Kensington Pocket Keypad

Kensington Pocket Keypad

I wasted a couple hours debugging a Kensington Pocket Keypad I had purchased to work with a 3D program I’m using. I use ancient Model M keyboards on all my PCs, specifically the 84-key Space Saver design that lacks a numpad. Geeky notes follow.

PC Keyboard Scan Codes

Every key on a IBM PC-style keyboard has a unique identifier called a “scan code”. For complex applications with a lot of functions, it’s not uncommon to use the numeric keypad for special uses. So while you might think typing a “9” on the numpad or the top row of keys doesn’t really make a difference, they are two distinct keys. Each key has a unique scan code, and software can be written to take advantage of that.

I used a nifty utility called ScanCode Show to tell me what scancodes were being sent by the Kensington compared to the Targus keypad I just picked up. The Targus (model AKP01US, wireless) sent the correct codes. The Kensington sent the codes for the other number buttons at the top row of the keyboard. Functionally, this is OK most of the time, but it is 100% useless for what I need it to do. Back it goes!

It’s really too bad, because otherwise it’s a very attractive, compact, good-feeling keypad with extra USB ports.

5 Comments

  1. Chris 13 years ago

    Would it be possible to use a key remapping tool (KeyTweak comes to mind, not sure of the name) to remap the keys on the keypad to the ones you need?

    ——-

  2. Dave Seah 13 years ago

    Chris: No, unfortunately it actually appears to be a problem with the way the keypad was designed at a lower level. Keymapping software relies on the keycodes reported by each pressed key to be unique, and in this case the numpad number keys being distinct from the regular number keys so it can tell the difference between them. I could remap the number keys, but this would remap the REGULAR number keys too, which is not desirable.

  3. bryan 13 years ago

    So, where does one get a Model-M 84-key keyboard?

  4. Dave Seah 13 years ago

    I got all of mine on Ebay several years ago. Look for “space saver keyboard IBM” and a few will usually pop up.

  5. Bo Jordan 13 years ago

    Ebay is often preferable, but they’re often available at clickykeyboards.com.

    It’s really the best keyboard ever.