PowerBook G4 Keyboard via USB? Can it be done?

Goftrey

macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 20, 2011
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Wales, UK
My aluminium keyboard is on it's last legs, so I'm looking at various keyboards ranging anywhere from £50 to £150 to replace it, and I just keep on thinking to myself, "will it be as good to type on as a PowerBook G4?".

That got me thinking, is there any way that I can get a PowerBook keyboard working via USB? I've used a couple of Arduino/Teensy based boards that covert Apple II keyboard in to USB keyboards, but I've never seen it done for the PowerBook.
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,089
444
Elkton, Maryland
I thought the final generations of PowerBooks with two-finger scrolling were USB based...

Perhaps there can be a custom made adapter for that.
 

Intell

macrumors P6
Jan 24, 2010
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Inside
I thought the final generations of PowerBooks with two-finger scrolling were USB based...

Perhaps there can be a custom made adapter for that.
They had USB based trackpads, but I think the keyboard is still ADB. You'd have to develop your own controller for them.
 

LightBulbFun

macrumors 68020
Nov 17, 2013
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London UK
what about the keyboard from a Pre Unibody MBP? I hear there the same as PowerBook Keyboards to type on... and on a MBP the keyboard and trackpad are both USB based... (and hot swappable so I found out :p )
 

bunnspecial

macrumors 604
May 3, 2014
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Kentucky
They had USB based trackpads, but I think the keyboard is still ADB. You'd have to develop your own controller for them.
FWIW, here's a screenshot from my A1139.

I have a few A1138 top cases(only) that I'd need to dig out(and probably can't get to this evening) but I'm pretty sure that the ribbon cable that connects them to the logic board is only 4 wires.
 

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Goftrey

macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 20, 2011
1,844
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Wales, UK
FYI my DLSD/HR 15" keyboard is USB based. I think only with the late 2005 models Apple shifted to USB based keyboards & trackpads.

Regardless though, after a little bit of research it's clear that using a MacBook Pro's top-case will be a LOT easier. All I'd need to do it solder 4 wires to the trackpad (http://bounav.free.fr/wp/?p=176), hide the trackpad under the keyboard and then get some sort of laser cut enclosure made for me.
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,089
444
Elkton, Maryland
FYI my DLSD/HR 15" keyboard is USB based. I think only with the late 2005 models Apple shifted to USB based keyboards & trackpads.

Regardless though, after a little bit of research it's clear that using a MacBook Pro's top-case will be a LOT easier. All I'd need to do it solder 4 wires to the trackpad (http://bounav.free.fr/wp/?p=176), hide the trackpad under the keyboard and then get some sort of laser cut enclosure made for me.
Option B is to get a beater parts MacBook Pro, remove all of the guts including the Logic Board and all and just leave the keyboard and trackpad on top with a cable running out the back. You can use an old Dell keyboard's USB cable as they are plenty long to splice off.