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Matej

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

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21 hours ago, gianlucarenzi said:

What is TK-II/AKI?

TK-II is a Atari->PS/2 keyboard Adapter designed by @mytek and sold by @MacRorie, AKI is a similar thing sold by @lotharek

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Anyway I know about WASD, I had a 104 keys ANSI with Amiga keys from them. USD $170. It's a very good mechanical keyboard. This is why I am planning to build custom keycaps and keycaps printing of the legends using a Cherry MX swtich and a custom PCB board for:

WASD will print sets of custom keycaps (they also do singles) https://www.wasdkeyboards.com/products/keycaps.html

 

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1- Replacing the original ATARI XE keyboard with PCB + KEYCAPS + FUNCTION KEYS

2- Building with the same KEYCAPS + PCB + USB MCU + OTHER KEYS (like config, speedup, loader... What else? I am open to suggestions... 3/4 keys are welcomed)

3- Having the KEYCAPS only to replace some already existing PC KEYBOARD CAPS. The main issue here is the size of some keys (Left Shift, Right Shift, Caps, Return and __SPACE__ ) are not standard for keyboards nowadays. No mention about the legends...

Doing all stuff with WASD keyboard is very expensive and somehow not practical as they do not have spacebar 6U, 7U or 9U (as the original one) but only 6.25U. So you will need to have some weird in size keys lateral to fill in the gap to have a 9U spacebar. Like 1.5U + 6.25U + 1.25U... 😕

No mention about their price for each printing...

I've never asked them if they sell the odd sizes but I know those sizes are still made, its just a matter of asking WASD to get them for a specific order. It's worth asking them, especially if you are planning to make a bunch of these things.

 

There are lots of Chinese keycap manufacturers on Alibaba who will probably be cheaper than WASD, will make you custom sets that don't need any odd sizes, and they may even do pad printing for the keycaps if you want a large enough quantity

 

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My goal will be to achieve all keycaps for small quantity (like 50 or 100 sets) under the 50 EUR mark. (55/60 USD)...

Sounds about the right price point for an XE drop-in, I would expect that to be more expensive for a USB PC replacement (more hardware/custom case)

 

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Who want to join the ride?

 

I hope I was clear.

Yes I'm interested in this, as I expect will every 1088XEL/XLD/NUC+/Eclaire/Mist owner.

 

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I've asked WASD the custom keyboard layout. They told me, for some keys there is no problem, for other they are customizable only for VERY BIG Quantity (MOQ 2000 pcs/lot) because of the cost of the mould (the keycap will be Double-shot type expecially the dark brown ones (Atari 800 and XL Styles)) so I have only ONE OPTION:

- The keycaps must be for XE Line (White/Cream with Dark Grey/Black Legends), and NO WAY TO HAVE BIG SPACEBAR (9U) from them.

So, I have a couple of companies interested in this project, but they need MOQ (100/200 pcs).

 

BUT MY GOAL IS:

1- Have a DROP-IN replacement for XE Line of computer with custom keycaps and legends

2- Build a PC USB keyboard using the same keycaps + some more keys usable with emulators (tell me which keys and how many) because I am start designing an USB XE Style keyboard case.

3- If some hacker need only custom keycaps for his/her project all keycaps are ready.

 

At the moment this dream need 100 sets (at least) of keycaps for XE Line. I am building the PCB for (1) & (2) with mechanical switches and maybe at the end of october I will have some pieces. If this project will reach the MOQ for keycaps I will try to start the first production run for XE style stuff. When done, if there will be enough request for 800/XL style I can ask for how much for the new keycaps. They do not to be DYE-SUBLIMATED legends, but due to the color they need DoubleShot or Laser engraved (I will see...). But the production run will be MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE (anyway I am lucky enough to live close to https://matt3o.com so I can arrange a meeting with him within December, so I can tell you something more about XL/800 keycaps, so do not hold your breath)...

 

(A) ATARI XE KEYBOARD REPLACEMENT (130 EUR circa):

1 - The Keyboard PCB + Cherry MX switches + electronics needed to use it into XE line will be around 70 EUR.

