Friendchip K..AT keyboard remote for Atari ST/STE computers.

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Miguel
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Friendchip K..AT keyboard remote for Atari ST/STE computers.

Postby Miguel » Thu Jun 29, 2017 4:28 am

Does anyone know how the buttons on the K..AT remote control box used for triggering qwerty keyboard shortcuts are wired up? I mean I have some idea what is going on in that I have figured out what combination of wires connected to ground corresponds to each button on the K..AT but what I haven't been able to establish is how they are wired to each other as it would appear that at least one colored wire (using the cable from an Atari joystick) must be connected to ground at all times.

This is what I have figured out so far....the 2nd button is latched on and off by the connection of the white (up) wire to ground.

Green....X........X....................X.............X...........................
Blue......X..................X..........X..........................X..............
Brown....X........X........X..................................................X..
..........(+)......(-)......(>>)......(play).......(stop).......(rec).......(<<)

At least one color must be connected to ground at all times or the switching will be limited to 6 presses when the desk accessory is closed.

White = up
Black = ground
Green = left
Blue = down
Brown = right

For those who don't know what the K..AT is see here http://www.muzines.co.uk/articles/friendchip-k-at/909

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Re: Friendchip K..AT keyboard remote for Atari ST/STE computers.

Postby Greenious » Sat Jul 01, 2017 4:24 pm

The joystick port got 5 inputs.

up, down, left, right and fire. each input is connected to a pullup resistor and thus is triggered by connecting it to ground.

I would say each button on the K...AT simply grounds one or more of the 5 inputs and the specific combination is read from the ikbd and then translated into the correct button, just like a game figures you are going diagonally by the combination of up/down and left/right.

With 5 specific inputs you got 2^5 (32) possible combinations, theoretically allowing 31 keys.

Anyway, I suggest you make a table like this and it will likely become clear

Code: Select all

up   down     left    right     fire   K-AT button
0      0         0       0         0     
0      0         0       0         1     
0      0         0       1         0     
0      0         0       1         1     
0      0         1       0         0     
0      0         1       0         1     
0      0         1       1         0     
0      0         1       1         1     
0      1         0       0         0     
0      1         0       0         1     
0      1         0       1         0     
0      1         0       1         1     
0      1         1       0         0     
0      1         1       0         1     
0      1         1       1         0     
0      1         1       1         1     
1      0         0       0         0     
1      0         0       0         1     
1      0         0       1         0     
1      0         0       1         1     
1      0         1       0         0     
1      0         1       0         1     
1      0         1       1         0     
1      0         1       1         1     
1      1         0       0         0     
1      1         0       0         1     
1      1         0       1         0     
1      1         0       1         1     
1      1         1       0         0     
1      1         1       0         1     
1      1         1       1         0     
1      1         1       1         1     
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Re: Friendchip K..AT keyboard remote for Atari ST/STE computers.

Postby Miguel » Sun Jul 02, 2017 11:20 am

Hi Greenious. I guess I should have started by clarifying that what I am trying to do here is build my own remote control box that will work using the K..AT desk accessory just as the original K..AT remote control does....although I wouldn't mind adding a few more buttons, pedal inputs and perhaps a rotary encoder or two.

Now although the joystick port has 5 inputs the K..AT seems to only use 4 as the fire button just tends to trigger the right mouse button, the up button is merely used for switching the 2nd bank on/off while the left, right and down are combined to make up the other buttons of the K..AT.

Up = (2nd)
Right = (<<)
Down = (Rec)
Left = (Stop)
Down + Left = (Play)
Down + Right = (>>)
Left +Right = (-)
Left + Right + Down = (+)

The problem is I can't seem to disconnect the ground wire at all because when I do it stops working after exactly 6 presses of the same button, that is to say it will work 6 times and that's it, mind you the desk accessory will continue to respond but I can't trigger keys in whatever application I am actually trying to control.....the only way I can kind of get around it is to leave at least one of the right, left, down wires connected to ground but I can't see that it is supposed to work like that.

Any ideas would be most welcomed as there is probably something I am overlooking here.

