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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Dirty Little Secret About Wireless Keyboards

A Little Diversion From the Raspberry Pi.
Was I the only one who did not know that wireless Keyboards did not have Caps Lock, Num Lock, and Scroll Lock indicators?
My $7 USB keyboard decided it had enough and stopped accepting my keystrokes. When I went to purchase another, I went with a very nice Microsoft, wireless, keyboard and mouse combination. I didn't have a solid reason to go wireless, I guess I just wanted to be more modern.
When it was time to press the Caps Lock Key, for the first time, I went looking for the LED to tell me it was on. I was flabbergasted - it did not exist. Were they suggesting that the "Lock" indicators are not needed? Rubbish! Of course they're needed. I found myself back in the store a couple of days later and went over to the keyboard display. They had about five or six wireless models and none had any kind of indication for the "Lock" keys. An internet search of computer and electronics stores convinced that this is the norm. I guess it is a matter of battery life. But, why are there are no small LCD displays to convey to the typist that they pressed one of those keys. LCD displays consume very, very little power.
But wait a minute, here, there's more to the story. Let's go back to the time when I pressed the Caps Lock key for the first time. While no LED lit on my keyboard, there was an LED that did light. The Caps Lock key on the wired keyboard lit. I realized I never disconnected the wired keyboard, but had shoved it back under the monitor.
That gave me an idea. I took that $7 wired keyboard apart and extracted the small circuit board with the three LEDs. This small board also has the chip that interfaces the computer to the keyboard, and has the USB cable - which is now plugged back into the computer. Now I have my nice Microsoft keyboard, which I like, and my "Locked" indicators.
Printed Circuit Board With Caps and Num Lock LEDs Lit.

1 comment:

  1. Whether you are brillient or had brilliance thrust upon you I do not know, but you are AWESOME for sharing this beautifully simple solution! Thank you so much!!!

    Do you think the keyboard power could light up an entire pad under the keyboard so there's no searching for the light?