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. 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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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…

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