Model M Add-ons

My focus on “modifications” to the Model M has been refined to add-ons: Non-permanent, removable, reversible, modular additions to customize your keyboard without damage or intense modification to the original components.


For boards without lock status LEDs, such as the space saving 84-key and various terminal variants, I’ve created a spiffy little setup. I’ve designed a Mylar holder that holds surface mount LEDs and their associated wiring, which slips over the barrels of lock keys. The light from the LED bounces off the barrel giving a subtle glowing indication.

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[ Boards that I’ve added LEDs to. ]


Possibly my favorite little add-on. I’ve designed multiple custom cut and custom painted Mylar sheets which slip over top of the barrel frame to give a subtle splash of color underneath the keys and around the edges between the case and keys. Not only do they add a personal touch, they’re removable and gently washable – which makes keeping the barrel frame clean quite a bit easier.

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[ Boards that I’ve added a colored underlay to. ]


There are a number of excellent solutions to easily convert the PS/2 protocol to USB: tried and true active adapters, an excellent SDL to USB cable, and an equally excellent programmable PS/2 to USB converter.

Then there are a number of methods to internally convert a Model M to USB, which involve desoldering components from the stock controller and either installing a simple adapter or a microcontroller breakout board like a Teensy or Arduino.  I’ve done both, and despite doing them neatly, I was never happy. So I came up with a replacement controller, giving native USB and potential for Bluetooth.

It’s a very simple circuit board, based on the Atmel AT90USB1286 microcontroller, which has the same dimensions and mounting areas as the stock controller. The only reason this is possible is because it’s standing on the shoulders of giants: keyboard firmware like TMK and Soarer’s Controller.

Bluetooth, though, is still in the works. So, at the moment I’m not exactly offering it as an option, but it is definitely possible to do so with the new controller. It’s just rough around the edges.

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[ Boards that I’ve converted to USB. ]