Changing the Dreamcast Keyboard Language

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NightBreeze
rebel
Posts: 21

Re: Changing the Dreamcast Keyboard Language

Post#11 » Sat Aug 31, 2019 8:25 am

247 wrote:I have bought a french keyboard too, seller didn't know it was french or so he said back then...
The keyboard is a really hit and miss, on european games i have the azerty layout, on usa ones i have the qwerty one, and this is very tedious, more than that, the azerty layout is a real pain (guess french can say the same about qwerty xD ). Lots of times is even a pain to look for symbols because they change from eu to jap to usa and i can never remember where are they (and they are often needed in italian)


Other than that i can say at last it still works better than a pad to write and at least it do the job online...


Oh, big thanks for chiming in! Sad to hear about the constant keyboard layout changes but this makes me even more confident that the jumpers I found could be responsible for changing the layout. If in fact the layout changes for you based on games, etc. It would indicate to me that the keys are _not_ physically remapped in any way and instead the keyboard is only reporting to the Dreamcast: "hey, I'm French yo, thanks!".

I'll post some pictures soon. And perhaps even try it out in the evening, if it works it's a really simple fix (but requires soldering) and you could basically swap your keyboard layout between US/German/Italian/Spanish/French, even install a switch if you're fancy 8-).

NightBreeze
rebel
Posts: 21

Re: Changing the Dreamcast Keyboard Language

Post#12 » Sat Aug 31, 2019 9:19 am

As promised, here are the pictures of the outside and internals of the keyboard:

Dreamcast Keyboard (FR) (imgur)

Here's a zoom in on the jumpers I was talking about.
Image

My hunch is that J1-J4 are responsible for altering the device ID (e.g. is it english, french, etc).

Now, if we look at the technical documents for the French and US keyboard, we see that the 5th data is the only thing that differs:

Code: Select all

French:
101

US:
011


Now, if we consider J2-4, we see the same pattern 101 as the french keyboard (resistor + lack of bridge pulls J3 low, i.e. 0). Then the purpose of J1 remains unclear, and if we only consider J2-4, we don't know which bit represents which. So swapping J3 with either J2 or J4 could produce the wanted result, but we don't know which. If we choose wrong could end up with an Italian keyboard :lol:.

Anyhow, that's the plan for now, we'll see what happens :roll:.

NightBreeze
rebel
Posts: 21

Re: Changing the Dreamcast Keyboard Language

Post#13 » Sat Aug 31, 2019 2:40 pm

Well, I'll be damned. Got it right on the first try! I decided to go with J4 being the last bit of 5th data.

Here I've moved resistor on R17 to R16 and the jumper on J2 to J3:

Image

This is pre-cleaning the PCB. It's not the prettiest, but all I had was a tooth-pick to place the components :oops:.

Mandator PSO proof shot:

Image

Remapping the keycaps:

Image

And last, but not least, the final money shot:

Image

PS. I've updated the imgur album, has a bit more commentary.

NightBreeze
rebel
Posts: 21

Re: Changing the Dreamcast Keyboard Language

Post#14 » Sat Aug 31, 2019 3:06 pm

Just poured myself a glass of tequila to celebrate.

Some general tips if anyone would like to attempt this:

  • Get your solder iron hot (enough) I used 350C but YMMV
  • If it's not working, don't keep heat on it for too long, take a step back and re-evaluate
  • Add some extra solder to the components to ease with the removal
  • Use flux, it'll help a lot with removing these tiny components, and also with their re-placement
  • Just pushing them out of place when the solder is melted should work (esp. with flux)
  • Clean the PCB with isopropyl alcohol (rub with some paper or qtip)
  • When reassembling, make sure the elastic PCB pins and the regular PCB pins align well, keep pressure on while putting the screws in place. If the alignment is off you'll notice it by some group of keys not working
  • Enjoy the ride
  • When done, clean your work space and wash your hands (you've likely been dealing with lead based solder)
  • Drink some quality tequila

For someone these are pretty basic, for others, maybe new, hope it can help someone :).

