Keyboard Setup

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tordj
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Keyboard Setup

Postby tordj » Tue Jan 06, 2015 8:56 am

Things are moving along quite well for me and my FireBee, but now I have run into trouble configuring my USB keyboard.

I use KeyEdit to configure the keyboard layout to resemble the one I'm used to and is printed on the keys (Swedish PC keyboard). Most things works well, but the FireBee doesn't seem to understand the concept of AltGr. There are a number of characters that I do need when coding (like @${[]}~) which I normally access using AltGr. That's okay I thought, I can use normal Alt instead, it doesn't make things too different... but that doesn't seem to work either.

What is the issue here? Is it KeyEdit that is broken or my USB keyboard that isn't properly supported or something else?
I would strongly prefer to use the keyboard layout that I'm used to, even if it means some hacking, coding or buying a new keyboard.

Also on a related note, I have an old Falcon keyboard in storage (just the keyboard and internal connector, no housing or such), is there any convenient way to connect that the FireBee? An adapter that I can buy or something similar? I could probably build a housing myself but would like to avoid any hardware hacking project.

Regards,
Tord

joska
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Re: Keyboard Setup

Postby joska » Tue Jan 06, 2015 12:04 pm

tordj wrote:I use KeyEdit to configure the keyboard layout to resemble the one I'm used to and is printed on the keys (Swedish PC keyboard). Most things works well, but the FireBee doesn't seem to understand the concept of AltGr. There are a number of characters that I do need when coding (like @${[]}~) which I normally access using AltGr. That's okay I thought, I can use normal Alt instead, it doesn't make things too different... but that doesn't seem to work either.


I don't use PC keyboards with my Firebee, so I'm not sure about AltGr. Maybe FireTOS doesn't generate a scancode for this key. But Alt should work, just like on real (Atari) keyboards.

I guess you know, but KeyEdit only works under MiNT. In FireTOS you need to select keyboard language with fireconf.cpx. Try German, it use Alt-combinations just like the Swedish and Norwegian keyboards and should work correctly under FireTOS.

tordj wrote:Also on a related note, I have an old Falcon keyboard in storage (just the keyboard and internal connector, no housing or such), is there any convenient way to connect that the FireBee? An adapter that I can buy or something similar? I could probably build a housing myself but would like to avoid any hardware hacking project.


I did this myself a few weeks ago. Basically you just need to make a cable, and a reset circuit for the keyboard. There is a good description here, although I couldn't get that reset circuit to work with my keyboard. I looked up the Mega ST keyboard schematics and used the resistor- and capacitor values from that one. So the same circuit as described on the Probe House Software site, but with a 4.7kOhm resistor and 2.2uF capacitor.
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tordj
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Re: Keyboard Setup

Postby tordj » Wed Jan 14, 2015 10:33 am

Thanks for your help Joska.

I have finally managed to get the keyboard working the way that I want in MiNT. One key factor may or may not have been that I changed the keyboard layout in the control panel to Swedish before I continued tweaking in KeyEdit. I'm not sure if it did anything, but after that things started to unravel.

Another major breakthrough was that I discovered that my AltGr key was mapped as a normal Alt, so all the changes I made in the AltGr section of KeyEdit were in vain. I'm not sure it was mapped like that before I switched to Swedish keyboard layout, I think I should have discovered that then...

The final breakthrough was when I discovered that many of my problems were related to QED, which I used for testing the keyboard layout. When I switched to Everest things started to work correctly. It seems like QED simply ignores Alt-key combinations from all the keys on the top row of the keyboard (1234567890+´ on my keyboard) and that is where the characters that I tried to configure (@${[]} and \) are located on a Swedish PC keyboard. I'm a bit surprised about this problem considering QED being a programmers editor and Atari having a strong following in the Nordic market, but I guess I simply should settle for my old favorite editor Everest instead.

So, all's well that ends well... No I have other issues to report and deal with... ;)

joska
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Re: Keyboard Setup

Postby joska » Wed Jan 14, 2015 11:19 am

tordj wrote:The final breakthrough was when I discovered that many of my problems were related to QED, which I used for testing the keyboard layout. When I switched to Everest things started to work correctly. It seems like QED simply ignores Alt-key combinations from all the keys on the top row of the keyboard (1234567890+´ on my keyboard) and that is where the characters that I tried to configure (@${[]} and \) are located on a Swedish PC keyboard. I'm a bit surprised about this problem considering QED being a programmers editor and Atari having a strong following in the Nordic market, but I guess I simply should settle for my old favorite editor Everest instead.


IIRC that's because qed has reserved these keys (and a lot of other Alt-combinations) as hotkeys. That's the problem with using Alt keymaps, many apps use the Alt key for keyboard shortcuts.

The AltGr keymap is useful only to Milan- and ARAnyM-users I believe. I don't know any other "Atari" with proper support for the AltGr key.
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tordj
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Re: Keyboard Setup

Postby tordj » Wed Jan 14, 2015 12:01 pm

Hi Joska,

Yes, I understand the problem of using Alt-key combos for characters and that I'm asking for trouble that way. What I failed to mentioned is that I have also mapped the same characters as Alt-Shift combos, so that if I can't get the character with AltGr+key on the keyboard (which is translated to Alt+key by the system), I can use Alt+Shift+key.

That works for most programs but sadly not QED. This is especially sad since mapping special characters to Alt+Shift+key has been standard practice in the Atari ST world since beginning, characters such as [ and { have always been entered by Alt+Shift+key combos on at least the Swedish keyboard.

Anyway, I realize I can't blame anyone for this, I just have to live with it. Take care! :)


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