Yet another keyboard

A project log for MiniBSD laptop computer

RetroBSD is UNIX running on PIC32 and this is a board I designed for it, evolving into tiny computer

jaromirsukubajaromir.sukuba 02/24/2016 at 09:232 Comments

Though the old Tesla keybaord I described here and here and described by @Benchoff in #Metal Dome Keyboard is still in my drawer in amount higher than small, I'm looking for alternatives for my MiniBSD.

I found one in here, for the case the listing is unavailable, here is screenshot

I dissected the thing on arrival and didn't bother whether it works or not

There is nothing but 20x8 cm keyboard matrix with 28-pin 1mm pitch FPC connector and tiny PCB containing USB controller

With the testing pads it looks like perfect breakout board for testing, after cutting the epoxy blob. The keyboard itself looks quite usable and has nice feel

there are rubber domes under each key and mechanical support

There are 25 pins used on the 28-pin flex cable, checking all the combinations manually with multimeter would be quite annoying, so I decided to build a test rig.

Not the cleanest example of engineering work, but for quick testing it is adequate. There is PIC16F1519 on board, testing all combinations of wires for conductivity few times per second and pushing results via serial port. Not exactly interesting thing, but quick and ugly test sources will be available for download in the "files" section.

After a few minutes of poking the keys and noting the results, I got this nice table

where line 11 is unused, being apparent on pictures above - or translated into keyboard layout

For example, pressing key Q connects lines 20 and 7.

The layout in .xlsx format is available in single package with pictures and sources of test rig.


Yann Guidon / YGDES wrote 02/24/2016 at 23:39 point

WOW ! 

I have the same kbd/holder, bought as a set with a screen...

It's a great news that there are solderable pads on the controller !

Unfortunately it's QWERTY and not AZERTY...

  Are you sure? yes | no

K.C. Lee wrote 02/24/2016 at 12:20 point

Some of the PC keyboard USB controllers also support PS/2 interface.  It is quite easy to bitbang the PS/2 protocol on a micrcontroller.

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