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My next keyboard (possibly...)

Posted: 10 Jan 2019, 20:35
by matt3o
I had this idea since some time now. Clearly inspired by C64 it would be the perfect mate for SA Retro!
nextkb.jpg
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Of course you need to fit a wonderfully retro 5mm red LED. I'll post better renders when finalized. It's bulky enough to host a female USB-B port (or wireless module and battery). Hope to be able to pull this off

Re: My next keyboard (possibly...)

Posted: 10 Jan 2019, 20:55
by snuci
Count me in if you do it. I already have a Mechboard64 but I would love to have a work keyboard with similar key caps and this case. You should make them a set.

Edit: Might be a little closer to the C64 with the function keys on the right. Unorthodox but closer to the C64 for nostalgia sake.

Re: My next keyboard (possibly...)

Posted: 10 Jan 2019, 21:05
by samuelcable
matt3o wrote:
10 Jan 2019, 20:35
I had this idea since some time now. Clearly inspired by C64 it would be the perfect mate for SA Retro!

nextkb.jpg

Of course you need to fit a wonderfully retro 5mm red LED. I'll post better renders when finalized. It's bulky enough to host a female USB-B port (or wireless module and battery). Hope to be able to pull this off
I don't think usb b port is a good idea but I'm definitely interested in the case design and the led placement!

Re: My next keyboard (possibly...)

Posted: 10 Jan 2019, 21:12
by matt3o
I find usb-b to be wonderfully retro, but usb-c works too. I need a back panel mountable port but with screws on top. Basically I need an internal extension cable that goes from the PCB to the back of the keyboard. I wonder if there's anything like that commercially available or I have to also design a small PCB for the usb port.

Re: My next keyboard (possibly...)

Posted: 10 Jan 2019, 22:46
by Menuhin
Or make some space under and behind the case like the cable routing in those Niz Chinese capacitive dome keyboards?

By the way, 1u right shift..? :?:

Re: My next keyboard (possibly...)

Posted: 10 Jan 2019, 23:32
by matt3o
Menuhin wrote:
10 Jan 2019, 22:46
By the way, 1u right shift..? :?:
it's 1.25u

Re: My next keyboard (possibly...)

Posted: 11 Jan 2019, 05:55
by Findecanor
What, no DE-9 joystick ports? ;)

Most existing adaptor kits for converting a C64 or Amiga to a USB keyboard have a pair of joystick ports. I have been toying with the idea of a mechanical replacement for Amiga keyboards (like the MechBoard64 and MeC64 for C64), and with a USB-option with joystick support.
For the physical ports, I think the best would be simple header pins on the PCB for connecting PC motherboard header-to-panel serial port cables (first result on google..). Those are panel-mounted, inexpensive and readily available from many sources.

However, each port would require five input pins, and 5V-capable with pull-up resistors. (Each switch is connected directly to the GPIO, shorted to ground when active... and some auto-fire circuits run on the pull-up current).
If you would also want to support Sega MegaDrive/Genesis gamepads, you would need more I/O pins. An ATmega32u4 can drive a pair of gamepads without additional components.
The additional code required for the firmware is very simple for simple Atari joysticks but a little tricky for Sega gamepads.

Re: My next keyboard (possibly...)

Posted: 11 Jan 2019, 08:53
by matt3o
I was thinking usb hub but it's very difficult to do it right and I don't think I want to go there.

regarding expansions... a raspberrypi probably would fit, I could do a modular design on the back side so you could have various panels to fit various options. But anyway let's see if I can actually produce something like this first.

Re: My next keyboard (possibly...)

Posted: 11 Jan 2019, 10:20
by Menuhin
RaspberryPi expansion.....?

Does it mean that this thing, when paired with battery and a tiny portable gaming console size monitor, can then already function as a full computer?! :D

Re: My next keyboard (possibly...)

Posted: 11 Jan 2019, 10:22
by matt3o
Menuhin wrote:
11 Jan 2019, 10:20
RaspberryPi expansion.....?

