Monday, September 21, 2015

MEGA65 being controlled by a real C65 keyboard

Going further from the last post, together with Sy2002, we can now control a MEGA65 using a real C65 keyboard.  This works by having the special input PCB (the MEGA65 PIC board) that we designed accept the C65 keyboard ribbon cable, and talk to the FPGA board via one of the PMOD connectors.  While we knew we were at least somewhat close to achieving this, with some round-the-clock effort between Australia and Germany, it all came together this morning, as you can see in the following video:


We still have yet to test the behaviour of the C65-specific keys, which use a separate column signal compared with the C64 ones, but there is no reason why it shouldn't work, and any bugs should be fairly straight-forward to find and fix as the logic surrounding it is very simple.

I also tried to laser-cut some more test pieces for the MEGA65 laptop prototype, but the laser cutter wouldn't play nicely, and just kept engraving my MDF sheets instead of cutting them, and Corel Draw kept refusing to export all the paths to the print file.  Very frustrating. I might have a go again later in the week if I get the chance.

5 comments:

  1. Not bad!

    I wonder, how is the final repro keyboards going to be. - Is it going to be a pcb based keyboard like the original c64 keyboard, or some DIY solution where you solder mechanical contacts/switches on a pcb - or a direct replica of the c65 keyboard?

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    1. Hello,

      This is still undecided. My best guess is that it will consist of mechanical keys soldered to a PCB, but it really is too early to tell.

      Paul.

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  2. Just awesome - this got to be a milestone, hardware-wise! A couple of reflections:

    1: Won't brand-new C65 keyboards be really expensive to (re-)produce? Judging by the Indiegogo-campaign that has been running this past spring, making molds for key caps (or entire computer cases, for that matter!) is incredibly pricey.

    2: It appears you've got around 26C in the development studio. It doesn't happen to be inside a sauna or an Indian sweat lodge, by any chance? :)

    Again, congratulations to the achievement - it was a real blast to watch!

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    1. Hello,

      In terms of keyboard production cost, it will depend on whether we can use existing keyboard caps, or whether we will need to get our own moulds made. This is as yet unknown.

      As for the temperature, I don't know exactly where the rest of the MEGA folks are working, but it does seem that someone might have left the sauna door open somewhere.

      Anyway, glad you are enjoying the progress -- from my side it is great to see these steps which would have taken much, much longer without the cooperation with MEGA.

      Paul.

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