Full Access-IS: 15x6 Matrix POS Keyboard

User avatar
Muirium
µ

01 Dec 2014, 22:23

A pile of these Access-IS matrix keyboards sits on my desk, new in their boxes. They're all spoken for, so don't ask! But here's a peek inside for anyone interested in Tipro's English rival…

Image

These are the AKEOCTI Model. A nice compact 15 column by 6 row matrix, fully NKRO, in a fairly attractive case. They're solid wee things, and have a decent enough set of caps, the alphas being doubleshots. The main downside of these PS/2 boards (just like older Tipros) for me is the quirky software used to program them. They ship with many keys unassigned — most of the black blanks, and a few more besides — so for USB only guys like me, looking to convert them, they need reprogramming. This is not pretty. Davkol's tutorial has the gory details!

I gave it a shot, but couldn't get the SoftProg software to work. So today I stripped mine down to take a peek for alternate routes. Fortunately, I found one…
IMG_6516.JPG
IMG_6516.JPG (392.06 KiB) Viewed 5505 times
Excuse the northern winter light! The case is in two parts. The smaller one is the upper housing you see removed here. All that takes is a couple of screws. It covers this ribbon cable:
IMG_6550.JPG
IMG_6550.JPG (334.32 KiB) Viewed 5505 times
Which leads into a second PCB:
IMG_6513.JPG
IMG_6513.JPG (427.89 KiB) Viewed 5505 times
Separate controller sighted! Here's the matrix, viewed from below:

Image

Four solder joints for every switch. You know what that means: there's a full complement of diodes, for NKRO.
IMG_6528.JPG
IMG_6528.JPG (319.41 KiB) Viewed 5505 times
Plate mounted MX blacks all round. The switch spacing is compatible with Tipro and SP POS caps. Here's a SPH 2x1 key. A fair bit taller, of course.
IMG_6530.JPG
IMG_6530.JPG (271.15 KiB) Viewed 5505 times
The stock Access caps are cylindricals like this. (SP's DCS profile? I'm guessing so.) Alphas are row profiled thin doubleshots. While the POS specific keys are not.
IMG_6531.JPG
IMG_6531.JPG (343.75 KiB) Viewed 5505 times
There's also three LEDs along the top edge of the keyboard. I gather these are programmable too. Fortunately, for me, they're on the main PCB, with the switches, away from the controller.
IMG_6549.JPG
IMG_6549.JPG (303.75 KiB) Viewed 5505 times
These light pipes in the upper housing make them visible in use.
IMG_6546.JPG
IMG_6546.JPG (366.39 KiB) Viewed 5505 times
Now for that controller. Here it is:
IMG_6522.JPG
IMG_6522.JPG (524.93 KiB) Viewed 5505 times
Only one of these three sockets is in use for the external cable. (Which is a double tailed PS/2 with passthrough on this model.)
IMG_6521.JPG
IMG_6521.JPG (387.85 KiB) Viewed 5505 times
Wouldn't it be nice if one of the other two was USB? Yeah, I doubt it too!
IMG_6523.JPG
IMG_6523.JPG (511.5 KiB) Viewed 5505 times
Here's the controller, with its 2003 copyright date.
IMG_6524.JPG
IMG_6524.JPG (590.31 KiB) Viewed 5505 times
My plan is to replace it entirely. From what I can see, the whole switch matrix is laid bare on the ribbon cable which joins the two boards. And those three LEDs, as there's nothing else to join them. The ribbon cable is 32 pin, and soldered at both ends. I intend to hook it up to a Teensy and run my own programmable USB controller. Anyone got advice about how I should hook it up, physically?

andrewjoy

02 Dec 2014, 02:23

How is the flat flex connected to the controller pcb ? Are the metal pins that are soldered into the board on a connector or directly soldered to the flat flex ? It looks like a custom job but i bet you somewhere you can get the female connector for that flat flex that they have oh so kindly soldered onto the board, i very much doubt a small company like access would get there own connector manufactured good luck finding info on it, i guess you could ask them if they are sill going.

failing that you could just de-solder it from the matrix and have 2 single in line cable ( like a floppy drive cable but only one row) going to your new board.

