Jump to content

New tiny project: KEYCON keyboard adapter for XL/XE


Recommended Posts



I´ve made a little tiny project which may not has a really amount of usage for standard user, but some tinkerer could found it useful. I call it simply "KEYCON" - a small adapter PCB for Atari XL or Atari XE keyboard connectors. First let´s take a look of the thing:




The PCB is 0.8mm thick and fits also in the original keyboard connector found on all XL/XE mainboards (except 1200XL and XEGS). There are several possibilities to attach a new keyboard connector or directly solder some wire connected to the keyboard. The KEYCON PCB can be used in an Atari XL or Atari XE. Of course you must use a XL keyboard when connected to a XL computer (and same for XE) like usual ;)


For diagnostic issues (for example using the Super SALT cartridgdes) the most needed keys are seperate located on the KEYCON PCB. So you can use endless loop tests and quick diagnostics with SALT without connecting a keyboard. This saves the mylar cables from breaking and so on. For each system (XL or XE) you will found the keys RESET, OPTION, SELECT, START and BREAK.


For already defective mylar keyboard cables, the main problem is always... how to connect ANY type of substitute to the genuine keyboard connector? Without using direct soldering or many glue it´s not a working solution for a long time. Some time in the past I also use ribbon cables and solder the cables directly to the pads on the mainboard, removing the keyboard connector before. Or, another solution is to use some single row pin heades, they can plugged into the genuine keyboard connector also, but must be fixed.


KEYCON can be used for a quick test (just plug the whole PCB with the front side into the existing, genuine connector on the XL/XE) or as a continuous replacement for defect keyboard connections.


Below this text you will fine some examples of usage.


I will only ship, for interested people, the bare PCB. Everybody has different needs and wishes, and all parts (IDC header connector, single row male header and so on) are easy to get in any electronics store. Tipp: sometimes they´re extremly cheap at shops selling accessoires for Arduino & Raspberry Pi solutions.


The final version will have ENIG (immersion gold finish) contacts, will be a little smaller than now (actual: 61x69 mm) and will fit better using an Atari 800XL. I have made a little wrong measurement, final version will fit perfectly.


Price for one bare PCB will be from 6 up to 9 Euros, depending on the amount of orders. Please show your interest (with quantity you want) here in this thread or by PN. I will collect responses until October, the 4th (2017-10-04) and then sent infos of final price and order details.


Shipping for up to 5 pieces worldwide is 5 Euros.


And now some pictures... Please read also the comments between the pics :)




KEYCON plugged into the genuine keyboard connector (Atari 800 XL mainboard)



Genuine keyboard connector replaced by a female row precision header.



KEYCON plugged into the replacement header. The five "XL" keys are in the same order (except BREAK) like on any standard XL keyboard. With this prototype layout, the PCB can´t be fit into a cased 800 XL. Of course final version will do.


This pictures shows ALL pads on the KEYCON PCB used. This is not mandatory of course. For example, if you install KEYCON permanently, the desoldered genuine keyboard connector isn´t useful placed at KEYCON. If you want to use a standard 50 pin ribbon cable as the new keyboard cable, then the IDC male header is needed, otherwise leave these pads empty. It´s on you how you want to use it. Also the tactile momentary switches for the keys named above must not installed, if not really needed. You can break this part of the KEYCON PCB away, if you want. There´s no electronics and special thing on KEYCON.



KEYCON plugged into the genuine keyboard connector (Atari XE mainboard)



Genuine keyboard connector replaced by a female row precision header.



KEYCON plugged into the replacement header. The five "XE" keys are in the same order (except BREAK) like on any standard XE keyboard.


In post o. 2 of this thread I will collect all interests and amounts.


Best regards, Jurgen



  • Like 12
Link to comment
Share on other sites



this 2nd post will be used to list all interests and amounts and will be regulary updated by me.


BR Jurgen

List of interests - 2017-10-04 9:00 pm (germany time)

Interest poll phase has ended. All interests got a PN with order and payment details.

SenorRossie                 2x
venom4728a                  1x
KlasO                       2x
Level42                     1x
erichenneke                 1x
Firedawg                    2x
Mathy                       2x
rdea6                       1x
Gandor                      2x
NISMOPC                     1x
remowilliams                2x
orpheuswaking               2x
olix                        2x
ivop                        1x
yenzee                      2x
mr_gw454                    1x
TemplarXB                   2x
toddtmw                     1x
dl7ukk                      5x
RodLightning                2x
Markk                       1x
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dude, that is f-ing brilliant !!! You do NOT want to know how often I have been inserting that fragile flexible edge into open machines the last weeks....and then carefully ballancing the keyboard supported by something and praying it would not crash onto something and ripping the flex....and then trying to press some of the function keys....hah, it was more like a circus-act ! :)


Definitely need one please ! :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:


When they're done, kindly step into your DeLorean and deliver it to me about 3 months.ago......thank you ! :)

Edited by Level42
  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why separately XL and XE function keys? One set will be enought, I think...


You´re right... when I draw the PCB I don´t mention that these momentary push buttons have two independend ways.


Thanks for that idea, it will make the final version much smaller!



  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...