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yorgle

8bit keyboard to pc potential

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Hm, that looks like it could work.

 

Probably not cheap to get them to do a custom version with the A8 keyboard matrix though (their site says "ask for a quote" for custom stuff).

 

I guess it'd be possible to use the standard unit and do a lot of rats' nest wiring to match the A8 matrix to the standard one on the $69 version...

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Hm, that looks like it could work.

 

Probably not cheap to get them to do a custom version with the A8 keyboard matrix though (their site says "ask for a quote" for custom stuff).

 

I guess it'd be possible to use the standard unit and do a lot of rats' nest wiring to match the A8 matrix to the standard one on the $69 version...

 

Just a question, why would you want to do this? Proof of concept of otherwise?

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Why? is a good question.

 

The number of keys barely covers the Ataris needs, let alone extras like Alt, Windows, F-keys, Page Up/Dn etc. that you need on a PC.

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Why, you ask? Just for the sake of doing it, I guess. I currently have my office pc hidden in a drawer and a 1200xl on my desk hooked to a LCD monitor. I use a wireless keyboard (also kept in a drawer out of site when not in use) and a wireless mouse for pc stuff. I can instantly flip the monitor input to Atari to work with my 1200xl. It would be great to be able to use the 1200xl keyboard for both. Special key functions that can't be accessed by mouse could be handled with the 1200xl's START, SELECT, OPTION F1-F4 and help keys.

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Just a question, why would you want to do this? Proof of concept of otherwise?

 

More realism when using an emulator? It'd be the keyboard version of the Stelladaptor...

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Progress Report. Phase 1 complete. Spent past three hours carefully tracing the mylar and pcb board circuits on a 1200xl keyboard. Created a matrix from 22 points on the pcb where connections can be made which will bypass the stock encoder chips for connection to the new encoder board while leaving the stock encoder circuit intact. (allowing use as either 1200xl or pc). The cool thing is that I will be able to use all of the silver keys for PC specific keys.

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Progress Report. Phase 1 complete. Spent past three hours carefully tracing the mylar and pcb board circuits on a 1200xl keyboard. Created a matrix from 22 points on the pcb where connections can be made which will bypass the stock encoder chips for connection to the new encoder board while leaving the stock encoder circuit intact. (allowing use as either 1200xl or pc). The cool thing is that I will be able to use all of the silver keys for PC specific keys.

That sounds very cool, please keep me up to date of progress, I may be interested in one for myself if it is fairly plug and play.

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Progress Report. Phase 1 complete. Spent past three hours carefully tracing the mylar and pcb board circuits on a 1200xl keyboard. Created a matrix from 22 points on the pcb where connections can be made which will bypass the stock encoder chips for connection to the new encoder board while leaving the stock encoder circuit intact. (allowing use as either 1200xl or pc). The cool thing is that I will be able to use all of the silver keys for PC specific keys.

That sounds very cool, please keep me up to date of progress, I may be interested in one for myself if it is fairly plug and play.

 

The mod does involve soldering ribbon cable to 22 points on the 1200xl keyboard pcb, but all points are accessible without disassembling the keyboard. I'll keep posting here as I go forward.

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think I can manage that, so did you buy the board already?

 

Not yet. I pulled apart an old pc keyboard thinking I could maybe match up the matrices but I don't think it will work. Always rule out the free options first, I say.

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Progress Report: After spending a while mapping out the matrix of the pc keyboard I murdered for its encoder circuit, I decided to abandon the "cheap" approach and order a programmable encoder. The pc matrix stored in the pc encoder differs from the 1200xl matrix enough as would require an incredible amount of wiring to match the two matrices. I briefly thought about designing some sort of translator circuit that would go between the Atari keyboard and the pc encoder, but then thought, why add another step. The other advantages of the programmable encoder would be that everything would be on one pcb and also that it would allow changing the pc layout of the keys to come up with the most efficient arrangement.

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I had a similar post a few months ago.

 

It just occurred to me that a quick kludge could probably be used with this product made for the Newton.

 

It would involve a handler tweak to allow keyboard input to go to serial data, but it would be a lot less mucking about than the gazillion solder points previously considered.

 

Worth a try, since it is very inexpensive.

 

 

L8R.

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Upon closer inspection of the documentation, the above listed "WriteHere" software uses a small client program.

