Commodore PET USB Keyboard

A PET graphics keyboard hacked to be USB enabled

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I've had this PET graphics keyboard laying around for near a decade. "I'll use it in a project one day," I said. Years went by and finally as I progress into my rocketry project I've found the encouragement to make this happen.

The Commodore PET is nearly 40 years old and ran at a solid 1MHz. This project uses a Teensy 3.2 running at nearly 100x the processing power to just turn the old keyboard matrix into a USB keyboard. Times have changed :)

I recently completed a 70cm Serial WiFi Bridge that will control my electronics for my rocketry projects, and finally got the urge to use this keyboard.

The keyboard itself operates as a giant 8 row by 10 column key matrix. Utilizing a plethora of GIO pins found on the Teensy I interfaced the keyboard without having to use shift registers.

Because the Teensy is removable, it can be used in other projects later if I want.

The Teensy is operating as an HID USB device, allowing it to be a USB keyboard.

The key layout on this keyboard is by no means standard, and after quite a bit of key mapping I have the program written and it's operating well.

I'll be making a nice box to put it into here soon.

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Martian wrote 03/15/2019 at 17:10 point


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Mike Maluk wrote 04/30/2016 at 06:21 point

I love the woodworking aspect to a lot of your projects, really brings them full circle! 

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J. M. Hopkins wrote 04/30/2016 at 11:08 point

Thank you! I'm by no means the best wood worker, but I usually like the end results :)

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danjovic wrote 04/29/2016 at 17:54 point


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J. M. Hopkins wrote 04/29/2016 at 23:21 point

Thank you :)

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matseng wrote 03/03/2016 at 07:52 point

Brings back memories from my 7'th grade in school. A single PET2001 was the only computer available for the students - better than nothing back in 1979 I suppose....

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J. M. Hopkins wrote 03/03/2016 at 11:52 point

I've just loved the look of it. Terrible to type on, but for some reason fits for a keyboard to arm and launch rockets from :)

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matseng wrote 03/03/2016 at 12:19 point

The machine itself is absolutely awesome looking. Built in heavy sheet metal and weighs a ton.  No wonder that most ebay auctions that accepts shipping them overseas charges about $250 for the shipping. But for a $500-$800 machine it can be worth it.  

Some day... Some day I'll get one...  And a VT-100 terminal and a Model 33 ASR Teletype, and a life insurance because my wile will kill me ;-)

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