Teletype - Programming a keyboard to send stored commands


Hi all!

I’ve been really enjoying the Teletype and it’s completely changed the way I approach the modular. Thank you so much for creating it! I’ve been recently developing a method on the modular using the Teletype that I plan to use in a live situation. And I find myself wanting to add more functionality to my scenes but there isn’t exactly room for it.

But I realize, in Live Mode, I can literally type in these extra commands. The problem is the typing part. It’s too slow for a live situation.

So, it made me think, jeez, I wish I could program a key on the keyboard to store a particular useful command and to send it whenever I press the key. It would be kind of like having a programmable controller for the Teletype.

(Tell me if this is redundant. Obviously, the teletype is programmable)

I know that the new firmware for Teletype extends the grid ops functionality but is it possible to do this type of thing? Program a key on the monome to send a particular command that you dictate?

If not, it seems completely doable as a DIY thing, right? Perhaps a rasberry pi project? What would you recommend? I’m not a genius with programming language but I’m usually good when approach something with a particular end result in mind.

Thanks again and apologies if this has been discussed before, I couldn’t find anything on the forums exactly talking about this.

All the best!


You could build something like this fairly easily. RaspberryPi is probably overkill. I can’t find a link to the specific project I am thinking of, but most popular microcontrollers can spit out keycodes, so it should be reasonably straight forward to setup something to send some macros for you. If I spot the project I’m thinking of again, I’ll report back…


I haven’t tried this yet, but you could try to linewrap something similar to a standard shell script, with something like minicom, and ctrl+shift+v to paste #minicom and execute a small file name like x.dfl as:

#minicom x.dfl

and then it can send terminal output to serial points. But I haven’t tried this yet.


not entirely unrelated: i’ve been thinking about a small mod where the UART input (there’s a header on the back, only really used for output debugging) could be routed as if it were keyboard input.

for your purpose (if this worked) you could have a tiny uC send serial strings according to button presses (input device could be whatever).

for a more general purpose, a usb-keyboard-to-uart could mean having a free USB port on the TT itself (for grids/midi/whatever)… could be a tiny expander module.


Thanks for the comments. I think a lot of this is beyond my understanding. I will do some research on Minicom and linewrap.

@tehn, correct me if I’m wrong, your idea is mainly so that someone could have this alternate controller connected simultaneously with the keyboard, correct?

Is there any issue with using this projected micro-controller in the main usb connector on the teletype? Other than power issues, I understand for powered devices, like the grid, we are supposed to use something like that off-world usb adaptor mentioned in previous threads.


Perhaps the TXi and TXo are the logical starting points for another expander, say, the TXk, or perhaps TXu (for USB).


Seems like tagging @bpcmusic and @scanner_darkly is in order. This sounds like a neat possibility. :black_heart:


You guys all rock for all the development you do!

Seems like it would be a pretty basic modification, right? If I’m not wrong. Mainly converting the header connection to a USB connection and mounting it on a small faceplate? It should be all completely passive, no?


It seems like an Arduino could spit out commands for Teletype based on the input from a sensor or a button. Maybe I am missing something obvious. I am not to familiar with keycodes or microcontrollers so if anyone could point out some helpful resources on the subject I am definitely curious about the possibilities.


Hey, if you want overkill, these are all over eBay…


That sounds like a hot ticket. Better to much than not enough. I am definitely going to check one of these out. Thanks for the suggestion.


I love how questions like these inspire ideas. Like new practical uses for a new psudoterminal or null modem like behavior in software.


*the olkb planck uses qmk firmware, which supports macros and tap dance.


I used to own an AlphaSmart. I think it was the Dana model, which ran palm pilot apps I didn’t care about, but had higher resolution / fit more lines of text on the screen. It’s probably in storage – it wasn’t a high priority to keep track of that when I consolidated my belongings. But I never considered that it might have artistic uses (outside of undistracted writing, which was largely the point).

I doubt there are any palm pilot apps that integrate with Dana’s “keyboard out” functionality, but if you can dig up an SDK, there might be some additional potential there.

It’s an interesting thought, to be sure…


a quick search also turned up this:

you can program your own macros and it has onboard flash memory. not guaranteed if it would work with teletype but assuming it acts as a generic keyboard and doesn’t have a usb hub inside it could be fine.

as for going with a separate microprocessor, ansible/trilogy modules would be probably the shortest route. a usb port already included, adding keyboard support would be trivial, could communicate with teletype via i2c. the problem is the difficulty of implementing a 2 way i2c protocol.


I have a Vortex Core mechanical keyboard that stores all of its firmware and key bindings internally. It has the ability to program macros. I haven’t tried it out yet, but I bought that keyboard with that in the back of my mind. Switching into a custom layer for live mode with a few macros setup seems fairly simple and doesn’t require any external hardware/software.




That vertex core keyboard looks pretty on point! I may have to get that one and check it out for myself. If you decide to test it out I would love to hear about your results.


FYI, several people reported issues when using vortex keyboards: Mechanical keyboard for teletype?


Thank you for the link! Looks like most people are having dropped key issues which would be super annoying. But I do also wonder how reliably the programmed commands are sent. I might bite the bullet and still pick one up. Its a bit of an investment but I also like the look a lot. Which, sad to say, goes a long way too. Ha!

EDIT: But you know those Genovation Control pads don’t look so bad either.