Need help with a project - arduino and USB keyboard

I have an old “left handed mini keyboard” from my XP days.

I can’t find a windows 10 driver.

My plan is to get an arduino which as a USB-A port (same as what you see on computers) and that will allow me to plug this into the keyboard. Or more so: Plug the keyboard into the arduino.

Then I write some code. It looks for buttons being pressed on that keyboard and transcodes them into what I want them to be.

Shouldn’t be too hard. But I don’t know how to find the “hat” (or entire board) in the arduino world.

I am sure they used to exist.



Hi Andrew,

Thanks for making a topic!

Unfortunately, a majority of Arduino boards don’t have native USB peripherals onboard. In short an Arduino probably wont be your best bet here.

Your best bet might be to pull apart the keyboard and tap into the outputs from the buttons - there are a few configurations for keyboards - some setup in a grid and some that use whats called a multiplexer to handle button inputs. Zack Freedman has an awesome video on making one here: I Invented a Keyboard and Snapped it in Half (MiRage Mech Keyboard) - YouTube
Definitely applicable to this project!

A few different products handle the interpretation of inputs via I2C or a grid output (mentioned before).

This driver chip is at the heart of a lot of DIY keyboards, so might be good to start with!

Do you have any photos or links of the keyboard you have?


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Thanks Liam.

“Back in the day” I remember some boards (or hats?) that offered the USB port input.

Oh well… Alas this means it gets pushed down the priority list.

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Hi Andrew,

I managed to track down this shield with a USB port and converter chip on top: USB Host Shield | Sparkfun DEV-09947 | Core Electronics Australia
I’m not certain that it would work with your keyboard but worth a shot!

There’s a deep rooted naming convention, typically HAT’s(/Bonnets) are for Pi’s and shields are for Arduino’s,


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Ok. I’ll think about it. (And I only JUST placed an order… Too late to add this to it?)

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The projects and code link kind of doesn’t work any more. No find arduino stuff there.

Sorry… It just took forever.

Looking now.

Yeah, the link isn’t there. There is a lot of arduino stuff, but still can’t find the USB_HOST bit.

Completely different board…

You may want to check if you want to keep the link though because when I tried I don’t think it showed me what you have.

Nah, for now I’ll think about it.

Need to do more homework on the board. Sorry.

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