Using XT keyboard with Linux - Hardware

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Thread: Using XT keyboard with Linux

  1. Using XT keyboard with Linux

    Hey Guys,

    Having a closet full of old computer parts, I was wondering if there's
    anyway to get one of the older XT keyboards, with the larger round
    'standard' keyboard plug (as it was once called), with a newer
    computer running Linux. I remember some older keyboards from the
    early 90's had DIP switches to select AT or XT, but even older
    keyboards, like the ones that came with the IBM 5150, were XT only.

    Is there anyway, whether through some type of hardware or possibly
    rewiring the connector, to get these old keyboards to work with a
    newer computer via PS2 port? Heck, even if someone has hacked a USB
    to XT Keyboard connector, that'd be groovy

    Thanks --

    Alex


  2. Re: Using XT keyboard with Linux

    Alex wrote:

    > Is there anyway, whether through some type of hardware or possibly
    > rewiring the connector, to get these old keyboards to work with a
    > newer computer via PS2 port? Heck, even if someone has hacked a USB
    > to XT Keyboard connector, that'd be groovy


    Hi Alex,

    As far as I remember, the PS/2 ports are simply shrunk versions of the DIN
    port. This would mean that an adapter is quite easy to build.
    The pin connection translation table can be found here:
    http://www.pcguide.com/ref/kb/const/...nnector-c.html

    With regards,
    Hendric
    --
    Hendric Stattmann, Mödling, Austria. Registered Linux User #178879

  3. Re: Using XT keyboard with Linux

    In message <1178916759.951846.164460@o5g2000hsb.googlegroups.c om>, Alex
    wrote:

    > Hey Guys,
    >
    > Having a closet full of old computer parts, I was wondering if there's
    > anyway to get one of the older XT keyboards, with the larger round
    > 'standard' keyboard plug (as it was once called), with a newer
    > computer running Linux. I remember some older keyboards from the
    > early 90's had DIP switches to select AT or XT, but even older
    > keyboards, like the ones that came with the IBM 5150, were XT only.
    >
    > Is there anyway, whether through some type of hardware or possibly
    > rewiring the connector, to get these old keyboards to work with a
    > newer computer via PS2 port? Heck, even if someone has hacked a USB
    > to XT Keyboard connector, that'd be groovy
    >

    It's unlikely, the old XT keyboards used a different comms format to the AT
    style, and possibly even different scan codes for the keys. You'd need to
    change your keyboard controller on the motherboard (the old 8042 was the
    last DIL holdout, I guess world stocks of them finally got used) which is
    probably not possible now as it's integrated into one of the big chips.
    --
    Dave
    mail da ve@llondel.org (without the space)
    http://www.llondel.org
    So many gadgets, so little time

  4. Re: Using XT keyboard with Linux

    Alex wrote:
    > Hey Guys,
    >
    > Having a closet full of old computer parts, I was wondering if there's
    > anyway to get one of the older XT keyboards, with the larger round
    > 'standard' keyboard plug (as it was once called), with a newer
    > computer running Linux.

    [snip]
    > Is there anyway, whether through some type of hardware or possibly
    > rewiring the connector, to get these old keyboards to work with a
    > newer computer via PS2 port?


    http://www.startech.com/Product/Item...&WCID=116&c=CA

    That's just one example of where to find the parts. There are plenty of
    other places that sell the necessary adapters. (Note that those prices
    are in Canadian dollars. They'll likely vary depending on where you are.)

  5. Re: Using XT keyboard with Linux

    Hendric Stattmann wrote:

    > As far as I remember, the PS/2 ports are simply shrunk versions of the DIN
    > port. This would mean that an adapter is quite easy to build.


    I use AT keyboards here via adapters, but XT keyboards use a different
    protocol. I quickly did a "google" and found this:

    http://www.clickykeyboards.com/index...id/0/id/176955

    Regards,

    Mark.

    --
    Mark Hobley
    393 Quinton Road West
    QUINTON
    Birmingham
    B32 1QE

    Telephone: (0121) 247 1596
    International: 0044 121 247 1596

    Email: markhobley at hotpop dot donottypethisbit com

    http://markhobley.yi.org/


  6. Re: Using XT keyboard with Linux

    Alex (samalex@gmail.com) writes:
    > Hey Guys,
    >
    > Having a closet full of old computer parts, I was wondering if there's
    > anyway to get one of the older XT keyboards, with the larger round
    > 'standard' keyboard plug (as it was once called), with a newer
    > computer running Linux. I remember some older keyboards from the
    > early 90's had DIP switches to select AT or XT, but even older
    > keyboards, like the ones that came with the IBM 5150, were XT only.
    >
    > Is there anyway, whether through some type of hardware or possibly
    > rewiring the connector, to get these old keyboards to work with a
    > newer computer via PS2 port? Heck, even if someone has hacked a USB
    > to XT Keyboard connector, that'd be groovy
    >

    You need to qualify what the keyboards are.

