Picture of Breathe new life into an older din 5 computer keyboard
Instructables reduced (1).jpg
Hi, this is my first instructable. After completing it I realized just how difficult and time consuming making something like this can be. So thank you to everyone out there willing to go through all the trouble to share your knowledge with others. Now I present to you my instructable.

This instructable is for anyone out there with a perfectly good older style din 5 keyboard that they just can't seem to throw away. With a little work you can save something from the land fill. Sure you could just buy an adapter cable but that wouldn't exactly be recycling.

Here is a list of the things that you are going to need.
- 1 working din 5 keyboard
- 1 broken/disgustingly dirty ps/2 style mini din keyboard
- soldering iron w/ solder and flux
- cutting pliers
- wire stripper
- phillips screwdriver
- multimeter
-wire with alligator clamps on each end *optional*

Step 1: Opening up your PS/2 Mini Din keyboard and removing the mini din cable

Picture of Opening up your PS/2 Mini Din keyboard and removing the mini din cable
Sorry for the lack of pictures in this step. The cable I used was removed from another keyboard. This step is fairly simple so with the instructions below it should be easy.

Our objective in this step is to retrieve the PS/2 mini din cable from your broken keyboard.

Most keyboards are held together with philips head screws on their underside but considering there are tons of different types of keyboards out there taking yours apart is going to differ from others. So with that said turn over your broken keyboard and get to work. Unscrew all the visible screws and be sure to check under the stickers and under the little plastic pieces that prop your keyboard up.

Once you have removed the back of the keyboard you should be able to find where the wires meets the pcb(printed circuit board). If it has a connector simply unplug it or if it is soldered straight to the pcb then just clip the wires as close as you can to the pcb.

Now that you have the PS/2 mini din cable set it aside for later.
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Tova963 years ago
Can anyone help me?
This is a great instructable but I've allready bought a ps2 to DIN converter (http://fl1.shopmania.org/files/p/uk/m/886/at-keyboard-to-ps-2-adapter-5-pin-din-female-to-6-pin-male~11415886.jpg) for my old Cherry keyboard... the problem is IT DOESEN'T WORK!! DX Whenever I plug my keyboard in it just doesen't type! But the Scroll Lock, Num Lock and Caps Lock lights turn on if I press the buttons! I think it may be an issue with the drivers... what should I do??
Thanks to anyone
mrlunna133 years ago
I just want to mention that "Those old, Worthless keyboards" can be worth upwards of $100.00 USD on eBay. I posted a model "M" on ebay, and it sold for $175.00 I thought I would get only $15-20.00 After researching prices on the net, I found out that basically all the mechanical switch keyboards are VERY expensive. Not only IBM"s, but also KeyTronic, Compaq, IOgear, I-open, James, Cherry, and many more. You can have fun taking apart a keyboard, or One Hundred Dollars in your pocket.
Just a thought.
Thank you,
Mr Lunna XIII
enguego4 years ago
Well.. does anybody know if this will do the trick the reverse way?

I have an OLD Pentium (maybe 200Mhz or less) in a 1995 logic board with a keyboard DIN-5 port. I have some PS/2 Keyboards. Is it possible to get a pair of DIN connectors (my electronic material shop can give them to me for just a few cents) and connect the wires?

Thanks in advance from Spain


MasamuneX (author)  enguego4 years ago
Hi, yes you should be able to connect a Din5 Cable to a PS2 keyboard. Just follow the wire duty chart and everything should work out fine.

You may also want to consider purchasing a "Female" PS2 to "Male" Din 5 adapter but then again that would take all the fun out of it. :)

