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SepticLemon
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2012 3:52 pm

Putting a Pi in a keyboard...

Sun Oct 07, 2012 4:06 pm

Hello there, new to the forum, and I purchased a Pi last night.

Here's the deal, I want to build a 21st century version of a micro computer, where the computer is in the keyboard. I want to use it for BBC Micro, C64 and ZX Spectrum emulation, though I will use it for Linux computing and media purposes too.

I've seen a site where a German guy crammed a Pi into a keyboard, http://www.geeky-gadgets.com/raspberry- ... 3-08-2012/ . He uses an oversized Cherry Branded keyboard, however the keyboard itself costs about £50! I don't really want to use a keyboard that costs more than the Pi. Over the course of about 5 years, I managed to acquire 3 Logitech G15 Keyboards for the low-low price of free, so I took one apart to see how much space there is inside to fit a Pi into, to discover that it's pretty damn crammed with no space to fit the Pi.

So here's the question... What keyboards out there are both inexpensive and have plenty of space inside to fit a pi? From what I read about the Pi, it's 11mm high, so the keyboard needs to be at least 15mm high or so, as the internal size will always be smaller than the internal size.

toxibunny
Posts: 1382
Joined: Thu Aug 18, 2011 9:21 pm

Re: Putting a Pi in a keyboard...

Sun Oct 07, 2012 5:46 pm

I've been looking for the same thing, and haven't found anything easily available that's big enough. I did find *one* thing suitable(ish) - take a look in the 'add-ons subforum for my 'new keyboard XD' post. I just opened it up again, and it's going to be a very tight squeeze, but I think it's possible. Postage costs from that one local supplier my make it unfeasible though.

Other than that, look on the Ben heck forums for how to case-mod plastic using car bodywork filler, spray-paint, etc. The truth is, that even though the pi is tiny, there just isn't enough space inside 99% of keyboards...
note: I may or may not know what I'm talking about...

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SepticLemon
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2012 3:52 pm

Re: Putting a Pi in a keyboard...

Sun Oct 07, 2012 6:26 pm

Hey there Toxibunny, I went and read your post about the Cherry Keyboard with the magnetic reader/wirtier on it, very cool, and it's a shame that there isn't much space in it... Maybe you could tear out the magnetic reader/writer on it, unless it's on the same PCB as a the Keyboard itself...

As for keyboards, I've been eyeing this keyboard with a built in trackpad on it, http://www.ebuyer.com/161510-keysonic-b ... -ack-540u- , for dimensions it says it's 29mm high of the upper part of the keyboard, but there's no gurantee that the Pi will fit inside, plus it doesn't say if it's 29mm with or without the flip out legs under the board. I've been going through Google Image search to see if anyone has taken one apart and found nothing so far, so I honestly can't tell, but the fact that it has a trackpad on it that's controlled on the same USB cable is very attractive indeed.

The only other thing I can think of is taking apart one of my old-old laptops, tearing out the hardware, but using its keyboard and trackpad on it as the Pis mouse and keyboard, but I will have to work out the pinout on the keyboards ribbon cable and see if I can take it to a PS/2 connection, and then to USB through a PS/2 to USB convertor.

Still, I'll have to see what I can do, if I can find a Keyboard, or if I can hack a Laptop keyboard to work with a Pi...

shawaj
Posts: 107
Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2012 3:36 am

Re: Putting a Pi in a keyboard...

Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:47 am

SepticLemon wrote:Hey there Toxibunny, I went and read your post about the Cherry Keyboard with the magnetic reader/wirtier on it, very cool, and it's a shame that there isn't much space in it... Maybe you could tear out the magnetic reader/writer on it, unless it's on the same PCB as a the Keyboard itself...

As for keyboards, I've been eyeing this keyboard with a built in trackpad on it, http://www.ebuyer.com/161510-keysonic-b ... -ack-540u- , for dimensions it says it's 29mm high of the upper part of the keyboard, but there's no gurantee that the Pi will fit inside, plus it doesn't say if it's 29mm with or without the flip out legs under the board. I've been going through Google Image search to see if anyone has taken one apart and found nothing so far, so I honestly can't tell, but the fact that it has a trackpad on it that's controlled on the same USB cable is very attractive indeed.