    There were the original IBM keyboards, that put out a certain set of
    scancodes. ANd there was the AT keyboards, that put out a different
    set of scancodes. Otherwise, the keyboards were identical.

    But, the connector does not define the keyboard. Long after the AT
    came out, the larger DIN connector was still common. I was using a used
    system up until about three years ago, and as near as I can tell it
    was put together in 1997, and it used the large DIN connector.

    THe PS/2 connector came along, and some moved over to that, but not
    everyone.

    The keyboards that had the switch to go between XT and AT, the
    switch was there to tell the keyboard to send out the right set
    of keycodes. It did nothing else, and nothing else was required.

    Real XT keyboards are long in the past, something like 20 years ago?
    The dual keyboards are likely rare at this point, so much so that you
    may find some have the switch but it's actually inside, since they
    kept using the old stock for the ATs yet the switch would have
    just been clutter to confuse people, since after a certain point
    there were more ATs than XTs around.

    To use AT keyboards with PS/2 computers, you just need an adaptor
    that has a large female DIN connector and a small DIN male connector.

    If the keyboard doesn't work, then either it's gone bad, or it is
    actually an XT keyboard.

    But chances are good that you actually have AT keyboards lying around.

    Michael


  7. Re: Using XT keyboard with Linux

    On 2007-05-11, Alex wrote:

    > Is there anyway, whether through some type of hardware or possibly
    > rewiring the connector, to get these old keyboards to work with a
    > newer computer via PS2 port? Heck, even if someone has hacked a USB
    > to XT Keyboard connector, that'd be groovy


    XT-to-PS2 adapters used to be quite common. You might check eBay.

    --

    John (john@os2.dhs.org)

  8. Re: Using XT keyboard with Linux

    In article <1178916759.951846.164460@o5g2000hsb.googlegroups.c om>,
    Alex writes:
    >
    > Having a closet full of old computer parts, I was wondering if there's
    > anyway to get one of the older XT keyboards, with the larger round
    > 'standard' keyboard plug (as it was once called), with a newer
    > computer running Linux.


    The Linux kernel (at least, the 2.6.20 kernel, and I believe some earlier
    versions) contains an option that may be useful:

    Device Drivers
    -> Input Device Support
    -> Keyboards
    -> XT Keyboard

    I've never used this option, but it claims to allow you to use XT
    keyboards on newer hardware. There's a big catch, though: The description
    says you need a parallel port keyboard adapter; you can't just connect the
    keyboard to the PS/2 keyboard port (via the common adapters used to
    connect older AT keyboards to newer computers). I didn't see anything
    obvious in the kernel's Documentation subdirectory describing where to buy
    or how to build such an adapter. Perhaps you could find some information
    on the Web, or maybe it's buried in a file I didn't see.

    --
    Rod Smith, rodsmith@rodsbooks.com
    http://www.rodsbooks.com
    Author of books on Linux, FreeBSD, and networking

  9. Re: Using XT keyboard with Linux


    Rod Smith wrote:
    > In article <1178916759.951846.164460@o5g2000hsb.googlegroups.c om>,
    > Alex writes:
    > >
    > > Having a closet full of old computer parts, I was wondering if there's
    > > anyway to get one of the older XT keyboards, with the larger round
    > > 'standard' keyboard plug (as it was once called), with a newer
    > > computer running Linux.

    >
    > The Linux kernel (at least, the 2.6.20 kernel, and I believe some earlier
    > versions) contains an option that may be useful:
    >
    > Device Drivers
    > -> Input Device Support
    > -> Keyboards
    > -> XT Keyboard
    >
    > I've never used this option, but it claims to allow you to use XT
    > keyboards on newer hardware. There's a big catch, though: The description
    > says you need a parallel port keyboard adapter; you can't just connect the
    > keyboard to the PS/2 keyboard port (via the common adapters used to
    > connect older AT keyboards to newer computers). I didn't see anything
    > obvious in the kernel's Documentation subdirectory describing where to buy
    > or how to build such an adapter. Perhaps you could find some information
    > on the Web, or maybe it's buried in a file I didn't see.
    >
    > --
    > Rod Smith, rodsmith@rodsbooks.com
    > http://www.rodsbooks.com
    > Author of books on Linux, FreeBSD, and networking


    Hi Rod,

    Thanks for the info! I'll look into this further, but I guess one
    caveat of doing this in the kernel is the keyboard might not be
    accessible until Linux starts up.

    Also, I just checked your website and saw you wrote _Linux Samba
    Server Administration_. I wanted to also say Thanks for that book,
    because I've used it for years to setup and maintain various Samba
    systems. I haven't used it much since moving to Samba 3 (do you have
    a newer version?), but it was by my side daily when I was learning
    Samba about 6-7 years back. Just wanted to give a few words in that
    regard.

