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Use a Sinclair ZX81 Keyboard with your Raspberry Pi thanks to Arduino

Use a Sinclair ZX81 Keyboard with your Raspberry Pi thanks to Arduino

Over the last few years the rise of retro-computing enthusiasm has been helped by the world of Arduino, as a Leonardo-compatible can be used as a bridge between a 20th century keyboard and a USB interface. One example of this has been demonstrated by David Stephenson who shows us how to add a USB interface to the keyboard from a Sinclair ZX81.

The process is made easy thanks to the Leonardo’s ability to emulate a USB keyboard, so once the original has been wired to the digital input pins, you’re set to go with a simple sketch. And to keep things neat – David has used our Freetronics LeoStick – the tiny Leonardo-compatible that isn’t much larger than a USB stick. 

This is a fun project that can be applied to almost any older keyboard, so head over to David’s website to get started. And for more, we’re on facebook, twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.


Looking for a small Arduino-compatible board to use as the basis of your own USB controller? Consider our LeoStick – it’s the Arduino Leonardo-compatible board that’s cheaper and smaller than the original:

Apart from being one of the smallest Arduino-compatibles on the market with USB, it also has an onboard RGB LED and piezo which can be used a knock sensor and various tune and sound effects. Plus you can add extra circuitry with the matching protostick! For more information and to order, click here.