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djglish

Atari ST USB keyboard conversion kit

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Does anyone have any experience with the Tynemouth Atari ST keyboard to USB kit?

I'd like to take an old Atari STFm and put a Mini PC in it.  

 

When showing it off I could start out with it running a ST emulator and then switching into Windows 10 mode.

It would be cool to have what looks like a stock ST running Windows 10.

Depending on the Mini PC I use I figure that I can do it all for $200 on up.

 

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Yup, works great. I haven't used it that much. Just for testing a fixed, once broken STfm keyboard I got cheap on eBay. Ran it under Win10. If I recall it comes up as keyboard and joystick. I never testet with mouse though, so I don't know if it works or rember if it came up as a HUD in Win. 

 

EDIT: It doesn't support mice it says on their site. 

Edited by snarkdluG
Mouse support

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Thanks for the reply.  Unfortunately the maker is taking some time off and won't be back until the end of the year.  

There is a mini pc with a Celeron processor for about $120.00.  With the Keyboard to USB converter I should be able to get the project done for about $200.00 total.  I'm also thinking about doing the same thing with an old Atari 800XL that I have. I might even make it so that I can remove the mini pc from one and use it for the other.  Years ago, I went the other direction.  I put an Atari Mega ST in a PC tower case.  It only worked for a short period though.  The chips on the motherboard kept working loose because of the vertical mounting.

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Hi djglish, if you don't mind soldering 4 wires you might as well

  • buy an ATmega32U4 (Arduino Leonardo compatible) board for $10
  • flash it with this software: https://github.com/devonshire/arduino-atari-hid-keyboard (Copyright Kevin Peat 2017)
  • solder (or otherwise connect) the 5V, GND, RX and TX wires. The reset wire is optional (and does not exist on MegaST/e).

This works well not only for STF/M/E keyboards but also for MegaST/e ones.

This will however not give you joystick or mouse support.

 

I don't want to sabotage Tynemouth's great product here, but having to wait until EOY sounds a bit harsh :)

Edited by tomster
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Thanks for the info.  I took a look at the site and looks like something I can do.  A much less expensive option and I won't have to wait until the EOY. I have the mini pc and a dead Atari ST.  I'll have to clean up the case,  I also want to do the same thing with an Atari 800XL.  That's going to be harder since the keyboard cable is a ribbon cable going to a non standard connector on the motherboard.  I've read an article by a person who has done it.  

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Tomster, I took your advice and checked out the link.  I bought an Arduino Leonardo and followed the instructions on the pinouts and coding.  

It's working now and ran less than $30.00 for all of the parts.  

 

There is a lot of room in my ST case even with the mini pc in there.  Now I just have to decide exactly how I want to mount it.  I want to be able to remove it when necessary.  The mini pc runs hot so I'll have to put a fan or two inside to keep things cool.  Then I have to update the old Atari mouse to USB.  I may just replace the innards  I'll add a link when I have the project finished.

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Here is my prototype of this. Could do a pcb to make it prettier. It works great on an old 520ST case running Windows 11 and Hatari.

059CC491-414B-478F-96E3-A14498ACAE0E.jpeg

9380224D-3A09-4AD1-93E0-1ED478364AFF.jpeg

E40AAC20-6518-4F1C-A4A2-1F8A5754B5EC.jpeg

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On 4/16/2022 at 6:06 PM, JGRAHAM2 said:

Here is my prototype of this. Could do a pcb to make it prettier. It works great on an old 520ST case running Windows 11 and Hatari.

059CC491-414B-478F-96E3-A14498ACAE0E.jpeg

9380224D-3A09-4AD1-93E0-1ED478364AFF.jpeg

E40AAC20-6518-4F1C-A4A2-1F8A5754B5EC.jpeg

 

 

Ha, you are the fella who replied to my Atari FB post ;-)  

Should be getting parts in today and will attempt.. Im VERY well versed in Raspberry Pi, so hope flashing Arduino is just as easy..

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I did make a converter using the Leonardo for the ST keyboard.  It works great.  I should still have the file for flashing the Arduino if you need it.

