Friday, 8 April 2022

Amiga 500 USB keyboard and dual joystick and the A500 Mini

It had to be done, didn't it.


This is an Amiga 500 case and keyboard, fitted with one of my Amiga 500 USB keyboard and dual joystick controller boards.


They are designed to allow the keyboard to be used as a USB keyboard with a modern PC or Raspberry Pi etc., and also provide two 9 way D joystick ports that act as USB game controllers. (no support for Amiga mice or another other than Atari  / Commodore 9 way D joysticks). Handy if your Amiga 500+ board has been ruined by Varta juice.

It's not the nicest of Amiga cases and a very yellowed keyboard, but it does the job. All my nicer Amiga 500 cases have Amiga 500s in them.


In the past I have built these with a Raspberry Pi inside. Someone even designed a 3D printed mounting kit to install a Raspberry Pi very neatly (and reversibly) in an Amiga 500 case.


Today we see the launch of the A500 Mini, an Amiga 500 emulator in a small Amiga 500 style case.


That will support a USB keyboard, so lets see what we can do with it.

1) The easiest option

Just keep the A500 mini outside the case and use the external connection version of the Amiga 500 USB keyboard / joystick board.


The keyboard works, but it seems USB game controllers are not supported on the A500 Mini - maybe in a future revision of the A500 Mini firmware? 


https://www.sellmyretro.com/offer/details/amiga-500-usb-keyboard-controller-(external-connection)-62010


2) Loopback

This also uses the external connection version, but has the A500 mini inside the case with a short USB cable looping back


The connectors all line up within the spaces for the parallel and serial ports. 


It would probably sit better with the case of the A500 mini removed.


There are a lot of wires already with the mouse and game controller, power and HMDI, so you don't really notice the loopback USB cable.


3) A neater solution

This involves extending the cables of the A500 mini to external connectors. Here I have adapted the 3D printed mounting set. This gives external power, 2x USB and HMDI. The keyboard / joystick controller connects to the third USB port inside the case, so there is no loopback required.

https://www.sellmyretro.com/offer/details/amiga-500-usb-keyboard-controller-(internal-connection)-62107


Ideally I would have changed the power for an external USB C connection, but I went for the easier option of using a USB C to micro USB adapter.


The A500 Mini is now hidden under the keyboard, but it all fits.

4) With audio passthrough

There is a third version of the USB keyboard adapter, which provides two phono jacks where the original audio out jacks were. These are connected through to an internal 3.5mm jack. That is ideal for passing out the audio from a Raspberry Pi etc. There is no headphone out on the A500 Mini, but if you needed audio, you may be able to add a USB sound card (if that is supported??)

https://www.sellmyretro.com/offer/details/amiga-500-usb-keyboard-controller-(internal-connection-with-audio-passthrough)-62011


Alternative Blog Post

Alternatively, maybe I can borrow the concept of DIY or buy?


Do you buy the A500 Mini?


Do you buy an Amiga 500 + USB keyboard controller + Rapsberry Pi?


Or what about a Raspberry Pi 400? 


It's £30 cheaper than the A500 Mini, includes a functioning keyboard and a power supply, but no game controller.


You can still use 9 way D joysticks with the Raspberry Pi 400, using one of my USB Joystick adapters.




Conclusion

I might follow this up with full review of the A500 Mini, or I might just keep on playing Lemmings.


or Stunt Car Racer.


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I am clearing out all the USB keyboard controllers to make way for new projects. The ones I have left are listed on my SellMyRetro store in a separate category:

https://www.sellmyretro.com/store/tynemouth-software/all-categories/retro-inspired/usb-controllers



All of the Minstrel and Mini PET PCBs etc. are in the main category

https://www.sellmyretro.com/store/tynemouth-software/all-categories/retro-computers


If you want more of this nonsense, you can support me on Patreon and follow along behind the scenes with new projects and advance previews of upcoming posts (this one being an exception as I wanted to do it before anyone else did).