Why do people not standardise what would have been wrong with them using a standard pin header form someone like molex they have 1000s of different ones.

I also see some unpopulated places for a coin cell battery and related caps and diodes i wonder if they planned to have volatile ram on-board but then changed there mind or it was just an option and they did not fit it... cheap cunts.

User avatar
Muirium
µ

02 Dec 2014, 02:29

Yup. It looks a bit of a needless pain in the arse. (I need to take more pictures in better light. The ribbon cable closeups were all blurry.) But, I'd rather this kind of pain than the one Tipro gave me:

Image
Not modular! Grr…

Wasn't even NKRO! Cheapskates.

User avatar
Muirium
µ

04 Dec 2014, 03:59

Just checking all 10 boards out just now with Soarer's Converter before I get on with proxying. They all function fine. And they're all in nice NIB condition. The only variability is in the handful of pastille coloured (laser infilled?) caps on the function row, whose legends are a bit hit and miss on some of the boards. As I'm likely to replace my caps anyway, I can take some faint ones. I'll ask who's more bothered about those caps and ship accordingly.

User avatar
Halvar

04 Dec 2014, 08:00

Muirium wrote: Just checking all 10 boards out just now with Soarer's Converter before I get on with proxying. They all function fine. And they're all in nice NIB condition.
Ha, not any more! Now they have been used and are merely mint! :ugeek: :mrgreen:

(Sorry, just jealous because I missed these)

User avatar
HzFaq

04 Dec 2014, 09:03

I'll be replacing most of the caps on mine so I'm not that bothered by a few duffers.

andrewjoy

04 Dec 2014, 09:31

I have orders caps but I don't know how many of the existing caps I will use yet (as i ordered a grab bag of orange pos caps:) )so would go for the good ones if possible

User avatar
chzel

04 Dec 2014, 15:11

I mostly care for the POS-specific caps ,the mods and the numpad!
F row and alphas can be any quality!
If anyone doesn't want their 4u and 2u caps, they can have my alphas and F row!

User avatar
Muirium
µ

04 Dec 2014, 15:13

Here's what I was talking about with the handful of dodgy legends:
IMG_6555.JPG
IMG_6555.JPG (945.33 KiB) Viewed 5289 times
Does that look laser infilled to you? I don't actually feel engraving when I touch them, but they're a little faded on 3 or 4 of the boards; and always just those pastille caps. The doubleshot alphas are all fine, of course, while the non-DS black and white POS caps also look new. Just seems to be a problem with the pastille shades. I saw this on the board I proxied CeeSA last year, too.

Wouldn't surprise me if it's a quality control issue and they looked like that when fresh out the factory. Ho hum.

User avatar
chzel

04 Dec 2014, 15:25

It looks like the F6 and F7 are just lasered, not infilled.

User avatar
ماء

05 Dec 2014, 08:43

how the feel double switch for stabs? stiff? :lol:

User avatar
Muirium
µ

08 Dec 2014, 12:23

Of course! More just "heavy" really, as they still move pretty smoothly if you hit them in the middle. Standard POS action. Hit Enter with your fist!
chzel wrote: It looks like the F6 and F7 are just lasered, not infilled.
I must admit I'm no expert on cheapo caps! (I'm spoiled with dyesubs and doubleshots.) But the good ones of those function look like this:
IMG_6558.JPG
IMG_6558.JPG (770.69 KiB) Viewed 5154 times
Did I mention it's dark up here?

andrewjoy

08 Dec 2014, 13:08

you just wait till you see my orange and black colour scheme

Image

User avatar
Nuum

19 Dec 2014, 15:04

My Access-IS came today, now I have to think of a decent layout for it. Thank you very much for doing this Mini-GB/Proxying, Muirium!

User avatar
Muirium
µ

19 Dec 2014, 15:10

You're welcome. I suggest Colemak with home row separated in the middle. That's what I'll be trying for myself when I've more caps and get down to sorting out that controller.

