My MAME: fourth

Now, while I was working on the control panel and mouse hack, my friends, Phil and Alex, were working on hacking the keyboard board.  It’s nice to have buttons and joysticks, but how do you get them to talk to the computer?  We referred to many web tutorials and decided to take an old keyboard apart and use it’s board to receive the control panel actions.

First, you’ve gotta take an old keyboard apart. What you’ll probably find inside is a rubbery, nubbly sheet,  three transparent sheets of plastic, and the board.  I plan to use the nubblies in a tentacled costume later, but you might just throw it out.  Two of the three clear sheets are lined with conductive material that, when the dots come together, complete a circuit and are identified by which row and column are closed.  Warren and I spent an uncomfortable evening following the little metal lines around, labeling which keys were on that line.  We made a chart that shows which row and column each key was associated with for later mapping in the MAME software.

But the boys got to play with the board.  First, they pulled out the connection pins in the board where the transparent sheets used to hook up to it, and then they soldered wires into the spaces.  We decided spades at the ends of the wires would let us hook up and change multiple buttons most easily.  The board hooks up to the computer using the same port the keyboard always did, but now it will interact with buttons instead.

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