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Hardware Hacking Input Devices

USB NeXT Keyboard With an Arduino Micro 115

Posted by Soulskill
from the clickity-clack-hack dept.
coop0030 writes "Ladyada and pt had an old NeXT keyboard with a strong desire to get it running on a modern computer. These keyboards are durable, super clicky, and very satisfying to use! However, they are very old designs, specifically made for NeXT hardware: pre PS/2 and definitely pre-USB. That means you can't just plug the keyboard into a PS/2 port (even though it looks similar). There is no existing adapters for sale, and no code out there for getting these working, so we spent a few days and with a little research we got it working perfectly using an Arduino Micro as the go between."
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USB NeXT Keyboard With an Arduino Micro

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  • by CuteSteveJobs (1343851) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @07:19PM (#42228853)
    I love the "old" clicky keyboards. They feel much better on the fingers and the tactile freedback is wonderful. You can still buy them from UNICOMP who bought out the IBM keyboard factory upgraded with USB: http://pckeyboard.com/page/category/UKBD [pckeyboard.com]

    You can also pick them up on 2nd hand on eBay from these resellers: http://www.clickykeyboards.com/ [clickykeyboards.com]

    When I buy a laptop they're all equal EXCEPT FOR THE KEYBOARDS. Some are better than others, but none compare to this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Model_M_keyboard [wikipedia.org] Know people who type whole novels on their iPhone, but is it really the best way to do it?
  • Re:ADB (Score:5, Informative)

    by Misagon (1135) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @08:09PM (#42229213)

    Not all NeXT keyboards talked ADB, but rather some proprietary NeXT protocol.

    The commercial USB-to-ADB adapters, such as the Belkin iMate are not that easy to come by.
    The best option might just be to use a small microcontroller board and load it up with custom firmware.

    Most keyboard hackers use the Teensy [pjrc.com] instead of an Arduino, but the boards have more similarities than differences.
    You can find open source ADB adapter firmware made for the Teensy over on the Geekhack.org [geekhack.org] forum. It was made by a guy with the handle "Hasu".

  • Re:waste (Score:3, Informative)

    by FatRichie (1456467) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @04:19AM (#42231843)
    When I saw this was a thread about old keyboards, I was hoping I'd find someone recommending some newer quality keyboards.

    I can add that I found the ABS Model M1 keyboard to be a great alternative to the very expensive boards (lists for $69.99, but I picked mine up on clearance for $40 a few years ago). I don't need any of the added "modern" functionality of media keys or backlight, but I did want a keyboard that had a solid, "springy" resistance, and a definite clicking sound when I used it. I just can't get by on the basic factory keyboards that come with computers out of the box. Those keyboards have the feel, and only slightly more effectiveness than typing into a bowl of pudding.

    Granted, this ABS hardware has never had the solid response I got from my old IBM keyboards, and someday I'm sure dropping over $100 on a nice keyboard won't hurt my wallet or my spending conscience so bad. But in the meantime, this ABS board was a decent, cheap alternative.

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