Anyone got a spare HPIL keyboard?

Tony Duell ard at
Fri Apr 21 16:52:35 CDT 2006

> I purchased an HP2397A color terminal.  It needs a monitor and
> keyboard.  The monitor is straightforward and can be taken care of
> with a cable.  (Although it would be nice to find the appropriate HP
> period monitor.)  The keyboard is a different story.  I need an HPIL
> keyboard.  Its my understanding that any HPIL keyboard would work, but

No you don't. HP never made an HPIL keyboard. The only HPIL keyboard that 
I know about is the hack described in the book 'Control the World with 
HPIL', to add a bigger keyboard to the HP71.

What uou need is an HP-HIL keyboard. Those are relatively common -- some 
HP9000/200 and hP9000/300 series machines used them, as did the HP150-II 
and the HP Integral. Along with some terminals, of course.

HPIL == Hewlett Packard Interface Loop
HP-HIL == Hewlett Packard Human Interface Link

> that I'd need one that understands HPIL and couldn't rig up a stock
> PS2 style keyboard.

No, HP-HIL is very different to the PC keyboard interface. I do have some 
information on HP-HIL -- enough to tell me I don't want to have to design 
my own peripherals if I can avoid it. The HP keyboards contain a custom 
HP-HIL slave chip, a COP400 series microcontroller, and a few 4000-series 
CMOS chips to link to the key matrix.

>From what I rememeber, there are various 'national' versions of the 
standard HP-HIL keyboard. The differences are in the keytops (not 
suprisingly) and also in the fitting f up to 8 diodes inside which 
determine the ID byte sent back by the keyboard. The system uses this to 
work out what keyboard is connected, and thus what character code to 
assign to each key. Your termninal should work correctly with any HP-HIL 

No I don't think I have a spare one...


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