Thank you for purchasing the pc keyboard Interface! Compatibility

Дата канвертавання28.04.2016
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PCKI Manual v2.0

Thank you for purchasing the PC Keyboard Interface!

The PC Keyboard Interface works perfectly together with:

  • ZX Spectrum 16K / 48K / 48K+ / 128K / +2

  • DivIDE

  • (MB02 / MB02+IDE) – solving compatibility issues at the moment (updated 14 dec 2008)

  • Kempston Mouse Turbo (first version)

  • ZX-MMC+

There are known compatibility issues with the next models:

  • ZX Spectrum +2A / +2B / +3

When you want to use one of these models, you will have to make some modifications inside your ZX Spectrum; check for future updates about making the modifications.
The current firmware (1.3) is for US PC keyboards only.

Using PC keyboards with a different layout may result in unsuspected characters or behavoir, but will not damage the interface or your Spectrum.

You should be able to use many PC keyboards with USB connector, as long as they support a USB to PS/2 adapter plug, which is often supplied with a USB keyboard.

How to connect the PC Keyboard Interface
Attach the interface on your ZX Spectrum; it’s not important to attach it as the first device, so it may be behind e.g. a Kempston Mouse Turbo interface.
Of course some other interfaces do not have a through port for expansion, so they need to be behind the PC Keyboard Interface.

Connecting a PC keyboard

Advanced features and history of firmware
Features new/changed in firmware version 1.3b:

  • Spanish and US-english keyboards supported (download and install the corresponding update for your keyboard)

  • All the Spectrum keystrokes are supported, even those that needs to switch to E-Mode for a while (Velesoft request).

  • The Tab key has changed: now it maps to CAPS SHIFT+8, to help identing while working in GENS 3. Shift+Tab maps to CAPS SHIFT+5.

  • Trigger key on Sinclair mode has changed to the left Alt key. The "0" key can also be used.

  • The "Application" key toggles E-MODE on/off.

  • The pound sign has been mapped to the key that shows the grave accent (both symbols have the same ASCII code).

  • Spanish keyboard: the Ç key is mapped to the (C) sign.

  • Macros are stored in flash. They are not erased when the computer turns off. A update procedure doesn't erase the current stored macros.

  • HOME and END keys also work as Begin Macro Recording (F3), and End Macro Recording (F4).

  • The PAUSE key pauses a macro recording, so a key typed after PAUSE is not recorded. Recording is resumed pressing PAUSE again. While in macro playback mode, the PAUSE key toggles current macro playing on/off.


  • Phantom keys appearing while the user types another key, or key combination does not happen anymore (hopefully). This was causes by the old way to give keytrokes to the ULA. From version 1.3, this method has radically changed. Now, the microcontroller polls the Z80A for IO requests to the ULA port. If there's a IO read request, the microcontroller answer it with theright value. For this reason, a hardware change is needed for the PS/2 adapter, internal version, to work correctly with the newer firmware versions.

  • A little issue with Ctrl-Alt-Del not working correctly on powerup has been fixed.

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.

Features in firmware version 1.2:

  • All alphanumeric keys are mapped to the Spectrum, as well as symbol keys and their shifter forms.

  • Shifted alphabetic keys give the upper case version, as expected. Shifted numbers give the corresponding symbol.

  • Current keyboard mapping is for the spanish standard 101/102-keys layout keyboard.

  • Cursor block maps to the Spectrum cursor keys (i.e. "down" key is mapped to CAPS SHIF+6)

  • ESC is mapped to the BREAK Spectrum key (CAPS SHIFT+SPACE)

  • Caps Lock key is mapped to CAPS SHIFT + 2

  • AltGr key maps to CAPS SHIFT + 9

  • The F2 key (which is used mainly to edit the current filename in Windows Explorer and some other applications) maps to the EDIT key (CAPS SHIFT + 1).

  • The Tab key maps to the EXTMODE key (CAPS SHIFT + SYMBOL SHIFT).

  • The Backspace key is mapped to DELETE key (CAPS SHIFT + 0).

  • Left Control key is mapped to CAPS SHIFT, and right Control key, to SYMBOL SHIFT.

  • The separate numeric block behaves as if NumLock were always on (in fact, it is).

  • The ScrollLock key toggles the cursor key mapping between normal use (editing mode) and Sinclair joystick mode. The later is signaled with ScrollLock led on. In Sinclair joystick mode, cursor keys are mapped to the same keys used by the Sinclair port 2 joystick (6,7,8, and 9). Trigger (0 key) is mapped to both Control keys (recalling the standard MAME layout for controls).

  • If the reset pin is connected from the keyboard adapter PCB to the Spectrum, everytime the user presses Crtl-Alt-Del, a low pulse is sent to the reset pin at the Z80, hence enabling the user to reset the machine with the classic three-finger-salute.

  • The adapter has a bult-in mechanism for helping the user to diagnose a malfunction. Upon booting, if Alt+F12 is pressed, a series of keys are "typed-in" automatically. Assuming the K-mode, the sequence typed is:

  • REM 12345qwertasdfgZXCV67890yuiophjkl*,.There's another, more sophisticated, biult-in test, designed to test the compatibility of a specific keyboard. Some of them doesn't allow more than a number of keys being pressed at the same time, or even more than one. This is very important, for example if you want to use the Sinclair joystick mode feature and want to press UP+RIGHT for instance. The test is entered by pressing Alt+F1. Prior to do this, it's better to reset the Spectrum.

Features in firmware version 1.1:

  • Starting with firmware version 1.1, there is a macro feature, which can be considered in beta state. The user can record up to 6 macros of 512 key strokes each one (a key depressed and released counts as two key strokes).

  • F3 enters macro recording. After F3, the user has to press the F-key he wants to assign to the macro. Then, CapsLock led goes on, signaling that a macro is being recorded.

  • From this moment, the user can type anything he wants. If he reaches the keystroke limit, the recording is automatically ended.

  • To stop a macro recording, press F4. CapsLock led goes off.

  • To play the macro, simply press the F-key assigned to it. Caps Lock led goes on to signal macro play. A macro cannot be stopped unless Ctrl-Alt-Del is pressed. If the user resets the Spectrum using the lateral switch, macro playing won't stop.

How to update the PC Keyboard Interface
The PC Keyboard Interface has a unique feature of updating the firmware of the interface by 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 e.g. DivIDE.
To enable updating the interface, a jumper should be set:

With the jumper, the failsafe mode is started when you power up your ZX Spectrum.

This failsafe mode is recognizable by the Scrollock led lighting up.

Load the flash-utility by e.g. LOAD ””
After the update-utility is loaded, Esc should be pressed on the PC keyboard and the update starts.
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; the failsafe mode is not re-written by the update.

The PC Keyboard Interface has been developed by:

- Miguel Angel Rodríguez Jòdar

- Ben Versteeg

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