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Dinadan67

USB keyboard interface from Lotharek

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Does anybody here installed that yet? I ordered mine this weekend. I plan to add this to my XEGS, according to Lotherek it should coexist with the installed PokeyMax.

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That's pretty cool - USB has finally arrived.

 

Any idea if its key map is the same as the PS/2 AKI that he also sells? As usual documentation is sparse on his website.

 

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Looks like another option for us to have,

I've had a USB cartridge forever... what do you mean finally arrived? :) consider also KRH allowed for wireless keyboards as well just ask SJCarden.

He's still recovering and misses his loved one, asked I'd say hi to everyone for him.

Edited by _The Doctor__

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1 hour ago, _The Doctor__ said:

I've had a USB cartridge forever... what do you mean finally arrived? :) consider also KRH allowed for wireless keyboards as well just ask SJCarden.

Thanks for including my TK-II on your list ;) .

 

The AKI, KRH (which is a blatant copy of the original AKI circuit), and the TK-II will not work with modern day USB keyboards. Only the very early ones that had Dual Protocol, meaning that with a passive keyboard adapter they could work on a PS/2 port. However the days of Dual Protocol USB/PS2 keyboards being manufactured has long since past, and were not even in effect when the wireless USB keyboards we see today came into being, which is the whole point of wanting a true USB to Atari keyboard adapter.

 

BTW, this is similar to what Steve Carden's keyboard was likely using to give him a wireless keyboard on his KRH adapter. The same thing would work on the AKI and TK-II.

 

rf-receiver.jpg

 

And this is modern day. But that won't work on a PS/2 port even with a passive purple USB to PS/2 adapter.

dongle.jpg.1b809ad2b5fe0d540204f20ccd105933.jpg

 

BTW, that USB cartridge you referred to is not the same as an actual USB 'keyboard' adapter, which is what Lotharek is selling. What we are actually talking about is something that doesn't require any drivers, and doesn't hog the cartridge port.

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It works and I have a more than one cartridge slot.... it all plugs in. Yes, there are a number of adapters and what not to choose from, nice ones, I have some old ones laying around. You can argue with Carden about whatever he did, that's between you two, I don't know the history there. I just mentioned some options that exist and work. Options are good.

Nothing is 'hogged' as impied either, it works stacked and it works on dual cartridge adapters available since supra and ICD days.

 

It's great to have choices, some will want the open up their machine and hack away, like we've all done for ages. Some will just plug stuff in.

 

It's pretty clear some people didn't know about any of the solutions. I wonder if the internal USB adapter will let people use the steering wheels, pedals and other controls the cartridge does? Or the storage devices as well... If it does all of what the cartridge does, I might buy one.

 

There isn't a lot of room under the hood on a number of machines these day with all the pcb's crammed in there. I might have to pick or choose what's going in what. Drill a hole in atari case, fit USB sockect and connect to AKI PCB (both black cables on the right as seen at pictures)maybe something else can be done with cabling to get the usb connector out without drilling yet again.

 

AKI, KRH, TK-II, USB Cart, AKIUSB

was there a TK-I?

 

what's all of this about though

DARKAKI by DarkDK © 2008 (hardware and software)

 AKI 1.1 by André Bertram

 XAKI 1.03-1.05 by DarkDK for  StereoAKI by Pajero.

Edited by _The Doctor__

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23 minutes ago, _The Doctor__ said:

It works and I have a more than one cartridge slot.... it all plugs in.

But how does the Atari know to use a USB keyboard? Seems like a driver will need to be loaded, and even if that were automatic, it would take up space somewhere in memory. That is the beauty of the dedicated keyboard translators, which is really what the TK-I, TK-II, AKI, and KRH are all about. To the Atari they just look like the stock matrixed keyboard, and will work with everything - no driver required.

 

27 minutes ago, _The Doctor__ said:

You can argue with Carden about whatever he did, that's between you two, I don't know the history there.

I wasn't arguing anything. Simply pointing out there was nothing unique to the KRH, since it's essentially a clone of the original AKI right down to the firmware. I think the only change he made was to use a hex editor to fix one or two keys that had the wrong assignment. Since that project was in the public domain, nothing wrong with doing that (the source unfortunately wasn't a part of the release - hence the need to use the hex editor).

 

31 minutes ago, _The Doctor__ said:

I wonder if the internal USB adapter will let people use the steering wheels, pedals and other controls the cartridge does?

From what it appears to be, I really doubt that it does anything other than keyboards. Wait a minute and I'll check the docs :) .

