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KeyAT-4 - Excerpts from Customer Support


Question: How does the KeyAT handle function keys?
Answer: Generally you would put it in 'DOS Scan Code Mode' (~S command) and send the function scan codes: ie. F1=59, F2=60 ... The manual lists all the scan codes for you.

Question: How does it handle key combinations, eg Ctrl F7?
Answer: Put it into raw key code mode (~K command) and send the RAW key codes: 14 83 F0 83 F0 14
where: 14 is the raw key code for the ctrl key
83 is the raw key code for the F7 key
F0 prefixes a release of that key

Question: Can it handle non-standard PC keyboards? I'm particularly interested in simulating the DEC LK450 which is a VT 420 terminal style keyboard attached to 486/pentium PC's using terminal emulator software.
Answer: Physically, it only emulates an AT style keyboard. Any key remapping is really the burden of the software sending it keystrokes. Since it will accept raw 'keycodes", you can create any key that you AT compatible computer will accept. ASCII and DOS Scan code sets are really for convenience, so that you do not have to recreate every keycode sequence for every key.

Question: After sending the keyat keystrokes for the computer, how do you know when the have been processed so that you can send it more keystrokes?
Answer: In RS-232 communications, the prompt is not returned until the keys are processed. So it is best to have your application look to receive the colon prompt before proceeding to send the KeyAT more data.

Question: Can you explain more about examples on page 9?
Answer: They show a full-duplex terminal session between a host PC and a KeyAT in 'non-addressed mode'. The characters shown are what the user types except for the prompt, which is a carriage return (Hex 0D), line feed (hex 0A) and a colon. As the user types, all keys are echoed. An [ENTER] key completes the command, which is acknowledged by the KeyAT by a new prompt.

Question: What is the difference between carriage return (Hex 0D) and "^M"?
Answer: A carriage return (hex 0D) or [ENTER] key is the character the KeyAT uses to end a line in 'line turnaround mode'. That character does not get sent through to the PC. To send a carriage return on through to the PC you have to send it another way. One way is to the caret character ^ followed by an M. The KeyAT interprets that as a control M character, which is the same as a carriage return.

Question: The data frame described on page 10 of the manual does not mention parity. Is there a parity bit?
Answer: There is no parity. The character frame is one stop bit, eight data bits, and one stop bit.

Question: What precisely does the receipt of a colon by the host mean in non-addressed, Line Turnaround mode?
Answer: It means that all of the keyboard scan codes have been sent to the target PC. There is no way of knowing whether the target has processed all of them. If the target has a ring keyboard buffer in RAM (like most IBM style PCs), there is no way of knowing how full the buffer is, or whether any characters were lost in a fast transmission.

Question: Page 5 of the manual says "Characters are not echoed when the KeyAT is addressed." What about when the KeyAT is in 'non-addressed mode'?
Answer: In that 'non-addressed mode (DIP switch positions 1-6, open), all characters are addressed.

Question: In Immediate mode, how fast can data be sent to the KeyAT?
Answer: That cannot be absolutely determined. It depends on many factors, such as the speed of the PC, the BIOS being used and the application that is running. Using line turnaround mode is a safer method to avoid over-running the input buffer. In non-addressed mode, when the colon returns you can send another line. In addressed mode, when you get a response from the request status command, then you can send another line.

Question: Customer had trouble interfacing the KeyAT to a Symbol LT-1820 hand-held CCD scanner. Somehow the KeyAT was not seeing the [CR] (carriage return) character at the end of the scanned string.
Answer: I don't know if you'll recall, but I spoke with you the other day regarding a problem I was having with the KeyAT: it was buffering 30 characters before passing them to the keyboard port even though one of the characters it received was a [CR] Recall that I have a bar-code scanner attached to RS-232 port (not a PC). You suggested that the KeyAT was probably getting and misinterpreting a parity bit, although at the time I couldn't be positive if parity was actually be used. Sure enough, the scanner was programmed to use odd parity. There wasn't an option for no parity, so I reprogrammed it to use "space" parity. This fixed the problem -- just thought I'd let you know.

Question: Do you provide a power supply for the KeyAT?
Answer: We do provide supplies on special order. If you need a supply and can solder you own connection, you might consider Part number T309-P6P-ND from Digi-Key (Last price I checked was $8.10). A 6 pin Mini-DIN connector from Digi-Key would be CP-2060-ND.

Question: Do you do custom programming and hardware for the KeyAT?
Answer: Yes we do. Let us know your requirements, and we will gladly quote on either ci#Sustom hardware or software.

