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Atari keyboard to USB

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First of all picking a keyboard from an XE would be the worst possible choice. If you're going to do this at least base it on a decent keyboard to begin with (800 or 1200XL). just my 2 cents on that.

 

At one time I was experimenting with a very inexpensive PIC chip that had built-in USB support. I was able to get it to reliably send key presses to a PC, which is over half the battle. Somewhere I still have the code that did that. Anyway the only thing left to do would be to interface with the mechanical keyboard matrix and decode what's coming in, as well as properly de-bounce the keys. This would be the other half of the equation. Maybe sometime down the road I'll re-look at that and play around with the idea. But before I can, I have some other promises that need to be fulfilled.

 

Also what would be the preferred key mapping for things like the console keys. I'll assume something that matches Altirra.

 

Could be a fun project :) .

 

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I can think of a 'dumb' way to do it. Get a cheapo USB PC keyboard, use
the 'brain' from it, just wire the Atari keyboard so the columns/rows
connect where the original keyboard's columns/rows went. The keymap will
be totally wrong, but every modern OS lets you remap the keyboard.

The hardest part of that (to me anyway) would be the mechanical part:
mounting the Atari keyboard inside the modern keyboard's case so it looks
nice. Someone good at mechanical stuff could make a new case for it...

Maybe you'd want to use a 1200XL keyboard, since it has more keys...
And/or mount the guts of a CX-85 where the PC keyboard's numeric keypad
would go.

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Why reinvent the wheel?  Use a standard SIO 2 PC type device, create a HID driver for the PC, and write software to run on the Atari which sends those keypresses over SIO.

 

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1 hour ago, David_P said:

Why reinvent the wheel?  Use a standard SIO 2 PC type device, create a HID driver for the PC, and write software to run on the Atari which sends those keypresses over SIO.

 

that's how the critical connection does it.

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On 8/9/2019 at 1:06 PM, Larry said:

 

He wrote to me saying that he was unable to find a suitable source for the mylar keyboard connector for his device.  He also had some issues with customers who had difficulty in attaching the mylar to the connector that he used.  He has stopped making them now.  Sounded pretty final.  :(

Rats!

Revisiting this older post.

 

I found this article which may be helpful:

 

http://blog.pixelpracht.net/?p=710

 

I've used a Teensy controller to interface a Tandy Coco 3 keyboard to use as a USB device for a Raspberry Pi.  This was based on an older article I saw doing the same for a Commodore 64 keyboard.

 

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On 8/9/2019 at 1:06 PM, Larry said:

 

He wrote to me saying that he was unable to find a suitable source for the mylar keyboard connector for his device.  He also had some issues with customers who had difficulty in attaching the mylar to the connector that he used.  He has stopped making them now.  Sounded pretty final.  :(

Rats!

Maybe you could ask him if he would consider releasing the schematic and source code for it if he has abandoned the project. Looking at the board it looks like it's using the same microcontroller as the Teensy2.0, it's probably a custom one of those that connected directly to the keyboard ribbon.

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2 hours ago, Mr Robot said:

Maybe you could ask him if he would consider releasing the schematic and source code for it if he has abandoned the project. Looking at the board it looks like it's using the same microcontroller as the Teensy2.0, it's probably a custom one of those that connected directly to the keyboard ribbon.

I would be interested in one or two of these adapters if anyone decides to make them.

 

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On 10/3/2019 at 1:47 PM, mr_gw454 said:

Revisiting this older post.

 

I found this article which may be helpful:

 

http://blog.pixelpracht.net/?p=710

 

I've used a Teensy controller to interface a Tandy Coco 3 keyboard to use as a USB device for a Raspberry Pi.  This was based on an older article I saw doing the same for a Commodore 64 keyboard.

 

I have a parts 800XL that the link you provided would be awesome for!

 

One of my CoCo would like something like you made, too.

 

Ed Snider’s mechanical CoCo keyboard looks sooooooo sweet, too!

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I briefly scanned this thread (again) and didn't see anything about using it with an emulator.  Could Altirra be revised slightly to accept the keyboard input from a real Atari?  That would be wonderful! Retro Pie? MIST? etc.  Looks like there could be several retro uses for such a device.

 

 

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