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2Instructables18,116Views14CommentsTacoma, WaJoined October 12th, 2018
I am a retired Boeing engineer that enjoys experimenting with Pi & Teensy projects.

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  • How to Make a USB Laptop Keyboard Controller

    I had a CoCo back in the early 80's as my home computer. The chiclet keys were awful so I installed an aftermarket keyboard with full travel keys. I wish I still had my CoCo, it was a lot of fun. Only having 16 signals to the keyboard is not a problem for the Teensy LC and my software. I watched a YouTube video to refresh my old memory and it showed the 16 pin ribbon cable is thicker and has a wider pitch that modern keyboards (and only 15 signal traces are used). Look on Digikey or AliExpress if you don't want to unsolder the keyboard connector from the motherboard. You could solder wires from the 15 signals on the keyboard connector to 15 different Teensy LC I/O's. You may be able to bypass using the ribbon cable and solder 15 wires directly to the keyboard (I can't tell from the vide...

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    I had a CoCo back in the early 80's as my home computer. The chiclet keys were awful so I installed an aftermarket keyboard with full travel keys. I wish I still had my CoCo, it was a lot of fun. Only having 16 signals to the keyboard is not a problem for the Teensy LC and my software. I watched a YouTube video to refresh my old memory and it showed the 16 pin ribbon cable is thicker and has a wider pitch that modern keyboards (and only 15 signal traces are used). Look on Digikey or AliExpress if you don't want to unsolder the keyboard connector from the motherboard. You could solder wires from the 15 signals on the keyboard connector to 15 different Teensy LC I/O's. You may be able to bypass using the ribbon cable and solder 15 wires directly to the keyboard (I can't tell from the video if there are solder pads on the keyboard). Remember not to use Teensy I/O #13 because it's tied to the on-board LED. If you are comfortable using a board layout tool like Eagle, you can make a new circuit board instead of soldering all those jumper wires. When it comes to decoding the matrix, you can use my software but it's not necessary since the schematic on page 68 of the Radio Shack reference manual shows how the keys are wired as a 7 x 8 matrix. Here is the manual: http://www.colorcomputerarchive.com/coco/Documents/Manuals/Hardware/Color%20Computer%20Technical%20Reference%20Manual%20(Tandy).pdfOlga has done something similar to what you are doing with a Commodore 64 keyboard found here:https://github.com/thedalles77/USB_Laptop_Keyboard_Controller/blob/master/Commodore_64/Readme.pdfLet me know if you have any more questions. Good Luck

    Your understanding is correct. Take some pictures of the ribbon cable installed in the connector, then unsolder the connector from the motherboard and take some more pictures. Pay attention to which way the ribbon cable is installed (where pin 1 is located). Send the pictures to my email at thedalles77@gmail.com and I'll guide you on how to solder 15 wires from the connector pins to the Teensy LC. I can help you with the software as well. Several YouTube videos show how to unsolder using a solder sucker, flux, and wick like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pu-nudUAGVo

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  • How to Make a USB Laptop Keyboard Controller

    I found CF30 and CF29 keyboard replacement YouTube videos that show two FPC cables so I assume that's what your CF-M34 has. One cable has about 16 signal traces and the other has 8 signal traces plus some more that are not used. If your FPC cables have a pitch of 1mm, you may be able to install the two cables side by side into a single 34 pin FPC connector. If that's the case, you could use my existing circuit board and a Teensy 3.2 with your keyboard. If you can't squeeze your two FPC cables into a single connector, you will need a new layout for a circuit board that has two connectors. Send me an email (thedalles77@gmail.com) if you need some help with the layout of a new circuit board.

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  • How to Make a USB Laptop Keyboard Controller

    I have added your Commodore 64 files to my repo. Thanks

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  • How to Make a USB Laptop Keyboard Controller

    Sounds great, I'll contact you by email to get the details.Thanks

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  • How to Make a USB Laptop Keyboard Controller

    Hi Tomas, the code will hang when it finds a short and not proceed to scan any other pins so you’ve got to fix the problem. I’ve had lots of shorts and this is my method to finding (or excluding) them:First make sure you have no shorts without the keyboard connected to the board. I’m assuming you have loaded my Matrix_Decoder_3p2.ino code into your Teensy 3.2. Open an editor on your PC and hook up the USB cable. After 20 seconds, if your board has any shorts, the connector pin numbers will be reported on the editor screen. I’ve had solder hairs that I couldn’t see but scrapping between the FPC connector pads with a dental pick, cleared the short. If you have no shorts on the board, make sure the code reports two pin numbers when you touch a wire between two of the Teensy I/O pins.If th...