xetero6 years ago
My keyboard messed up. When I tested it on my old computer, the keyboard lights just turned on but I can't type anything... I've followed all your instruction but still I can't make it work. everytime I test the keyboard for continuity, all of the pins are beeping, I can't figure out which pin should I connect to the other pin.. sorry for my bad English...
Redgerr xetero5 years ago
make sure you wrap each wire individually, if the wires are touching there is a good possibility that it will short itsself out... wrap each wire on its own then wrap them all together... duno if that will solve it but it may be the culprit
You can get an adapter for a few bucks and save all the hassle.
MasamuneX (author)  Computothought7 years ago
I mentioned that in my intro but my intent was making use of something that one would considered worthless and unsalvagable.
Your right. Been there where you use what you have.
I have a couple of DIN-PS/2 adapters that I consider worthless enough to throw away when I clean out next week, in case somebody wants them. That said, thanks for the Instructable; it's good to know how that works.
TOCO6 years ago
why is your wii sensor bar on your computer? what is the keyhook program?
cabie626 years ago
I have a PS-2 keyboard from the original PS-2 Computer. It has a connector right under the keyboard. It's a funny looking thing sort of like a RJ45 ethernet cable. I had a bunch of them. I put a 5 pin din plug on a couple and kept the PS-2 mini din on the rest. I no longer have that computer but I still use that keyboard on every computer that I've had. It's now working on my pentium 4. Good Article Keep up the Good Work !! Newer isn't always better.
legionlabs6 years ago
In the interests of recycling, here is another project: Some of the old DIN-5 keyboards used keys that are actual switches instead of the capacitance sensors that are present on newer keyboards. If you follow the conductive traces on the two plastic sheets inside the keyboard, it's easy to reverse engineer which pin combinations on the IC produce which keypresses. You can then build a transistor switchboard using 24 2N2222 transistors to control this IC with a microcontroller of your choice (though you will need one with at least 40 pins, such as an ATMEGA16). Why bother? Well, you press a button, and the microcontroller initiates a series of keypresses/delays you programmed in assembly. Great for making macros you wouldn't normally be allowed to create in various online games, and it's pure hardware so unlikely to be detected in any way. I was trying to build a robot that could play counterstrike or WoW. I got it mostly working, but foolishly burnt out the MCU and got bored... In any case I consider exposing some poor robot to those silly games ethically objectionable.
Thank you for bringing all of this info together in one place! I converted my 5-Pin-Din keyboard to a PS2 since I lost the adapter and have two broken keyboards hanging around. May I suggest enlarging the image that shows the pinouts a bit (trim the border off perhaps)? It's a little bit small.
hondagofast7 years ago
And then there are those who still have a computer they're using that only has a DIN5 and a RS232 port for keyboard and mice usage :|
and there are these nifty little adapters to convert to PS/2
hammer98767 years ago
I keep thinking rather than repair the keyboard, I would pop off all the keys and do something creative with those. Hmmm. Off to search the 'net! Thanks for keeping this keyboard out of our landfills.
QUOTE [Thanks for keeping this keyboard out of our landfills.] *one of these keyboards... the "/disgustingly dirty ps/2" keyboard still goes there
Lego man7 years ago
Does the wii sensor bar mean that uou can play wii on your computer?!?!? PLEASE MAKE INSTRUCTABLE ON HOW TO DO IT!!!
The wii sensor bar isn't actually a sensor bar, its two IR LEDs. the sensor is a camera in the wii remote.
The computer screen doubles as a TV, or he's used/made the cable to connect a wii to a computer monitor. it doesn't mean you can play wii on your pc.
I use a video capture card and pipe PS2 into my computer,got it for 20$ at geeks.com have to have a good video card to run it ,but it takes very little CPU .
Or that, video capture cards seem like a good idea, what's the frame rate like?
PCI video cap card
30fps the res is only 720 .
I think tony hawk looks good on it,spend more money than i did and go hi def.
also it will not work on the next gen of tv signals (will work on cable next feb so I dont care about that.
I want to know how to make one of those cables!
Jollyrgr7 years ago
Your Instructable is technically sound. But you can get an adapter to do this for about $3 US so why reinvent the wheel?
Way to go MasamuneX good idea. It's creative, educated and environmentally relevant. So much very usable stuff ends up in landfills that could be repurposed. I like it thanks for taking the time to post the instructable.
I am impressed by your determination to fix a $10 part.

Another option is to make a wallet out of the circuitboards:

I made one and I get compliments on it all the time.
Also, to all the people pooh-pooh-ing this because there's an off the shelf fix, why are you reading instructables?
Jordo7 years ago
Well shure you could go out and buy an adapter, but thats not exactly what Instructables is about now is it? nice Instructable keep up the good work : D
kloopk7 years ago
Just to give you a heads up, the link for keyhook has an extra . on the end gives a 404 error, just delete the unwanted fullstop and all is good.
nitrox0277 years ago
not to ruin your awesome Instructable but there are adapters for the cheap
Lol. You Wii on your pc :D ;P. I'm gonna wait till headtracking with webcams is perfected. Nice IBLE
kill-a-watt7 years ago
Here is an "off the shelf" solution that I've been using for the last decade with my IBM model M

PS/2 to 5 pin Din (AT) cable adaptor

CTG Keyboard adapter - 5 pin DIN to 6 pin mini-DIN - female

Amazon.com search
Derin7 years ago
do we get bonus points for finding the brand of the din keyboard?no?bummer.
cormac30507 years ago
why do you have a sensor bar on your pc monitor?
MasamuneX (author)  cormac30507 years ago
Alex is correct. If you look you can see the remote controller sitting on top of the monitor base.
that monitor probably works as a TV too
MasamuneX (author) 7 years ago
Thanks for the comments guys and gals(if there are any).
Good write up!!! Just FYI.. the full size DIN connector keyboards are referred to as 'AT keyboard' much like the smaller DIN connector style is referred to a 'PS/2 keyboard'. PS/2 and AT keyboards are 100% electrically compatible!
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