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The Keyboard's Protocol

Pc keyboard data transfer protocol.

  1. Binu
    Keyboard to Host

    As mentioned before, the PC's keyboard implements a bi-directional protocol. The keyboard can send data to the Host and the Host can send data to the Keyboard. The Host has the ultimate priority over direction. It can at anytime (although the not recommended) send a command to the keyboard.

    The keyboard is free to send data to the host when both the KBD Data and KBD Clock lines are high (Idle). The KBD Clock line can be used as a Clear to Send line. If the host takes the KBD Clock line low, the keyboard will buffer any data until the KBD Clock is released, ie goes high. Should the Host take the KBD Data line low, then the keyboard will prepare to accept a command from the host.

    The transmission of data in the forward direction, ie Keyboard to Host is done with a frame of 11 bits. The first bit is a Start Bit (Logic 0) followed by 8 data bits (LSB First), one Parity Bit (Odd Parity) and a Stop Bit (Logic 1). Each bit should be read on the falling edge of the clock.
    The above waveform represents a one byte transmission from the Keyboard. The keyboard may not generally change it's data line on the rising edge of the clock as shown in the diagram. The data line only has to be valid on the falling edge of the clock. The Keyboard will generate the clock. The frequency of the clock signal typically ranges from 20 to 30 Khz. The Least Significant Bit is always sent first.

    Host to Keyboard
    The Host to Keyboard Protocol is initiated by taking the KBD data line low. However to prevent the keyboard from sending data at the same time that you attempt to send the keyboard data, it is common to take the KBD Clock line low for more than 60us. This is more than one bit length. Then the KBD data line is taken low, while the KBD clock line is released.

    The keyboard will start generating a clock signal on it's KBD clock line. This process can take up to 10mS. After the first falling edge has been detected, you can load the first data bit on the KBD Data line. This bit will be read into the keyboard on the next falling edge, after which you can place the next bit of data. This process is repeated for the 8 data bits. After the data bits come an Odd Parity Bit.
    Once the Parity Bit has been sent and the KBD Data Line is in a idle (High) state for the next clock cycle, the keyboard will acknowledge the reception of the new data. The keyboard does this by taking the KBD Data line low for the next clock transition. If the KBD Data line is not idle after the 10th bit (Start, 8 Data bits + Parity), the keyboard will continue to send a KBD Clock signal until the KBD Data line becomes idle.
Tags: 8051, pc keyboard