Ladyada and pt had an old NeXT keyboard with a strong desire to get it running on a modern computer. These keyboards are durable, super clicky, and very satisfying to use! However, they are very old designs, specifically made for NeXT hardware, pre-ADB and pre-USB! That means you can't just plug the keyboard into an ADB or PS/2 port or PS/2 to USB converter (even though it looks similar). In fact, I have no idea what the protocol or pinout is named, so we'll just call it "non-ADB NeXT Keyboard"

There is no existing adapter for sale, and no code out there for getting these working, so we spent a few days and with a little research we got it working perfectly using an Arduino Micro as the go between. Now this lovely black deck works like any other USB keyboard. Sure it weighs more than our Macbook, but its worth it!
This project is for people with a little soldering and Arduino experience - we'll assume you've built some electronics before and have installed & uploaded code to an Arduino. If you haven't, check out many of the tutorials here at for tons of ideas for practice!

This guide was first published on Dec 07, 2012. It was last updated on Jul 13, 2024.

This page (Overview) was last updated on Dec 07, 2012.

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