Question: My KeyAT does not work correctly with my IBM Thinkpad. It works OK on my other computers.
Answer: You need a PS2 Mouse-Keyboard Y Adapter. IBM sells this as part number 54G0441. L3 Systems also sells one. It is part number CL0012. If you use the L3 Systems part, plug the KeyAT into the connector labled "mouse". If you also have a mouse, plug it into the connector labeled "keyboard".

Question: Can the KeyAT work with a modem?
Answer: The KeyAT offers no specific modem support. I suspect you could get it to work with modem by:

  • Use a "null modem adapter" or cross cable to connect the modem to the KeyAT
  • Put the modem into a "dumb mode"
  • Enable auto-answer
  • Setting the baud rate to 9600 baud.

Question: Does your keyat device work under NT. Basically I am running NT and need to generate a space bar keycode on a target system. NT does not like giving access to serial ports. Do you supply drivers for that??
Answer: The KeyAT will work on a PC running NT, both on a keyboard port and connecting with an RS-232 port. We do not provide drivers for NT, and there really should not be any need for one. Writing to an NT serial port can be as simple as opening a DOS shell, and doing the following:

C> echo Hello> com2
C>

The above sends "Hello" to the port COM2. You can use the mode command to set the baud rate and bit patterns.

Since the echo command doesn't take space as a parameter to send, the way you get around that is to use the KeyAT sequence for accepting ASCII Hex data. A tilde (~) followed by two digits will cause the keyat to interpret those to digits as the hexadecimal representation of an ASCII character. Since the ASCII space character is 20 in hexadecimal, the following will instruct the KeyAT to send a space to the target machine:

C> echo ~20> com2
C>

Of course, you can put the above on a batch file, say SPACE.BAT, and then all you woould have to do is type the command "space".

For more sophisticated interaction, you might want to try using a terminal emulation program. Two which have pretty good scripting and that run on NT are Tera Term and Kermit, and you can download these for free. Also Visual Basic has capabilities for reading from and writing to serial ports, but we don't have the expertise here to advise on that process.

Question: I have a keyat which I am trying to control using Visual Basic. Now, the unit works fine with hyperterminal but with VB it seems to hold the characters in a buffer somewhere. I looked at all the VB manuals, but it seemed like it should send the data rightaway. Any clues to this?
Answer: Basically, if you send a string in Visual Basic to the serial port you'll do this using the MSComm module.

So, say you want to send a string Hello world ending with a " Carriage Return character. In VB you might consider doing the following:

MSComm1.Output="Hello world"
MSComm1.Output="^M"

Unfortunately, the above example doesn't output the Carriage Return character. However, deep in the bowels of VB it says that you have to append a vbcarriage return to the results. Thus you need to do:

string="hello world ^M " & vbCR
MSComm1.Output=string

Only took me a few hours to figure that one out (Ed note: Both question and answer supplied by customer. We're not VB experts here!)

Question: How do you send data to the KeyAT using QBASIC
Answer: The following shows program statements to send "Hello" through a KeyAT attached to the PC's com1 port.

open "com1:9600,N,8,1,ds,cs"for output as #1
print #1,"Hello"

The real undocumented trick with qbasic is how to print something without sending a "Carriage Return" at the end. The following sends the two characters ^M without the ending carriage return. Removing the semi-colon at the end of the PRINT statement will cause it to add the carriage return at the end.

Here's an example:

COMMON cr as STRING
OPEN "com1: 9600,8,n,1" FOR OUTPUT AS #1
cr = "^M"
PRINT #1, cr$;

Question: What general hints do you have regarding connecting a KeyAT to a barcode scanner.
Answer: Here are a few points that generally apply to using the KeyAT with a barcode scanner:

  • If you have RS-232 cabling for the bar code scanner that works on a PC's RS-232 port, then this cable would have to have the transmit (pin 2) and the receive (pin 3) signals reversed when connecting to a KeyAT.
  • The scanner RS-232 port should be configured to match the KeyAT. See page 8 of the KeyAT manual to see what settings are available. The default KeyAT setting is 9600 baud, 8 data bits and no parity.
  • I always suggest testing the KeyAT with a terminal emulator program like Hyperterm, ProComm or Tera Term on a connected PC computer. I happen to really like Tera Term, and it's free to download and use. See:

    http://hp.vector.co.jp/authors/VA002416/teraterm.html

  • You need to set up the scanner to send a a carriage return character (hex 0D) at the end of the scan code data.
  • The KeyAT does not normally send the carriage return character through to the PC. If your application also needs the [CR] character, the ~F command will tell the KeyAT to pass through the carraige return character.
  • You can change the KeyAT configurationn to allow this. See page 8 of the manual. You would need to change the 4th parameter of the configuration string.

