Commodore Amiga

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Commodore-Amiga, Inc.
Former type Subsidiary
Industry Computer hardware
Founded 1985
Defunct 1994
Headquarters West Chester, PA, United States
Key people Irving Gould (Chairman),
Mehdi Ali (President)
Parent Commodore Business Machines

The Commodore Amiga is a computing platform, introduced by Commodore in 1985 after it had purchased Amiga Inc.

The classic Amiga used the Motorola MC680x0 family of processors and a custom chip set which gave it good graphics and sound capabilities (for the time) at a low cost. Its proprietary operating system had a windowing system and was one of the first for home computers to have preemptive multitasking. It was considered before its time when it arrived but much behind when Commodore folded in 1994.

The platform still has a small but very dedicated user community which has produced different expansions, emulators and follow-up systems. This is an input device wiki, so the focus of this article is on Amiga keyboards and mice.

Common features of Amiga keyboards

  • What makes the Amiga keyboard layout stand out the most are the two Amiga keys at each end of the space bar. The right is used for command shortcuts and the left for the windowing-system.
  • ANSI Amiga keyboards have a backwards-L ("Big-Ass") Return key where as ISO keyboards have a vertical Return key. Compared to PC keyboards, ISO has not one but two additional keys: one next to left Shift and one next to a vertical Return key. All variations have a small Backspace key.
  • The layout has both a Ctrl key and a Caps Lock key to the left of 'A' on the home row. Unlike the PC the (only) Ctrl key is seldom used in GUI based programs and is used mainly in terminal emulators, the command console and Micro Emacs which was included.
  • The Caps Lock key has a LED in it to indicate Caps mode. This is the only keyboard LED. On computers with LEDs in the top/right corner or on the right near the keyboard, those LEDs are actually for power and FDD and (on Amiga 600 and 1200) HDD activity, and are on separate circuits.
  • There are Cursor keys, with Del and Help keys above them. Shift+cursor is used to move the cursor to beginning of line, end of line, page up and page down, so special navigation keys for those tasks are not needed. Text selection using the keyboard is typically modal, initiated with the key combination Amiga-B and ended with Amiga-X (Cut) or Amiga-C (Copy).
  • There are two Alt keys, both functioning as second-level Shift (like the Alt Gr key on PC, or the Option key on Macintosh), on the bottom left and bottom right corners of the main typing area.
  • All Amiga keyboards except the one in the Amiga 600 have a numeric keypad. Starting with the Amiga 2000, the numpad also has +, *, /, as well as left and right brackets. The added keys, different layout and side printed legends make it more compatible with the layout in the common IBM Enhanced Keyboard, which was relevant for PC emulation.

External Amiga keyboards

Most external Amiga keyboards have been found with tactile switches. The exceptions are the Cherry-made versions that instead have linear Cherry MX Black.

Amiga 1000

The first Amiga's keyboard is significantly different than those of later Amiga models. The cursor keys are in a star configuration (instead of "inverse-T"), there are homing bumps on the D and K keys (instead of dished F and J keys), and the numeric keypad is smaller.

It also fits in a dedicated "keyboard garage" underneath the desktop computer's case.

Amiga 2000

Three variants have been identified:

  1. With Cherry MX Black, and double-shot Cherry keycaps
  2. With tactile NMB switches, and dye-sublimated PBT keycaps
  3. With tactile KPQ type Mitsumi hybrid switches, and pad-printed ABS keycaps

Amiga 1500, Amiga 2500

Late variations of the Amiga 2000.

Amiga 3000 (T)

External. Linear KPR no sleeves, spring only or Tactile KPQ type Mitsumi hybrid switches with rubber sleeves under the keycaps. The keyboard case had been updated with stripes on top reminding of the cooling vents on the Amiga 500.

The connector is the same DIN-plug as for the Amiga 2000.


Basically a black version of the Amiga 3000 keyboard, but with a mini-DIN connector using a custom pinout.

Amiga 4000 (T)

Similar to the Amiga 3000 keyboard. The case is white (not beige) and has (yet) another connector.

