C.ITOH Alps Buckling Spring board (possible to convert)

I recently got a really cool Alps bucking spring board. The badge on it says C.ITOH.

With some help on reddit, I was able to figure out the pinout of the 6p6c connector. I tried to build a Soarer's converter but unfortunately it did not work. I was wondering if anyone had any information about this board or possible ways to convert it over to usb?

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snacksthecat

Unread post22 Jan 2018, 00:12

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That's really odd — the PCB is branded C-ITOH and doesn't have any Alps codes on it.

Has anyone ever seen the membranes in these? Maybe those are Alps branded. Certainly the Alps-made AppleDesign Keyboard has an Alps-branded PCB and Alps-branded membranes.
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Unread post22 Jan 2018, 00:43

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It looks just like a rebranded SM-101 tbh, but yeah, it's weird to have the name even on the PCB. And the plug is different.

Is there a label at the back?
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Unread post22 Jan 2018, 06:15

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Based on the images, the cables should carry the following:

Red, Yellow -> Vcc
Green, Blue, Thick White -> Gnd
Thin White - Clock/Data (presumably)

Is this what your Reddit fellows told you? If not, what did they tell you?

If so ... whatever that is, it's not PS/2 layout (which has separate Clock and Data lines), and thus not Soarer Converter compatible.
Arakula

Unread post22 Jan 2018, 14:25

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Chyros wrote:It looks just like a rebranded SM-101 tbh, but yeah, it's weird to have the name even on the PCB. And the plug is different.

Is there a label at the back?

Just watched your video on the SM-101 and yes, it looks identical besides the badge and the cable. (great videos by the way!)

The label on the back of the board simply says "BRITISH" :lol:

I have the original box and it says "C.ITOH CIT324/CIT324E". I'm not sure if that's the model number of the board or the terminal (or both?).

Arakula wrote:Based on the images, the cables should carry the following:

Red, Yellow -> Vcc
Green, Blue, Thick White -> Gnd
Thin White - Clock/Data (presumably)

Is this what your Reddit fellows told you? If not, what did they tell you?

If so ... whatever that is, it's not PS/2 layout (which has separate Clock and Data lines), and thus not Soarer Converter compatible.

Yes, /r/askelectronics told me the pinout exactly as you described. I'm not sure what voltage it is expecting. I tried the following:
• 5V -- no lights
• 7V -- all lights come on and stay lit
• 9V -- all lights come on and stay lit. The board lets out a constant "beep"
• 12V -- all lights come on and stay lit. The board lets out a brief "ray gun"/"pew" noise when I plug it in.

Bummer that it's not Soarer's compatible. I'm not sure where I even start trying to communicate with the board :?
snacksthecat

Unread post22 Jan 2018, 15:54

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I’ve got one of those recently myself, I was worried USB conversion won’t be easy :| I think I’ll try looking into replacing the controller, but if I manage to avoid it, I’ll let you know.
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Unread post22 Jan 2018, 18:07

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snacksthecat wrote:
Chyros wrote:I'm not sure what voltage it is expecting. I tried the following:
• 5V -- no lights
• 7V -- all lights come on and stay lit
• 9V -- all lights come on and stay lit. The board lets out a constant "beep"
• 12V -- all lights come on and stay lit. The board lets out a brief "ray gun"/"pew" noise when I plug it in.

Do you have a voltmeter? If not, get one. Got one now? Good. The right upper pin of the various chips (74LS06, 74LS145, Intel P8049AH; "right upper" referring to "the pin right to the notch in the chip". If you're unsure what I mean look up their pinout, their data sheets are freely available in multiple versions on the 'net) should receive +5V. Don't apply an input voltage that leads to a higher voltage on their Vcc pins.
Arakula

Unread post23 Jan 2018, 09:13

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Arakula wrote:Do you have a voltmeter? If not, get one. Got one now? Good. The right upper pin of the various chips (74LS06, 74LS145, Intel P8049AH; "right upper" referring to "the pin right to the notch in the chip". If you're unsure what I mean look up their pinout, their data sheets are freely available in multiple versions on the 'net) should receive +5V. Don't apply an input voltage that leads to a higher voltage on their Vcc pins.

Thanks for this breakdown! I'm going to move forward making a teensy controller instead of messing with conversion but I'll try this and post back what I find in case anyone finds the information useful.
snacksthecat

Unread post24 Jan 2018, 02:52

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Daniel Beardsmore wrote:That's really odd — the PCB is branded C-ITOH and doesn't have any Alps codes on it.

Has anyone ever seen the membranes in these? Maybe those are Alps branded. Certainly the Alps-made AppleDesign Keyboard has an Alps-branded PCB and Alps-branded membranes.

