Tindie Blog | USB Your Sun Workstation

If you’re into retro computers, you know the headache of trying to find and maintain peripherals that work with your machine. Keyboards fail, mice fail, cables fail, and sooner or later you’re pulling your hair out troubleshooting a unique keyboard decoder IC of which only 10000 were ever made and nobody bothered to document. Well, for the Sun aficionados out there, the usb3sun comes to the rescue!

Sun keyboards use a unique serial interface to communicate with the system. The usb3sun converts USB events from keyboards/mice to this serial protocol. Not only does it allow you to use modern keyboards and mice with Sun SPARCstations, but it also supports emulating all the unique keys the SPARCstation keyboards have, like the soft power-on, Stop, Line Feed and Compose keys, to name a few. The project is also entirely open source. The firmware and PCB layouts are posted over on GitHub and the documentation is excellent.

Creator Funny Computer Museum (aka Delan Azabani, hacker extraordinaire) has also added a few extra touches to match the original, including a piezo speaker to emulate the key click noise that Sun keyboards make, as well as an SSD1306 display to show the LED indicators for CapsLock, ScrollLock, etc. A number of keyboards and mice have been tested and verified to work, though it appears work is still ongoing in this area. If you pick one of these up and it works out of the box, be sure to report your keyboard/mouse make and model to help improve the project for everyone.

So if you’re a Sun SPARCstation nut in need of an easy-to-use modern keyboard and mouse replacement, look no further!

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