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  1.    02 May 2016 #1

    Single keyboard - multiple machines --any such animal


    Hi there

    I'd really love a keyboard that had say 4 buttons on it --like Fn buttons that would switch output to any one of 4 machines -- such a simple idea but why nobody hasn't yet got one out on the market I can't understand it

    I'm really FED up with messing around with two / 3 physical keyboards and I don't want a USB switch box on my desk.

    All the keyboard would need is 4 USB outs (or 4 receivers for wireless) the active connection being made by a key press on the keyboard. In fact the only difficulty would be the right receiver for the wireless transmitter but that is easily solved by say a different colour key on the keyboard and an id (same colour) on the receiver.

    I'm sure some of you testing several machines on a workbench have faced similar problems of multiple keyboards.

    Any budding entrepreneurs out there --I'm sure loads of you have felt a need for this type of keyboard. Maybe there is one - but not seen at all !!.

    Any engineers -- any idea how I could even consruct one --I'm quite handy with a Soldering Iron etc.

    Cheers
    jimbo
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  2.    02 May 2016 #2
    Join Date : Oct 2013
    A Finnish expat in Germany
    Posts : 13,112
    Windows 10 Pro

    I'm using Microsoft Garage - Mouse without Borders. Very small footprint, easy to setup, never had any issues with it.



    No Fn buttons; you just move the pointer over the edge to another PC to switch mouse and keyboard input to that PC.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  3.    02 May 2016 #3

    Quote Originally Posted by Kari View Post
    I'm using Microsoft Garage - Mouse without Borders. Very small footprint, easy to setup, never had any issues with it.



    No Fn buttons; you just move the pointer over the edge to another PC to switch mouse and keyboard input to that PC.
    Hi @Kari

    That's a great idea if all the machines you are using have GUI's and mouse input -- I still use CLI's on machines so I think for me the keyboard switch might work better. Note I'm also using a Mix of Linux and Windows Machines too.

    I've jury rigged an old keyboard with a 4 way USB Hub and a USB Male to Female adapter - but what I actually need is a way to only output ONE output to a specific USB slot so when I hit the keys only ONE machine gets output. Anyway the setup looks a bit "Heath Robinson" but I'm sure I'm on the right lines. How to direct I/O (actually only output is needed) to a specific USB slot is a bit beyond my understanding currently but I'm sure it's do-able -- well we are never to old to start learning !!!!! --It's quite possible to initiate a program on Windows and LINUX to activate a script or whatever when a key is struck -- the Hardware interrupt would obviously run on the machine that has the Focus to return control to the "keyboard switcher" module. How to code this though !!! ????.

    " Back to Engineering School" I think !!! I'll find some way of doing this as I can't be the only one playing around with several physical machines on a Workbench with different HOST OS'es running on them at the same time !!!!.

    Cheers
    jimbo
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  4.    04 May 2016 #4
    Join Date : Aug 2015
    Posts : 50
    Windows 10

    I take it you don't like KVM switches?
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  5.    04 May 2016 #5
    Join Date : Jul 2014
    Serbia
    Posts : 10,619
    W10 Insider + Linux

    Quote Originally Posted by pcgeek11 View Post
    I take it you don't like KVM switches?
    Are there any with USB and DVI/HDMI ? Never seen any.
      My ComputersSystem Spec
  6.    04 May 2016 #6

    Quote Originally Posted by CountMike View Post
    Are there any with USB and DVI/HDMI ? Never seen any.
    Hi there.

    It would be SO much easier to have 4 receivers (wireless) connected to USB ports on the computers and simply a switch (Key) on the keyboard to choose the right frequency-- No messy wires etc.

    I'm messing around with 2 Laptops and 2 Servers (desktop type) and I don't want loads of cables. I know one get around is to run RDP (or equivalent) on the HOST machine -- but I also would like to see what the real screens look like on the physical computers.

    Switchboxes just increase the number of cables around !!! -- simplest would be a "multi" wireless keyboard --shouldn't be too hard to make one and I'm sure there would be a decent market for this.

    Maybe I'll get one of my Chinese / Korean colleagues to see what a factory could do in Taiwan / China / Hong Kong / S.Korea.

    The spec is simple --bog standard wireless keyboard with 3 extra transmitter frequencies (4 in total but only 1 transmitter needed) and receivers (4) with 4 extra keys to switch to the appropriate transmitter frequency.

    I might have a go to see if I can unplug the transmitter modules from 3 old keyboards --they all have different frequencies, and see if I can set a key to operate the switch --.

    If I break the old hardware - doesn't matter --all part of the learning process and this stuff was destined for a one way trip to the tip anyway!!!

    I'm sure this could easily be done as a High School science project (if people these days are taught engineering any more !!!).

    Cheers
    jimbo
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  7.    04 May 2016 #7
    Join Date : Jul 2014
    Serbia
    Posts : 10,619
    W10 Insider + Linux

    Frequencies are not a problem any more, all wireless KBs and mice work on 2.4GHz WiFi and BT 2.4GHz and are digital, so it's only a protocol and probably IP.
      My ComputersSystem Spec
  8.    04 May 2016 #8
    Join Date : Aug 2015
    Posts : 50
    Windows 10

    Quote Originally Posted by CountMike View Post
    Are there any with USB and DVI/HDMI ? Never seen any.
    I don't use DVI or HDMI on my computers so I wouldn't know... Never looked.

    Made me curious and I looked! These are just the first two I found.

    Yes they do have USB and DVI here: Amazon.com: StarTech.com 2 Port DVI VGA Dual Monitor KVM Switch USB with Audio USB 2.0 Hub - Dual Monitor KVM Switch DVI and VGA: Electronics

    And with USB and HDMI Here: Amazon.com: IOGEAR 4-Port HDMI Multimedia KVM Switch with Audio, USB 2.0 Hub and HDMI KVM Cables GCS1794: Electronics
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  9.    05 May 2016 #9
    Join Date : Jul 2014
    Serbia
    Posts : 10,619
    W10 Insider + Linux

    First one is VGA with manual switching but second one looks good although sound is not normally needed and adds to cable clutter.
      My ComputersSystem Spec
  10.    05 May 2016 #10

    Quote Originally Posted by CountMike View Post
    First one is VGA with manual switching but second one looks good although sound is not normally needed and adds to cable clutter.
    Hi there

    The whole point was to avoid cable clutter -- one can easily do it with a switchbox but that's what I'm trying to avoid.

    For a switch box the best keyboard to use is one with an old PS/2 connector and then use ps/2-->usb to the usb switch. leave the mouse connector not used.

    4 USB wireless mice - no problem --it's keyboards !!! -- I'm still amazed with people using many systems concurrently that this simple piece of hardware hasn't been invented yet -- or do people like having loads of messy cables around.

    Actually I think they do -- I went to a friend's house the other night to help him set up two NAS boxes -- he wanted to run LAN cable all over the place. I suggested why not use an ETHERNET-->WIFI bridge -- nobody has bad Internet in Iceland --you either have mega fast connections or none at all !!. Decent 5GHZ wifi gives you a max speed of up to 433 Mb/s so no problem and an old router used this way has 4 LAN Ports too --- He was amazed -- no mega cable laying !!!!.


    Cheers
    jimbo
      My ComputerSystem Spec

 
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