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Turn broken laptop into HTPC keyboard?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
If I had an old laptop, with a working keyboard and touchpad, is there any way I could turn that into a HTPC keyboard to work with my new rig on Windows 7?
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post #2 of 9
It'd be a huge PITA.
If you have an iPod/iPhone you can simply use the Logitech TouchMouse as a KB/Mouse combo.
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post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
I'm fairly sure it would be a huge PITA, but I'd love to try and see if it is actually doable at all...
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post #4 of 9
This would be wicked cool, but with available technologies, will be a PITA and will take considerable time and money.

Regardless there are two routes you could go: wired & wireless. Wired would be considerably easier but by no means a small feat. You need to get between the keyboard and keyboard controller, which means the plastic/silver ribbon cable. You would need to either de-solder the compression fitting, or purchase a new one from a business like DigiKey. The exact fitting you need depends on the ribbon cable's width, number of contacts, and pitch (center-to-center spacing) of the contacts.

So you've got keyboard matrix that needs interpreting. Disclaimer: I am by no means advertising for this company. I used to be head of Tech Support for them and believe they are the best in the business for this particular sector of IT. PI Engineering specializes in USB input technologies. Their new pi (as in the symbol for 3.14) Matrix Boards coupled with MacroWorks3 (their input/output) software would do the trick. After you successfully wired the rows & columns matrix, you would create a custom device profile with MW3. Here is where you configure which switch (key) sends what unicode character. I constructed several custom keyboards this way. Take my word for it, this is a huge PITA, but it is certainly doable. Before I left, they were working with touchpads & the matrix board together, so I'm sure you could integrate that as well.

If you wanted to go wireless, you would have to employ a combination of PIE's technology with a Zigbee or AtmelAtmega transmitter/receiver.

The tunnel is growing much longer, and much darker my friend. frown.gif
Edited by ILOVEPOTtery - 1/15/11 at 5:11pm
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post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
To get an old P2 laptop with a working touchpad and keyboard would cost me £20..

I'm better off buying a HTPC keyboard.
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post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
If I could obtain a fully functioning oldish laptop, but with a cracked LCD, could I run TightVNC on it, to use the keyboard and touchpad as a HTPC keyboard?
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post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Markeh;12046198 
If I could obtain a fully functioning oldish laptop, but with a cracked LCD, could I run TightVNC on it, to use the keyboard and touchpad as a HTPC keyboard?

You have to set up scripts to login into the HTPC on boot after configuring it while connected to the monitor. If wireless configurations, change... you'll have to hook it up to a monitor again.

However, the battery would also run out in 1-2hrs and it would heavy... and hot...

A wireless keyboard can last a 1-2 months on a single charge and not generate noticeable heat.

Battery life is the killer on this project.
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post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
OK... this is a crap idea. I'll pick up a cheap HTPC keyboard off eBay next time I see one.
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post #9 of 9
dude this Ipod software is actually awesome
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