Unicomp Model M keyboards switch to using Raspberry Pi Pico #PiDay #RaspberryPi @Raspberry_Pi

For many years, enthusiasts have been asking for reprogrammable Model M keyboards from Unicomp, who currently manufactures new Model M keyboards. Thanks to the unfortunate 2022 discontinuation of the Cypress microcontroller Unicomp previously used for its USB keyboards, Unicomp keyboards are now [mostly] reflashable thanks to their selection of the RP2040-based Raspberry Pi Pico as the heart of its new generation of USB controller cards.

PerAdmiral Shark’s Keyboards, if you bought a brand-new Unicomp Model M (or bought one second-hand that was made) in June 2023 or after, you may want to check if you already have a Pico-based controller card.

Besides simply opening the keyboard, there are a few ways you can tell what controller card you have if your keyboard is USB. If it’s PS/2, then you will not be using one of the new controller cards.

  • On Windows 11, going to Settings > Bluetooth & devices > Devices should show the name of the keyboard. If you don’t see a specific model name or only see “HID Keyboard Device” (or you’re using an older version of Windows that doesn’t have a convenient way to see the proper device name), NirSoft’s USBDeview is a convenient tool to find this out. The Device Name field when looking at a USB device will tell you what you need.
  • On Linux, lsusb can be used to find this out. Running the command without any parameters should be sufficient, but you may want to run lsusb -v to get more information (in which case, look for the iProduct field).
  • On macOS, System Profiler can be used to find this out. Alternatively, you should be able to find out running ioreg -p IOUSB -l -w 0 in Terminal as well.

There is extensive information if older boards can have a PCB swap and how to flash 3rd party firmware like Vial-QMK in the post on Admiral Shark’s Keyboards here. (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

Ed note: While the boards don’t use a Pico W, it’d be interesting to see if one could be substituted and firmware flashed which also make the keyboard wireless. So many hacking possibilities.

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