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ITRI

Taiwan

Contents

Overview

ITRI, the Industrial Technology Research Institute (工業技術研究院), is a not-for-profit research and development institution in Taiwan, founded in 1973. ITRI’s Computer and Communications Research Laboratories department (CCL, CCL/ITRI or ITRI/CCL) was involved with the keyboard manufacturing industry in Taiwan and they provided microcontroller-based keyboard encoders to numerous customers. Chicony report that ITRI assisted them in developing their keyboard products. These commercial services have since been discontinued and ITRI no longer admit to having ever offered such a service.

CCL/ITRI chips, likely manufactured by Taiwanese firm TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited), are cryptically branded with a logo not found in any IC logo databases; this logo, “IC” enclosed within a “C”, sometimes read as “CIC”, denotes CCL IC production. The proportions of the logo vary from chip to chip; four variations of the logo are show below, starting with the most common form:

Standard proportions
Wider
Skinny
Extra stretched

Products

As a Taiwanese organisation, ITRI served Taiwanese businesses. Confusingly, there is a Key Tronic keyboard with an ITRI encoder or microcontroller chip fitted. The Key Tronic keyboard was made in June 1982, and those logic chips with a readable date in the circuitry photograph are from 1982. It appears that the keyboard was later acquired and repurposed by way of a replacement chip from ITRI, in 1985 according to the date on the ITRI chip. The keyboard belonged to German collector Seebart, now presumed to have passed away. The exact operation of the keyboard is not clear; there is an EPROM-like chip on the PCB, suggesting that the ITRI chip is a ROM-less microcontroller. Unfortunately the EPROM-like chip is not labelled with a date, and the chip’s manufacture date is not legible in the photograph.

Keyboard encoders

CCL/ITRI chips appear be numbered sequentially, the numbers suggestive of ROM codes or mask numbers, rather than off-the-shelf part numbers. Their keyboard encoders are typically based around the 8049 microcontroller licensed from Intel; any encoder with a 1980 Intel copyright date is presumed to be 8049-based. The following examples are known, and are listed in manufacture date order:

Part number Customer code Presumed type Keyboard Chip date
C24411E CK-5151 Unidentified Key Tronic keyboard from June 1982 8549
C33106E DF-2100 “Star” Apple II clone keyboard (with keypad) 8523
C35152UE AX05 Monterey K7S (chip logo obscured and not verified) 8641
C35331E Microweb Touch-1 8722
CIC8039E 8039 ROM-less MCU Datacomp DFK777 (paired with an ST M2764AFI 64 KiB EPROM) 8735
C35402E AX007M 8049 MCU Tulip ATK 030244 (Monterey) 8805
C30112AE DY-7909-C 8049 MCU Unitek K-260 (Dah Yang) 9123
C30213AE RTC-C213 8049 MCU Rin-Teck RT-1000 9133
C30161AE NTC-6351A 8049 MCU NTC KB-6153EN 9202
C30401AE BTC7039B-2 8049 MCU BTC-5339R 9210
C32101AE FA 8049 MCU Brain KB-9001S 9416
C32321AE CHICONY VER-M, 105-08049-130 8049 MCU Unikey KB-7001 9506
C34341AE RCS 8049 MCU RCS KB-6368 9539
C34321AE SOFTkey-1 8049 MCU Tai-Hao Butterfly Keyboard 9543
C34221AE CHICONY VER-W, 105-08049-240 8049 MCU Unknown Chicony keyboard, Alps SKCM or SKBM 9548
C32341AE BTC A01-A, 1001000560 8049 MCU BTC 5139 9614
C32304AE MONTEREY, ANC88492 8049 MCU Monterey K110 9615
E34201AE STRONGMAN-ELEEN 8049 MCU Zebra SMK-8851 9619
E34521BE 8049 MCU Mitac 101 9644
C34451BE CHICONY VER-L, 105-08049-250 8049 MCU IBM KB-8926 (Chicony) 9742

Other parts

Very little is known of ITRI’s products. Other parts include:

Acknowledgements