Type4me

luca 14/01/2013 13

Today’s project was designed to solve the need to enter, using a keyboard, the same sequence of characters (a password, a greeting…) many times.

General description

Type4me is a composite USB device, that is composed by two elements:

  • an USB keyboard
  • serial port

You can send the characters to be typed through the serial connection; in addition the device supports some commands to save/clear the sequence of characters and to include/not include a “return” at the end of it.

All the project’s files (schematics, pcb, firmware…) are available on my Github’s repository.

Schematics

The heart of Type4me is a PIC18F14K50 microcontroller, that includes a slave USB peripheral used to communicate with the PC. The microcontroller needs a 12MHz clock for USB operations; clock provided by Q1 crystal with C2 and C3 capacitors. C4 and C5 capacitors are used to decouple the power supply.

Partlist includes the S1 switch, with its pull-up resistor R1 and the (optional) C1 capacitor for de-bouncing and LED1 led with R2 resistor.

JP1 connector is for programming the microcontroller using an ICSP programmer (for example Microchip’s PICkit).

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13 Comments »

  1. Dario 14/01/2013 at 20:16 - Reply

    Well done!
    By the way, why CCS?

    • luca 14/01/2013 at 21:36 - Reply

      Hi Dario,

      thanks! I chose CCS mostly because of its great ready-to-use libraries, especially the USB stack. I tried to use the new “XC” microchip compiler but at the moment it’s not very mature and it’s hard to use it with Microchip USB stack so I gave up.

  2. Chris 14/01/2013 at 23:29 - Reply

    This is a perfect solution for me? Any kit availability?

    • luca 15/01/2013 at 09:58 - Reply

      Hi Chris,

      not at the moment… but if you need a pre-programmed PIC or help for building it write me!

  3. zaion 15/01/2013 at 09:11 - Reply

    Good job. Now shrink it and sell it.

  4. lucasvb 15/01/2013 at 09:45 - Reply

    does the keyboard emulation work on linux too?

    • luca 15/01/2013 at 09:55 - Reply

      Yes: it’s a HID device so under Linux you don’t need any drivers.
      Actually CDC drivers are only for Windows, I haven’t tried if you can use “generic” drivers under Linux.

  5. Chris 15/01/2013 at 18:21 - Reply

    Does this have the ability to store multiple pieces of text? For instance, can I store 3 or 4 different items, and then pick which one I want?

    • luca 15/01/2013 at 20:11 - Reply

      Hi Chris,

      not at the moment, the v1 of Type4me was kept intentionally simple… v2 will have more buttons (I think 4) and a GUI (to create complex sequences like the one shown to play MAME).

  6. chris shaffer 17/06/2013 at 18:47 - Reply

    Luca,
    I’m looking for a device that will enter Ctl-N with a button push. i want to put this button on the top of a bar code scanner. I’m thinking that your device will do this and it wouldn’t be a big deal to make the buttom remote from the board. Your thoughts?

    Chris

    • luca 17/06/2013 at 21:09 - Reply

      Hi Chris

      sending CTRL-N is not a problem at all! About remoting… I’d probably choose a couple of inexpensive nRF24L01.
      If you like, write me an email!

  7. Mike Gordon 07/11/2013 at 17:04 - Reply

    Luca,

    This device would be perfect for a particular use case: copying a long complex password from a password vault running on 1 PC and “typing” it into the Windows password field on another.

    Could we remove the “save to EEPROM” routine and just put a small battery on it to maintain the memory while moving it from one PC to the other? I’d also add an on/off switch to save battery when not in use and to force an erasure of the password. This would also prevent a technician from storing a password permanently in the unit, as sooner or later the battery would run out.

    Also, could you add toggles in the GUI for !enter! vs !noenter!! and !save! vs not doing a !save! on each copy?
    Mike

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