Plans for ThinkClamp v0.7

ThinkClamp Pre-Ultimatum

In version 0.7, the ThinkClamp hardware and firmware will be completely re-designed.

It will use an inverter RC circuit to reset the TrackPoint using the clock line instead of a pin. This opens up the UART port which allows the MCU to talk to various Bluetooth modules. If this does not work well, the user will have the option to connect the RX line back to the TrackPoint’s reset line like before. Bluetooth communication should not be interfered as many of these Bluetooth modules mostly listens for commands instead of sending out any. Bluetooth modules that can be soldered onto the board includes HC-05, HC-06 and HM-10, in which HID firmware can be programmed.

The board will feature a single cell LiPo charging station with JST 2.0mm connector, which is the battery connector for many remote controlled airplanes and helicopter batteries. Just go to a model shop and try out the batteries until one fits. LEDs are included on-board to indicate whether if battery charging status. Charging will be done through connecting the board to a power source through the micro-USB connector. If a battery is not used, the header next to the BSL button may be connected to allow 5V from the USB to flow straight to the circuit.

The microcontroller is chosen to be compatible with a MSP430F5510 and MSP430F5508. With different firmwares, the board can function as a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse combo or a USB keyboard and mouse combo. The footprint will be TQFP with 0.5mm pitch, which is much easier to solder compared to QFN like the F5502 used in v0.6. The crystal used for USB functions has been replaced with a cheap resonator.

The rows and columns of the keyboard adapter will be connected to different pins on the MSP430, hoping to use its interrupts to save power when user is not typing.

There will be two ways to program the MSP430 as well as the Bluetooth on-board such as the HM-10 using a custom firmware. Debuggers can be connected to the 2.54mm headers or using a TagConnect cable.


11 thoughts on “Plans for ThinkClamp v0.7

  1. Hi, would it be possible to get one of you ThinkPad USB keyboard adapter v0.6.1 Rev 1.1 fully populated? If it’s a lot of hassle to do just one, I might be interested in ordering 5. After how Lenovo scrapped the trackpoint buttons on the latest thinkpads, you might have a market going on here.

  2. Hi. As I am also a huge fan of thinkdad keyboards, I naturally came to the idea of creating essentially what you did here. I was somewhat certain no one implemented it before, but when I started researching internet found your blog.

    It might seem like a logical step for me, to just buy one of your boards, and use complete product, but instead, I still want to build it on my own. Mostly for educational purposes, and for the fun of process.

    With that all being said, I’d like to ask, if you could give me some pointers such as actual keyboard pin out, where can I buy connector in adequate quantities (I figured Molex 54363-0489 should be compatible, right?). You’ve said that this project won’t go opensource, but just in case, if you would be willing to share source, I would be very grateful.

    1. The receptacle depends on your keyboard. For mine, I had to get JAE’s AA01B-S040VA1. I’ve tried Molex ones but they break the keyboard connector. Pinout-wise, depends on your keyboard.

    1. Hi, the T430 (and other compatible keyboards) shares the same receptacle as the T60 keyboard so practically it is possible to just plug and configure the keyboard matrix. Other than that, I’ve had a busy year so I haven’t had time for any hobby project.

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