Custom Keyboard Built For Diablo 3 Action

Custom mechanical keyboards are a great way to show off your passion and skill for electronics and design. They’re also perfect when you need to optimize your setup for a certain game or piece of software. [Pakequis] did just that with his Bad Thing of the Edge mechanical keyboard build.

[Pakequis] occasionally plays Diablo 3 on a tiny 7-inch laptop, which as you might expect, doesn’t have a keyboard conducive to gaming. Thus, he designed a mechanical keyboard with a series of important actions mapped to keys for the left hand. Naturally, that was an opportunity to have fun with the keycaps, which all feature graphics for their relevant in-game functions. The prototype was built with surplus keys from an old PTZ camera controller, but the final version runs Cherry MX switches. There are also a set of RGB LEDs with a variety of fun effects. The whole thing is run by a Raspberry Pi Pico, which is perfectly suited for building custom USB HID devices.

Hackers build custom keyboards for all kinds of reasons, like ergonomics, style, or just sheer absurdist fun.

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Diablo Drive Appears To Be Cursed

[CuriousMarc] didn’t think it would be a big deal when a former Xerox employee sent him an Alto Diablo drive for service. Turns out the drive was cursed — it would destroy everything it touched including a set of heads and an alignment cartridge. [Marc] and a partner spent two months trying to get the drive operable and the video of their process is pretty interesting.

We were interested in the troubleshooting, but we were really envious of their lab, full of HP workstations, an IBM mainframe, and even a Selectric. We kept having to rewind the video because we had tuned out while we were staring at some of the equipment in the background.

The guys got a lot of practice aligning the heads on the drive. Because the crashed head was bent, it actually dug into the alignment cartridge so on subsequent attempts they had to manually load the disk past the damage. They learned to leave the disk a little out of alignment because tightening the assembly will move it a little bit. If you were already aligned, the heads would be off after you did the tightening.

They used a custom FPGA-based tester that [Carl] developed after reverse engineering the disk format. It is amazing to watch the big drive in action and realize that a standard cartridge for this machine was 2.5 megabytes. There was another controller and disk system called the Trident that would get you a whopping 80 megabytes, but we don’t think this is one of those.

Did they succeed in exorcising whatever demons lived in the drive? Watch the video and find out. Even if you never have to fix a Diablo drive yourself, you’ll be entertained. Especially when they work out how to do a current adjustment on the drive by simulating the circuit in Spice.

We’ve seen a lot about the Alto which is surprising considering how few of them were built. We’ve seen a restoration and even an odd use for a light bulb related to the Alto’s CRT.

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