The connector is a 6-pin mini-DIN with pin-out: 1:Data, 3:Ground, 4:+5V, 5:Clock. Pins 2 and 6 are not connected.[2]

Amiga CD32

Anthracite case and keys with black modifiers, plus the "Amiga CD32" logo.[3]

The connector is the same 6-pin mini-DIN as for the Amiga 4000, except that the keyboard port also doubles as a serial port. Pins 2 and 6 are used for RS-232 transmit and receive, respectively.[2]

Integrated Amiga keyboards

These are inside the computer's case above the logic-board. Where as most external Amiga keyboards have tactile feel, most integrated Amiga keyboards have linear feel.

Amiga 500 keyboards have Power and FDD activity LEDs on a circuit board together with the keyboard controller in the keyboard assembly. Inside the Amiga 600 and 1200, the controller is instead on the main logic-board and Power, FDD and HD activity LEDs are on a separate board.

Amiga 500 (+)

Early Amiga 500 keyboard

Like the Amiga 2000, the Amiga 500 has also come in multiple revisions.

Early models have Hi-Tek Series 725 "Space Invader" switches like the Amiga 2000 keyboard.[4]

Most Amiga 500s have linear KPR type Mitsumi hybrid switches with coiled springs under the keycaps.

Amiga 1200

Linear KPR type Mitsumi hybrid switches with coiled springs under the keycaps. The membrane extends as a ribbon cable to a connector on the main logic board where the controller is located.

Amiga 600

More compact layout that omitted the numeric keypad. The cursor keys and the Help and Del keys have moved left and the Esc key is 1.25 units wide.

The Amiga 600 is believed to have mostly linear Mitsumi hybrid switches[5] as is common with most Amiga keyboards though at last one sample has been found using what appears to be a variant of NMB dome with slider, this time with the discrete domes not glued to the membrane sheet.[6]

Replacement keyboards


New-old-stock replacement Amiga 1200 keyboards have been available from e.g. AmigaKit.

Aftermarket keycaps and cases for the Commodore Amiga 500 and 1200 cases have been made by A1200.NET and offered primarily in crowdfunding campaigns. Cases have been improved to better suit aftermarket mods. Both cases and keycaps have been offered in several other colour options than the original, including black with white letters.


The Kipper2K from Amiga On The Lake is a replacement keyboard kit with Cherry MX Brown switches. Prototypes shown have lacked stabilisers for the longer keys, instead using additional switches for the Space Bar. There are different versions for Amiga 500 and a Amiga 1200.

Conversion kits

It was not unusual to convert an Amiga 500 into a desktop or tower form factor with external keyboard. The keyboard had a serial cable to header pins on the motherboard making this possible. Several kits were made and sold for this purpose.

The Checkmate A1500 was one such conversion kit sold in the UK. Commodore released the Amiga 1500 to prevent the cheaper Amiga 500 with Checkmate's kit from taking sales from the Amiga 2000. In 2019, Checkmate released a follow-up: the Checkmate A1500 plus, with an option for an external keyboard case in sheet metal.

The Infinitiv kit from Micronik, converts instead an Amiga 1200 into a minitower system with an external keyboard enclosure.

Other Amiga keyboards

The AmigaOne platform supports common PS/2 keyboards and mice.

Keyboard interface

All Commodore Amiga keyboards use the same serial protocol, but there are different connectors and pinouts. Several third-party adaptors between different Amiga connectors have been produced. Note that the Commodore CDTV keyboard pinout is special, and not compatible with the Amiga 4000 even though both have mini-DIN.

The Amiga 500 has a serial cable connected to the motherboard and can be adapted or rebuilt to use an external keyboard. The Amiga 1200 and 600 have serial communication only between components on the motherboard so any adaptor would have to be a controller or emulate a matrix, respectively.

Keyboard adapters

Other keyboard to Amiga

  • The Lyra is a converter that allows a PS/2 keyboard to be connected to an Amiga. There is a version for the Amiga 1200 and a version for Amiga 2000/3000/4000/CDTV/CD32.
  • The PC-Key is an interface device for the Amiga 1200 and 600, allowing them to use an external Amiga keyboard or a PS/2 keyboard.
  • The Sum adapter enables connecting a USB HID keyboard to the Amiga 1200.

