Turning a keyboard into a computer with a Raspberry Pi

Only 80s kids will get this: remember when computers had built-in keyboards, like the Apple II line, or the Commodore 64? That’s a form factor duplicated by case modders many times over the years, but [preamp]’s project is the first time its been done using a Raspi (German, Google translation).

For his build, [preamp] used what he considers the best keyboard in the world, the Cherry G80-3000. Except for the HDMI port, just about every plug was moved to the back side of the keyboard with the help of an Ethernet jack, a USB hub, and RCA jack. Audio is missing, but for an extremely portable system [preamp]’s RaspCherry Pi is at the top of its class.

We were wondering when someone would shove a Raspi into a keyboard, and we couldn’t be happier that [preamp] chose a Cherry keyboard for his build; they’re wonderful input devices second only to the 8 pound behemeoth used to write this post.

28 thoughts on “Turning a keyboard into a computer with a Raspberry Pi

      1. Your implementation is great, just not the first as Brian implied.
        As not everybody has the equipment to engineer their own case, nor have a hackerspace or similar close by to get help with it, other solutions (like yours) will arise to inspire us all. Kudos, preamp.

    1. You know both are awesome …. but I find one thing a bit concerning.

      Even with all our technological advancements we have essentially come full circle, right back to the TRS80 :P

      1. I am more concerned with the fact that Brian didn’t know that Mr Heckendorn already had done this in his show, AND that nobody at HaD catched it before it got published.

      1. Better because it uses a super poorly designed ultra low performance ARM computer in a thick dremelled out keyboard? I don’t see how this is overpriced or trying to appeal to the retro suckers. This is pretty much the exact hardware/specs of a netbook for exactly the same price, and it clearly isn’t trying to look like a “retro” novelty computer in any way besides the commodore super keys.

  1. That vic-slim is my next computer purchase….thanks for that link.I was not aware they were even doing such a thing.

  2. Looks pretty nice, though I would have liked to see all connectors on the back, including the SD card. Overall not bad. I think that I will have to try this with a Unicomp classic. Plenty of space at the back to play with.

    1. Since you have audio via HDMI too, I found the audio jack to be not that necessary. Eventually I’ll add it later together with a decent headphone amp and a volume pot. That would be quite nice then :).

  3. Actually my plan was to place a Raspberry Pi inside a Model M 122-Key Terminal keyboard, but that for I would need some additional converters to read the old terminal protocol. When I find the time to do it it’ll be great though.

  4. I have to agree with the statement about the G80-3000 as being the best keyboard in the world. I use both it and a Filco model (Cherry Black Keys)that cost twice as much. I would use nothing but the Cherry G80 if I thought my co-workers would tolerate the noise.

    My Cherry G80 has not escaped the Dremel either. Though the project was put on hold for a house move, you can get the jist of it if you watch this early Youtube footage…

  5. i have a cherry g80 looked it many a time and thought about what wonders it could be improved with, good work everyone

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