Keyboard Converter 2 Pack

[REVENGE] pointed out a couple cool little project posts from the geekhack fourms converting vintage keyboards to USB with a Teensy. They both have VUSB support, so any avr micro controller that meets VUSB’s requirements in theory could be used.

First up is a PS/2 to USB keyboard converter, and while yes this has been done many times before, this one sports some extra features not often seen, like mouse keys, system and multimedia keys, and keymap customization. Instructions are also provided for use with a non USB enabled avr controller (like a mega 168, or 328) through the VUSB library (though with not all features available).

Next is pretty much the same thing, but it converts Apple Desktop Bus to USB, which is not exactly rare, but its lack of a clock serial signal, somewhat variable timing, and the fact that you wont find a bucket of Apple keyboards for a buck at the thrift store makes any ADB converter worth mentioning.

VUSB instructions seem to be the same for either, source is available and there are some cool pictures and info listed, and besides what is more fun than being able to plug your Model M into your netbook, or your Apple Extended Keyboard into your mac mini.

14 thoughts on “Keyboard Converter 2 Pack

  1. I’m still using a model M from 1993 for gaming with great delight (my life partner however is not fond of the ‘music’ it produces late in the evening…). That’s the only part left from my first PC back then and I looove it so much :)
    I’m wondering since a couple of years what will happen when PS/2 connectors completely dissapear from motherboards, so this converter is very good news !
    Does anyone know if this very piece of hardware – or equivalent – can be bought ready-to-use ? I’m not too bad at soldering but programming a microcontroller is far beyond my abilities…

    1. lol i hate the sound of mechanical boards it seems your significant does too.

      I been saying it for years, people of other orientations have just as much right to be as miserable as the rest of us!

  2. I can definitely see the benefits of being able to remap certain keys. One of the things that always bugs me about my Model M is the lack of the windows key. In linux I just remapped it to the pause/break key, but under windows it would be nice to be able to do the same. There are just too many nifty shortcuts that are lost without having that key.

  3. Any projects doing the opposite? I think it’d be nifty to be able to use a newer USB Mac keyboard on a vintage Mac. USB to PS/2 would even be handy, to be able to use a mini USB keyboard (most lack PS/2 compatibility nowadays) with something like a C64 DTV to put in a mini-laptop. Also, USB to XT protocol would be useful, as finding keyboards that support XT protocol are harder to get a hold of than even ADB keyboards.

  4. This is sweet. My PS/2 to USB converters get a regular workout, but the ADB converter takes the cake. At least one of my old Extended Keyboard IIs rivals my Model Ms for clicky-ness and certainly beats most OEM junk. Definitely beats the original iMac USB keyboards by a mile.

  5. My question is how easy would it be to add ADB mouse support to that adapter? I have an old ADB trackball and keyboard I would love to connect via USB to my desktop.

  6. Love the USB/ADB converter. Yeah, the old Apple Extended Keyboards rival the Model Ms for their clickiness and durability, but Griffen iMate or other commercial USB/ADB adapters are out of production, so they’re hard to find and expensive when you do (I plopped down almost $50 for mine on eBay, IIRC).

    I think one of my next weekend projects will be to build the ADB adapter inside my AEK, and maybe shove a USB hub inside there as well.

    (That’s after I finish the pile of “weekend projects” I’ve already got going.)

  7. The important feature of the PS/2 to USB converter is the correct implementation of N-key rollover via USB. Currently, no other PS/2 to USB converter allows you to press more than 6 keys + modifiers at a time. Only the Microsoft Sidewinder X4 and the PLU mini keyboards have this functionality built in at the moment.

  8. Glad I found this! I was just about to buy an iMate ADB->USB adaptor off eBay ($26 new, not too bad), but I see I can get a Teensy for even less and make one myself, and know that I can fix any problems with key mapping etc. I’ve got 4 Apple Extended II keyboards and love them to death, and will be able to use them on PCs now as well.

  9. Most Windows options work by using the either the Command or the Function key n MAC Versions. In moving Columns for instance, hold down the COMMAND key until the hand’ symbol appears then move the column ot the desired location and press enter (Return) Worked for me in 2011. Try it. Good lunc.

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