Question: Can three key combo's such as the Windows login sequence (CTRL-ALT-DEL) be created?
Answer: Yes. Any key combination can be created. To do CTRL-ALT-DEL, you can do the following:

:~+29~+56~:83~-56~-29[ENTER]
:
where:
~+29 Sends a CTRL key press
~+56 Sends an ALT key press
~:83 Sends a CTRL key press and release
~-56 Sends an ALT key release
~-29 Sends a CTRL key release

Question: Do you have to switch modes to go from monitor to send?
Answer: No. You can send while in monitor mode.

Question: Do you know of any linux drivers / programs / front ends for this or do you recommend just manually reading and writing to the serial port?
Answer: Minicom has some simple scripting, plus it would allow you to monitor things. "Expect" provides pretty good serial interface scripting, that is typically used by programs like mgetty to converse with a modem. Of course, many true-blooded Linux geeks would use Perl.

Question: The Left or Right window scan codes (90 or 91) do not seem to work correctly. I'm sending them using a ~:90 and ~:91 command. (Version 4.0x5)
Answer: Version 4.0x7 fixes this problem. To get a new version, see the links in the KeyAT Tech Info/Q&A section: KeyAT Tech Info/Q@A

Question: I'm having trouble sending a Control-C followed by some more characters. (Version 4.0x5)
Answer: Version 4.0x7 fixes this problem. To get a new version, see the links in the KeyAT Tech Info/Q&A section: KeyAT Tech Info/Q@A

Question: The Keypad Enter scan code A0 does not seem to work when I send a ~:A0 command. (Version 4.0x5)
Answer: Version 4.0x7 fixes this problem. To get a new version, see the links in the KeyAT Tech Info/Q&A section: KeyAT Tech Info/Q@A

KeyAT FAQ KB232 FAQ WristPC FAQ KeyRF FAQ

KB232 - Excerpts from Customer Support


Question: Whenever I press a "Caps Lock" or "Num Lock" key, the keyboard stops working. (Application is powering the keyboard and adapter from the RS-232 connection.)
Answer: The current to power the indicator lights exceeds the power that can be extracted from the RS-232 port. You can either disable the indicator LEDs by changing the configuration string, or you can use an external power supply to power the KB232.

Question: Can you recommend a power supply for the KB232 adapter and a keyboard?
Answer: Try a Digi-Key part number T403-PIP-ND. It's a 9V wall mount supply made by CUI Inc. Last price I saw was $5.08 for 0ne piece.

Question: What signals does the KB232 adapter use?
Answer: The RS-232 signnals used are Receive (pin 2), Transmit (pin 3) and Ground (pin 5). The KB232 derives power from the DTR (pin 4) input and CTS (pin 7) input. All other lines are not connected.

Question: The key code "83" used for the F7 key doesn't seem to work when loaded in the key code table.
Answer: There was a misprint in the KB232 manual. The key code for the F7 key is "F0".

Question: I can't load the entire configuration string. It returns to the prompt before I'm done.
Answer: Versions before 3.0x7 have a problem that the input buffer is set too short. You can work around this by using abbreviated settings. Fo example, instead of using "Simple,9600,No Par,nc,2,20", use "S,96,N,nc,2,20". We can upgrade the program version if this is a problem.

Question: At 1200 baud, the "C" command to display the configuration string does not work.
Answer: Versions before 3.0x7 have this problem. The recommended work-around is to use 9600 baud to set up the key code lookup table. Then change the configuration to 1200 baud once you're done. We can upgrade the program version if this is a problem.

Question: It's very awkward to have to erase the whole key code lookup table when you make a mistake.
Answer: We have a macro script for Tera Term to download a keycode table from a file on your PC. The macros are online at ftp://ftp.L3sys.com/pub/kb232_tera_term_macros.zip. The Tera Term application is available at: http://hp.vector.co.jp/authors/VA002416/teraterm.html.

Question: Can you make the KB232 send serial ASCII for the CAPS-LOCK and NUM-LOCK keys?
Answer: Yes. You can assign ASCII to these keys in the key code table. The CAPS-LOCK key code is "58" and the NUM-LOCK key code is 77. These we're originally left out of the manual, but have since been added.

Question: When I plug the KB232 with the keyboard into the RS-232 port, I cannot communicate with it using Hyperterm or Tera Term. Using a breakoutbox, I can see data going to the adapter but nothing coming back.
Answer: Have you tried connecting it to a COM port without a keyboard attached? You should be able to press "Enter" on Hyperterm and get a prompt back. The KB232 will plug directly into a COM port. I don't suggest using a breakout box as it can suck power away from the control lines for the LEDs and not allow enough power to power the KB232.

