Look at this beauty. It's an LPFK by IBM. A "lightable programmable function keyboard" normally attached to a 5080 IBM graphics card for CAD purposes on RS/6000 machines running AIX. The IT-department of the University of Karlsruhe threw it away. Because it looks so unique and nerdish, and has even LEDs in it, i decided to reverse engineer it to connect it to a pc.



Just cut off the 8-pin AIX connector, and solder a normal DB9-Connector for your serial port (or better USB-to-serial convertor) to it. I sucked the 5 Volts out of my computers USB-port.

Orange
Black
+5 Volts
Green
White
GND, Pin 5
RedPin 2
GreyPin 3
YellowNot needed
BlueNot needed




Serial communication is easy: 9600 8N1, no handshake. Everytime you press a key, the keyboard sends "Kxx{0A}" to your keyboard, xx being the ascii-representation of a 2-digit hex-number, {0A} as carriage return. Key 0 is top left, Key 1 one to the right, and so on. Normally a key is highlited as soon as you press it, and all other LEDs are turned off. You can stop this behaviour by sending "I0{0A}" or "I1{0A}" to turn it on again. You can set the state of each individual LED by sending "Saabbccdd{0A}". "a" is the ascii-representation of a 2-digit hex-number. Because there are 32 LEDs, you need 4 bytes.
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