The KB232E Manual

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KB232E - Excerpts from Customer Support

Question: Whenever I press a "Caps Lock" or "Num Lock" key, the keyboard stops working. (Application is powering the keyboard and adapter from the RS-232 connection.)
Answer: The current to power the indicator lights exceeds the power that can be extracted from the RS-232 port. You can either disable the indicator LEDs by changing the configuration string, or you can use an external power supply to power the KB232E.

Question: Can you recommend a power supply for the KB232E adapter and a keyboard?
Answer: Try a Digi-Key part number T403-PIP-ND. It's a 9V wall mount supply made by CUI Inc. Last price I saw was $5.08 for 0ne piece.

Question: What signals does the KB232E adapter use?
Answer: The RS-232 signnals used are Receive (pin 2), Transmit (pin 3) and Ground (pin 5). The KB232E derives power from the DTR (pin 4) input and CTS (pin 7) input. All other lines are not connected.

Question: The key code "83" used for the F7 key doesn't seem to work when loaded in the key code table.
Answer: There was a misprint in the KB232E manual. The key code for the F7 key is "F0".

Question: I can't load the entire configuration string. It returns to the prompt before I'm done.
Answer: Versions before 3.0x7 have a problem that the input buffer is set too short. You can work around this by using abbreviated settings. Fo example, instead of using "Simple,9600,No Par,nc,2,20", use "S,96,N,nc,2,20". We can upgrade the program version if this is a problem.

Question: At 1200 baud, the "C" command to display the configuration string does not work.
Answer: Versions before 3.0x7 have this problem. The recommended work-around is to use 9600 baud to set up the key code lookup table. Then change the configuration to 1200 baud once you're done. We can upgrade the program version if this is a problem.

Question: It's very awkward to have to erase the whole key code lookup table when you make a mistake.
Answer: We have a macro script for Tera Term to download a keycode table from a file on your PC. The macros are online at KB232E Tera Term Macros
The Tera Term application is available at: Tera Term

Question: Can you make the KB232E send serial ASCII for the CAPS-LOCK and NUM-LOCK keys?
Answer: Yes. You can assign ASCII to these keys in the key code table. The CAPS-LOCK key code is "58" and the NUM-LOCK key code is 77. These we're originally left out of the manual, but have since been added.

Question: When I plug the KB232E with the keyboard into the RS-232 port, I cannot communicate with it using Hyperterm or Tera Term. Using a breakoutbox, I can see data going to the adapter but nothing coming back.
Answer: Have you tried connecting it to a COM port without a keyboard attached? You should be able to press "Enter" on Hyperterm and get a prompt back. The KB232E will plug directly into a COM port. I don't suggest using a breakout box as it can suck power away from the control lines for the LEDs and not allow enough power to power the KB232E.

The keyboard you are using may draw more power than can be obtained from the RS232 signals. If you are using a notebook computer, often these computers don't provide true RS-232 signals and don't provide adequate power. The KB0001 keyboard that we re-sell is particularly low powered and may staisfy your needs. Failing that, you may need to use a +9V or +12V DC power supply. (See above.)

Question: After loading a new configuration string, I cannot communicate to the KB232E any more.
Answer: This sounds like the configuation string may have been loaded incorrectly. You can reset the the KB232E to the default parameters by plugging it into the RS232 port while the port is sending a "Break" condition, which is the transmit pin from the computer in a "high" state. To do this with Tera Term, follow the steps below:

  1. Disconnect the KB232E from the RS232 port, and if a keyboard is attached to the KB232E, disconnect that as well. Make sure the KB232E is disconnected for a couple minutes in order for any input capacitance to dissipate before going to step 2.
  2. Run Tera Term. Set it up for 9600 baud, 8-bits, no parity. Make sure it's configured for the right COM port.
  3. Have the KB232E positioned so you can quickly plug it in to the COM port.
  4. Type 15 "Alt-B"'s to Tera-Term and then quickly plug the KB232E into the COM port. Normally Tera Term will have a blinking cursor. While it is sending the breaks (transmit data high), the cursor will stop blinking. After you plug in the KB232E, look at the Tera Term cursor to make sure it is still not blinking. If it is, your need more time, so repeat by going to step 1, and type more "Alt-B"s (say 30?).
  5. When the Tera Term cursor starts blinking again, press the "Enter" key and look for a ":" prompt. If you get a prompt, type D and the "Enter" key to set defaults. Type "C" and the "Enter" and make sure the config string matches the default in the manual. If you don't get the prompt, try this procedure again several times before giving up.