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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:07 pm 
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For a device that I consider building, I would like to use a ThinkPad keyboard, preferably that of the X4x series, or - if that's not possible - any other ThinkPad keyboard. Now, for connecting keyboard/TrackPoint, I need USB. So my idea is to use the electronics of one of the external keyboards offered by IBM/Lenovo to put between keyboard and the USB port:
Code:
[keyboard from ThinkPad]-----[electronics from external USB keyboard]-----[USB port]

Is there any USB keyboard that I can use for that purpose? Any external USB keyboard that is compatible with the X/T/R4x series ThinkPads?


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 5:38 pm 
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Why can't you use one of those external Ultranav keyboards that are designed to mimic the look and feel of the Thinkpad keyboard?

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 5:46 pm 
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dr_st wrote:
Why can't you use one of those external Ultranav keyboards that are designed to mimic the look and feel of the Thinkpad keyboard?

My idea is to use the electronics of one of those. In particular, I would like to use an X4x keyboard, since it is compact, and at the same time there are no Windows keys, giving way to comparatively large Alt and Ctrl keys.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:42 am 
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More information about connecting ThinkPad keyboards by USB can be found in the thread "Could we kickstart fund a 4:3 machine".


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 1:07 am 
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I doubt you can use the electronics of an USB keyboard straight: if the keyboard matrix is even slightly different, the key mappings will be wrong. That said, it shouldn't be difficult to build a keyboard controller from any USB-enabled microcontroller. An arduino should do just fine.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 5:59 am 
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twistero wrote:
An arduino should do just fine.

That would be a great solution, though I would need to find an Arduino hacker, or give it a go myself.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 5:47 am 
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If building a custom Arduino based controller I am worried, though, that it will be hard to support the TrackPoint.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 8:17 pm 
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feklee wrote:
My idea is to use the electronics of one of those. In particular, I would like to use an X4x keyboard, since it is compact, and at the same time there are no Windows keys, giving way to comparatively large Alt and Ctrl keys.

find yourself a thinkpad USB ultranav keyboard in the "travel" flavor.   they're no longer made so be prepared to search.   once disassembled, the trackpad can be separated from the main keyboard, leaving you with a USB-driven keyboard without the winkey.

link: http://support.lenovo.com/en_US/product ... MIGR-45849

these keyboards were made by lite-on.   the layouts were identical with T4x keyboards but the socket used on the USB board is different than the T4x generation.



personally, i would recommend the newer version instead (despite the winkey, which is useful even in linux) since it's much easier to find and slightly less expensive.   unlike the version above, the controller board in this version can drive anything from a T60 to a T420 and even an X300/X301.   as long as it's a 7-row layout with a winkey and the proper socket, it will work.

link: http://support.lenovo.com/en_US/product ... MIGR-73183


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 9:46 pm 
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I just bought one of the newer USB keyboards for my main desktop a few weeks back. I think it's the same keyboard as my X220i. I thought having pointstick would be advantageous with using two LCDs on my desktop. I knew there was a chance I would still prefer my current keyboard/mouse combo because of the 10-key and the center click on the mouse, but I have to say I didn't like it. For a $60 product, it felt a little bargain basement. The case was flexy, which gave a very different typing experience than my X220i, which is fantastic. Back to Amazon it went. I'm waiting for the wireless Bluetooth version of the X230 keyboard.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 6:46 am 
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erik wrote:
find yourself a thinkpad USB ultranav keyboard in the "travel" flavor.

I have found them in shops in Germany, new, from 100 EUR upwards. That's a little steep for an experiment.

Quote:
the layouts were identical with T4x keyboards but the socket used on the USB board is different than the T4x generation.

Very helpful information!

Quote:
despite the winkey

I don't like the Windows key because it shrinks the size of the Alt key, which I use a lot. Under Windows, on my T41, I have mapped the Windows key to Caps Lock.

Actually, I prefer to use an X4x keyboard, because it's less wide than the full size T4x/R4x keyboards, and there is hope: In the German ThinkPad forum, we are discussing connecting an X4x keyboard using a custom controller, offered by CodeMercs. The TrackPoint is supposed to work out of the box, with PS/2 already coming out of the cable.


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