The only other thing I can think of is taking apart one of my old-old laptops, tearing out the hardware, but using its keyboard and trackpad on it as the Pis mouse and keyboard, but I will have to work out the pinout on the keyboards ribbon cable and see if I can take it to a PS/2 connection, and then to USB through a PS/2 to USB convertor.

Still, I'll have to see what I can do, if I can find a Keyboard, or if I can hack a Laptop keyboard to work with a Pi...
I have the bluetooth version of this keyboard...if the wired one is the same dimensions the pi would almost certainly not fit in the keyboard itself. It may well fit underneath with the legs out. Could measure it properly when I get home if you want?
Support The MagPi by purchasing printed copies from one of our retailers - http://themagpi.com/en/buy

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SepticLemon
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2012 3:52 pm

Re: Putting a Pi in a keyboard...

Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:29 pm

Heh, thanks Shawaj, but now I'm doing a different project where I'm building an Atari emulator that uses real Atari Joystick and Paddle controls.

However... If I do want to go back on the whole "21st Century Micro Computer" thing, I might have to do what Ben heck did here, and make a case where the keyboard sits on top of. But I want mine to be plastic, not wood...

Jamesbeat
Posts: 46
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2012 8:19 pm

Re: Putting a Pi in a keyboard...

Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:47 pm

See my case:
http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewt ... 40&t=20757

It's really easy to make a plastic case built onto a keyboard.

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Lob0426
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Location: Susanville CA.
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Re: Putting a Pi in a keyboard...

Thu Oct 25, 2012 4:05 am

All of the modern "membrane" keyboards have very little room inside their cases. The old school microswitch keyboards usually have quite a bit of room, unfortunately they also usually need 250ma or better to operate plus you need to use a PS2 to USB adapter, at the very least, which will use another 25ma to 50ma. This dips into your power budget real quick if connected directly to a RasPi. Using it through a powered hub is a better option, but then you have to find room for that too.

The option I have investigated is using one of the "foldable" keyboards mounted on top of a box that looks like the old school keyboards. I wish there was a way to mount one in a ZX81 case. Adapting that (bubble) keyboard could be a real hassle

@Jamesbeat has a similar solution.
512MB version 2.0 as WordPress Server
Motorola Lapdock with Pi2B
Modded Rev 1.0 with pin headers at USB

http://rich1.dyndns.tv/
(RS)Allied ships old stock to reward its Customers for long wait!

dawerty
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2016 3:34 pm

Re: Putting a Pi in a keyboard...

Fri Aug 05, 2016 3:38 pm

Perhaps this is a possible cost-effective alternative.

http://www.instructables.com/id/KeyPi-a ... p-Under-8/

Though you have to sacrifice your numpad haha

Cheers

lreford
Posts: 9
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Location: Greenock, Scotland
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Re: Putting a Pi in a keyboard...

Mon Aug 15, 2016 11:00 pm

Just an idea, but maybe find a broken A600 or A1200 and rip out the motherboard, and then hook up the keyboard using Keyrah? Not sure how the USB would be routed internally.

http://www.vesalia.de/e_keyrahv2.htm

bloodline
Posts: 76
Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2012 8:44 pm
Location: London - England

Re: Putting a Pi in a keyboard...

Sat Aug 19, 2017 8:38 am

lreford wrote:
Mon Aug 15, 2016 11:00 pm
Just an idea, but maybe find a broken A600 or A1200 and rip out the motherboard, and then hook up the keyboard using Keyrah? Not sure how the USB would be routed internally.

http://www.vesalia.de/e_keyrahv2.htm
Yes, I have done this (as have many others). The Keyrah and Raspi fit neatly inside an A1200 case, with the Amibian (and Amiberry), I have a working A1200 again. :)

BlackKnight_UK
Posts: 55
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2017 10:51 am

Re: Putting a Pi in a keyboard...

Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:34 am

I have also been wondering if it would be possible to fit a Pi inside a keyboard, same reasons, so that I could have a replacement for those old computers from my past.

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Centurion
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2017 5:30 am
Location: USA
Contact: Website

Re: Putting a Pi in a keyboard...

Sat Feb 03, 2018 9:31 am

In case anyone stumbles onto this and is still interested. I found a USB keyboard that can hold a Zero and posted about it here:

https://drunknretro.blogspot.com/2018/0 ... d-dos.html

Hopefully it's helpful.

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