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    Hi Tomas, the code will hang when it finds a short and not proceed to scan any other pins so you’ve got to fix the problem. I’ve had lots of shorts and this is my method to finding (or excluding) them:First make sure you have no shorts without the keyboard connected to the board. I’m assuming you have loaded my Matrix_Decoder_3p2.ino code into your Teensy 3.2. Open an editor on your PC and hook up the USB cable. After 20 seconds, if your board has any shorts, the connector pin numbers will be reported on the editor screen. I’ve had solder hairs that I couldn’t see but scrapping between the FPC connector pads with a dental pick, cleared the short. If you have no shorts on the board, make sure the code reports two pin numbers when you touch a wire between two of the Teensy I/O pins.If the shorts only show up when you hook up the keyboard cable, try re-positioning the cable to make sure you have the connector pins aligned in the center of the FPC traces. If the two shorted pins are at the side of the FPC cable (which is what you have), they may be grounds and you will need to exclude at least one of them in the Matrix_Decoder_3p2.ino code. An example would be if pin 1 and pin 30 are both grounds. They will be reported as tied together but they are not needed for scanning the key matrix. In this case, set the min_pin integer on line 44 to 2 and the max_pin integer on line 43 to 29. This method works if the shorts are at the edges of the FPC cable. If you have grounds throughout the cable like on a Lenovo T61 keyboard, you will need to switch to the Matrix_Decoder_T61.ino program. It has a list of pins that are scanned instead of scanning sequentially from min to max.I think you are correct that the small cable is for powering the backlight. Let me know how things are going and I'll try to help you out.You can send me an email with any test results or pictures.Good LuckFrankthedalles77@gmail.com

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  • How to Make a USB Laptop Keyboard Controller

    Yes I created the design pattern for the circuit board and the Teensy 3.2 side of the board will work with a 30 pin FPC keyboard. You can download the design pattern named Keyboard_Scanner.brd using the link at the bottom of step 6. Many circuit board manufacturers will accept the Eagle board file directly so you won't need to convert to GERBER format. If you install the free Eagle layout software from autodesk.com, you can take measurements and even make modifications or file conversions if necessary.Your Dell 9370 keyboard FPC cable may have nubs on the side that are used to lock the cable in the motherboard connector. If you're using a generic 30 pin FPC connector, you will need to trim off those nubs. You could use a 34 pin FPC connector and center the 30 pin cable in the middle so ...

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    Yes I created the design pattern for the circuit board and the Teensy 3.2 side of the board will work with a 30 pin FPC keyboard. You can download the design pattern named Keyboard_Scanner.brd using the link at the bottom of step 6. Many circuit board manufacturers will accept the Eagle board file directly so you won't need to convert to GERBER format. If you install the free Eagle layout software from autodesk.com, you can take measurements and even make modifications or file conversions if necessary.Your Dell 9370 keyboard FPC cable may have nubs on the side that are used to lock the cable in the motherboard connector. If you're using a generic 30 pin FPC connector, you will need to trim off those nubs. You could use a 34 pin FPC connector and center the 30 pin cable in the middle so you don't need to trim the nubs. This keyboard has a backlight and maybe some other circuitry with grounds so you may need to modify the Matrix Decoder software to exclude these pins otherwise the code will hang because it detects two pins as shorted and it will wait (forever) for the short to go away. Sorry, I don't know of an easy way to add Bluetooth to this keyboard.Let me know if you have any more questions.Good Luck

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  • How to Make a USB Laptop Keyboard Controller

    Glad to see you got it working. Thanks for posting a picture.

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  • How to Make a USB Laptop Keyboard Controller

    I exported the Keyboard_Scanner.brd file to DXF and to STEP and put the files at https://github.com/thedalles77/USB_Laptop_Keyboard_Controller

    Eagle will export my Keyboard_Scanner.brd file to the following file formats:DXF, Fabmaster, IPC, STEPLet me know if any of these will work with your CAD software and I'll send it to you as an email. Is info@solarcyclepower.com a good way to reach you?

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  • How to Make a USB Laptop Keyboard Controller

    Nice 3D CAD tutorial. I've never done any 3D CAD work (unless you count multi-layer circuit boards) so I'm not sure how much help I can be in that area. I have torn apart my share of laptops and have a good appreciation for the designers that manage to pack so much in such a small space. If there's anything I can do to help you, let me know.

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  • Yes it is possible. Go to this Instructable for the complete procedure.https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-a-USB...

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  • How to Make a USB Laptop Keyboard Controller

    More DIY laptop builds is exactly what I was going for. In addition to reducing waste, experimenting with a broken laptop is a great way to learn about electronics. And yes, you can "bring back the headphone jack".

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  • Frank_Adams's instructable How to Make a USB Laptop Keyboard Controller 's weekly stats: 8 months ago
    • How to Make a USB Laptop Keyboard Controller
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