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Matej

Open Source Atari XE keyboard (130XE/800XE style)

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I was amazed by various PC keyboard projects last days. They are mechanical with Cherry MX switches.

It is possible to make new PCB (no membrane) and use Cherry MX keys (gaming keyboard)??? Anyone good in electronic CAD here?

Also what exact type and manufacturer of connector (datasheet) is used for membrane pinout connector to atari motherboard???

 

PC custom PCB:

PCB%20Bottom.jpg

 

Cherry switch:

Cherry-Mx-Switch-for-Mechanical-font-b-K

 

DIY gaming keyboard:

Satan-GH60-PCB-White-Board-DIY-Mechanica

 

Final keyboard:

1F4NODP_-1280x960.jpg

Edited by Matej
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I would love to see a replacement original 800 keyboard made with cherry switches. The 800 keyboards are getting tougher to keep going and replacements are really pricey. Every 800 keyboard I've seen recently has some cracked posts and keys pop off easily. An 800 keyboard would be easier to design as well since you the function keys on the right are separate from the keyboard.

 

The best thing I did for my 130XE was get the XE-Touch replacement rubber cups for the keyboard from Best Electronics. It completely changes the feel of the keyboard immensely. The toughest part with designing a new keyboard for the XE would be the funky shaped function keys.

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Yes as musician I rather use emulator and TMC or MPT tracker. When you compose music you click 100 x per minute note and than delete... And down arrow. Simply mechanical keyboard will make sense to me. For tracking on real Atari. Or I can imagine that coders will love it too. And as you wrote I have buyed extra 2x defunct-broken Ataris just for keyboard fix... Thats expensive (when broken Atari costs 40Euro).

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looks cool.

very interested in this

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This is quite a coincidence as I was looking at Cherry switches myself a few days ago as I had the same idea. What I thought, though, is that the switches are too tall to be used in a standard Atari case so either it would have to be an external add-on or would need a new case design. I'm guessing there might be room in the older 800 though.

 

If you can make it work then I think you'd find quite a bit of interest, particularly for the XE as their keyboards are just crap.

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Your not the only one!, I came across this in my research!

 

http://www.wasdkeyboards.com/

 

I have been thinking in particular of alternative cases for MiST boards, one consideration is that a high quality keyboard in an XE case could still be used in an ST(e) setup - just allow for more function keys at the top - use a USB numpad if absolutely needed

 

This is quite a coincidence as I was looking at Cherry switches myself a few days ago as I had the same idea. What I thought, though, is that the switches are too tall to be used in a standard Atari case so either it would have to be an external add-on or would need a new case design. I'm guessing there might be room in the older 800 though.

 

If you can make it work then I think you'd find quite a bit of interest, particularly for the XE as their keyboards are just crap.

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Any updates on this new case and keyboard project? I've got a 130XE motherboard lying around in need of a case and keyboard, so definitely keen!

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I am very interested. My 65XE one is full of conductive paint to make it work. Any day it will stop working, and i'll need to put more paint to repair it. I will love to have proper keyboard for my computer.

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I've been looking at this myself.  I don't currently have an A8 computer, but have been looking to get back into it, I used to have a 600XL 256k, and a stock 130XE.  Does any one have any pictures of the keyboard that has been disassembled?

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   I came across this after fiddling with a flaky keyboard Mylar in my 130XE this weekend. I ran out of silver conductive paint and tried to use (tried being the operative word) a cheap conductive carbon pen. The carbon pen is a POS and I should’ve stopped while I was ahead. Cleaning up some of the mess also removed small portion of traces. The pen would only put ink out in blobs.
 

   This lead to me thinking about a better keyboard, without putting the Best rubber caps and a new Mylar in (which will happen next week, dreaming about a mechanical PS2 keyboard aside). It would seem that our options would be much better if we used one of the Transkey devices and modified an existing PS/2  keyboard of some design, in lieu of a completely bespoke design. I know the START/OPTION/SELECT/RESET keys would present a problem, but many (most?) of us are used to the PC keyboards function keys being used for those in Altirra. I bought several sets of the keyboard labels for both Atari and C64 machines some months back and they are decent enough for me. 

 

  I’m going to scour some PS/2 keyboard dimensions early this week and try to find something nominally smaller than the stock keyboard. Maybe a thin metal escutcheon could be fitted over the PS/2 keyboard and fitted into the 130XE case. A close friend owns a machine shop and would help me make the stand-offs & fitment odds and ends needed, as well bend the mild steel escutcheon in a brake. 
 

  In the meantime, I’ve got to order a Mylar from The Brewing Academy :) 

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