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PCJr Infrared keyboard and modern systems - adapter?

acadiel

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Dec 19, 2009
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271
I picked up a couple of these from Computer Reset, and they're cute! I notice they not only have infrared, but also a RJ11 jack on the back.

Do they natively use the XT protocol on the wired connector, or is it proprietary to the PCJr?

Has anyone created an adapter that will make these work with a PS/2 (AT) connector or USB, with an Arduino or other microcontroller? I'd love to play around with this on a newer system.

All I can locate is a little bit of information on 2-101 in this book: http://bitsavers.trailing-edge.com/...m/pc/pc_jr/PCjr_Technical_Reference_Nov83.pdf

Thanks!
 

NeXT

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I don't think anyone has done much if any research on the connectivity of the keyboard to other machines because both the original and the revised keyboard are so universally hated. I can see a number of adapters going back to when the PCjr was still new that go the other way around but not to use the keyboard with anything else.
 

krebizfan

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May 23, 2009
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I vaguely remember that the excess chiclet keyboards were sold off for industrial use and the revised keyboard was used as the basis for the Gridcase keyboard. How to get the PCJr keyboards working with more typical machines hasn't been documented anywhere I can find.
 

Chuck(G)

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And PDF page 123 et ff..

The ecoding of the iPoint keyboard is very similar, though I haven't compared scan codes. On my receiver, I use an ordinary 3-pin 38KHz IR module made mostly for TV remote controls. A Blue Pill does the rest and outputs PS/2 scan codes. The iPoint transmits at 1200 bps; the PCjr appears to be somewhere around 2200 bps. In terms of quality, I'll take the iPoint any day.
 

acadiel

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Dec 19, 2009
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271
Some simple web searches can turn up a lot of information ...

See https://www.brutman.com/PCjr/pcjr_keyboard_handling.html for starters.

Thanks, I found that, but I'm looking for a more turnkey solution - like someone who might have written an Arduino or microcontroller code to where I can assemble the hardware and program it without having to author the keyboard microcode from scratch. Most of that is above my skill level. :)
 

bryanc806

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May 17, 2020
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San Antonio, TX
I had tried to use the infrared link from the keyboard, but it's modulated at 40kHz and I only had IR modules at 38kHz I believe. I ended up using the wired interface and wrote some (really dumb) code to interface to it that way. The code is on github at https://github.com/bryanc806/pcjr_keyboard.

It should work with a Teensy 2.0, but I used a at90usb162 board that I got on ebay. The board was for some sort of ps3 hacking, but it has a USB-A connector and I could just solder the keyboard cable to the board.
 

krebizfan

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No keyboard will do a better job of surviving a preschool class than the original PC Jr keyboard. The revised version used with the Gridcase handled all the contamination of a factory. Grid's sole change seem to have been switching to black plastic. The modern industrial keyboards are much worse in every aspect.
 

Chuck(G)

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I don't remember the version on the Gridcase being anything special, although it was head and shoulders above anything on modern laptops. Actually had keys with significant travel. The iPoint keyboard isn't bad either.
 
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