Key Communications Keyboard Coating On Traces Coming Off Help

Fkazim

12 Sep 2019, 02:01

So I recently picked up this Vintage Cherry MX Black unsaver looking keyboard with an LCD screen. The keyboard is built really well with thick metal and thick plastic nice ABS doubleshot keycaps. Anyway the keyboard has an standard 5 pin DIN connector tried to plug it into a active converter all I got was the LCD screen came on and displayed KEY COMMUNICATIONS INC. LCD V4.3 and the caps lock key lights up when pressed but does not actually toggle the caps lock on the computer.

I would really like to get this keyboard working and also get the LCD functioning. If anyone has any ideas how I might go about this it would be much appreciated.

Thanks.

Below is some images of the keyboard.
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Last edited by Fkazim on 04 Oct 2019, 14:00, edited 10 times in total.

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PlacaFromHell

12 Sep 2019, 05:39

What a cute keyboard :)

Fkazim

12 Sep 2019, 09:17

PlacaFromHell wrote:
12 Sep 2019, 05:39
What a cute keyboard :)
Haha yes it is any ideas how u could go about converting it and getting the screen to function?

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Chyros

12 Sep 2019, 09:52

That's bizarre. If I'd had to guess, I would've reckoned that was a Key Tronic for sure Oo . Cool keyboard though! :)

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PlacaFromHell

12 Sep 2019, 09:53

Fkazim wrote:
12 Sep 2019, 09:17
PlacaFromHell wrote:
12 Sep 2019, 05:39
What a cute keyboard :)
Haha yes it is any ideas how u could go about converting it and getting the screen to function?
I would just, forgive the redundancy, trace the traces and write a pinout of the main controller of the keyboard (basically I'm telling you to copy the matrix) and then replace the thing with a Teensy. Replace the controller has a much more lazy software than build a converter, you only need basic soldering skills.
I never worked with a screen, but shouldn't be as hard as you think. Seeing a generic screen pinout I can have a brief idea of how do they work. You have an 8 bit data bus where you input ASCII code or a sort of it with some pins acting like a kind of cursor (or maybe a pin to choose between set the cursor and write on it). I would try to see what is inside of the keyboard and in a worst case scenario try to find an Arduino module that fits inside.
Image

Fkazim

12 Sep 2019, 10:01

Sounds good but how would I determine what shows on the screen. An update I used my IBM Model F soarers converter and I managed to get the cursor on the screen to move slightly but nothing more than that. Also what can I do for function keys can it be programmed to control+1 for f1, control+2 for F2, control+3 fpr F3 etc please let me know if the above would be possible?

Thanks for all the help.
Last edited by Fkazim on 12 Sep 2019, 10:21, edited 1 time in total.

Fkazim

12 Sep 2019, 10:15

I will open up the keyboard tonight and check the controller and post some pictures of the internals.

Fkazim

13 Sep 2019, 19:00

Here are the pictures of the main controller and the LCD display any ideas about what any of it is because I am lost.

Any help as always is much appreciated.
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HC514

13 Sep 2019, 20:33

Chyros wrote:
12 Sep 2019, 09:52
That's bizarre. If I'd had to guess, I would've reckoned that was a Key Tronic for sure Oo . Cool keyboard though! :)
Key Tronic and DCS legends do have a very similar style, but there's an easy way to tell them apart. Look at the 3. Key Tronic's font gives it a flat top, whereas on DCS it has a round top.

Fkazim

13 Sep 2019, 22:50

Any ideas how I could go about converting this keyboard as I think it would be a really neat daily driver.

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dotdash

14 Sep 2019, 00:27

Some google turned up this, maybe it was originally attached to lab equipment.

Key Communications Services, Inc. designs, manufactures, distributes, and services lab results and communication products for hospital based labs. As of 12/31/1998, Key Communications Services, Inc. was a subsidiary of ProxyMed Inc.

Fkazim

14 Sep 2019, 10:14

wow very interesting good job for finding some of the history on it.

Fkazim

16 Sep 2019, 02:37

Any idea still no progress on converting my keyboard to USB and really don't know where to start.

Please help Thanks.

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swampangel

16 Sep 2019, 14:16

Fkazim wrote:
16 Sep 2019, 02:37
Any idea still no progress on converting my keyboard to USB and really don't know where to start.
Maybe take some more photos -- back of the pcb, and closeups of the chips so we can see the labels.

Do you have a multimeter? The cable looks like it has an extra pin or two compared to, say, the AT protocol -- if you were able to trace how the pins on the pcb map to the pins on the DIN end of the connector, someone might be able to guess at the original protocol.

The LCD tells you this probably didn't attach to a regular PC but rather was a kind of word processor or tty or something.

