The PC Keyboard Interface pack.
After three months of development my next piece of Sam hardware is now ready for launch!
My new PC Keyboard Interface allows you to use any PC Keyboard with the Sam and is ideal if your Sam keyboard membrane is damaged, or you just want to use a comfier PC Keyboard or sit away from the Sam.
The PC Keyboard Interface maps all the keys and symbols on the PC keyboard appropriately to the correct keys on the Sam, as well as having extra functions - such as NMI and RESET mapped onto other keys. The interface does not limit the number of keys that are pressed at a time either, its elegant design maps exactly what you press so there's no problems where you'd need to press many keys at a time - such as games.
The key mapping is seamless, for example press shift-3 on the PC Keyboard to get the £ sign, this translates to the Sam as symbol-L to type the pound sign. All keys on the PC Keyboard are utilised, for example Insert and Home are used for Inverse On and Inverse off respectfully. The number pad can be used as function keys or a numberpad (like on the original Sam and can be toggled with the numlock key). The PC key 'Scroll Lock' also makes the keyboard interface perform a self-test (see below!).
Fitting the interface...
The interface connects to three small connectors which have to be soldered to the Sam motherboard. This eliminates the need to solder wires directly to the motherboard, and is fairly straight forward to fit.
Connectors soldered to the motherboard.
A connector is fitted by each of the normal keyboard ribbon connectors - the first just below the Sam ROM chip fits into holes already on the motherboard, the second is soldered on top of a row of diodes - making both easy to fit in a matter of minutes. The third connector is wired to the Z80 and is again straightforward to fit. Full information is given in the manual that comes with the interface pack.
The interface itself comes with sticky-backed PCB stands and is fitted in the space beside the 256k memory upgrade leaving both drive bays free for use, and has three cables to attach to the new connectors on the motherboard.
If you do not feel up to soldering, or don't have the tools, then please contact me about sending your Sam to have the keyboard interface fitted for you.
The fitted interface.
Lastly, a fourth cable is then passed through the grill under drive bay 2 (which can fit under any fitted disk drive or hard drive interface) and screws into an external pod with the PS/2 keyboard connector. This means that you do not have to drill any holes in the Sam casing! (I can also supply a standard PC Keyboard to go with the interface if you don't have one handy, priced £8.00 including postage)
The external PS/2 connector pod.
When connected, there is an diagnostics light on the interface so you can check it is all working before putting the Sam case back together. Also, by pressing 'Scroll Lock' on the PC Keyboard it will perform a self test, and will actually 'type' into the Sam as part of the test.
The interface's self test message which it 'types in' itself.
The PC Keyboard Interface is available now, priced £59.99
To match the recently released mouse interface, the external pod comes in the same style of enclosure.
Frequently Asked Questions...
What type of keyboard connects with this interface?
Any PC Keyboard with a 'PS/2' connector can be plugged into this interface. (6 pin mini-din)