[rescue] using type 4 keyboards on usb?

der Mouse mouse at Rodents-Montreal.ORG
Thu Aug 27 21:09:43 CDT 2009

> after switching almost exclusively to type 5 and type 6s, i recently
> returned to a type 4 used on my ultra 2.  it is a lovely keyboard,

*shudder*  De gustibus non est disputandum, I suppose.  (The type 3 is
the only Sun keyboard I think really worth using.)

> and i have a few more good type 4s.  i also have a couple of mac G4s
> and a couple of intel machines running linux/xp which i use various
> type 5/6s since i hate any other keyboard layout than the sun layout.

> is there a converter which i could use to convert from the sun din
> connector to usb and attach the other type 4s to the non-sun
> machines?

Possibly.  It wouldn't surprise me if someone made a protocol
converter.  However, all you need is a level shifter (and, depending
onthe shifter, maybe maybe an inverter) to use a Sun keyboard on a
serial port; they are simple stock serial lines, except with TTL
voltage levels instead of RS-232 voltage levels, so even if you can't
find a suitable canned converter product, it isn't hard for someone who
isn't afraid of minor electronics to build a converter that will let
you stick a Sun keyboard of that era on a serial port.  I've done it,
and as I recall an ICL232 and two inverters (7404, 74HCT04, transistors
and resistors, whatever) is enough.

Whether that's of any use to you, of course, depends on what you want
to use the keyboard for.  It won't help if you want to completely
replace the stock keyboard, but if X is all you care about, it may do
just fine.

It does need a serial port, but those I do know are available for USB.

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