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Nik_52
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Message 1 of 14
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Using old Telewest Active Digital QWERTY kbd with PC IRDA dongle ??

Hi !

After helping with a house clearance, I've several of the old Telewest Active Digital QWERTY keyboards. I believe they're IRDA  but my Windows'10 PC's IRDA / USB dongle does not respond to them.

Though I fitted fresh batteries, there's no pilot light, so I'm not even sure if I've switched them on !!

Google drew blank; is there any documentation on these devices ?  Are they FIR / SIR / MIR ??  

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jlippa
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Message 2 of 14
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Re: Using old Telewest Active Digital QWERTY kbd with PC IRDA dongle ??

I think you're talking about these KW1271/00F things:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Genuine-Telewest-Active-Digital-IR-Keyboard-Remote-Control-KW-1271-00F/13...

135358656_a0e116f060_o

If so, the best that I can find is this old abandoned thread on the digitalspy forum:

https://forums.digitalspy.com/discussion/1905006/telewest-active-digital-wireles-keyboard

I expect that you will have at least one "working" one and it will be squirting out IR signals but they will be IR signals that only an old Telewest box could natively understand.

I'm sure a tinkerer / hacker type could build a little circuit with an IR receiver and perhaps an Arduino board that could read and interpret these signals for some purpose.

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Nik_52
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Re: Using old Telewest Active Digital QWERTY kbd with PC IRDA dongle ??

Yes, thanks for your prompt reply, that's the type !

I remember using them for e-mail, almost texting, many years ago.

One of the three has several sticky keys, so I may take it apart.

I was hoping some-one might say, 'Funny you should ask, they're IRDA type / speed whatever...'

Sadly, there was scant documentation, even then.

I'm getting an el-cheapo IR detector used for dead/alive checking of IR remotes, should be able to tell if I'm actually turning the kbd on; Given hassle and range issues, is NOT surprising tech went to Bluetooth beyond cordless-cradle range !!

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Nik_52
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Message 4 of 14
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Re: Using old Telewest Active Digital QWERTY kbd with PC IRDA dongle ??

The IR detector shows the keyboards are 'on' all the time, transmitting each key-press. The output is so powerful, the IR detector only responds when beyond 5~6 feet away or off at an angle if nearer. Windows IRDA ignored all these signals, of course, of course...
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jlippa
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Message 5 of 14
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Re: Using old Telewest Active Digital QWERTY kbd with PC IRDA dongle ??

Funny thing there, I was typing this as you were typing your post Smiley Happy

I was going to say if you take one apart you might learn a bit more. It would be nice to find IR spec details labelled up inside but that might be hoping for too much.

In the past I've done some 433Mhz signal reverse engineering as part of building a WiFi enabled boiler controller but I've never done anything with IR. I'm sure that these keyboards are mostly good for nothing other than communicating with the now defunct box they were originally intended to be used with..but..if you wanted to, I'm sure it would be possible to build something that could interpret the IR signals sent and use them for some DIY project purpose.

The last time I mentioned Arduino and a little search has turned this mini-project up where this guy analyses IR frequency and protocols with an Arduino and an IR receiver:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zJcMqxjvkQ

http://techiesms.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/analyze-any-ir-protocol-with-just-you.html

I kinda like this electronics / firmware stuff. I'm obviously a complete nerd with too much time on my hands.

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MrHalfAsleep
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Re: Using old Telewest Active Digital QWERTY kbd with PC IRDA dongle ??

Ahh, the olden days.  Cable & Wireless did one for their set top boxes for sending emails/web browsing.  Making it useful again would be a good video for the Tubes.







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Nik_52
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Re: Using old Telewest Active Digital QWERTY kbd with PC IRDA dongle ??

Have you any references for the C&W kbd ? Google cannot find it...
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MrHalfAsleep
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Message 8 of 14
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Re: Using old Telewest Active Digital QWERTY kbd with PC IRDA dongle ??

29 million results is an awful lot to go through and you can't really narrow it down.  NTL took them over in 1999 and I was on the internet via dial up.

They were only available for a short period of time and cost £29.95.  They also functioned as a remote control and looked like the keyboard in the above picture.  I fired the TV package off as It would only give the then terrestrial channels. (BBC1 through Channel 5).







--
The only winning move is not to play.
No system is 100% secure
Ridicule is nothing to be scared of - Adam Ant
The only thing constant - is change. Chris Evans
The internet is a series of tubes
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MrHalfAsleep
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Message 9 of 14
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Re: Using old Telewest Active Digital QWERTY kbd with PC IRDA dongle ??

I found two on Ebay: 

NTL keyboard

C&W keyboard

A lot of stuff they had planned didn't happen, such as the interactive games, IIRC.  All 3 are exactly the same, just with different badges on.

C&W have since been taken over by LG and Pace have been taken over by Arris.







--
The only winning move is not to play.
No system is 100% secure
Ridicule is nothing to be scared of - Adam Ant
The only thing constant - is change. Chris Evans
The internet is a series of tubes
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Nik_52
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Message 10 of 14
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Re: Using old Telewest Active Digital QWERTY kbd with PC IRDA dongle ??

Thank you.
The side-bar with the tags serendipitously shows how those come out. Bit like repairing or replacing the cable on a Dyson, which need a precisely-bent, narrow-bladed screwdriver plus a certain persistence...
{ Shudder...}
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