The keyboard you are using may draw more power than can be obtained from the RS232 signals. If you are using a notebook computer, often these computers don't provide true RS-232 signals and don't provide adequate power. The KB0001 keyboard that we re-sell is particularly low powered and may staisfy your needs. Failing that, you may need to use a +9V or +12V DC power supply. (See above.)

Question: After loading a new configuration string, I cannot communicate to the KB232 any more.
Answer: This sounds like the configuation string may have been loaded incorrectly. You can reset the the KB232 to the default parameters by plugging it into the RS232 port while the port is sending a "Break" condition, which is the transmit pin from the computer in a "high" state. To do this with Tera Term, follow the steps below:

  1. Disconnect the KB232 from the RS232 port, and if a keyboard is attached to the KB232, disconnect that as well. Make sure the KB232 is disconnected for a couple minutes in order for any input capacitance to dissipate before going to step 2.
  2. Run Tera Term. Set it up for 9600 baud, 8-bits, no parity. Make sure it's configured for the right COM port.
  3. Have the KB232 positioned so you can quickly plug it in to the COM port.
  4. Type 15 "Alt-B"'s to Tera-Term and then quickly plug the KB232 into the COM port. Normally Tera Term will have a blinking cursor. While it is sending the breaks (transmit data high), the cursor will stop blinking. After you plug in the KB232, look at the Tera Term cursor to make sure it is still not blinking. If it is, your need more time, so repeat by going to step 1, and type more "Alt-B"s (say 30?).
  5. When the Tera Term cursor starts blinking again, press the "Enter" key and look for a ":" prompt. If you get a prompt, type D and the "Enter" key to set defaults. Type "C" and the "Enter" and make sure the config string matches the default in the manual. If you don't get the prompt, try this procedure again several times before giving up.
KeyAT FAQ KB232 FAQ WristPC FAQ KeyRF FAQ

WristPC - Excerpts from Customer Support


Question: Is your WristPC keyboard waterproof?
Answer: The WristPC is sealed to protect against water and humidity. However, it is not rated for submersion in water.

Question: How do you adjust the backlighting?
Answer: The keyboard illumination is adjusted by engaging NUM-LOCK and pressing the UP-ARROW key for increased brightness and the DN-ARROW key for decreased brightness.

Question: My WristPC does not work correctly with my IBM Thinkpad. It works OK on my other computers.
Answer: You need a PS2 Mouse-Keyboard Y Adapter. IBM sells this as part number 54G0441. L3 Systems also sells one. It is part number CL0012. If you use the L3 Systems part, plug the WristPC into the connector labled "mouse". If you also have a mouse, plug it into the connector labeled "keyboard". If you use the IBM part, do as the adapter is labled.

Question: I have version 2.0H and it does not work correctly with my IBM Thinkpad. It works OK on my other computers.
Answer: There is a fix for this that first appeared in version 2.0K. Contact us about getting an update.

Question: How much does the WristPC weigh?
Answer: The WristPC weighs approximately 9 ounces. That includes the cable, which accounts for 2 ounces of that weight.

Question: How do you update the firmware?
Answer: The PS/2 versions of the WristPC have a chip in a PLCC socket. First you have to remove the case screws to open the case. You then must remove the old chip using a PLCC extraction tool. Note the orientation of the chip before removing it, and place the new with the label writing rotated in the same direction

USB models require replacement of the PC board assembly within the housing.

Question: I have Version 2.0K and it doesn't work on a Toshiba Laptop.
Answer: There is a fix for this that first appeared in version 2.0L. Contact us about getting an update.

Question: I have Version 2.0K and it doesn't work on an older 486 PC with a Micronics Motherboard and Phoenix Bios.
Answer: There is a fix for this that first appeared in version 2.0L. Contact us about getting an update.

 

KeyAT FAQ KB232 FAQ WristPC FAQ KeyRF FAQ

KeyRF - Excerpts from Customer Support


Question: I'm having problems with my new Windows XP notebook computer. I get "Device Driver" error messages, and have problems with multiple presses when only a button is only pressed once.
Answer: There are a couple of Windows XP SP1 bugs which can affect the connection of a KeyRF receiver using the PS/2 to USB converter. Generally this can be resolved by downloading the latest updates from the notebook manufacturer. Specifically Microsoft windows updates 810400 and 822603 should be installed to have the USB port operating correctly.

Question: The command I want to is too long to store.
Answer: In DOS, you can make a batch file for the program that you are trying to run. In Windows you can assign a shortcut key for the application. In unix, you can make a shell script.