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Re: Friendchip K..AT keyboard remote for Atari ST/STE computers.

Postby Greenious » Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:13 pm

Hmm, that does sound wierd.

One aspect that might play in, is that the IKBD (keyboard processor) only passes changes through to the software. Ie, press and release are two different events that are communicated when it happens. That is true for normal keyboard and mouse operation. There is also an absolute mouse mode that reports actual coordinates upon request. I'm a bit unsure how joystick events are reported... And it may be related to how long the button is pressed? It may be a bug in the software that makes it miss a release if connection is to short of a time?

It would help a great deal to actually see the hardware, it could theoretically house some logic we are not aware of, since the joystick port also does provide 5v power for that purpose.

As for rotary controller and more advanced things, the extended joystick port is way better equipped for that, but does require an STE or F030 ofcourse.
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Re: Friendchip K..AT keyboard remote for Atari ST/STE computers.

Postby Miguel » Thu Jul 06, 2017 6:40 am

I did at one point connect a homemade mouse (minus the ball) to the joystick port to see what would happen and it seemed to work just like keeping a directional wire grounded at all times but I didn't really get into connecting any switches to the hex Schmitt trigger or anything, I should probably crack that mouse open and give it a go, it's kind of an unusable mouse anyway on account of my having used the rubber outer of a microphone cable which despite being wonderfully flexible unfortunately grips way too much to be practical for sliding a mouse around.

On a side note I was actually contemplating the possibility of using a latching switch in place of the third mouse button under the scroll wheel to hijack the up/down lines while also holding a mouse button for scrolling and moving faders up and down in programs like Cubase and Notator, the scroll wheel being just a tiny encoder.....but getting back to the K..AT I can already move the cursor around etc by using a rotary encoder (jog dial) in place of the two switches but I am still stuck with having to leave something connected to ground, of course the K..AT desk accessory has some repeat function for whatever key/button is being held down which makes sense in respect to scrolling.

Yeah I can see great potential in the K..AT but it doesn't seem to be as straight forward as I had first thought it might be and not many people seem to know much about it, like a lot of people assume that it's just for controlling Cubase when in fact it can be used for any application, like I am currently doing most of my testing by punching letters into a text editor.

Just out of curiosity, I don't suppose you know what pin 5 of the joystick port is reserved for do you?

Anyway thank you for your insight Greenious, I really appreciate it.

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Re: Friendchip K..AT keyboard remote for Atari ST/STE computers.

Postby joska » Thu Jul 06, 2017 6:48 am

A much better approach (IMO) would be to use a microcontroller (some Arduino or clone is an easy way to start) between the keyboard and computer. Then attach as many buttons as you like to it, and let the microcontroller generate the macros. No software needed on the ST for that, and this approach would work even with software that talks directly to the IKBD.

This way your device could act as both keyboard, mouse and joystick if you like. If you use something like a NodeMCU you could even use your phone or tablet as a remote for your ST.
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Re: Friendchip K..AT keyboard remote for Atari ST/STE computers.

Postby Miguel » Thu Jul 06, 2017 1:04 pm

Yeah I hear what you are saying Joska and I do like the idea very much but what I was kind of going for was something that the average person could knock together quite easily for next to nothing.....I mean at the moment I just have a few cheap switches hooked up to the cable of an old Atari joystick and it's usable so long as at least one of the three main wires is connected to ground.

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Re: Friendchip K..AT keyboard remote for Atari ST/STE computers.

Postby joska » Thu Jul 06, 2017 1:07 pm

The physical device would be very easy to make - just connect ground, power and rx/tx to keyboard port and keyboard. The real work is in the software, you'd have to parse the IKBD stream coming from the keyboard and then insert valid IKBD packets when appropriate.

Edit: Not very expensive either :)

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/MINI-USB-Nano-V3-0-ATmega328P-CH340G-5V-16M-Micro-controller-board-Arduino-MO-/152323398220?var=&hash=item23772e9a4c:m:moD2ynb49A9LwbHti3HRUIw

The only thing you need in addition to this is a USB cable and the free Arduino software.
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Re: Friendchip K..AT keyboard remote for Atari ST/STE computers.