    Take care --

    Alex


  10. Re: Using XT keyboard with Linux

    In article <1179168249.579517.301690@o5g2000hsb.googlegroups.c om>,
    Alex writes:
    >
    > Rod Smith wrote:
    >>
    >> The Linux kernel (at least, the 2.6.20 kernel, and I believe some earlier
    >> versions) contains an option that may be useful:
    >>
    >> Device Drivers
    >> -> Input Device Support
    >> -> Keyboards
    >> -> XT Keyboard

    >
    > Thanks for the info! I'll look into this further, but I guess one
    > caveat of doing this in the kernel is the keyboard might not be
    > accessible until Linux starts up.


    I've never used the option in question, but I'd expect you'd be correct
    about this.

    > Also, I just checked your website and saw you wrote _Linux Samba
    > Server Administration_. I wanted to also say Thanks for that book,
    > because I've used it for years to setup and maintain various Samba
    > systems.


    Thanks for the kind words.

    > I haven't used it much since moving to Samba 3 (do you have
    > a newer version?),


    Sybex wasn't interested in doing a revision, I'm afraid, but I did write a
    new book on Samba 3 for APress: The Definitive Guide to Samba 3 (ISBN
    1-59059-277-8, 2004). FWIW, the Samba developers are working towards a
    Samba 4 release, but it's not expected to enter alpha for a while (3
    months is a figure I was quoted recently). Samba 4 will feature better AD
    integration, including the ability to act as an AD server.

    --
    Rod Smith, rodsmith@rodsbooks.com
    http://www.rodsbooks.com
    Author of books on Linux, FreeBSD, and networking

  11. Re: Using XT keyboard with Linux

    On May 18, 3:25 pm, rodsm...@nessus.rodsbooks.com (Rod Smith) wrote:
    > In article <1179168249.579517.301...@o5g2000hsb.googlegroups.c om>,
    > Alex writes:
    >
    >
    >
    > > Rod Smith wrote:

    >
    > >> The Linux kernel (at least, the 2.6.20 kernel, and I believe some earlier
    > >> versions) contains an option that may be useful:

    >
    > >> Device Drivers
    > >> -> Input Device Support
    > >> -> Keyboards
    > >> -> XT Keyboard

    >
    > > Thanks for the info! I'll look into this further, but I guess one
    > > caveat of doing this in the kernel is the keyboard might not be
    > > accessible until Linux starts up.

    >
    > I've never used the option in question, but I'd expect you'd be correct
    > about this.
    >
    > > Also, I just checked your website and saw you wrote _Linux Samba
    > > Server Administration_. I wanted to also say Thanks for that book,
    > > because I've used it for years to setup and maintain various Samba
    > > systems.

    >
    > Thanks for the kind words.
    >
    > > I haven't used it much since moving to Samba 3 (do you have
    > > a newer version?),

    >
    > Sybex wasn't interested in doing a revision, I'm afraid, but I did write a
    > new book on Samba 3 for APress: The Definitive Guide to Samba 3 (ISBN
    > 1-59059-277-8, 2004). FWIW, the Samba developers are working towards a
    > Samba 4 release, but it's not expected to enter alpha for a while (3
    > months is a figure I was quoted recently). Samba 4 will feature better AD
    > integration, including the ability to act as an AD server.
    >
    > --
    > Rod Smith, rodsm...@rodsbooks.comhttp://www.rodsbooks.com
    > Author of books on Linux, FreeBSD, and networking


    Hi Rod,

    Though OT for this post, awesome news about Samba 4. When Samba 3
    came out, it fixed TONS of our problems since back then we were using
    a Windows domain. Now we are on AD, so if Samba 4 has better
    integration, then bonus as well!

    As for the keyboard, I didn't realize the actual output was different
    between an AT and XT keyboard, but being the only converters I can
    find are like $95 online, I'll just put these old keyboards back in
    the deep dark realms of my closet.

    Thanks again --

    Alex


  12. Re: Using XT keyboard with Linux

    On Tue, 29 May 2007 14:19:42 -0700, Alex had the audacity to write:
    ------%<------------------------------
    > As for the keyboard, I didn't realize the actual output was different
    > between an AT and XT keyboard, but being the only converters I can
    > find are like $95 online, I'll just put these old keyboards back in
    > the deep dark realms of my closet.
    >
    > Thanks again --
    >
    > Alex


    As stated before: the time since I actually saw a true XT keyboard makes
    it almost 100% sure that what you have is AT-type 'spelling plates'. The
    quoted price however doesn't coincide with what I gave for the last
    AT (DIN5 -PS2 (Mini-DIN6)-converter (around what amounts to $5 - $6).

    http://www.midtdata.dk/asp/index.asp...=Tconvertere&\
    goto=productchoice&conceptbutik=&mainfunc=link#hertil

    Remove the backslash in the above and put the resulting one-liner into
    your browser's address-field.
    The first item (Belkin) is what I bought but it unfortunately seems that
    the price has about doubled since I got mine :-(

    HTH

    --
    Jan, OZ1DKE.

    Registered Linux User # 164786


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