Question: I have some questions about your KeyRF remote control. The application is in a large room with the computer and projector in the back. The range may push the stated 100 feet range, is there a way to boost the range to 150?
Answer: You might find that it will do that range, but we cannot guarantee it. The specified 100 ft is a very rough estimate. You might be able to better orient the antenna, or run a keyboard extension cable towards the center of the room.

Question: The software application is PowerPoint so it would be nice to program page up, page down, and control B. If I understand the data sheet correctly this is no problem.
Answer: Yes no problem. The default settings are:

  • Left Button: Space
  • Right Button: Backspace
  • Both Buttons: Alternating Home - End
Of course, you can change these settings to whatever keys you want.

Question: How long will the transmitter last?
Answer: Thousands of activations. We have not done any life testing on it, but I've yet to kill a battery on one of our test transmitters.

Question: I see the RF is 315 MHz, is this outside of the range typically used by wireless mikes?
Answer: By FCC definitions, yes. Understand though, that's no absolute guarantee. I suspect that if you held the transmitter right next to the mike, you might get some pickup, but that's really hard for me to predict.

Question: Does the unit allow someone to use the keyboard at the same time? Say the presenter wants to recall a specific slide, instead of paging through all the slides they can call back to a person sitting at the keyboard and type in the specific slide.
Answer: Yes, the KeyRF can sit in-between the keyboard and the PC, still allowing use of the keyboard. I'd consider using a keyboard extender, so the the keyboard could be placed up where the speaker is.

Question: My KeyRF will not work correctly with my Compaq Presario.
Answer: We found some unusual aspects of the Compaq touchpad driver, and made some changes in version 2.0H to address them. If you have version 2.0 or 2.0A, and your unit is within the warranty period, we will upgrade your KeyRF firmware for free. Please email support@l3sys.com
.

Question: My KeyRF does not work correctly with my IBM Thinkpad. It works OK on my other computers.
Answer: You need a PS2 Mouse-Keyboard Y Adapter. IBM sells this as part number 54G0441. L3 Systems also sells one. It is part number CL0012. If you use the L3 Systems part, plug the KeyRF into the connector labled "mouse". If you also have a mouse, plug it into the connector labeled "keyboard". If you use the IBM part, do as the adapter is labled.

Question: I have version 2.0H and it does not work correctly with my IBM Thinkpad. It works OK on my other computers.
Answer: There is a fix for this that first appeared in version 2.0K. Contact us about getting an update.

Question: What happens if you have more than one in the same room?
Answer: If they are addressed differently (up to 255 combinations), then they can coexist quite well. If both transmitters are activated at the same time, one transmitter could squelch the other, but usually that's not an issue, since button presses are short and usually occupy a very small time slice of the receiver bandwidth.

Question: I have Version 2.0K and it doesn't work on a Toshiba Laptop.
Answer: There is a fix for this that first appeared in version 2.0L. Contact us about getting an update.

Question: What kind of battery does the transmitter use.
Answer: It's a common 12V "photo" battery, size A23. Duracell, Energizer, Radio Shack and other provide this battery.

Question: How do I set the address of a 4-button transmitter.
Answer: Our original 4-Button transmitters had to be set at the factory. You can send it to us, and we'll do that for you. Our current 4-button model transmitter has identical jumpers as our 2-button model, located inside the battery compartment. See the manual for further instructions.

Question: I have Version 2.0K and it doesn't work on an older 486 PC with a Micronics Motherboard and Phoenix Bios.
Answer: There is a fix for this that first appeared in version 2.0L. Contact us about getting an update.

Question: Will the KeyRF work with an Apple MAC computer. If so, what will I need?
Answer: The new KeyRF kits with the USB adapters will work with Apple MAC computers. Here are a few things to know:

  • The Apple operating system must have support for USB HID (Human Interface Device) drivers. This requires MAC operating system version 8.6 or above
  • Your KeyRF comes pre-configured to work with Microsoft PowerPoint presentation software. If that is your use for the KeyRF, then you don't have to configure the KeyRF receiver.
  • To configure the KeyRF receiver on an Apple computer you will need a keyboard with a PS/2 interface. This is a keyboard normally used with IBM PC compatible systems. These keyboards are commonly available prices under $20.00.
  • Alternatively, if you can find an IBM PC compatible computer with a PS/2 compatible keyboard, you can configure the KeyRF receiver on that computer and it will retain the configuration information within its non-volatile memory to be used later with your Apple computer.
  • Before entering the KeyRF configuration on an Apple computer with alternating the pressing of the left and right shift keys on the attached PS/2 keyboard, first run on the SimpleText program. The KeyRF configuration will use the SimpleText edit screen displaying information.