Backlit Keyboard

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amenjet
Posts: 43
Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2021 6:56 am

Backlit Keyboard

Post by amenjet »

Has anyone ever seen a backlit organiser keyboard?
My re-created organiser has an OLED display and while this display works well in the dark, the same cannot be said for the keyboard. Has anyone added backlighting to their keyboard? For the next PCBs I was going to add LEDs to the keyboard, then I realised that there's the rubber mat on top of the PCB, and then the keys themselves aren't very transparent. I was wondering if anyone had solved these problems.

I'm thinking that maybe some LEDs on the PCB would be able to get some light through the mat and then have transparent keys to let some light through. Has anyone looked at getting keys 3D printed? I'm thinking maybe transparent keys or keys with a thinner part where the key legend is might work. Or maybe not enough light will come through.

regards

Andrew
NickKostelidis
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Location: Athens - Greece
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Re: Backlit Keyboard

Post by NickKostelidis »

Don't you think that these leds would cost more power for the system?
:?:
amenjet
Posts: 43
Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2021 6:56 am

Re: Backlit Keyboard

Post by amenjet »

Yes, they would. You can dim them by flashing them to reduce the power needed.
Or turn them off. You probably wouldn't use the unit for huge periods of time in the dark.
One LED on the backlighting is probably equivalent to one or two pixels on the display, or so.

Regards

Andrew
PaulK
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2021 11:22 am

Re: Backlit Keyboard

Post by PaulK »

Happy Christmas all!

Just a thought....

If backlighting proves to be problematic, what about a couple of small led somewhere in the casing to the side of the keyboard?

Not back lighting, but may be able to cast enough light to see the keyboard while typing?

I have an old Lenovo x230 laptop that has a light next to the webcam which can be turned on and off to aid typing in the dark. Perhaps something similar could work here? Could be much simpler to implement than individual key backlighting, albeit a less elegant solution!

Just a thought......

Cheers and take care :-)
amenjet
Posts: 43
Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2021 6:56 am

Re: Backlit Keyboard

Post by amenjet »

That's an idea. I had thought of that, but it does mean modifying the case, which I don't really want to do unless I have to as there are a limited number of cases left. If a new case was made, though then maybe this would work. There's also the question of how to wire the LEDs up.

it is a possible option though

Regards

Andrew
NickKostelidis
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Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2021 8:23 am
Location: Athens - Greece
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Re: Backlit Keyboard

Post by NickKostelidis »

Generally I think that it is not a good idea to modify the external view of the organizer.
PaulK
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2021 11:22 am

Re: Backlit Keyboard

Post by PaulK »

I agree with not modifying the original case if at all possible. As you say Andrew, these things are beginning to get a bit rarer these days!

Perhaps knocking up a 3D model of an existing case and getting some 3d printed cases, including any modifications, would be the way to go. Seeing as most of the re-created Psion Org is just that - "re-created", perhaps original Psion machines should be left well alone and kept as original as possible (but still able to take things like your datapack gadget where no mods to the original hardware is required) and the new creation should have a new case as well?

It would be good to keep any new case as close to the original as possible - it seems to be one of the reasons why the machine is so loved, but perhaps some cool new colours would be fun! Given that you wouldn't be butchering any original cases, you would be free to experiment to your hearts content, and wallet could afford, in coming up with a back lighting scheme that worked. Guess one would still need to come up with a way of re-manufacturing transparent keys?

Would there be any issue around copyright? Would anyone even care still this long after to the original machines stopped production?

Its all very interesting to me!!
Cheers
amenjet
Posts: 43
Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2021 6:56 am

Re: Backlit Keyboard

Post by amenjet »

PaulK wrote: Sun Dec 26, 2021 8:38 pm I agree with not modifying the original case if at all possible. As you say Andrew, these things are beginning to get a bit rarer these days!

Perhaps knocking up a 3D model of an existing case and getting some 3d printed cases, including any modifications, would be the way to go. Seeing as most of the re-created Psion Org is just that - "re-created", perhaps original Psion machines should be left well alone and kept as original as possible (but still able to take things like your datapack gadget where no mods to the original hardware is required) and the new creation should have a new case as well?

It would be good to keep any new case as close to the original as possible - it seems to be one of the reasons why the machine is so loved, but perhaps some cool new colours would be fun! Given that you wouldn't be butchering any original cases, you would be free to experiment to your hearts content, and wallet could afford, in coming up with a back lighting scheme that worked. Guess one would still need to come up with a way of re-manufacturing transparent keys?

Would there be any issue around copyright? Would anyone even care still this long after to the original machines stopped production?

Its all very interesting to me!!
Cheers
Yes, i don't want to take good organisers apart at all. Fortunately I have a quantity of originals that have seen better days. The original case is pretty much indestructible, and I'm not sure how well a new 3D printed version would stand up to things that the original just shrugs off.
There's only one way to find out I suppose.

I'm beginning to thing the biggest problem with backlighting using LEDs is the rubber mat. It looks like it doesn't let much light through, from my experiments with a torch. Getting light through the keys is the second biggest problem I think. Maybe som sort of electroluminescent paper on top of the mat would work?

I'm not sure about copyright, I suspect the case is a registered design, but I don't know if that would have expired yet.

regards
Andrew
amenjet
Posts: 43
Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2021 6:56 am

Re: Backlit Keyboard

Post by amenjet »

Hmm,

Looks like the registered designs have expired in the UK:

https://www.registered-design.service.g ... nd/1019737
https://www.registered-design.service.g ... nd/1019736

That looks like the Organiser I to me.

Regards

Andrew
PaulK
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2021 11:22 am

Re: Backlit Keyboard

Post by PaulK »

Andrew,

Yep, thats definitely the Psion Org 1 - the keys are distinctive!

I also worry about the integrity of 3D printed items - I'm no expert and things may have moved on a lot since the days when I saw examples from the 3D printing process, but I guess they could at least be useful for testing, and if all worked, then a more robust manufacturing process (injection moulding?) could be explored, but that would be considerably more expensive, and only really useful for larger manufacturing runs. Not sure the market is there to justify that expense sadly!

Of course, the first thing is a 3D model of the original. I'm back at work on 4th Jan and will speak to some folk I know there to see whats possible w.r.t this.

Many thanks
Paul.
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