 

32 minutes ago, _The Doctor__ said:

There isn't a lot of room under the hood on a number of machines these day with all the pcb's crammed in there. I might have to pick or choose what's going in what. Drill a hole in atari case, fit USB sockect and connect to AKI PCB (both black cables on the right as seen at pictures)maybe something else can be done with cabling to get the usb connector out without drilling yet again.

There's always the RF hole, unless that's already been used.

 

34 minutes ago, _The Doctor__ said:

was there a TK-I?

Yep there was.

 

1990transkey-top_orig.jpg

 

36 minutes ago, _The Doctor__ said:

what's all of this about though

DARKAKI by DarkDK © 2008 (hardware and software)

A guy by the handle Dark backwards engineered the original AKI firmware and did extensive modifications in order to add features. So that's the version of firmware Lotharek is using in his PS/2 version. Not sure who's responsible for the USB one.

 

In case you're interested, I translated the Dark AKI manual to English a while back: DarkAKI Functions v.1.1.en.pdf

 

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I have an old USB cart too. I tried looking at writing an atari-side USB client for an ethernet adapter and it made my brain explode. Complicated stuff.

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14 minutes ago, danwinslow said:

I have an old USB cart too. I tried looking at writing an atari-side USB client for an ethernet adapter and it made my brain explode. Complicated stuff.

The Ethernet USB dongles were crazy, some had quite a bit crammed in them, others seemed like they were just a vehicle for windows propensity of having the device virtually running in the PC and then using the dongle as pretty much a level adjusting connector...

 

hmmm ethernet KVM to usb ps/2 stuff is still being sold...

 

Remote control your Atari from Across the world.

Edited by _The Doctor__

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8 hours ago, mytek said:

But how does the Atari know to use a USB keyboard? Seems like a driver will need to be loaded, and even if that were automatic, it would take up space somewhere in memory. That is the beauty of the dedicated keyboard translators, which is really what the TK-I, TK-II, AKI, and KRH are all about. To the Atari they just look like the stock matrixed keyboard, and will work with everything - no driver required.

 

 

I assume you mean no non resident handler required.  Even the internal keyboard uses the K: device handler and has an entry in hatabs.  correct if iam i mistaken

 

just seems a bit confusing to say no driver

Edited by Mark2008
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anyhow I think the keyboard thing is interesting.  i would be most tempted by a full solution that included keyboard.  one thing i dont like about emulators is the hunt for atari keys.  that has put me off iof external keyboards as well.  i can touch type ok thats not even the concern its the occasionally used things like atascii graphics keys.

 

eay back when there was a solution to make your real atari the pc keyboard... still available for c64 but you cannot get the a8 version anymore. pity

Edited by Mark2008

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I've been wondering if the Raspberry Pi Pico might be good for some of these types of applications (USB/SIO as a general system or replacing Atari keyboard signalling). It has 26 GPIO lines, comes with its own memory, has a high frequency clock (compared to an 8bit) and runs at 133Mhz dual core itself. Costs $4 even in singles at retail. It's pretty flexible on power input too, although 5v micro-usb seems the really obvious route. And it's small enough to loop wires into, but not big enough you couldn't find a good place in an Atari case for it.

 

One of these seems on paper it's more than capable of USB translation (it already has a USB 1.1 library built in). Use the GPIOs to send signals as if it were an Atari keyboard, standard USB input for the keyboard. It would have enough computational power left off to do a host of other things as well I would guess.

 

Of course it's nothing really that new, Arduino has been living in this space for some time. But it's cheap and comes with a very easy to get going dev environment (Python).

Edited by gnusto
accuracy
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As a curiosity I used an Arduino plugged into the joystick ports and could use any USB keyboard, most keys were

available except START/SELECT/OPTION. It's no good for games, but ok for writing code etc. so saves wearing old

keyboards out.

 

I already used that Arduino as a joystick interface for USB controllers, just reprogrammed it, on the Atari I obviously needed

a short driver program for the keyboard, the joystick needed no code on the Atari.

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6 hours ago, Mark2008 said:

I assume you mean no non resident handler required.  Even the internal keyboard uses the K: device handler and has an entry in hatabs.  correct if iam i mistaken

 

just seems a bit confusing to say no driver

I should have said 'No Added Driver' ;) . The point is a keyboard translator like the TK-II just works right out of the box, since to the Atari it appears exactly the same as a stock keyboard. No patches or new driver required, which means everything (OS, application, or game) that is looking for keyboard input will work without modification.