User avatar
Nuum

19 Dec 2014, 15:23

Currently I'm thinking about these two layouts:
Access-IS split ISO.png
Access-IS split ISO.png (22.59 KiB) Viewed 5050 times
Access-IS non-split ISO.png
Access-IS non-split ISO.png (21.23 KiB) Viewed 5050 times

User avatar
HzFaq

19 Dec 2014, 15:30

That split ISO looks interesting, I was just planning to use mine as a numpad/macro board but I'm actually kind of tempted by both of those layouts.

User avatar
Muirium
µ

19 Dec 2014, 15:31

Option 1 is similar to what I'm thinking. I'd likely lose the F-row, though, shift everything up one, and come up with something smart for the bottom row.

User avatar
Khers

19 Dec 2014, 15:32

The four switch enter in the first option will be mightily heavy!

User avatar
Nuum

19 Dec 2014, 15:35

Yes, it is, I plan to desolder all switches under the 2x1 and 2x2 keycaps and swap in some lighter springs.

User avatar
chzel

19 Dec 2014, 15:37

Nah...just headbutt the thing!

User avatar
HzFaq

19 Dec 2014, 15:49

Spoken like a true dwarf.

andrewjoy

19 Dec 2014, 22:35

i have some lighter than red springs ready to go :)

User avatar
HzFaq

19 Dec 2014, 23:56

Image

Just need to programme the bugger now, that's a job for a less sleepy me though...

andrewjoy

20 Dec 2014, 00:15

if you have any unused blanks from the original set can i buy them please :)

User avatar
HzFaq

20 Dec 2014, 00:22

I might have a couple left over, I'll give it a few days until I get the layout sorted and let you know.

User avatar
Muirium
µ

24 Aug 2018, 16:14

Oh, I finally got around to Teensying up one of these guys. Works a treat. The matrix is complete monkey-balls insanity. You’d think a 15x6 rectangle might have a 15x6 matrix, but it’s actually 12x8 and runs at 45º across physical rows and columns… all to save a single controller pin! 15+6=21 versus 12+8 = 20. Thanks, Access, for giving my multimeter a real bleep out.

Here’s my scribbled diagram from that session:
6F355A87-D66D-4E1F-B96B-F121084BEB72.jpeg
6F355A87-D66D-4E1F-B96B-F121084BEB72.jpeg (719.57 KiB) Viewed 3917 times
Yes, I’m sure there’s a better way to present that data! I was writing on the iPad as I went.

As you can imagine, such a kooky “logical” matrix makes for madcap programming when you want to dial in your own choice of layout. I made a spreadsheet to convert from one coordinate system to the other. An example:
6600BE6A-583C-4CE9-B2F0-5D0F8E280806.jpeg
6600BE6A-583C-4CE9-B2F0-5D0F8E280806.jpeg (371.46 KiB) Viewed 3917 times
And yes, I’m sure there’s a better way to do this in code. Again, just quick and dirty stuff for me.

The actual soldering job I did installing the Teensy was a bit of a warcrime that I’m not keen to show off! Works flawlessly, though, so can’t complain. Indeed, the board now has a happy home with a friend who can finally use the damn thing himself.

I have a subsequent project in mind for my own. Bluetooth…

User avatar
Muirium
µ

31 Mar 2021, 12:34

Almost there now…

Image

For certain values of almost. :roll:

Rayndalf

01 Apr 2021, 02:50

Muirium wrote:
31 Mar 2021, 12:34
Almost there now…

Image

For certain values of almost. :roll:
Cute! Reminds me that I have a Tipro I really need to do something with, luckily it's a USB model so I can reprogram it on a modern computer. The previous owner swapped in clicky Razer green switched and a buzzer tactivates if the 2KRO is exceeded so it's a loud (but crazy solid) board.

I guess it makes sense that SP would have POS compatible keycaps considering they where cranking out cash register sets until the enthusiast market showed up.

micmil

01 Apr 2021, 05:09

I suddenly don't feel so bad about the glacial pace of most of my projects.

That color scheme is drool-worthy.

Post Reply

Return to “Gallery”