Anyone Know this Hardware

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ppe
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Re: Anyone Know this Hardware

Postby ppe » Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:57 pm

I've been looking at creating a USB keyboard interface with a somewhat similar architecture based around:
- ATmega328 microcontroller
- MAX3421E USB host controller
- XC9572XL based switch matrix

I actually created the software for the ATMega and implemented the switch matrix but haven't had the time to put together a prototype yet.

Also, there's my Ethernet card project to finish and I'm kind of debating with myself on which project to use my very limited hobby hours on. Would be nice to be able to use a USB keyboard, though. Also, adding USB mouse support into the same interface should also be relatively straightforward if sticking with joystick emulating type of mouse (i.e. mouse generates arrow key combinations).

Cheers,
Petri


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Re: Anyone Know this Hardware

Postby dilwyn » Sun Apr 21, 2013 10:53 pm

ppe wrote:I've been looking at creating a USB keyboard interface with a somewhat similar architecture based around:
- ATmega328 microcontroller
- MAX3421E USB host controller
- XC9572XL based switch matrix
I actually created the software for the ATMega and implemented the switch matrix but haven't had the time to put together a prototype yet.
Also, there's my Ethernet card project to finish and I'm kind of debating with myself on which project to use my very limited hobby hours on. Would be nice to be able to use a USB keyboard, though. Also, adding USB mouse support into the same interface should also be relatively straightforward if sticking with joystick emulating type of mouse (i.e. mouse generates arrow key combinations).
Cheers,
Petri

A new keyboard interface would of course be welcome, as there is no keyboard interface in production, as long as you are able to implement the required software drivers. It hurts to think how many good hardware projects fell or almost fell by the wayside due to lack of drivers.

If the keyboard interface is less work than the Ethernet card I'd go for finishing that first.


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Re: Anyone Know this Hardware

Postby Dave » Mon Apr 22, 2013 12:18 am

This sounds interesting. :)


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Re: Anyone Know this Hardware

Postby Mr_Navigator » Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:26 am

[quote="dilwyn"If the keyboard interface is less work than the Ethernet card I'd go for finishing that first.[/quote]

Yes I agree, for information the most commonly used keyboards are:

Wired - USB
Wireless - USB

Common denominator is - USB

Adrian Ives did his SERUSB project for data transfer (Blue Box) which I have and have still yet to connect up :(

I am not so sure that it did anything else but saving files.

However, a keyboard interface would be good, it would have to be USB for the above reasons, most USB keyboards I have used both wired and wireless work out of the box on Windows based PCs, MAC based PCs and Linux based PCs including the Raspberry Pi. The most obvious place for a plug-in USB port for plugging in a USB keyboard would be the ROM slot assuming most QL BB users would have some form of Disk Interface already in the main expansion which would included the TK2 commonly connected to the ROM port. I believe Adrian's box of tricks in this areas was leading to this before he finished further work on it.


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ppe
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Re: Anyone Know this Hardware

Postby ppe » Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:24 am

dilwyn wrote:It hurts to think how many good hardware projects fell or almost fell by the wayside due to lack of drivers.

I agree 100% and have seen it on the ether project but I'm still hopeful I can finish it :)

Now, the nice thing about a USB keyboard interface done in the same style as the Falkenberg interface is that it does not need any drivers. It simply emulates the regular keyboard switch matrix. Also, the USB host side software for the microcontroller is available through the Arduino project so that removes 95% of microcontroller code. The remaining 5% is approximately 90% done :)

Mr_Navigator wrote:The most obvious place for a plug-in USB port for plugging in a USB keyboard would be the ROM slot


In my opinion, yes and no. Also see above. A plug-in board that goes into the coprocessor slot is much, much quicker and easier to implement because it does not need any drivers. Whilst I agree that a generic USB host sitting in the ROM slot would be preferable, the amount of work necessary to implement the drivers seems a bit overwhelming. Especially since it would most probably make sense to create a modular driver architecture so that additional USB devices could be added.

So in summary, I would personally welcome a generic USB host but am still thinking that a USB attached keyboard and mouse are the quick wins that could potentially be available quickly if implemented as coprocessor slot add-ons.

By the way, if someone is ambitious/interested to go for a more generic solution I am more than happy to share what I've learned of USB host functionality available on the Arduino/ATMega platform.

Cheers,
Petri


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Re: Anyone Know this Hardware

Postby Mr_Navigator » Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:40 am

So in summary, I would personally welcome a generic USB host but am still thinking that a USB attached keyboard and mouse are the quick wins that could potentially be available quickly if implemented as coprocessor slot add-ons.


I would agree also, my only reason for the ROM slot option was to avoid opening up the BB QL. However a readily plugin and go method (i.e. a co-processor replacement or similar would be preferable as you say, drivers not needed.


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Re: Anyone Know this Hardware

Postby Dave » Mon Apr 22, 2013 4:21 pm

The only downside of it that I see is that it could compete for space with SuperHermes, and a lot of people might be unwilling to give up their working serial ports.

The upsides, many. Anyone with a de-cased QL doesn't have the above problem as there's plenty of room. Wireless keyboards become easy. Nobody uses expansion microdrives so there's an easy place to bring a wired cord out. You can use any keyboard. Industrial keyboards. Tiny keyboards.

The micro-controller could do a lot of other things too...


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ppe
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Re: Anyone Know this Hardware

Postby ppe » Mon Apr 22, 2013 8:01 pm

Dave wrote:The only downside of it that I see is that it could compete for space with SuperHermes, and a lot of people might be unwilling to give up their working serial ports.

A very good point, Dave. However, the SuperHermes does come with a mouse and keyboard interface. Not being an owner of said card (I do have the plain Hermes chip), I figured I need to roll my own :)

Cheers,
Petri


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Re: Anyone Know this Hardware

Postby dilwyn » Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:26 pm

ppe wrote:
Dave wrote:The only downside of it that I see is that it could compete for space with SuperHermes, and a lot of people might be unwilling to give up their working serial ports.

A very good point, Dave. However, the SuperHermes does come with a mouse and keyboard interface. Not being an owner of said card (I do have the plain Hermes chip), I figured I need to roll my own :)
Cheers,
Petri

I didn't mean to belittle SuperHermes or anything like that, it's just that SuperHermes is more than just a keyboard interface. A cheaper, simple to install keyboard interface would be a great alternative to those who might not want the extra features in SuperHermes. Especially if it allows USB keyboards to be connected.


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Re: Anyone Know this Hardware

Postby Dave » Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:43 pm

I got a deep socket and board and placed it in a QL with a SuperHermes on top - it fits, *just* so this isn't a problem after all.



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