Wang 724 keyboard on Windows
February 25, 2015 12:22 PM   Subscribe

How can I get access to the various odd keys on my old Wang model 724 keyboard that's hooked up to my PC? The OS only sees it as a "Standard PS/2 Keyboard."

I have it hooked up via a PS/2 adapter and then a PS/2-to-USB adapter (model KNCU-A20 for using PS/2 parts on Sun systems)(Yes, I know.).

I would like to use the enormous row of F-keys, and maybe the GL key under Windows. I don't actually know how to remap keys, but I think that the adapter isn't actually passing through all of the twenty F-keys' signals. (For example, pressing F-14 seems to be the same as pressing the Esc key, so something is getting through to Windows.)

Am I on the wrong track? Am I doomed to a life of only 102 keys? They are so clackingly lovely that it seems a shame to leave them mute forever!
posted by wenestvedt to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You'd need a bios driver for the keyboard -- right now your PC is using the standard keyboard driver. I don't think that driver will be capable of remapping the keys effectively that it can't see as separate keys. I'd start with some key-mapping software and see where that takes you. Another option would be to rig up a hardware interface -- Arduino, perhaps? -- so you could read the signals coming from the keyboard directly.

I'm assuming that the adapter is capable of passing on the signals for those extra keys, but it's possible that it's limited and unable to do that. Again, rolling your own might be the way you'd have to go.
posted by dhartung at 12:48 PM on February 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

For remapping/macros/etc use Autohotkey.

It's possible that your PS/2-USB adapter might be confused by the extra codes sent by this keyboard, especially if it's made for Sun systems. The Blue Cube has a good reputation but again I'm not sure if it'd understand the extra keycodes. On the keyboard enthusiast site GeekHack there were some DIY projects such as Soarer's Converter -- and it looks like someone is selling finished versions of them on eBay. That might have the highest chance of working, but it's not cheap. Maybe it's worth posting this question on GeekHack to see what they make of it. I did find a few threads talking about the Wang 724 there, but none specifically addressing the extra F-keys.
posted by zsazsa at 2:40 PM on February 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

Welp, looks like I will drop all of nine bucks on the Blue Cube.

Thanks, both of you! I will think of you with gratitude over the prancing hoofbeats of my clacking keyboard in days to come.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:41 AM on March 6, 2015

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