 

Well hopefully that covers it. Funny how an innocent question prompted by no manual being provided for Lotharek's newest USB keyboard to Atari translator ends up growing into multiple back and forth posts. And still no answer to the original question I put forth about what does its USB to Atari key map look like? Or specifically how are the arrows, navigation (PageUp, PagedDn, Home, End, ect.)  and function keys mapped?

 

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This might not work if you have a U1M fitted, according to the info that's there, the HELP key is not mapped !!!

 

aki%20usb.png

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11 minutes ago, TGB1718 said:

This might not work if you have a U1M fitted, according to the info that's there, the HELP key is not mapped !!!

Help is a normal key, even though it looks like a console key.

 

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I happen to have looked into how the Atari keyboard works last year when I got the idea to recreate ALP keyboards. Yet another unfinished project ;)

 

And now there's this USB solution. Not a true Atari keyboard ofcourse, but if this works with a BT receiver, that would be very cool. Computer on the big screen with DVI/HDMI, me on the couch with a wireless keyboard :)

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2 hours ago, mytek said:

And still no answer to the original question I put forth about what does its USB to Atari key map look like? Or specifically how are the arrows, navigation (PageUp, PagedDn, Home, End, ect.)  and function keys mapped?

 

I can tell after i installed it. In the meantime we can only hope Lotharek puts more detailed information on his website.

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I received the interface a few days ago. Unfortunately it is not compatible with my two PokeyMax-equipped machines. In my XEGS with dual Pokey+Covox (older firmware, not upgradeable) it does not work at all. In my 800XE with Quad Pokey+Dual SID (new firmware) it works ok in Basic, but with both Side2 and Side3 cartridges there are strange things happening, it cycles through the menus as if right arrow is permanently pressed. The arrow keys do work normal in Basic. So i decided to put it in my first machine, 800XL with original Compy Shop 320kb from back in the day and single Pokey. All is working now, F1-F5 are mapped to Help, Start, Select, Option and Reset. I could not find the mapping for the break-key, maybe @candle can help?

 

All in all very nice, together with my adapted wireless SNES controller i have full control laid back from the couch.

IMG_2734.jpeg

IMG_2735.jpeg

Edited by Dinadan67
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1 hour ago, Dinadan67 said:

F1-F5 are mapped to Help, Start, Select, Option and Reset. I could not find the mapping for the break-key,

Just a guess, but I would try the pause key for break.  Thanks for the update on this.  I'm definitely interested in this, but am holding out for Simple Stereo 4 which will also offer USB keyboard support.

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I have a small keyboard which offers no pause key. There seem no keys mapped to "greater then" and "less then" either (shift-"," and shift-"." are the square brackets, like on a real Atari keyboard).

IMG_2736.jpeg

Edited by Dinadan67

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3 hours ago, Dinadan67 said:

I have a small keyboard which offers no pause key.

Yes unfortunately the Pause/Break key is going away on many of the newer keyboards, so an alternate needs to be assigned. Have you tried all the function keys? Perhaps one of those is serving as the Break key (I know that was true for the original AKI firmware as used for PS/2 keyboards).

 

Edit: Try F12

 

Quote

There seem no keys mapped to "greater then" and "less then" either (shift-"," and shift-"." are the square brackets, like on a real Atari keyboard).

That is not how it should be in my opinion. All the USB keyboard's keys should render the symbols as marked on the keys, whether shifted or not. Sounds like the firmware needs some adjustments.

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4 hours ago, Dinadan67 said:

I have a small keyboard which offers no pause key. There seem no keys mapped to "greater then" and "less then" either (shift-"," and shift-"." are the square brackets, like on a real Atari keyboard).

Possibly the keyboard test in the OS diagnostics could be used to locate if a key has been mapped as "BREAK"

 

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Personally I think it would be better to get a new USB keyboard that at least has the full set of navigation keys independent of other keys, includes the Pause/Break key, and has an Insert key. I know the OP's keyboard has a small footprint, so with that in mind I would recommend the Adeso AKB-110B, which is native USB, but can also be PS/2 by utilizing an inexpensive passive adapter. I have one of these thanks to an AtariAge friend who sent it to me, and the keys feel quite good, not mushy at all.

 

Adessa_AKB-110B.thumb.jpg.cd3eef8925e4baa19ec7bff606bb738e.jpg

 

It would be nice to know what the PageUp, PageDown, Home, End keys are mapped as on the Atari side of things.

 

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