Interfacing a BlackBerry Q10 keyboard into your microcontroller project #BlackBerry #Arduino #Microcontroller

Blackberry keyboard interface arduino microcontroller

Ed. Note: There is a more up to date project on the Q10 keyboard at for reference also.

I was looking to use the easily obtained BlackBerry Q10 keyboard in my projects and looked for documentation. JoeN on the Arduino forum had done the hard work and has an excellent how-to writeup.

BM14B(0.8)-24DS-0.4V(53) Hirose Electric Co Ltd | H122178CT-ND DigiKey Electronics

The part number for the keyboard cable interface receptor is the Hirose BM14B(0.B)-24DS-0.4V(53), available at Digikey (of course!) as part # H122178CT-ND

They call it a 24 pin connector but it has 28 conductors.  I guess the outer 4 are guard connectors and are not recommended as signals?  It’s odd.

The keypad is a bitch to interface because it uses a 0.4mm pitch connector on flat flex, not really all that hobby friendly.  And it worked pretty well as hobbyist repellent as near as I can tell, until now.  I have been able to build an adapter board to convert the appropriate connector to DIP, interface it to an Arduino, determine the pinout, and create a short demonstrator sketch to prove the interface and allow the user to type text out to an OLED.

The pins on the Hirose connector are rather fine – it would help to have a breakout board to use on breadboards, etc. JoeN has done this sourced on OSH Park (of course!)

Here is the JPG that JoeN provides and here is the OSH Park submission file he has. I could NOT find it on the OSH Park shared area but this one by mtfurlan may be the same (you should check).

On soldering, JoeN suggests: used a hotplate (as a solder paste reflow “oven”) then some rework with a chisel tip

Once you have the adapter board built, you can use the provided Arduino code which maps out the pins for use on your microcontroller. The keypad is in a matrix configuration.

ROW1 = PIN6 Q, E, R, U, O
ROW2 = PIN8 W, S, G, H, L
ROW3 = PIN18 T, Y, I, D, sym
ROW4 = PIN20 P, A, bck, ret, sh2
ROW5 = PIN21 alt, X, V, $, B
ROW6 = PIN22 spce, Z, C, M, N
ROW7 = PIN27 mike, sh1, F, K, J

Keyboard “column” mappings (inner circle)

COL1 = PIN7 Q, W, A, sym, alt, mike, space
COL2 = PIN9 S, D, X, sh1, E, P, Z
COL3 = PIN10 R, T, F, G, V, C, sh2
COL4 = PIN17 Y, U, ret, H, B, J, N
COL5 = PIN19 I, O, K, L, bck, M, $

Columns and rows associated with their pin on the breakout board in the keyboard matrix of the Q10 keyboard:

ROW3 PIN18 sym D T Y I
ROW4 PIN20 A P sh2 ret bck
ROW5 PIN21 alt Z V B $
ROW6 PIN22 spc X C N M
ROW7 PIN27 mike sh1 F J K

Here is an entire circuit with display, keyboard, and JoeN’s homebrew ATmega328 homebrew Arduino. This should be translatable to nearly any microcontroller with the correct coding.

You can read JoeN’s entire process here and his work to find the connector number here.



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