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About AT-PC Keyboard

More details about AT-PC Keyboard.

  1. Binu
    Introduction:

    The IBM keyboard you most probably have sitting in front of you, sends scan codes to your computer. The scan codes tell your Keyboard Bios, what keys you have pressed or released. Take for example the 'A' Key. The 'A' key has a scan code of 1C (hex). When you press the 'A' key, your keyboard will send 1C down it's serial line. If you are still holding it down, for longer than it's typematic delay, another 1C will be sent. This keeps occurring until another key has been pressed, or if the 'A' key has been released.

    However your keyboard will also send another code when the key has been released. Take the example of the 'A' key again, when released, the keyboard will send F0 (hex) to tell you that the key with the proceeding scan code has been released. It will then send 1C, so you know which key has been released.



    Your keyboard only has one code for each key. It doesn't care it the shift key has been pressed. It will still send you the same code. It's up to your keyboard BIOS to determine this and take the appropriate action. Your keyboard doesn't even process the Num Lock, Caps Lock and Scroll Lock. When you press the Caps Lock for example, the keyboard will send the scan code for the cap locks. It is then up to your keyboard BIOS to send a code to the keyboard to turn on the Caps lock LED.

    Now there's 101 keys and 8 bits make 256 different combinations, thus you only need to send one byte per key, right?

    Nop. Unfortunately a handful of the keys found on your keyboard are extended keys, and thus require two scan code. These keys are preceded by a E0 (hex). But it doesn't stop at two scan codes either. How about E1,14,77,E1,F0,14,F0,77! Now that can't be a valid scan code? Wrong again. It's happens to be sent when you press the Pause/break key. Don't ask me why they have to make it so long! Maybe they were having a bad day or something?

    When an extended key has been released, it would be expect that F0 would be sent to tell you that a key has been released. Then you would expect E0, telling you it was an extended key followed by the scan code for the key pressed. However this is not the case. E0 is sent first, followed by F0, when an extended key has been released.