 

If you have either a Palm or a Newton available, you could use an RS-232 sniffer to find out what is going on, in the communication line, to reverse-engineer it for the Atari. Worth a try to test the free trial download package's I/O.

 

If anybody tries this out, do post your results!

 

 

L8R.

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Progress Report: Connected ribbon cable to the Atari keyboard pcb in preparation for the arrival of the programmable encoder which should be here tomorrow. For posterity, I took pictures as I went along. Reconnected keyboard to 1200xl and tested. Works fine. I then went through the keyboard test checking each key by connecting the corresponding ribbon cable wires according to my matrix to be sure I got all connections correct. Amazingly, I got everything right.

 

Tomorrow I'll have to locate a suitable place inside the 1200xl case for the encoder to live and find a place to mount a ps/2 connector that won't require cutting up the case.

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Progress report: The programmable endoder arrived today. Hooked everything up and programmed the Atari matrix. IT WORKS! The programming software that came with the encoder makes it fast and easy to alter the keyboard layout. The only glitch so far is that the keyboard won't work with my PC when connected to the 1200xl, even with the xl's power off. Time to pull out the schematics and see what's happening with the connector in place. I may have to put a small switch somewhere to flip between Atari and PC.

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Testing... testing... 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0. Hey folks, this message is being typed on a genuine 1200xl keyboard. So far, so good. Still need to figure out a way of disconnecting the Atari from the keyboard when using the PC (without having to pull apart the case). The two don't seem willing to share a keyboard.

 

All major pc function keys are present, e.g. alt end pageup page down etc. F1 thru f4 still contol cursor functions just like original (although I may change that). A few keys are different, for example, the @ is above the 2 instead of the 8. There are a few ghosts present, so far only two that I've found: o followed too quickly by a u or f will give some ghost characters. At my typing speed, it's not much of a problem. Will post pics after I figure out the switch issue.

 

EDT: I figured it out. All that needs to be done is run a spst switch (I'm going to try to use the channel select switch) inline on at pin 14 of the keyboard connector to break the ground when using the pc.

Edited by yorgle

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Testing... testing... 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0. Hey folks, this message is being typed on a genuine 1200xl keyboard. So far, so good. Still need to figure out a way of disconnecting the Atari from the keyboard when using the PC (without having to pull apart the case). The two don't seem willing to share a keyboard.

 

All major pc function keys are present, e.g. alt end pageup page down etc. F1 thru f4 still contol cursor functions just like original (although I may change that). A few keys are different, for example, the @ is above the 2 instead of the 8. There are a few ghosts present, so far only two that I've found: o followed too quickly by a u or f will give some ghost characters. At my typing speed, it's not much of a problem. Will post pics after I figure out the switch issue.

 

EDT: I figured it out. All that needs to be done is run a spst switch (I'm going to try to use the channel select switch) inline on at pin 14 of the keyboard connector to break the ground when using the pc.

 

Awesome!

 

Stephen Anderson

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Oh SWEET!

 

I'd love to one day finish my 1200XL epia PC with a genuine 1200 keyboard and rip out the laptop keyboard!

I've been buying all the 1200XL cases I can find out of pure aesthetic love. :)

 

I think the 600XL would be an incredible candidate as well due to the small footprint.

 

Oh how I would buy pre modded keyboard kits if you were selling them!

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The Hagstrom programming tool is great. I love being able to save variations of keyboard layout and simply pull them up whenever I want. The one limitation I have found is that you cannot reprogram shift functions separately from regular key functions, for example, you can't program shift8 to give you an ampersand instead of an asterisk. You're stuck (at least it appears so to me so far) that you're stuck with standard pc keyboard key combinations.

 

Noelio: I doubt I'd ever sell a kit, but I'm in the process of doing a how-to write up that I'll post here for all who might be interested. There are still some minor issues to iron out (e.g., not sure why the Atari has to be powered on for the Hagstrom to work) but someone here might even figure such bugs out. I agree that a 600xl would be a good candidate for this project because of its small size, but the advantage of using a 1200xl is that you have the 11 silver keys that you can program with pc specific stuff. Since I want to use mine for everyday wordprocessing, I really wanted as much of the pc keyboard accessible as possible.

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You ever going to post a "how to" on this? I'd be very interested in getting this to work myself :)

 

It's on my to do list- I'll try to get to it tomorrow morning.

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