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 Post subject: Deck Legend modded to allow individual LED control
PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 5:17 pm 
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Hi All,

I thought I would post a mod I've been working on for a bit. I've added on some internals to my Fire Deck Legend to allow :!: individual :!: control of LEDs. The keyboard looks stock from the outside:

Image

But on the inside you can tell it's not:

Image

It is difficult to convey with a picture what it does, so here are some short video links for it: (mp4 encoded, codec available at http://www.xvid.org)

Thermal (key effect)
Scintillating (idle anim)
RightScan (idle anim)

The mod information was far too much to sum up in a forum post, so I wrote up some pages on it. You can find it here:

http://www.rewiredgear.net/deckmod.html

I tried to outline most everything from the theory to the build to the software. Hopefully it answers any questions, but comments/questions are welcome.

(btw - it's hosted on a relatively new free webhost, which may have some latencies and/or temporary downtime, apologies in advance)

- Brian


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 7:00 pm 
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You are a genius. That is an amazing mod!

The short movies of the effects have to be seen to be believed.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 8:56 pm 
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Thanks, glad you liked it :) After I had finished and browsed the forum a bit I found out that the idea itself came up a long time ago here. It's too bad they don't incorporate something similar into the standard board, but I can understand the cost issues.

In that thread they mention using a combination of devices like what I built, but it has side effects, in particular possible incompatibility with KVMs (I detailed my mis-adventure with that on the webpage I linked). On the other hand, if it were coded into the main keyboard controller, and the wiring was combined into the PCB without adding layers, I could imagine it might be workable (on the controller it would take some effort to make sure it didn't interfere with key latency though).

A small recommendation for Deck: without adding in any hardware, some potentially useful features could be incorporated on the software side. If the controller supported a little bit of 2-way communication, being able to control the brightness via software would be useful (software emulating a FN 0-7 keypress). You could have automatic day/night brightness changes for instance.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 7:46 am 
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Awesome work with your board. Brilliant stuff.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 4:19 pm 
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Wow...unbelievable mod! This is going up as a sticky.

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Deck Guy Adam
http://www.deckkeyboards.com - The best backlit keyboards on Earth
http://www.tg3electronics.com - Parent company of Deck, leaders in custom industrial keyboards


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 12:21 am 
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Hey cool, sticky status :)

Actually I've been considering ways to make a mod like this more accessible to people (should they want to try something similar) and I think there are some options.

When I did the mod I used the stuff lying around, but there ARE better parts out there. In particular this part is VERY interesting: FT245R. FTDI makes some great USB converter parts. What makes that one interesting is that it has what's called a "bit banging" mode, whereby you block send data via USB and it sends it out 8-bits at a time FIFO style. Key thing is it requires NO firmware code (no having to learn assembly language), and they even supply a royalty-free DLL driver to link into the host side program (no having to write a driver). Very cool stuff (and for anyone looking, Mouser carries the FTDI line, www.mouser.com - search for ftdi)

But, it has a drawback, the microcontroller I used runs an internal routine to generate PWM signals to control brightness. That part would lack that ability, so it could only turn LEDs on or off (that's assuming the part is coupled into a 74595 shift-register chain like the one I used). On the plus side, hardware for that would be quite simple, and the behavior would be controlled entirely by the host-side program.

Going with a full microcontroller, there is an option that looked good. Atmel makes an AVR part that can do USB, but even better they make a complete eval board for it that's completely ready to go: AT90USBKEY (mouser carries that also) That eval board could easily fit into a Deck keyboard. What's great about that is that it has 48 general-purpose I/Os built-in. Not enough to cover a 106 LED board, but shift registers could be added to it. I think those guys also supply USB code. Going with that would require learning how to code a microcontroller (really not that hard).

If I were to start from scratch I would go one of those routes.

One other place I should mention, SparkFun. I discovered that place months ago, and they supply all kinds of good bits that could be incorporated into a mod. They have graphic LCDs, multicolor LEDs, and as I just learned today they do PCB services (they consolidate many PCB orders into a bulk buy, so they have exceptionally low prices and can do very small orders, even single boards).

Hopefully some of this will help jump start a mod if someone is thinking about it.

- Brian


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 5:47 am 
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This is absolutely wicked. You obviously put in an unbelievable amount of time on this one. Congratulations on one of the best mods of any kind that I have ever seen. BTW, did Deck offer you a job yet? :wink:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 5:09 pm 
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Thanks. Heh, a job would be an interesting prospect, but I'm already gainfully employed. Besides being in Austin I don't think I could survive a move that far north, the temperature shock would kill me :lol:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 6:42 pm 
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Wow, I really love the thermal effect. Thanks for the extensive writeup, pics, and videos.

Congrats on the finished project!


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 Post subject: Source code uploaded
PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 11:50 pm 
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I finally managed to get some time to pack up the sources, and I've uploaded them to the website (which by the way has been migrated to a hopefully much more reliable host).

A direct link to the source page is here.

There are 4 sections to the code:
- The host-side program (the GUI uses wxWidgets, USB comm uses libusb-win32)
- The keyboard hook DLL
- The HC08 firmware (incl an all assembly USB interrupt-mode driver)
- The libusb-win32 driver and .inf file (direct download for that available on the libusb-win32 sourceforge page)

Enjoy 8)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 9:32 pm 
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That's the coolest mod I've ever seen... in my life. Looks like a lot of work went into and it was totally worth it. The thermal setting is amazing, easily my favorite. I wish I could buy a board modded like that.


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 Post subject: Re: Deck Legend modded to allow individual LED control
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 1:16 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 19, 2013 1:07 am
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I was a bit bored today so I decided to mod one of the Deck 82 boards I had sitting around to include a USB 2.0 mini hub. Many people have asked about this in the past and why we don't incorporate one ourselves. Hopefully this can show you how easy it really is to do.
Esky Heli Tools


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