the keyboard is very high quality all around and I look forward to using it in our future kiosk deployments.

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I suggest you start looking to machinery manufacturers for suitable supplies. I've seen some very rugged keyboards and other devices built into a variety of computerised machines, from stand-alone hydraulic presses to automotive production lines. Perhaps if you contact those companies that produce such machinery they can point you towards their sources.

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Thanks John, we may have to do something like that. We looked at the types of things used by places like McDonalds that can take a lot of continual use but they rely on thin plastic overlays which can be easily torn off, cut, ripped, etc. and wouldn't last long out in public. We may just have to go the ultra-rugged route or try to roll our own at some point. –  Justin Scott Dec 30 '10 at 19:58
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protected by splattne Dec 23 '11 at 7:44

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