Postby Greenious » Thu Jul 06, 2017 1:19 pm

Miguel wrote:Just out of curiosity, I don't suppose you know what pin 5 of the joystick port is reserved for do you?

Anyway thank you for your insight Greenious, I really appreciate it.


I haven't seen that before, but joy 1 pin 5 is actually used for something in the schematics I got. It's connected to the IKBD to what looks like an out-only I/O pin which controls the 74LS244 that buffers the mouse/joy ports.

After a bit of thinking I suspect it is for diagnostic purposes and something only used in conjunction with the diagnostic board.
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Re: Friendchip K..AT keyboard remote for Atari ST/STE computers.

Postby Greenious » Thu Jul 06, 2017 1:24 pm

Miguel wrote:Yeah I hear what you are saying Joska and I do like the idea very much but what I was kind of going for was something that the average person could knock together quite easily for next to nothing.....I mean at the moment I just have a few cheap switches hooked up to the cable of an old Atari joystick and it's usable so long as at least one of the three main wires is connected to ground.


That is just so wierd, just out of curiosity, have you got a standard joystick lying around, if you use that to just test left-right-down combos, do you get the same result?
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Re: Friendchip K..AT keyboard remote for Atari ST/STE computers.

Postby Miguel » Thu Jul 06, 2017 1:49 pm

joska wrote:The physical device would be very easy to make - just connect ground, power and rx/tx to keyboard port and keyboard. The real work is in the software, you'd have to parse the IKBD stream coming from the keyboard and then insert valid IKBD packets when appropriate.

Edit: Not very expensive either :)

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/MINI-USB-Nano-V3-0-ATmega328P-CH340G-5V-16M-Micro-controller-board-Arduino-MO-/152323398220?var=&hash=item23772e9a4c:m:moD2ynb49A9LwbHti3HRUIw

The only thing you need in addition to this is a USB cable and the free Arduino software.


I guess I was trying to avoid that real work by using the software already written for the K..AT, of course if I were to plug something into the IKBD I would probably want to be able to control it via MIDI too.

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Re: Friendchip K..AT keyboard remote for Atari ST/STE computers.

Postby Miguel » Thu Jul 06, 2017 2:11 pm

Greenious wrote:
Miguel wrote:Yeah I hear what you are saying Joska and I do like the idea very much but what I was kind of going for was something that the average person could knock together quite easily for next to nothing.....I mean at the moment I just have a few cheap switches hooked up to the cable of an old Atari joystick and it's usable so long as at least one of the three main wires is connected to ground.


That is just so wierd, just out of curiosity, have you got a standard joystick lying around, if you use that to just test left-right-down combos, do you get the same result?


The standard joystick was the first thing I used to test the desk accessory, it does correspond to some of the K..AT buttons (obviously you can't mash the left and right buttons at the same time) and you can switch all day long in the desk accessory but once you exit you can only press 6 times and it ceases to work, open the desk accessory again and it will still show you what buttons you are pressing even though it doesn't work elsewhere.

One curious point is that the K..AT has a pedal input and unless I am mistaken the pedal would most likely be on (connected to ground) in the up position and off when stepped on.

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Re: Friendchip K..AT keyboard remote for Atari ST/STE computers.

Postby Greenious » Thu Jul 06, 2017 2:44 pm

Hmm, are you sure it's not a software bug? Tried it with a different TOS version?
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Re: Friendchip K..AT keyboard remote for Atari ST/STE computers.

Postby Miguel » Thu Jul 06, 2017 3:00 pm

I haven't tried it with a different TOS version, but I will definitely check that out.

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Re: Friendchip K..AT keyboard remote for Atari ST/STE computers.

Postby edingacic » Sun Jun 17, 2018 10:34 pm

Miguel have you done more work on the K..AT ? Do you know if K..AT works on TT030?

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Re: Friendchip K..AT keyboard remote for Atari ST/STE computers.

Postby edingacic » Sat Aug 11, 2018 11:29 pm

I have tried the drivers and they do work on the TT030. Now it would be really cool if you or someone here can cone this baby!


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