Yay, today’s mail contained my R3play tickets http://www.r3play.info/ and the the Keyrah circuit board for my C64 ITX PC project.
In the end I had to order the Keyrah from a supplier in Germany rather than Amigakit in the UK as they didn’t have any stock at the time – http://www.vesalia.de/ Their service was great and I’ve received plenty of order updates via email throughout the order/dispatch process.
The box contained the Keyrah board, USB A-B cable, instruction manual and a small screwdriver.
The Keyrah board is approx 4″ x 3″ and contains keyboard inputs for the C64, C128, C-16 and VIC-20. In addition, there’s also pin headers for the original C64 power LED that can be used in two modes. Either lit like the Numlock LED that you’d find on a regular PC keyboard or alternatively, to indicate which keyboard map has been selected – Original C64 for use with C64 emulators or Windows.
I won’t be using this feature though, as I intend to connect the original power LED to the PC power LED.
The ports on the side of the Keyrah are designed to match those on the original C64 and contain two 9-pin joystick inputs. With these, it’s possible to connect older joysticks from the 8-bit/16-bit era for use with various emulators like Vice64. The only restriction is that it only supports joysticks with one fire button but, to be honest, is exactly the same as the original C64 and therefore is perfect for this project. Mouse input is not possible with this board.
Two joysticks can be connected simultaneously making 2-up C64 gaming a possibility and are mapped to the cursor keys/spacebar or numerical keys accordingly.
Keyrah external ports
The keymap selection button has been styled to look like the original C64 on/off rocker switch. In the ‘up’ position, the keyboard layout is the same as the original C64 and is mapped perfectly for Vice64 (or Yape for C16 keyboard layout). In the ‘down’ position, the keyboard layout is adapted for use under Windows i.e. the C64 ‘C=’ key performs as the ‘ALT’ key in Windows. The instruction manual provides a list of the keys and subsequent effect in Windows.
The USB port is used to connect the Keyrah to a USB port on the PC for use as a regular keyboard. Because I’ll be fitting the PC inside the C64 case, I won’t be using this external connection but will use the internal USB breakout pins on the Keyrah board. As a result, keyboard cables will be hidden inside the C64 case again, giving the illusion of using a real C64.
The next step is to fit the Keyrah and test it to see if all is working o.k. but I’ll be doing that this weekend when I’ve got a little more free time.