Using a msx-1 keyboard with a mister or pi - sacriledge! -WTB USB keyboard encoder

By iainjh

Supporter (16)

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15-02-2021, 22:37


In the past I've had a couple Philips msx-2's and am missing them! And now, out of the blue, a mate has offered me an empty case and keyboard (no motherboard) for a canon MSX-1

Is there a usb keyboard encoder available? A physical board to connect to the keyboard ribbon and present as a usb keyboard to a pi or mister or pc... my dream then would be to fit a pi inside (or maybe a mister one day...) and let the MSX games recommence!

Ive searched and found several solutions that require a working mss. But this is just a shell.

Anyone point me in the right direction?

TIA Smile !


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By timbru

Rookie (31)

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15-02-2021, 22:59

Yeah I have wondered about the same idea for my spare toshiba hx10. 8bits4ever has something like this for the Amiga 500 (out of stock now). My guess is that there is a big variety in MSX hardware, and perhaps small market, making this not so easy.. I myself lack the hardware skills, and patience to make this work. More of a software person.. I guess I will wait out for my msxvr (2nd batch.. so a while).

Good luck!

By Danjovic

Champion (336)

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15-02-2021, 23:18

There are some projects based on V-USB that you can adapt

By smx

Expert (72)

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16-06-2021, 15:52

This is the VG8020 keyboard:

this is the 2 cables:

Now comes the hard parts:
What are the connectors to be attached to the cables?
Connector 1 is 8 pin: 1,8 cm from the first and the last pin (step 0,225...)
Connector 2 is 12 pin: 2,8 cm from the first and the last pin (step 0,233...)

Once I have found the right connectors, I would need to know how I can verify the connections and which tricks to use. I think I use 1 electronic-tester, but I want to avoid mistakes.
The last step is to build an Arduino Sketch to create a USB Interface.

By st1mpy

Paladin (938)

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16-06-2021, 17:44

You can download a service manual for the 8020, the schematic for ppi and keyboard matrix is there.

By smx

Expert (72)

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17-06-2021, 08:07

Yes, I have it.
But first of all I need connectrors.

I asked in an electronics store but they don't have anything.
So the only one is to contact on line store, but which connector should I choose?
From my measurements the connectors have a different pitch.

The second step is to use a tester to check the matrix and actually identify the pins
For this point I ask myself: what precautions should I use? (I have only one keyboard and I don't want to make mistakes)

By st1mpy

Paladin (938)

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17-06-2021, 09:39

There is a photo of the motherboard in the wiki. The pin numbers are labelled (1, 8. 1, 12) may be it is also labelled on the keyboard side?
On the keyboard side pcb, may be you can just solder 20 cables?
If you want to keep the ribbon/flat cable, just measure the pitch and find a generic flat ribbon connector? (The service manual also lists the part number, but may be that's just Phillips internal part).