2 - The Keycaps for this will be around 50/60 EUR Mark

 

(B) ATARI XE KEYBOARD USB (135 EUR + the 3D Print of the case [maybe someone knows how much it will cost?? 30 EUR???])

1- as (1) above + 4/5 euros for an Arduino UNO type of board for USB HID conversion

2- as (2) above

3- the 3D Printed XE Keyboard Case for this project (Q: Someone with Blender/Cura for 3D Design or knowledge for designing this piece of art?? I will be glad to pay him with a complete Keyboard!!) and her/his name should be printed inside the case (like Amiga 1000 engineers!)

 

(C) ATARI XE KEYCAPS ONLY (50/60 EUR)

1- as (2) above

 

So now, you have a price-range information to think about.

 

My email is: [email protected]

 

Please feel free to contact me _ONLY_ if you are interested in (A), (B) or (C). After reaching the 100 preorders I will e-mail you back the way to pay for this project.

So I know it's not very cheap, but if you are looking at the mechanical keyboard world we are in a mid-range price...

But best of all IT IS UNIQUE.

 

Regards,

Gianluca

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I've already done the schematic for the XL keyboard (not XE)

1085568386_Screenshot2020-10-01at10_56_27.thumb.png.db6e269aa7faddd40bb0622220f869e3.png

and I've got a layout

915724116_Screenshot2020-10-01at10_56_42.thumb.png.a133312064fcf378dde77503ef062c29.png

 

But it's a first draft and only uses the stock footprint, not custom sizes. A drop in replacement wasnt my goal

 

Do you have a board design ready?

 

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Great job indeed!

What're the upper left keys?

It seems you are using the correct footprint of the keycaps/switches (HELP/RESET/OPTION/SELECT/START function keys apart)

If you build 2 different PCBs: extra upper left keys and main keyboard (I suppose they are not standard footprint. I do not own any 800XL/600XL/800 at the moment) detachable, this can be easy to add a footprint for Arduino Style PCB the next time.

What's the connector inside the Atari 800 XL PCB for keyboard? Is it a single line edge connector type like Atari XE?

If so, I've just designed an adapter from EDGE CONNECTOR to 26pin flat ribbon cable (very thin PCB Thickness 0.8) so this can be used as well.

Is there a way to reuse the lateral function keys? With a sort of cherry MX adapter under the hood? may I have the physical dimensions of the cutout on the XL plastic case?

In the next few days I will show you the XE board design.

 

Does anybody gives me the cutout dimensions for keyboard in 800? Even the lateral function keys cutout and possibly a picture of the connector on the motherboard.

 

Regards,

Gianluca

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10 minutes ago, gianlucarenzi said:

Great job indeed!

What're the upper left keys?

they are Atari 1200XL F1-F4

10 minutes ago, gianlucarenzi said:

It seems you are using the correct footprint of the keycaps/switches (HELP/RESET/OPTION/SELECT/START function keys apart)

If you build 2 different PCBs: extra upper left keys and main keyboard (I suppose they are not standard footprint. I do not own any 800XL/600XL/800 at the moment) detachable, this can be easy to add a footprint for Arduino Style PCB the next time.

What's the connector inside the Atari 800 XL PCB for keyboard? Is it a single line edge connector type like Atari XE?

Yes

10 minutes ago, gianlucarenzi said:

If so, I've just designed an adapter from EDGE CONNECTOR to 26pin flat ribbon cable (very thin PCB Thickness 0.8) so this can be used as well.

I have one of those too :D

10 minutes ago, gianlucarenzi said:

Is there a way to reuse the lateral function keys? With a sort of cherry MX adapter under the hood? may I have the physical dimensions of the cutout on the XL plastic case?

You would need custom metalwork, just like the real keyboard does to hold those buttons on a separate board, lower than the main board. I haven't really done any research into what exactly I'd need. I paused this project and went onto tother projects for a while.