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Anthony817
Shark Patrol
Posts: 2715

Re: Changing the Dreamcast Keyboard Language

Post#15 » Sat Aug 31, 2019 4:05 pm

Wow you actually figured it out?! Congrats man that was a lot more simple than I imagined it would bee, but still pretty technical as far as my soldering skills are concerned.
Image

fafadou
dark night
Posts: 58

Re: Changing the Dreamcast Keyboard Language

Post#16 » Sat Aug 31, 2019 4:22 pm

Congratulations !
So you can do the same thing with à QWERTY keyboard to an AZERTY one ?
When you are playing to tipping of the dead the AZERTY keyboard Switch to QWERTY, with your mod you can avoid that ?

sgmx
minority
Posts: 68

Re: Changing the Dreamcast Keyboard Language

Post#17 » Sat Aug 31, 2019 6:44 pm

Is it really worth the effort ? I mean how much does a DC keyboard cost today ? I guess it is still cheap ?
But still nice you’ve figured out how to proceed, interesting.
I have both Azerty and Qwerty, i’m used to both even though more comfortable with Azerty because french. The main reason I bought a qwerty one was for the typing of the dead which I played only once lol

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Anthony817
Shark Patrol
Posts: 2715

Re: Changing the Dreamcast Keyboard Language

Post#18 » Sat Aug 31, 2019 9:50 pm

They cost a lot more today than they used to. They are getting more and more expensive with more people buying them up due to online being revived for people with modern net easily with DreamPi. In 2011 I got a brand new in box keyboard and mouse combo package for $26 on eBay! Now, you will expect to pay like $35+ just for a used keyboard alone! So no not still cheap like they used to be, they are getting up there for used ones now.
Image

NightBreeze
rebel
Posts: 21

Re: Changing the Dreamcast Keyboard Language

Post#19 » Sun Sep 01, 2019 4:51 am

Thanks everyone! :)

fafadou wrote:So you can do the same thing with à QWERTY keyboard to an AZERTY one ?
When you are playing to tipping of the dead the AZERTY keyboard Switch to QWERTY, with your mod you can avoid that ?


Yes! You can definitely change a QWERTY keyboard to AZERTY, it would seem all dreamcast keyboards use the same PCB design, just different placement of jumpers. But unfortunately I don't think this can help with Typing of the Dead :(. I think the game must support the alternative keyboard language and unless there's a PAL version available, it's unlikely that it will.

sgmx wrote:Is it really worth the effort ? I mean how much does a DC keyboard cost today ? I guess it is still cheap ?
But still nice you’ve figured out how to proceed, interesting.
I have both Azerty and Qwerty, i’m used to both even though more comfortable with Azerty because french. The main reason I bought a qwerty one was for the typing of the dead which I played only once lol


Worth it, maybe? Well, for me it was easier than buying another keyboard :lol:. You could add a bit of wiring and install switches on your keyboard to change between the languages, then you'd only need one keyboard!

Anthony817 wrote:They cost a lot more today than they used to. They are getting more and more expensive with more people buying them up due to online being revived for people with modern net easily with DreamPi. In 2011 I got a brand new in box keyboard and mouse combo package for $26 on eBay! Now, you will expect to pay like $35+ just for a used keyboard alone! So no not still cheap like they used to be, they are getting up there for used ones now.


Yeah, the price is a bit too much these days, they're not even high quality products like other Dreamcast peripherals. I happened to find this French one for ~$12 (and with shipping it was ~$28).

Now, regarding that skill level, it can be a bit challenging working with such tiny components but I think anyone with basic soldering skills should be able to pull this off without destroying the board, as long as there is wick/solder sucker handy as well (for potential cleanup).

NightBreeze
rebel
Posts: 21

Re: Changing the Dreamcast Keyboard Language

Post#20 » Sun Sep 01, 2019 5:15 am

Oh... I just found a little gem in the Japanese keyboard document...

Image

(Added JX in red.) In this document, a jumper in JX and no resistor means 0 (pull down), and jumper removed with resistor means 1 (pull up). Silly I did not think of that, was too focused on mapping it to the 5th data in the keyboard ID.

So it turns out I had an incomplete understanding of what the different jumper positions do (I had 1/0 and 0/1 backwards), and I got an answer to what J1's purpose is as well.

Judging from this, I turned my keyboard into UK English keyboard (thought US and UK were the same). But this works out well since UK English (non-ANSI) is closest to the French keyboard layout-wise :).

And also, there are a LOT more language options than I was previously aware of :D. The easiest one seems to be Japanese, just remove all resistors and bridge all the jumpers!

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