Does it mean that this thing, when paired with battery and a tiny portable gaming console size monitor, can then already function as a full computer?! :D
that would be possible, but I don't know if I want to go there, yet. I would be happy to just have the keyboard honestly :P

Re: My next keyboard (possibly...)

Posted: 16 Jan 2019, 16:36
by matt3o
Made a lot of updates to the case. I still have to find a solution for the back USB port.

Below a very rough render.
preview.jpg
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the function keys on the left would be flat so I can mix and match anything I want.

Re: My next keyboard (possibly...)

Posted: 16 Jan 2019, 17:30
by chuckdee
You have my attention...!

Re: My next keyboard (possibly...)

Posted: 16 Jan 2019, 18:52
by Findecanor
What kind of material do you have in mind for the case? Milled anodised aluminium?

It would be nice if it would be designed so that mods wouldn't be too difficult.
First, a Raspberry Pi (Zero) or Hub would need some space. Then when drilling for a port, you would like the wall to not be too thick and leave visible bare metal.

Re: My next keyboard (possibly...)

Posted: 16 Jan 2019, 19:12
by matt3o
Findecanor wrote:
16 Jan 2019, 18:52
What kind of material do you have in mind for the case? Milled anodised aluminium?

It would be nice if it would be designed so that mods wouldn't be too difficult.
First, a Raspberry Pi (Zero) or Hub would need some space. Then when drilling for a port, you would like the wall to not be too thick and leave visible bare metal.
yeah material would be aluminum. As of now I don't think you can fit a raspberrypi... (well yeah a zero, sure). But your idea to make a thin spot is not bad at all...

Re: My next keyboard (possibly...)

Posted: 16 Jan 2019, 20:34
by Menuhin
It's kind of smart to accommodate the arrow cluster this way by making the Right Shift 1.25u. Haven't seen this before, and if it is not done in other keyboards before, matt3o has really created this design with some out of the box thinking.

Re: My next keyboard (possibly...)

Posted: 16 Jan 2019, 20:41
by Menuhin
Just some request / suggestions perhaps even unreasonable:

For those two empty round-edge spaces at the top of this keyboard case, the right one can have the lock indicator LEDs, the left one, if you can, or if some crazy people can make this happen, can hold a layer or layer name LCD indicator for the keyboard, given it can have its own Raspberry brain even.

Re: My next keyboard (possibly...)

Posted: 16 Jan 2019, 20:56
by matt3o
Menuhin wrote:
16 Jan 2019, 20:34
It's kind of smart to accommodate the arrow cluster this way by making the Right Shift 1.25u. Haven't seen this before, and if it is not done in other keyboards before, matt3o has really created this design with some out of the box thinking.
honestly I've never seen it in modern keyboards ;)

The right LED can be layer lock or caps lock, or just power. Up to you. On the left I'd put a sticker c64 like...

Speaking of which... what about the name?

I was thinking Commander 64 or simply Sixtyfour.

Re: My next keyboard (possibly...)

Posted: 16 Jan 2019, 21:25
by Findecanor
Menuhin wrote:
16 Jan 2019, 20:34
It's kind of smart to accommodate the arrow cluster this way by making the Right Shift 1.25u.
It's similar to the original C64 which had a 1.5u right Shift, and then two "CRSR" keys on its right side. Without holding Shift, those keys were Down and Right: same keys and same fingers as an inverse-T cluster but one row up compared to a standard PC keyboard. Shift-Down was Up and Shift-Right was Left. The best 2-key arrow cluster I have seen. :)
The C64's keyboard was actually quite wide. The top two rows extend farther to the right, with 16 keys on the top row instead of 15 which is standard nowadays. The Del key is to the right of where a standard Backspace key is now.
matt3o wrote:
16 Jan 2019, 20:56
I was thinking Commander 64 or simply Sixtyfour.
If the Backspace key was 2u, it would be a 74-key keyboard. ;)