Author Topic: C.ITOH Alps Buckling Spring board (possible to convert?)  (Read 1394 times)

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Offline snacksthecat

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  • Posts: 2
C.ITOH Alps Buckling Spring board (possible to convert?)
« on: Sun, 21 January 2018, 20:39:32 »
I recently got a really cool Alps bucking spring board. The badge on it says C.ITOH.

With some help on reddit, I was able to figure out the pinout of the 6p6c connector. I tried to build a Soarer's converter but unfortunately it did not work. I was wondering if anyone had any information about this board or possible ways to convert it over to usb?














Offline Tactile

  • Posts: 1315
  • Location: Portland, OR
Re: C.ITOH Alps Buckling Spring board (possible to convert?)
« Reply #1 on: Tue, 23 January 2018, 01:08:32 »
There are two ways to tackle this, either "downstream" of the controller or "upstream".

In the downstream method you figure out what protocol the controller is putting out (XT, AT, some terminal protocol, etc.) and convert that to USB. Soarer's converter works this way, for example. With this method the original keyboard controller is still being used, and must be functional. The catch is that whatever protocol the keyboard speaks must be "on the list" of protocols understood by whatever converter you plan to use. If the keyboard speaks some weird dialect not in the converter code, you're pretty much stuck. Unless.... if you can figure it out, Hasu might be able to help you add it to his conversion code.

An upstream conversion would be to replace the controller. You'd use a multimeter to figure out and diagram the keyboard matrix (not nearly as hard as it sounds) and then wire the matrix into a Teensy or other controller. Using QMK or TMK you'd probably find an existing keyboard file which is pretty close, modify it to match your diagram of the keyboard matrix, then flash the Teensy with your file. With this method the original controller is bypassed, and can even be removed.

I realize none of this is any direct help but I hope you may get some ideas.

Offline snacksthecat

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  • Posts: 2
Re: C.ITOH Alps Buckling Spring board (possible to convert?)
« Reply #2 on: Wed, 24 January 2018, 07:45:48 »
There are two ways to tackle this, either "downstream" of the controller or "upstream".

In the downstream method you figure out what protocol the controller is putting out (XT, AT, some terminal protocol, etc.) and convert that to USB. Soarer's converter works this way, for example. With this method the original keyboard controller is still being used, and must be functional. The catch is that whatever protocol the keyboard speaks must be "on the list" of protocols understood by whatever converter you plan to use. If the keyboard speaks some weird dialect not in the converter code, you're pretty much stuck. Unless.... if you can figure it out, Hasu might be able to help you add it to his conversion code.

An upstream conversion would be to replace the controller. You'd use a multimeter to figure out and diagram the keyboard matrix (not nearly as hard as it sounds) and then wire the matrix into a Teensy or other controller. Using QMK or TMK you'd probably find an existing keyboard file which is pretty close, modify it to match your diagram of the keyboard matrix, then flash the Teensy with your file. With this method the original controller is bypassed, and can even be removed.

I realize none of this is any direct help but I hope you may get some ideas.

Thank you for the breakdown!  I was slowly coming to the same conclusion but in the most roundabout way possible.  Your reply really made things click for me.

Offline Daimakaimura

  • Posts: 1
Re: C.ITOH Alps Buckling Spring board (possible to convert?)
« Reply #3 on: Sat, 17 October 2020, 06:26:59 »
Hi! I have the same keeb and I would also like to convert it. Did you manage to do it? Would you mind sharing some of your findings?
Thanks!

Offline suicidal_orange

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  • Location: England
Re: C.ITOH Alps Buckling Spring board (possible to convert?)
« Reply #4 on: Sat, 17 October 2020, 06:41:22 »
Hi! I have the same keeb and I would also like to convert it. Did you manage to do it? Would you mind sharing some of your findings?
Thanks!

The OP hasn't been online in over a year and doesn't have notifications on for this thread so they probably wont read your post.  They do have notifications on for PMs though so might be worth sending one and hoping they still use that e-mail address :)
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