Apple Adjustable Keyboard USB Hack


When [Tom] got tired of the large size of his Microsoft Comfort Curve 2000 keyboard, he decided to hack a recently acquired Apple Adjustable Keyboard for use with Windows. After removing the ancient ADB based control board from the Apple keyboard, he was able to map the keys and transplant the Microsoft keyboard’s USB control board into the Apple keyboard. After soldering the control board into the keyboard with old IDE cables, all that was left was to add some diodes to prevent ghost key presses, and the keyboard hack was complete. [Tom] offers a spreadsheet of the results of his key mapping on his site, and while you’re there be sure to check out his other projects, like his DIY Proton Pack that he made for Halloween last year.

19 thoughts on “Apple Adjustable Keyboard USB Hack

  1. So your elbows sit in front of your chest, about 15cm apart. Are you sitting really far from the keyboard?

    My elbows are right at either side of my body, then the arms angle inwards toward the keyboard.

    Although I guess if you have a really short shoulder span its not as big a deal. I find a mild split a lot more comfortable (MS ergo 4000 ftw).

  2. When you sit at a table, in a relaxed state, your hands are usually in line with your forearms. My keyboard at work is a heavy, split, “ergonomic” keyboard. It even has the “AT” style connector on it. It’s about 12 years old and still works great. Needs a bath, though.
    One quirk is that I can’t get it to work with USB so this hack may come in useful sometime.

  3. Peter, those adapters are hard to find as most places have discontinued them. Even so, dropping $20 on something when you can repurpose what you have to do the job for pretty just a bit of elbow grease and know-how is nonsense.

  4. Not to mention (@ Peter), that every solution you can work yourself allows for a learning experience.

    I remember back when I put Microsoft Sidewinder guts in my digital Playstation pad, and learned of button matrices and “anti-ghost” diodes.

    (Why can’t Microsoft get ergonomics right? I think they are very close with the X360 controls, but they are still too big and bulky.)

  5. Josh, a bit of elbow grease? Quote from the article, “few months of hard work to figure out, modify, solder and construct this bad boy” vs several ADB to USB adapters available on ebay for $20 or less.

    Don’t get me wrong, like I said before, there is something to be said for designing and making something but I think that you have to pick your projects carefully. Imagine what he else he could have done with a “few months of hard work.”

  6. this is sweet and i understand how nice it is to have the perfect keyboard, but i feel like the wooden keyboard took less effort than this. was it really worth all the time and effort?

  7. I think you guys are missing the point a little bit.

    The project is not only a adb to usb converter but it also maps the keys to work with windows and not os x (btw, this keyboard is not fully supported in the recent version of os x). and you cant buy that for 20 bucks.

    (actually my adb to usb converter was more than 20 dls, since they have been discontinued people are charging whatever they very well please for them.)

  8. Ok, ok… I think I get it now! The internet is full of naysayers, who just are never happy with anything, right? If a hack is posted, you say it sucks and is a waste of the creators time. If you deem something is not a jack, you say it sucks and is waste of your time.

    I totally misjudged this internet thing.

  9. Firstly, to Peter, and anyone else who questioned the validity of time spent on this project, you have no clue what else WAS accomplished during those couple of months. Did you even check out his website? It’s called multitasking. Also, “useful” is a matter of opinion. If he’s happy with it, and it does e-x-a-c-t-l-y what HE wants, it’s useful.

    Unsupported, I agree. The internet is overflowign with people who are always more than willing to let you know how stupid or useless your hard work is, but never seem to have any exploits of their own to contribute. If it’s a matter of what’s “easier”, wouldn’t it be easier to NOT post a message that has nothing to do with the actual significance of the project?

  10. I Used one of those on my PC and Mac a couple of years ago.. Just plug in a ADB to USB converter ( like the iMate ) and you are go.

    The keyboard is really nice, and looks good too, especially with the numeric part attached.

  11. Hello,

    I wanted to ask: is this keyboard still functioning 100% a year later?

    The reason I ask is because the Apple Adjustable Keyboard was, as I understand it, known for being relatively failure-prone. That being the case, I’m curious to know if the keyboard is still fully functional after daily use (assuming it is the author’s workaday keyboard).

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.