Using an external MSX keyboard with a windows pc

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Van stompetower

Expert (90)

afbeelding van stompetower

11-12-2016, 20:34

Louthrax asked about the function of the colored buttons on my interface box.

Well, technically, these function as extra game controller buttons:
- yellow/green = button3/button4 for joystick-A
- blue/red = button3/button4 for joystick-B

While I took the Windows screenshot above, I hold the yellow button down while testing joystick A (=first Game Controller). You can see it lights up in red to show the specific button works.

The reason I built it this way is because the shift register (IC) I used had 8 lines for each joystick, so I had 2 spare lines (because 6 are used for the MSX joystick). MSX software within the emulator cannot do anything with this of course, because the MSX can only handle 2 buttons for each joystick.

However, the emulator can bind these buttons to special functions. For example, I have set up the OpenMSX emulator as follows:

bind "joy1 button2 down" "main_menu_toggle"
bind "joy1 button3 down" "toggle fullscreen"

bind "joy2 button2 down" "toggle console"
bind "joy2 button3 down" "reset"

This way the emulator can be used without touching the PC that runs the emulator. I just use a normal PC, but this can be especially interesting when you use a 'Intel Compute Stick' or something similar to run the MSX emulator together with this interface box.

Van stompetower

Expert (90)

afbeelding van stompetower

11-12-2016, 20:47

Van andrea.denara

Resident (60)

afbeelding van andrea.denara

06-09-2019, 14:27

Please, do you think this can be used for other Msx machines?
Can you post the Arduino Sketch?


Van AxelStone

Prophet (2744)

afbeelding van AxelStone

23-12-2019, 22:10

Hello, recovering this topic for my project: put Zemmix in a real MSX case (VG8020).

Could you share schematics please? Thanks.

Van smx

Resident (38)

afbeelding van smx

24-12-2019, 11:41

Hi all,
I am joining the discussion. I have a faulty VG8020 but with a working keyboard and I'd like to interface it with an Arduino Micro to connect it via USB to any PC.
I've already done such a thing for a C64 C64 USB (USB Keyboard interface with 2 joystick ports).


Van dmr

Ambassador (0)

afbeelding van dmr

10-04-2020, 19:21

Any news on this? The same idea has been haunting me for years... to put new hardware (*) in an MSX case (VG8020 or NMS8250), using the existing "legacy" keyboard. Shouldn't be too hard with an Arduino or similar...?

(*) DE1-SoC or DE1 with MSX core.

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