ProXellent keyboard only working in BIOS

EnthusiastDude

11 May 2020, 14:58

Update: Solved it by using a different converter

So I bought this awesome NIB "ProXellent Transkey" keyboard recently, because it has a great layout and it supports no software macro keys, which is a neat feature that I always wanted to try.
I plugged it into my small AT to PS/2 and PS/2 to USB converters, expecting it to work like every other AT keyboard in my collection. And then absolutely nothing happened. I tried to get it working myself and long story short it works in my BIOS, but doesn't as soon as I boot into Windows (or mac OS, it's a hackintosh).
I've never experienced this behaviour and I have no clue what could cause this. I really like this keyboard so far and I'd really appreciate any help that I can get.

Here's a picture of it, for the curious among you:
Spoiler:
IMG_20200511_134318.jpg
IMG_20200511_134318.jpg (1.56 MiB) Viewed 490 times
Last edited by EnthusiastDude on 11 May 2020, 18:12, edited 1 time in total.

Findecanor

11 May 2020, 16:25

That's a weird issue, but I suspect the PS/2 to USB converter. So the same converter works with other PS/2 keyboards, huh? Have you tried it on another computer?

One hypothesis, albeit far-fetched, is that the keyboard and converter draw too much power on the port, and so the Windows and Mac USB drivers (because they are more sophisiticated than BIOS) decide to turn it off. I dunno.

EnthusiastDude

11 May 2020, 16:57

Findecanor wrote:
11 May 2020, 16:25
That's a weird issue, but I suspect the PS/2 to USB converter. So the same converter works with other PS/2 keyboards, huh? Have you tried it on another computer?

One hypothesis, albeit far-fetched, is that the keyboard and converter draw too much power on the port, and so the Windows and Mac USB drivers (because they are more sophisiticated than BIOS) decide to turn it off. I dunno.
The same converter works for other keyboards, but I'll try a different one later to see if that changes anything. I haven't yet thought about power, thanks for that hint. I'm unsure how I can find out if that's really the issue, would you have any idea how I could go about that?

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Polecat

11 May 2020, 17:46

Does the keyboard have an XT/AT switch or is it autodetect? If it has a switch try the other mode. If it's autodetect try another converter. May be a conflict if both the keyboard and converter (and OS) are trying to set the mode.

EnthusiastDude

11 May 2020, 18:11

I tried the other converter and it worked! The funny thing is that the converter still works for other keyboards, but somehow doesn't like the ProXellent. Thanks everyone for helping me solve this!

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Polecat

12 May 2020, 04:03

EnthusiastDude wrote:
11 May 2020, 18:11
I tried the other converter and it worked! The funny thing is that the converter still works for other keyboards, but somehow doesn't like the ProXellent. Thanks everyone for helping me solve this!
Nice! I'd like to know more about this keyboard. Switch type? Is it related to Focus/Northgate? I've seen a couple of these for sale, but passed because I didn't know anything about them. At your convenience, of course, glad you got it working.

EnthusiastDude

12 May 2020, 12:18

Sure, it comes with linear alps clones with a green slider and I am pretty sure that it was manufactured by Focus, because the keycaps look like they are the same as on my fk-3002.
Pretty sturdy construction too, I really like it.
It came with a lot of features including the before mentioned macro programmability and the manual states that "it is the most powerful hardware and software" :)

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Polecat

13 May 2020, 02:59

EnthusiastDude wrote:
12 May 2020, 12:18
Sure, it comes with linear alps clones with a green slider and I am pretty sure that it was manufactured by Focus, because the keycaps look like they are the same as on my fk-3002.
Pretty sturdy construction too, I really like it.
It came with a lot of features including the before mentioned macro programmability and the manual states that "it is the most powerful hardware and software" :)
Thank you, much appreciated! The linear switches are a surprise. The other ProXellent posted here had white (clicky) Alps. How does the macro thing work? I have an FK-2002 with a macro key, but all it does as far as I can tell is generate a backslash with a different scan code than the one in the alpha area. Not enough electronics inside to be programmable, so it must have triggered a TSR program or something. I bought it new, but it didn't come with any software or instructions on how to use the Macro function.

EnthusiastDude

13 May 2020, 09:07

Yeah it was a bit surprising to me too, but I like it. I think linear clones are closer to the originals than clicky clones.
The Macros work the following way: First you press the right alt + ctrl + macro key to get into macro mode. This is signaled by the macro lock light. Only in macro mode macros work, otherwise all the keys have the normal functionality (for example F1-F12). To program a key, you press scroll lock, then the key that you want to program (all F-keys and the diagonal arrow keys are programmable). Then you enter up to 32 keystrokes and then you press the key that you want to program again. This makes the keyboard leave macro mode to show that it worked. And that's it, sounds complicated but once you've done it one time it is really easy to remember.
But if I haven't had the instructions I would never have figured that out.

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Polecat

14 May 2020, 04:07

EnthusiastDude wrote:
13 May 2020, 09:07
Yeah it was a bit surprising to me too, but I like it. I think linear clones are closer to the originals than clicky clones.
The Macros work the following way: First you press the right alt + ctrl + macro key to get into macro mode. This is signaled by the macro lock light. Only in macro mode macros work, otherwise all the keys have the normal functionality (for example F1-F12). To program a key, you press scroll lock, then the key that you want to program (all F-keys and the diagonal arrow keys are programmable). Then you enter up to 32 keystrokes and then you press the key that you want to program again. This makes the keyboard leave macro mode to show that it worked. And that's it, sounds complicated but once you've done it one time it is really easy to remember.
But if I haven't had the instructions I would never have figured that out.
Priceless info. A year or five from now someone will be profusely thanking you for sharing it. I'll try that procedure on my Focus, but it doesn't have a Macro Lock LED, nor electronics inside for anything to be stored by the user. Just the usual 8xxx controller chip. Does the ProXellent save the macros when powered down or when the computer is rebooted? The last generation of Northgates had a (notoriously flaky) EEPROM, but prior to that storing small chunks of data on the fly was a lot more difficult. Thanks again!

EnthusiastDude

14 May 2020, 08:38

Yeah, I guess it's not that intuitive. I haven't opened it up yet, so I can't say which chips it has, but it does save the macros even without power so I guess it has to have an EEPROM or something alike. Pretty neat in my opinion, I prefer it to macros that have to be configured with software.

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