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Using 2 keyboards & 1 mouse?

Posted on 2001-09-06
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Last Modified: 2008-02-26
I have a Windows 2000 Pro workstation with 2 PS/2 ports - 1 keyb and 1 mouse.

I would like to use 2 different keybs (1 US & 1 German) and switch between them using W2K's Regional Options & Input Locales & specifying both keyboard layouts.

I have tried a PS/2 Y-splitter (normally used to run a keyb & mouse off 1 PS/2 port) on the keyb PS/2 port but only the keyb connected to the 'keyb ' marked end of the splitter works. The keyb connected the the 'mouse' marked end does not.

Any ideas? Does a Y-splitter cable exist to allow for 2 keybs to work off a single keyb PS/2?
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Question by:omb
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by:slink9
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How about trying a USB keyboard along with the regular one?
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by:Don Thomson
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You may want to try an A/B splitter box used to share a keyboard, mouse, VGA  between 2 PCs.  

The problem with hooking up two keyboards at the same time is that if one is in caps and the other isn't - the system will be getting different scan-codes. - I don't think you can do it without major conflicts
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pbessman earned 25 total points
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I found a special Y splitter for your purposes.  You should be able to use W2K's Regional
Options & Input Locales, a standard Y that is designed for a laptop may not work.  You would need to add a special splitter for using two keyboards specifically.  Here are a couple of options:
http://www.diacables.com/featured/yadapt.html#GlossC
Same adapter more information from http://www.iec-usa.com/adp5194.html
"Use Two Keyboards on One PC at the Same Time
The ADP5194 is the fast and simple way to attach two keyboards to one computer. With this small, easy to use, Y-shaped adapter you don't have to open your computer or install any software, just plug it in and you're ready to go.

Why use the ADP5194?
Simultaneous connection of a specialized keyboard and a standard one to the same port.
Great for teaching and classrooms where students must share a computer.
Allows quick access to both standard and kids' keyboards.
Perfect for computers requiring input from two locations (i.e. two sides of a desk or two adjacent rooms).
Use with other (see list at bottom) Y-mouse products to access one computer from two locations.
Technical Information:
The ADP5194 Dual Keyboard Adapter is for use with two keyboards on a PC compatible keyboard port in five and six pin versions. It is compatible with all operating systems that support PC type keyboards. Keyboards do not have to be identical. An internal microprocessor automatically switches to the active device and blocks the other signal, thereby avoiding conflict. No additional IRQs or comm ports are required."
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by:pbessman
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You can purchase the above adapter from the following site.

http://www.fentek-ind.com/y-adapter.htm
Y-Key Key Dual Keyboard Adapter
The dual keyboard adapter allows you to connect both specialized and standard keyboards to your computer, then switch between them as necessary.

Attach a childrens keyboard to your computer without removing your standard keyboard.

Connect two keyboards to a computer that requires input from different locations. Part# YKKP - $59.95

The Y-Key Key Adapter works with all systems that support PC type keyboards. This is the simple way to attach two keyboards to one computer, because it allows a simultaneous connection of two keyboards to the same keyboard port. Keyboards do not have to be identical. An internal microprocessor automatically switches to the active device and blocks the other signal, thereby avoiding conflict. No additional IRQ's or comm ports are required.
For further information or to place an order please call us at 800-639-0710
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by:omb
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Thanks everyone for all your feedback.

slink9, I agree with DTHConsulting about the conflicts which could be experienced if each keyb sent different signals - nevertheless, I will try out your USB & PS/2 suggestion.

DTHConsulting, your A/B splitter box suggestion sounds one way forward - have you any particular products in mind? Are they expensive?

pbessman, nice work! Sounds another great solution and eliminates 1 stage in 'switching' between keybs. I will check this out a little further.

I am based in the UK - anyone know of local suppliers? Thanks again
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by:pbessman
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http://www.keytools.com/accessories/index.htm
I believe they are in the UK.  I followed links that were .UK and it led me to this site.  It really should not matter if you have a credit card as the credit card company will generally charge you based on the best rate of exchange for you in a given period.
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by:pbessman
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http://www.keytools.com/accessories/splitters.htm
I read to the bottom of the page they are in Southampton, UK.  
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by:Don Thomson
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A 2 Position vga/keyboard switch will run you about $20 CAN or about #10 from just about any mailorder electronics supplier.

From the description of the Y-Key Key Dual Keyboard Adapter
if it has the ability to isolate the two keyboards from interfering with each other electronically then it would work - although it's a bit more expensive.
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by:pbessman
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The adapter I suggested allows simultaneous use of keyboards electronically switches.
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by:slink9
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I like the autoswitching adapter idea.  Of course, if a USB keyboard could be used by just plugging it in or unplugging it you maight be able to save some $$$.
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by:pbessman
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It sounds like he already had the keyboards he wants.  USB keyboards are not as cheap as the PS/2 alternatives.  Also, does not want to unplug and plug back in all the time this would make it seamless.
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by:magarity
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A USB keyboard *should* be usable with a PS/2 keyboard at the same time, but you may need to set 'USB Legacy Keyboard' to 'disabled' in the system's BIOS.  Otherwise if it is set to 'enabled' the BIOS will amost certainly detect the USB keyboard and override the normal PS/2 port.  (That's how our BIOS works, anyway)  I have just tested it here with legacy disabled and both PS/2 and USB keyboards work at the same time.  Hopefully your system is similar.  Check the return policy before purchasing a USB keyboard if you decide to try this yourself.

regards,
magarity
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by:omb
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Thank you all for your invaluable feedback.

I have now ordered the following:

1. Y-Key Key Dual Keyboard Adapter
2. OmniView E Series 2-Port KVM Switch
3. USB keyboard

...for evaluation purposes. I'll let you all know which is my preferred solution
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by:pbessman
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OK, waiting.
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by:omb
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Thanks again everyone for all your feedback. sorry I haven't updated this call sooner, but EE seemed to have been experiencing probs.

In the end my preferred solution was the Y splitter. I purchases a Belkin OmniView Keyboard Splitter (product code F1D089), allowing 2 PS/2 keybs to be used on a PC simultaneously. Works great, it's a neat solution and not too expensive. In W2K, I setup 2 different keyb layouts and then just SHIFT + ALT on which every keyb I wish to use.
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