Just removed all the plastic rivets and I'm seeing the membrane is indeed branded Alps

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snacksthecat

Unread post24 Jan 2018, 03:09

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Very sneaky — maybe C-Itoh had a reason to make their own PCBs? It's always good to have proof, although I hope the keyboard didn't suffer too badly in being forced to give up its secrets!
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Unread post24 Jan 2018, 08:47

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Here's the membrane wiring mapped out. I'll post the key matrix in a table format once I get a bit more time to work on this. Hopefully this will help someone from having to cut the rivets on theirs. :D

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snacksthecat

Unread post25 Jan 2018, 02:02

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Arakula wrote:Do you have a voltmeter? If not, get one. Got one now? Good. The right upper pin of the various chips (74LS06, 74LS145, Intel P8049AH; "right upper" referring to "the pin right to the notch in the chip". If you're unsure what I mean look up their pinout, their data sheets are freely available in multiple versions on the 'net) should receive +5V. Don't apply an input voltage that leads to a higher voltage on their Vcc pins.

5v - too low
9v - regulated down to 5v on each of those chips
12v - regulated down to 5v on each of those chips

those are the only voltages I can try but it at least confirms that the board requires something more than 5v
snacksthecat

Unread post28 Jan 2018, 17:28

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Now that I've got the membranes mapped out I bolt modded her back together again :mrgreen:

didn't want to get any little flecks of nasty plastic in the switch holes
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ground down the rivet bumps with my cheap little Dremel
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I'm lucky the plastic was so flimsy because this thing runs on double-A batteries!
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The cutouts on the plate were 1/4" so I had to find some extra wide washers
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starting to come together
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almost done
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good as new!
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used the following materials:
https://www.mcmaster.com/nav/enter.asp?...=91116A240 (washers)
https://www.mcmaster.com/nav/enter.asp?...=92000A013 (screws)
https://www.mcmaster.com/nav/enter.asp?...=90591A265 (nuts)
snacksthecat

Unread post31 Jan 2018, 04:06

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Wow, dude! You're doing some really great work on this thing! How's it feel with the bold mod done?
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Unread post31 Jan 2018, 05:06

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Wow, that's quite impressive. This is the first Alps buckling spring bolt mod I've heard of =o .
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Unread post31 Jan 2018, 06:05

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//gainsborough wrote:Wow, dude! You're doing some really great work on this thing! How's it feel with the bold mod done?

Feels fantastic! I just hope I don't have to take all ~60 screws out for any reason :lol:

Chyros wrote:Wow, that's quite impressive. This is the first Alps buckling spring bolt mod I've heard of =o .

Down the rabbit hole I gooooooooo....
snacksthecat

Unread post31 Jan 2018, 15:52

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Here's where I landed with the matrix.

I was able to program my Teensy++ 2.0 with QMK firmware and all of the keys work. :D

I haven't a clue how to get the num/scroll/caps lock LED indicators to work though. :cry:

A B C D E F G H/I J K L M N
1 Left Pause NEnter N+ (led scroll) (led caps) (led num) (leds ???) (???) Home End Up
2 RAlt Scroll (led scroll) (led caps) (led num) (leds ???) (???) Print LAlt
3 Z A Q (led scroll) (led caps) (led num) (leds ???) (???) ` 1 Tab Esc
4 X S W (led scroll) (led caps) (led num) (leds ???) (???) F1 2 Caps
5 RCtrl (led scroll) (led caps) (led num) (leds ???) (???) LCtrl
6 RShift (led scroll) (led caps) (led num) (leds ???) (???) LShift
7 B V F R (led scroll) (led caps) (led num) (leds ???) (???) 5 4 T G
8 C D E (led scroll) (led caps) (led num) (leds ???) (???) F2 3 F3 F4
9 N M J U (led scroll) (led caps) (led num) (leds ???) (???) 6 7 Y H
10 / \ ; P (led scroll) (led caps) (led num) (leds ???) (???) - 0 [ '
11 Down Num N1 N7 (led scroll) (led caps) (led num) (leds ???) (???) Del F11 N4
12 Right N\ N2 N8 (led scroll) (led caps) (led num) (leds ???) (???) Ins F12 N5 N0
13 , K I (led scroll) (led caps) (led num) (leds ???) (???) = 8 ] F6
14 . L O (led scroll) (led caps) (led num) (leds ???) (???) F8 9 F7 #
15 N* N3 N9 (led scroll) (led caps) (led num) (leds ???) (???) PgUp PgDwn N6 N.
16 Space Enter (led scroll) (led caps) (led num) (leds ???) (???) F9 F10 Backsp F5


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Last edited by snacksthecat on 02 Feb 2018, 20:56, edited 1 time in total.
snacksthecat

Unread post02 Feb 2018, 20:39

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Amazing work, well done!
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Unread post02 Feb 2018, 20:51

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