EPIC

Want to connect a PC Keyboard to the Amiga?

This project available from Aminet, will allow you to program a PIC 16C84 or 16F84 microcontroller to act as an interface to a PC keyboard.

There are two circuits you need to build, 1) The PIC programmer & 2) The Keyboard interface.

1) The Programmer

 The circuit is simple enough to build and should work without problems. I recommend the use of a 12 Volt regulated DC mains adapter.

The software provided is at release 1.3. this has a normal mode, which takes 2-3 minutes to porgram a device or a turbo mode which takes less than 30 seconds to program a device. It supports the PIC 16C84 only.

 The programmer did not work too well on my system (CD32/SX32 Pro). After some investigation, I found the cause to be that the pins of the parallel port used to program the PIC were toggling too quick and thus did not have TTL levels. Luckily the source code to the programmer (written in E) is included. I inserted a dummy delay loop and the programmer now works fine. I hope to make the updated software available soon.

Click here for the schematic.

2) The keyboard adapter

If the thought of soldering onto your A1200 makes you ill, forget this project or ask someone who knows what they are doing to perform this modification for you.

To use this hack you connect the small circuit board, about 25 x 30 mm, directly to the keyboard clock lines of the A1200. Power for the circuit comes from the A1200.

The Programming software

The software provided is at release 1.3. this has a normal mode, which takes 2-3 minutes to porgram a device or a turbo mode which takes less than 30 seconds to program a device. It supports the PIC 16C84 only. Click here for a screen grab.

My Prototype.

 I have a CD32 and all I had to do was to plug into the Keyboard port. I actually fitted the keyboard adapter inside the CD32, drilled a hole in the case and connected up a 5 pin DIN plug for the PC keyboard. The output plug is a 6 pin mini-din for the CD32's combined Keyboard/AUX port and is also the source of power for the sytem.

The system supports 102 & 105 key keyboards, so you can use a Windows 95 keyboard and the Windows keys map to the Amiga Keys! To set what type of keyboard you are using, press the * key 20 times and follow the instructions.

Opinion

What do I think of this hack, superb! I have used it with my CD32/SX32 system for 3 years with no problems. It cost less than 5 to make and I have one of those great ergonomic keyboards.

If you are not afraind of a bit of soldering and want a new keyboard this is a great hack and cheaper than the ready made adapters.

Rating

5 our of 5. A great addition to any Amiga.

Current Version

The software is at release 1.3 and was released June 1998?

Download here. Includes PC keyboard hack info and software.

The hardware is at version 1.0.

The Keyboard Software/hardware is currently at version 2.6, dated 9th June 1998.

Author

Stephen Marsdon

Updated 08 July 2017