RetroBSD is UNIX running on PIC32 and this is a board I designed for it, evolving into tiny computer
This project was created on 03/28/2014 and last updated 3 months ago.
Well... four months since last update... the time flies. Brian Benchoff asked about the new keyboard layout, so here is my quick and dirty "drawing" in LibreOffice Calc.
When Q key is pressed, there is contact on between pins 1 and 6. After pressing J, between 9 and 14. You got the idea.
It is not very likely to obtain the keyboard outside Czech or Slovakia, though Brian got this keyboard in Apex electronics, LA. However, I managed to get my hands on a few pieces of those keyboards, so I'll be able to source it to interested builders, if any.
Well, there was no progress for a few weeks, but recently I got into it again. I had nice few evenings with FreeCad (I'm total beginner in 3D modelling) and designed first revision of a case. It looks like this
Kind of classical, laptop-like case. Total size is 22x9x2,7cm when closed.
Unfortunately, it is two centimeters bigger in size than printable area of my 3D printer and I can't make it much smaller due to keyboard size. Time to get bigger 3D printer! :-)
I'll publish design files on Monday morning.
Though I'm quite busy with my sc-fi contest project, I'm doing this small log.
I got my hands on a few of those sweet vintage keyboards. This is product of former Czecho-Slovakian company named Tesla, I believe it is as old as I am, approximately. I have a few dozens of them, with option to have more. I'm going to base my new BSD laptop on this keyboard.
There are two color variations. I have lots of the red variant, only two pieces of orange variant.
Have you figured out the matrix for your new, smaller keyboards? I found an orange one at Apex electronics in LA (pic here: http://i.imgur.com/idZGd2Q.jpg)
Have you figured out the key matrix yet? I doubt I'll be able to take this apart without destroying it, and figuring this out with a multimeter is annoying.
Now I almost fell off my chair - this old Czechoslovak keyboard in LA? I really wish to visit Apex electronics.
You are right, one can't take it apart without destroing.
I have the key matrix somewhere (from original manufacturer documentation in Czech language, I had to correct minor error in it), I'm going to upload it soon.
Here you go https://hackaday.io/project/643/log/10240
By the way, I noticed your keyboard is missing two keys around the shift key. I wasn't aware of this manufacturing variant, interesting. Could you, please, take a photo from bottom side of keyboard?
I put a teardown of the keyboard up as a project. Don't worry, the matrix was dead, and I might have a new supply: http://hackaday.io/project/3162-Metal-Dome-Keyboard-Teardown
I did notice two manufacturing marks. Apparently this was made by AMP, Inc, which would explain it being found in California. Do you have any pics of yours? I'd be interested to see where yours were actually made.
Sources and schematics for LCD driver and keyboard will be available on github soon.
For compiling the BSD for PIC32, see this http://retrobsd.org/wiki/doku.php/doc/index Compiling the system is not trivial task, however I'll provide binary files as soon as my hardware will be stable.
Yep. No chance to find long-term supplier, though I'm rather sure I could find those keys locally (the same keys were used in telephones, manufactured here in CzechoSlovakia before 1989), but that would mean a lot of investigation and probably buying a whole lot (hundreds or thousands of them).
The same goes for this http://imgur.com/hifyneH nice keyboard - just simple key matrix with no electronics. It was designed for 8-bit home computers in eighties. I have half of dozen of those, but nothing more.
Those keyboards (with no electronics) are really hassle for small "home computers".
If anybody does know sustainable source of small QWERTY keyboards, let me know. Ripping off existing keyboard doesn't count, because physical properties can change in next batch from China and availability few years from now is questionable.
One can have membrane keyboard manufactured in China, but it is not particulary cheap for hobby purpose - one piece would cost few bucks, however first one would cost few hundreds to one thousand dollars. This price would dissolve when ordering huge quantity. I thought of some crowd-sourced project, but I don't have balls for this.
It is UNIX 2.11, approximately as old as I am. It was intended to run on machines one order of magnitude slower than MIPS M4K on 80MHz (PIC32), so the speed is reasonable. See it on video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tv216YS6xa0 it boots in a few seconds.
Despite its age, it is quite usable OS.
Now, PIC32MZ was released, with 512kB of RAM, so RetroBSD could be more useful.