 

10 minutes ago, gianlucarenzi said:

In the next few days I will show you the XE board design.

 

Does anybody gives me the cutout dimensions for keyboard in 800? Even the lateral function keys cutout and possibly a picture of the connector on the motherboard.

 

Regards,

Gianluca

 

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1 minute ago, Mr Robot said:

they are Atari 1200XL F1-F4

Ok, I forgot about the 1200XL.

1 minute ago, Mr Robot said:

Yes

So the board can be used into it too.

1 minute ago, Mr Robot said:

I have one of those too :D

Really? With crimp flat ribbon cable (like HDD, FDD)??? 😕

 

1 minute ago, Mr Robot said:

You would need custom metalwork, just like the real keyboard does to hold those buttons on a separate board, lower than the main board. I haven't really done any research into what exactly I'd need. I paused this project and went onto tother projects for a while.

 

 

I do not see any metalwork needs. All can be done with 3D plastic print. The project has to be easly adapted for every need because it's open source.

 

Here is my PCB so far (some hours)

 

PCB_EDGE_XE.png

XE-PCB-3D.png

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37 minutes ago, gianlucarenzi said:

Really? With crimp flat ribbon cable (like HDD, FDD)??? 😕

 

Yes, and @Level42 also sells them. @tf_hh (I think) makes a small board for the keyboard slot with just a few tact switches so you can operate the atari with the lid off.

 

mine combines both of those.

 

 

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If a 6U spacebar were used, a 1.5u button would fit either side of it in the XL/XE case, what function would you give those buttons?

 

The same for the other extra long buttons (shift etc.) if a smaller button led to an extra button being added what function should it have.

 

The UK Amiga 600/1200 keyboards just had a couple of blank keys on it when they got rid of the huge return and left shift keys.

 

470160217_Amiga600USBkeyboard.thumb.jpg.a167bffdd4981f44a6e2efe11e82c823.jpg

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As keyboard drop-in replacement the cut-out for the keyboard spacebar needs 9U. So depending on factory the 9U can be replaced by 6U and 2 1.5u keys or 7U and 2 1u keys. The meaning of this keys can be selected by firmware. Can be space, or inverse, or what the user needs. I hope I was clear.

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On 10/1/2020 at 7:49 PM, Mr Robot said:

Yes, and @Level42 also sells them. @tf_hh (I think) makes a small board for the keyboard slot with just a few tact switches so you can operate the atari with the lid off.

 

mine combines both of those.

 

 

Next few days I will show you my 3d/schematics of the adapter board, or you can show me yours. What about the cut-hole of the keyboard Atari 800XL? How far from RETURN key are the function keys? Do you know somebody who can give me some measurements for Atari 1200XL or Atari 800 computers?

32 years ago, I bought an American NTSC 48K Atari 800 from Best Electronics (if I remember correctly) with two reconditioned Atari 1050 Disk Drives and a CX85 numeric keypad. I made an Electronic school project with its 4 joystick port (I wrote a special P: handler for Centronics Interface using two ports of the PIA (7 bit ASCII + a BUSY input line)) and it worked 😜 One Disk Drive went with a broken belt after few years...

I remember I was used to have a 230Vac - 110Vac converter to use it, and the vertical blank was 60 Hz instead of 50 Hz ( I remember Alternate Reality Music and Game ran faster).

The worst thing is: I DO NOT OWN THIS ATARI 800 ANYMORE. I DO NOT REMEMBER WHAT THE F**K HAPPENED TO IT. I thought I left it in the attic, but I cannot find it anymore. Maybe I lend it to someone who forgot to gave me back in the days... 😞

Can somebody gives me the cut-out keyboard measurements? Even the function keys cut-hole plastic and sizes...

I need to deserve to Atari computers something good, because they gave me the opportunity to go to Tech High School and then to the University for Computer Science and Maths.

 

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Hello friends will finish XE top enclosure and keyboard case! I am working in this. Also I will post images. Are 600xl and 800xl keyboards same??? Also will do 800XL case and 600XL in spring, sumner. 