 

Also made a converter for my Atari 800XL.  That was harder since it uses a mylar keyboard strip going to an odd size connector on the motherboard.  I ended up cutting the connector off of a dead motherboard.  A few months later I saw a post about someone that had the correct connector end.

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On 5/5/2022 at 2:08 PM, Wilson Bradley said:

 

 

Ha, you are the fella who replied to my Atari FB post ;-)  

Should be getting parts in today and will attempt.. Im VERY well versed in Raspberry Pi, so hope flashing Arduino is just as easy..

It is easy. I’ve done 2, one with the smaller version and one with the full size Leonardo. If you need any help, let me know.

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On 5/5/2022 at 3:38 PM, djglish said:

I did make a converter using the Leonardo for the ST keyboard.  It works great.  I should still have the file for flashing the Arduino if you need it.

 

Also made a converter for my Atari 800XL.  That was harder since it uses a mylar keyboard strip going to an odd size connector on the motherboard.  I ended up cutting the connector off of a dead motherboard.  A few months later I saw a post about someone that had the correct connector end.

I would like to see the files you used.

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Looking back, I used the files that Tomster pointed to in an earlier post.  

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Hi There,

 

Reading this with interest. I too am recreating an Atari ST by using a Raspberry PI mounted inside an original case. So far so good but the next step is to get the keyboard and I'm undecided as to take the Tynemouth path or the Arduino, to conver to USB. My initial thoughts were that the Arduino would be more fun however I then noticed the Mouse and Joystick ports are mounted to the underside of the keyboard and, since the Arduino solution doesn't support them, would presumably need removing and I could then use a Joystick Port to USB convertor like the one on icode.com. I had also hoped that there would be some way to use an original Atari mouse, ideally through one of the Joystick ports but it looks like this might be step too far. Therefore, if anyone can answer the following queries I'd be most grateful since it will inform how I proceed with the project:

 

1) How easy is it to remove the Mouse and Joystick ports from the Atari keyboard? My main concern here is the risk that overuse or hot air and desoldering could break the keyboard which will be 30+ years old.

2) Does an Atari ST mouse to USB adapter exist in any form. I have seen many examples of converting usb mice to work with 9 pin D-Sub but not the other way around.

3) How does the original Atari ST differentiate between what is connected in Port 0 - Mouse or Joystick. I'm lead to believe there is a 'mouse mode' and 'joystick mode' but how does it know to switch. I'm expecting this to be not possible but I'd love the original ports to work in the same way as on an original ST.

4) An inelegant alternative would be a usb mouse that resembles the original Atari ST mouse. Does anyone have any knowledge of whether this exists.

 

Thanks to anyone who can help me out here.

 

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The Arduino solution is a lot cheaper.  I'm not great with a soldering iron so I bought an Arduino board with the pins already installed.  Then used jumpers to the keyboard cable.  I can send a picture of the setup after I get back from Vacation in about 1 week.  I bought a dual joystick to usb converter for the 8-bit project that I did.  I was going to try it on the ST but dropped it and the Micro USB on the converter broke off of the board.  I may try to reattach it but my soldering skills aren't great.  I believe it was the I-code converter.  I'm also have an casing from an Atari mouse that I want to put a modern WIFI USB mouse in it.

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Thanks very much for your reply. I much prefer the Arduino solution since the Tynemouth is a bit off the shelf, and is a lot cheaper. I'd feel more accomplishment with the Arduino. 

 

Did you do anything with the attached joystick connectors on the keyboard board? I'd be happy to remove them and use the iCode ports for joysticks but I'm worried about desoldering and ruining the keyboard! They aren't cheap. As any ST user knows the ports were notoriously bad for connection issues but they were pretty well mounted. I have a desoldering iron I generally use or could use hot air but would appreciate advice as to whether this is a smart course of action. 

 

I've seen parts on Thingiverse for printing an Atari ST mouse case into which you can place the insides of a Microsoft USB mouse. Would this be of interest to you? 

 

I found it cost around £30 for the printing, but that was FDM. SLS costs more than twice that. Not sure how much difference the cheaper material would make. Not an expert on 3D printing. Again, anyone have any thoughts on this. 

 

 

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