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Tuesday, 9 August 2016
Commodore 64C USB Keyboard Kits
I've had a few questions about my Commodore 64 USB Keyboard kits, and whether they are suitable for the later shape C64C. The answer if yes.
The controller board and firmware is exactly the same, mounted in the same location.
The only change is on the mode switch version of the kit, which is provided with a rectangular tri-colour LED, rather than the usual round one for the breadbin case.
I also supply grey / cream USB cables to better match the case, rather than the black ones supplied with the C64 / VIC20 / C16 version of the kits.
The complete kit comes with the cable and mounting feet. The mode switch version also includes the replacement power LED to show the mapping mode.
This lights up green in normal mode, where the keys are mapped to make best use of the keyboard for normal use like web browsing on writing blog articles. When a key is pressed in this mode, the symbol marked on the key will appear on the PC (or Mac or Raspberry Pi etc.). The arrow keys work as the original. down and right, or left and up if you press shift.
In this mode the keys give the right symbols with and without shift (i.e. shift + 6 gives & as marked, not ^ as on a PC keyboard). The left shift key and right shift key work differently on some keys to give more options (e.g. F1, + left shift = F2, F1 + right shift = F9 and / + left = ?, / + right = \). This means F7 + right shift gives F12 which is the menu key in the Vice emulator. Full key mappings shown here.
When you press the mode button, it changes to red for emulator mode where all the keys are mapped so they will work with emulators such as Vice which use a positional mapping.
In this mode each key works directly in the emulator as if it were a real Commodore 64, seen here in this handy Commodore 64 keyboard tester.
When doing these USB keyboard conversions, I occasionally end up with a C64C without the keyboard support brackets. These normally screw to the base over the mainboard, and the keyboard rests on them. An alternative solution that seems to work quite well is to use 30mm M3 pillars, screwed to the four holes on the top of the keyboard.
The keyboard sites in a groove at the front which hols it firmly in place so the pillars just provide support at the top. I usually add a little hot melt glue to where they sit to hold them in place, although they don't seem to need it.
The kits can be ordered below.
Standard USB keyboard kit.
The standard kit version comes with the controller, adhesive pillars and a USB lead (black C64 version shown). This can be installed on the back of the keyboard, with the original power LED cable connected to this board to light up when the USB is connected.
It can also be mounted in a few places inside the case so the USB connector is externally accessible.
The kit can be purchased using the button below, select the appropriate keyboard mapping and postage option (first class signed for within the UK or international tracked and signed). This is suitable for Commodore 64 and VIC20, Commodore 16 and Commodore 64C.
USB Keyboard kit with mode switch
If you are planning to use you converted Commodore 64 / 64C / VIC20 / C16 with an emulator such as Vice or CCS64, go for the version with the mode switch (black C64 version shown).
The kit for this includes the controller, mounting pillars, USB lead and a replacement power LED which will indicate the mode.
This is best fitted where the mode switch can be pressed, either through the IEC and video ports, or the expansion port. The replacement LED fits where the original was.
The kit can be ordered below, select the appropriate model and postage option (first class signed for within the UK or international tracked and signed). This is suitable for Commodore 64 and VIC20, Commodore 16 and Commodore 64C.
USB Keyboard and dual joystick kit with mode switch
There is also a version with dual USB joystick ports that can fit in the C64C case. C64 version shown, the C64C version has the rectangular LED.
The USB connector can be supplied to exit externally from the square hole where the power connector was, or internally to be trailed out the back, or connected to an internally mounted Raspberry Pi etc. This can also be used with the Commodore 64C, although the keyboard support brackets may need slight modification to fit over the joystick connector.
This is available as a kit, containing the USB keyboard and dual joystick controller, mounting pillars, replacement LED and USB lead.
The kit can be ordered below, select the appropriate model and postage option (first class signed for within the UK or international tracked and signed). This is suitable for Commodore 64 and VIC20, Commodore 16 and Commodore 64C. Note this is designed for the Commodore 64 end plates, so the VIC20 and C16 metal end plates will not fit. You can either remove these or use one from a C64. (yes 9 way D joysticks on a Commodore 16!)