Key Communications Cherry MX Unsaver type keyboard USB converting 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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15682466707077284015484646036609.jpg (2.42 MiB) Viewed 459 times
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15682465744387673372329831673366.jpg (2.64 MiB) Viewed 459 times
Last edited by Fkazim on 14 Sep 2019, 11:03, edited 2 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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15683940078894883284355142932006.jpg (2.67 MiB) Viewed 271 times

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

Today, 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

Today, 14:16

Fkazim wrote:
Today, 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

Today, 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.

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