Edited by Matej
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2 hours ago, Matej said:

Hello friends will finish XE top enclosure and keyboard case! I am working in this.

Any idea when this will be ready?

 

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8 hours ago, mytek said:

Any idea when this will be ready?

 

I think this Xmas I will finish XE project. Will work daily on this. Maybe I can adapt it for NUC or 1088XLD boards, also RaspberryPI and LattePandaX86 or MiSTer latter. So we will have brand new Atari.

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8 hours ago, Matej said:

I think this Xmas I will finish XE project.

Pretty ambitious, but kudos if you pull it off.

 

8 hours ago, Matej said:

Maybe I can adapt it for NUC or 1088XLD boards...

How do you propose to do that? You do realize they are based on using an external PS/2 keyboard.

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no. Its solution is a USB converter from a original ST keyboard. My goal is to have a 3d case as XE style with PCB and newer keycaps (no yellowing, no retr0bright):

1- with the USB for PC

2- without USB for drop-in replacement for Atari XE broken or yellowed keyboard

3- with USB with 4 more keys

4- with more 4 keys and usable with the original ATARI XE Computer but with a custom cover with 4 extra keys

 

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1 hour ago, Matej said:

That adapter won't work since you would need PS/2 output not USB. So you would be looking at creating your own adapter and writing custom firmware for it to run.

 

The other problem is that there are a lot fewer keys on a stock Atari keyboard with no ALT key, and of course no function keys as they are mapped on a PS/2 keyboard. The 576NUC+ uses the ALT key combined with the number keys to turn the system ON and select the language slots. And the function keys are the gateway to the macro facilities, also serving as the console and reset keys for the XEL/XLD as well as the NUC.

 

Basically using the stock Atari keyboard layout would cripple operation of those systems. So let me just say that this looks like a no go. Best to take this one off your list ;) .

 

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Definitely interested in learning more about the 800-style keycaps from WASD.  I haven't located any sites yet where I can order custom-printed custom-colored keycaps, but I would think that putting together something for the original 800 wouldn't be too difficult.

I'm throwing together a Cherry board design for the original 800 over in this thread if anyone is interested: 

 

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1 hour ago, Krenath said:

Definitely interested in learning more about the 800-style keycaps from WASD.  I haven't located any sites yet where I can order custom-printed custom-colored keycaps, but I would think that putting together something for the original 800 wouldn't be too difficult.

Well it's a little bit tricker than you are thinking.

I found 3 companies can do custom keycaps, but they need 200 orders or so just to begin productions.

 

1 hour ago, Krenath said:

I'm throwing together a Cherry board design for the original 800 over in this thread if anyone is interested: 

Actually I drop the 800 keyboard type because I did not find anybody whom lending me a computer for measurements and working stuff. Now I have a PCB for Atari 130XE and Atari 800XL I actually have, and I am awating the blank keycaps (DSA profile) and the special high quality stickers (vinyl stickers with transparent background) I have designed. All stuff is it in my github repo. As soon as my prototypes will be ready I can show my progress to all of you, so if somebody will join this ride, and help us to reach the 200 orders, the only thing it will miss for Atari 800 keyboard will be a matter of 2/3 keys. The proposed price will for the keycaps will be around 60 USD.

 

https://github.com/gianlucarenzi

 

and look for Atari 130XE MX Keyboard.

 

Regards,

Gianluca

atari-xe-style-maxkeyboard.pdf atari-800-xl-style-maxkeyboard.pdf

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3 minutes ago, ZuluGula said:

 

Would you consider replacing the IDE style connectors and cables with FFC cables? Thera are already adapters made here.

 

 

My main goal is to be easy to solder. The ffc cables are everything but easy to solder. In my daily job I am used to use them in all our boards, and they are easily usable if they are placed by pick and place machines and solder in the oven. By hand they are barely unusable, sorry. Maybe a smaller one should do the trick, but I need to find out the correct piece. Do you know a good replacement?

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