USB keyboards on older macs?

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Last seen: 18 years 3 months ago
Joined: Feb 18 2004 - 02:09
Posts: 10
USB keyboards on older macs?

I know that there is a USB dongle that will let you run old ADB keyboards and mice on USB only macs, but is there any device that will due the reverse? Run new USB mac keyboards on older ADB only macs?



eeun's picture
Last seen: 1 year 3 months ago
Joined: Dec 19 2003 - 17:34
Posts: 1895
yes...and no

If the older Mac has PCI, there are a number of USB cards you can use. Unfortunately, you will not have keyboard power-on capability or any mouse/keyboard access until the USB driver loads...which can be a pain if you need to access the extensions manager, or want to start with extensions off.

Nubus Macs are, far as I know, out of luck for USB.

macintoshme's picture
Last seen: 9 years 1 week ago
Joined: Sep 19 2004 - 20:55
Posts: 150
It would be neat....

It would be neat if a person could take a standard Apple USB keyboard, and use a ADB keyboard controller to make an adapter to support things such as soft power. You could use Quick Keys to map extra keys. What reason is there to switch anyway, I use an ADB Apple Design Keyboard on a PM G3 running 10.3, and it is one of best keyboards I have ever used.

Last seen: 17 years 3 months ago
Joined: Dec 20 2003 - 10:38
Posts: 82
I'm sure it could be done.

USB isn't that complicated of a protocol. I'm sure someone could build a little grey box with a microcontroller inside that would look like a USB bus to the keyboard but which just analyzed the signals and generated the appropriate ADB input. Done.

That someone would have to have a pretty firm knowlege of ADB and USB as well as the time and desire to build such a thing, though. Sad Also, it wouldn't give an old Mac a USB port, it would just work for a USB keyboard. Probably wouldn't take much extra work to make one that worked for mice too, though. That'd be sweet.

Hawaii Cruiser's picture
Last seen: 7 years 4 months ago
Joined: Jan 20 2005 - 16:03
Posts: 1433
but why?

I don't know why anyone would want to put a USB keyboard on an ADB Mac, unless it's simply because they don't have an ADB keyboard available, which are a dime a dozen at the thrift stores when you find them. I like the old ADB keyboards, especially the one that came out in the middle 90's with the ADB cable coming out from it's middle back. I've got B&W's--which still came with ADB ports--and use that ADB keyboard on all of them. I find it a lot sturdier and readable than the USB keyboards that I have used and passed on.

If you're looking for a wireless keyboard, I have seen an ADB wireless keyboard on sale regularly at eBay. It even had some kind of touchpad or something built in for cursor control, if I remember correctly.

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