USB adapter for Apple ADB keyboard

Making a really old mechanical keyboard USB

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At the Vintage Computer Festival East 9.1, I picked up what is regarded as being one of the best keyboards Apple ever produced: the M0116 "Apple keyboard" with salmon Alps switches. It's much smaller than my Model M, but it still feels really, really good to type on. The only problem is the ADB interface. Here's how you convert it to USB.

This sort of project has been done to death, but that doesn't mean I can't put my own original twist on it. Previous ADB to USB conversions I've seen on the interwebs replace one of the two DIN-4 connectors on the ADB keyboard with a USB port. Since i have an absurd amount of vintage macs, i'd like to use this keyboard with old macs and my main battlestation. This means keeping the two ADB ports in the keyboard.

To solve this problem, I found a panel mount mini USB plug. A small amount of drilling in the case is all that was needed to make this mod look at least semi-professional.

The only real expense in this project was a Teensy 2.0 microcontroller. Code was stolen from the tmk_keyboard project.

Installation of the teensy was simple. I used 30 gauge wire to connect the power, ground and data lines on the ADB plug to the teensy. A 1k pullup was placed across the data and power lines. Attaching the teensy to the panel mount plug was done by cutting up a mini-USB cable, soldering wires to the plug, and sticking the mini-USB socket into the teensy.

So far, the keyboard works great. Good enough for another thirty years of use.

  • 1
    Step 1

    Obtain ADB keyboard, Teensy 2.0, and panel mount USB plug

  • 2
    Step 2

    Solder wires connecting the Teensy's power, ground and data lines to the ADB port. Data goes to D0, and a 1k pullup is placed across data and powe

  • 3
    Step 3

    Install panel mount USB plug

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AVR wrote 05/02/2015 at 12:55 point

I did the same thing but with an Apple Extended Keyboard II, I also dyed the keys like the portal keyboard.

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Eric Hertz wrote 04/24/2015 at 13:13 point

I knew there was a reason I kept all those old keyboards (and mice)!

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