Amiga keyboards to USB

The options below require more or less hacking.

  • The Keyrah is a controller that replaces the motherboard in the Amiga 600 and 1200 (also the Vic 20, Vic 64 and 128). It has two digital joystick ports and USB out. Joysticks are emulated as key presses.
  • Tynemouth Software has different adapter boards for installation into Amiga 1200/600 and 500 enclosures.
  • AMIGA 500/1000/2000 Keyboard Interface. Firmware for an Arduino Leonardo, allowing an external Amiga keyboard to be connected via USB to a modern computer.
  • EzHID Amiga Keyboard Firmware for the Cypress' EZ-USB (AN2131) chip. The firmware has support for other input devices.

Controller ports

All Amiga models came with two Commodore 64-compatible DE-9 controller ports. In addition to support for light pen and various game controllers, there was also dedicated hardware for a bus mouse in each port.

File:Amiga Mouse.jpg
Original "tank" mouse supplied with the Amiga 1000 and later the Amiga 500 and 2000

A two-button ball mouse was included as standard with every Amiga running AmigaOS, for its graphical user interface. Amiga Unix, the Amiga 3000UX mouse and some third-party mice used a third mouse button. A second Amiga mouse is used only in some two-player games, but the second port's circuitry could also be used for rotary controllers such as steering wheels.

Mouse usage

If the right mouse button is pressed a menu bar appears at the top of the screen. A menu item is selected by releasing the right button when hovering the pointer above it. Releasing the mouse button elsewhere cancels.

Third-party utilities were available that replaced (or complimented) the menu bar with a pop-up menu underneath the mouse pointer.

After having booted into AmigaOS, it supported mouse keys as combinations with the two Amiga keys.

Aftermarket mice in the late '90s added a scroll wheel and up to three more buttons.

Mouse models

  • "Tank mouse" (Amiga 1000, 2000, 500). version 1: 1352. Similar to 1350 and 1351 for the Commodore 64 but being a bus mouse delivering pulse trains directly on the port.
  • Tank mouse version 2: 313254-01
  • Amiga 3000 "pregnant" mouse. Ridge at edges between buttons.. [7]
  • Amiga 3000 UX mouse. This has three buttons for use with Amiga Unix.[7]
  • Wireless infrared CDTV mouse. "CD 1252".[8]
  • Wired CDTV mouse, 1253. Apparently inspired by the 1987 Microsoft mouse: the ball has moved forward and the buttons are larger.[8]
  • Amiga 600/1200/4000 mouse. Similar to 1253 but off-white like the computers it was bundled with.
  • CD32 mouse.
  • Amiga Technologies Mouse. A different design branded by Amiga Technologies who had bought Commodore assets after Commodore had folded.

Retro mice

TheA500 Mini from Retro Games Ltd in the UK is an upcoming "mini retro console" resembling the Amiga 500. It comes with a matching "Tank" mouse that talks USB[9] but it is smaller than the original. The mouse is also available to order separately.

There exist optical kits for the "tank" mouse, but those remain bus mice for genuine Amiga computers.

See also

  • Atari interface — Every Amiga had two of these Controller ports for mouse and joystick/s.
  • Atari ST — This computer was the Amiga's biggest competitor at the time.


  1. AmigaOS 3.5 Developer Docs — Amiga Hardware Reference Manual: Interface hardware: The Keyboard: Limitations of the Keyboard. Retrieved 2018-04-18.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Amiga Keyboard Pinouts on Retrieved on 2018-01-04
  3. — Is there a genuine CD32 keyboard?
  4. Amibay — Help Key and white "space invaders" switch
  5. Eski Bilgisayarlarım — Amiga 600
  6. — Disassembly of an A600 keyboard, UK model
  7. 7.0 7.1—Commodore/Amiga A3000 "Pregnant" Mice. Retrieved 2018-07-13
  8. 8.0 8.1—Commodore 1252 & 1253 Mice. Retrieved 2018-07-13
  9. Retro Games Ltd—The A500 MINI. Retrieved 2021-09-19