A Handy Tester For A Mountain Of PS/2 Keybords

The hacking life is not without its challenges, and chief among these is the tendency to always be in acquisition mode. When we come across a great deal on bulk equipment, or see a chance to rescue some obscure gear from the e-waste stream, we generally pounce on it, regardless of the advisability.

We imagine this is why [Nathan] ended up with a hoard of PS/2 keyboards. Seriously, there are like thousands of the things. And rather than lug a computer to them for testing, [Nathan] put together this handy Arduino-based portable tester to see which keyboards still have some life left in them. The video below goes into detail on the build, but the basics are pretty simple — an Arduino, a 16×2 LCD display, and a few bits and bobs to run it off a LiPo pack and charge it up. Plus, of course, a PS/2 jack to plug in a keyboard and power it up. Interestingly, the 16×2 display is an old Parallax unit, from the days when RadioShack still existed and sold their stuff. That required a little effort to get it working with the Arduino, but in the end it works like a charm — plug in a keyboard and whatever you type shows up on the screen.

Of course, it’s hard to look at something like this, and that mountain of keyboards in the background, and not scheme up ways to really automate the whole test process. Perhaps an old 3D printer with a stylus mounted where the hot end would go could press each key in turn while the tester output is recorded — something like this Wordle-bot, but on a keyboard scale. That kind of goes against [Nathan]’s portability goal, but it’s still fun to think about.

16 thoughts on “A Handy Tester For A Mountain Of PS/2 Keybords

  1. I kinda want to do the reverse of this.
    I have a $ony 400 CD player that has a PS/2 port for entering information about each disc.
    Then I could load the info from a text file.

        1. Yeah, after going deeper into the ps2keyboard info on arduino.cc, it seemed to do much the same as this device.
          Thanks for the correction.

    1. Somebody gave me one that skipped or wouldn’t play. I couldn’t find a thing wrong except fine dust all over the insides, it sat on the bottom shelf. She ripped all the CD’s into early 00’s MP3’s. Must have dusted them first.

      What a handy little PS2 keyboard it has been it has been since then till USB. I reuse a lot of computers that still have PS2, they become Ubuntu synths processors etc.

    1. Depends on the adapter, I suppose.
      Some are just mechanical adapters and require the mouse/keyboard to speak both protocols, while others are actively converting signals. These are the big, gray converters, I assume. With a cable at both ends and a box in between.

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