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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