This manual, and the information contained herein, is copyright material and may not be reproduced, transcribed, stored in a retrieval system, translated into any language or computer language, or transmitted in any form whatsoever without the prior written consent of RWAP Software.
The manual has been written specifically for users of the PC Keyboard Interface for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum and contains various supplements for each type of firmware which can be used with that interface.
The manual is intended to provide the user with detailed information adequate for the efficient installation and operation of the equipment involved. However, while every effort has been taken to ensure accuracy, the manufacturer assumes no liability resulting from errors or omissions in this manual, or from the use of the information contained herein.
The manufacturer reserves the right both to change the specifications of the PC Keyboard Interface and the firmware and to revise this publication from time to time without obligation to notify any person of such revision or changes.
The PC Keyboard interface enables you to connect a standard PS/2 style keyboard to your Sinclair ZX Spectrum home computer, to use in place of its own keyboard. This can make for a much more comfortable typing experience - particularly if you are used to the rubber keyboard mat. The interface will also work with USB keyboards, provided that you have a USB-PS/2 adaptor to enable it to plug into the interface.
We provide a range of add-on stickers which can be adhered to the key tops on the PS/2 keyboard, which replicate the Spectrum's own 48K BASIC keywords.
The interface is designed with simplicity in mind and plugs into the ZX Spectrum's expansion port. The interface also contains its own firmware which is the software which interprets the signals from the keyboard - this can be updated at any time from your own ZX Spectrum.
The PC Keyboard Interface works perfectly together with the following:
ZX Spectrum 16K / 48K / 48K+ / 128K / +2
DivIDE / DivIDE Plus
(MB02 / MB02+IDE) – solving compatibility issues at the moment (updated 14 dec 2008)
Kempston Mouse Turbo (first version)
There are, however, known compatibility issues with the following:
ZX Spectrum +2A / +2B / +3
If you wish to use the PC Keyboard Interface with the Sinclair ZX Spectrum +2A / +2B / +3 computers, you will need to make some modifications inside your ZX Spectrum - check www.benophetinternet.nl/hobby for future updates about making the modifications.
Keyboard Layouts Supported
Please also note that the current version of the firmware (1.3b) only supports US/UK English and Spanish keyboard layouts. Using PC keyboards with a different layout may result in unsuspected characters or behaviour, but will not damage the interface or your Spectrum.
How to connect the PC Keyboard Interface
The interface simply plugs into the expansion port on the Sinclair ZX Spectrum (as per picture below). You can have other devices between the ZX Spectrum and the keyboard interface, provided that they have a through connector!
There are various differences between the PC keyboard and the ZX Spectrum keyboard, with additional functions and some changed functions.
As far as possible we have tried to map the keys on the PC keyboard to those on the ZX Spectrum, so that all of the alphanumeric characters (with or without SHIFT and CAPS LOCK) match those on the ZX Spectrum. The numeric keypad will also work as though numlock was enabled.
The table on the next page details how the PC keyboard can be used to get at the extra functions on the ZX Spectrum.
PC Keyboard ZX Spectrum equivalent
TAB CAPS SHIFT 8 (useful for indenting within GENS 3)
SHIFT TAB CAPS SHIFT 5
ALT (left hand side) 0 (Fire in most games)
Windows / Application key Extended Mode (CAPS SHIFT+SYMBOL SHIFT)
# Key This equates to ~ (CAPS SHIFT+SYMBOL SHIFT A)
CTRL ALT DEL Hard reset for the ZX Spectrum (if enabled)
F2 CAPS SHIFT 1 (Edit mode)
HOME (Start recording a macro)
F3 (Start recording a macro)
END (Finish recording a macro)
F4 (Finish recording a macro)
F5-F10 Set aside for Macros.
The Scroll Lock key toggles the cursor key mapping between normal use (editing mode) and Sinclair joystick mode.
When in Sinclair joystick mode, the Scroll Lock led is lit.
In Sinclair joystick mode, cursor keys are mapped to the same keys used by the Sinclair port 2 joystick (6,7,8, and 9). Fire (the 0 key on the ZX Spectrum) is also mapped to both Ctrl keys (reflecting the standard MAME layout for controls).
You can create a macro which is a recorded set of key presses, assigned to one of the function keys (F5 to F10) so that you can then quickly recall them at a later stage.
The macros are stored in flash memory on the interface, and therefore retained whilst the ZX Spectrum is turned off.
Press F3 (or the HOME key) on your PS/2 keyboard to start recording a Macro.
Press the function key (F5 to F10) to which you wish to assign the Macro.
The CAPS LOCK LED will be illuminated so that you know you are in Macro recording mode.
Carefully type the sequence of keypresses which you wish to record (up to 512 keypress sequences - a key pressed down and released is 2 sequences).
You can press PAUSE at any time to pause recording - press PAUSE again to continue.
Press F4 (or the END key) on your PS/2 keyboard to finish recording the Macro.
Now to play the macro (echoing the stored sequence of keypresses), simply press the function key which you assigned. The CAPS LOCK LED will be illuminated so that you know you are in Macro playback mode. PAUSE can be used to pause playback mode - press it again to continue.
NOTE: you can only cancel a playback mode by pressing CTRL ALT DEL (to force a hard reset) or by powering down the ZX Spectrum.
Hard Reset for the ZX Spectrum
If you wish, you can connect a wire from the reset pin on the PC Keyboard Interface to the ZX Spectrum's motherboard, so that whenever you press CTRL ALT DEL on your keyboard, the Spectrum will be forced to reset
-- Details of how to do this are required --
Updating the Firmware
The PC Keyboard Interface has a unique feature of updating the firmware of the interface directly from your ZX Spectrum! The flash-utility can be loaded by playing a WAV-file from your PC or laptop, or by loading a TAP-file from an IDE interface, such as the DivIDE.
You will only be able to update the firmware on the interface if you close the jumper shown in the pictures below.
With the jumper in place, the failsafe mode is started when you power up your ZX Spectrum.
This failsafe mode is recognizable by the Scroll Lock led being lit.
Now load the flash-utility by e.g. LOAD ”” . Once the update-utility is loaded, press the ESC key on the PC keyboard to start updating the firmware on the PC Keyboard Interface.
The utility has some protections to avoid the update being corrupt, but even if it's corrupted, the failsafe mode can still be entered to try the update again, if necessary.
There are two mechanisms built into the PC Keyboard Interface to help diagnose problems.
1) When you start up the Spectrum, press ALT+F12 on the keyboard. The following sequence should appear on the ZX Spectrum's screen:
REM 12345qwertasdfgZXCV67890yuiophjkl*,. (check - does this end with full stop?)
2) When you start up the Spectrum, press ALT+F1 on the keyboard. This tests the compatibility of the keyboard, by testing whether the keyboard supports pressing several keys at the same time (to get the combinations required for the ZX Spectrum keywords).
Features new in firmware version 1.3:
Upon booting, the uC resets the keyboard and checks for scan 3 capability. If it's not present, then default to scan 2 mode. After then, the uC sends a command to the keyboard to leave the NumLock led on. That means that the keyboard is ready to use. - not sure what this is about!