There's a pretty good chance you would need to do a controller swap to make it usable, which would involve tracing the matrix like viewtopic.php?p=450043#p450043

Since this board seems pretty rare, you'll probably have a lot of trial and error work. There are super talented people here but even they can probably only do so much without the board in hand.

Fkazim

16 Sep 2019, 14:37

OK tonight I will take photos of all the chips one of which is a socketed chip and can be removed as for the back of the PCB it looks pretty plain but I will take some close ups of that too tonight.

Also I do have a mulimeter so if you want me to do anything involving that let me know.

Thanks.

Anakey

16 Sep 2019, 17:04

bit of a long shot but you could try to contact the original manufacturer of the board https://tg3electronics.com/ the logo is the same as that on the pcb, though given the board was made nearly 30 years ago they may not have that information left.

There are 2 ground wires, signal ground and chassis ground. the fact that the LCD seems to function correctly and that this was made in 1992 i think that it should not be too difficult. Did you try an xt converter?

Fkazim

16 Sep 2019, 17:56

I connected it up to my IBM Model F XT Orihalcon keyboard converter and the only response I could get from the keyboard was the cursor on the LCD to move up one level but other than that nothing.

Fkazim

16 Sep 2019, 17:59

Below are the pictures of the chips on the controller let me know if it helps.
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Fkazim

17 Sep 2019, 09:16

Are those pictures of any help?

Fkazim

18 Sep 2019, 15:25

Please anymore input?

Fkazim

19 Sep 2019, 18:10

Here is a picture of the back of the PCB and traces problem I see is the original controller is not detachable as it is on the same PCB as the switches please help.
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Muirium
µ

19 Sep 2019, 23:29

It's not an easy conversion. I bet that Intel chip, up top, is the controller and needs pulled out. The idea is to replace it with a Teensy++ or the like, and program that with TMK or whatever, with the matrix all worked out. As for the display? Beyond me.

I'd suggest handing this one off to someone with experience at this sort of thing. Or earn your chops by controller swapping some other, simpler boards, first.

Fkazim

20 Sep 2019, 01:31

So would I have to desolder the Intel chip? I ask as there is another chip on the PCB that is socketed which is the chip that says TG3 KBD 4-10-92 could that possibly be the controller chip?

Also when I plugged it into my IBM Model F XT soarers converter it registered as having a set 1 protocol how easy is that protocol to convert?

Thanks for all the help.

Anakey

20 Sep 2019, 10:27

I would say that socketed chip would be the display program as you can see from the underside of the board and would make sense being removable and easily flashed when upgrading the software. T think before starting to remove chips etc it is best to first establish the pins that are for the matrix. Given that as shown in the underside there are no obvious traces connecting the rows/columns to the circuitry on top then these traces must be on the top of the pcb as i doubt this is a multi layer pcb.
download/file.php?id=56170
In this image, you can see traces going down disappearing below the plate, there is a similar chip on the other side of the controller. I believe these are shift registers which are designed to expand the IO of the controller and are probably where the matrix is.
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The same pins on the underside of the pcb coloured yellow can then be used along with a multimeter on continuity to then work out the switch matrix. Number the shift register pins as you see fit (remembering that the order will be reversed on the top side of the pcb) then set the multimeter to continuity. Place one probe on the switch pin, then run the other probe along the shift register pins until you hear a beep then write down that pin 1 of that switch goes to pin x of the shift register. As the matrix has diodes you would want to measure from the diode to the shift register and that would be the other pin of the switch. What you should then get is the switch matrix which can then be used later to wire up the teensy, assuming that you do not find an easier non destructive way of converting it first. Though if you are needing to change the functionality of the keys then you would probably need the controller replacement anyway to enable programming.

Fkazim

20 Sep 2019, 10:58

Will try and do this tonight this is my first time doing this kind of PCB tracing so let hope I can cope.

Thanks for the help.

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Muirium
µ

21 Sep 2019, 14:56

Take a look at this for some help:

viewtopic.php?p=450022#p450022

Matrix mapping is a bit of a black art. But it's step 1 for any controller replacement.

Fkazim

21 Sep 2019, 15:45

I will take a look at that Thanks.

Fkazim

23 Sep 2019, 19:16

I have fully mapped the key matrix of the key communications keyboard sorry about going from 18 to 22 for the pins. It is because I thought there were other pins involved but either way we can still determine the key matrix. Please let me know if this helps in converterting the keyboard and what firmware I would use on the pro micro.

Thanks.
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swampangel

23 Sep 2019, 19:34

You've mapped the rows. There will be another set of (more) pins representing the columns.

You can look at the back and see traces going across that form the row. The adjacent pins will form the columns.

Image

The yellow line is a row. The red circles are *examples* of the pins you will have to map to form the columns.

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Muirium
µ

23 Sep 2019, 19:44

Yup. A matrix is a 2 dimensional grid: a rectangle. Every switch has 2 coordinates. You’ve got half of them now!

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