Teletype with non-US keyboard?

I’ve searched the forum and the doc but couldn’t find a clear answer for this : does Teletype support non-US keyboards ? If so, is this handled automatically by the module when the keyboard is plugged ?

I’m really used to Japanese keyboards (which are qwerty but with tons of small differences in non-letter keys layout) and using another keyboard, especially for something with coding involved, messes up my brain and not in a good way.

I’m considering getting a Teletype once gear funds allow it but having to use a US qwerty keyboard would make me a bit sad…

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I was wondering the same. The problem might just be with special characters which need a key-combo (eg. ~ on my Italian keyboard is not directly on the keyboard, and has a different combo on every OS, though that one is not used anymore on v2.0 of the firmware).

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I think the USB keyboard protocol is just the IBM AT key codes but over USB. Maybe at some point keyboards might switch to Unicode over USB, but until then there is always going to be weirdness.

My experience with international keyboards suggests that it’s only the symbols that tend to display differently… e.g. going by this images

When you type shift-6 on a keyboard, it sends the key code for 6 with the modifier shift, this is then interpreted by your OS. If your OS thinks you are using a US or UK keyboard, you will get a ^, but if it thinks it’s a JIS keyboard you get an &.

On the Teletype it’s OS, or rather it’s firmware is hardcoded to use a US ANSI layout, which is broadly compatible with most European ISO layouts. JIS is probably starting to stray a bit too much. Sorry.

However if you can code a bit, but more importantly use the command line, then it would be easy to compile your own firmware with some small tweaks to get it perfect on any layout. If you know how to use git then it’s even easier to keep your changes synced up to the main version. If that is the case let me know and I will help you get started.

Also, this is very important, the Teletype does not work with keyboards that have built-in USB hubs.

Hope that’s helpful.


Thanks for the detailed answer.

I don’t have a Teletype yet but when I get one I’ll get back to you about that :).
I’m more used to Visual Studio and Perforce than command line compilation and git but I think I can manage this…

Cheers :slight_smile:

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No worries…

This is the file you’ll need to fiddle with, specifically the hid_to_ascii function:

It’s in the shared codebase rather that the Teletype codebase (so you may have to get to grips with git submodules. If you’re a professional coder then learning a bit of git will be useful down the road anyway. At least one of the contributors to the Teletype code uses Windows too.

Bump this thread once you’re ready…

i expect we’d need to do something similar to support dvorak keyboard layouts?

If it’s a QWERTY keyboard that you want to pretend to be a Dvorak keyboard then yes.

If it’s a hardwired Dvorak US keyboard then you possibly wouldn’t have to make any changes at all, as the computer sees it as a standard US ANSI layout.

I know this is old but I would really appreciate if someone could explain the supported scenarios that are possible to use Dvorak.


  1. if you have a keyboard that can be configured to send the right keycodes for a Dvorak layout
  2. if you modify the hid_to_ascii code to process keycodes for a Dvorak layout and recompile the Teletype firmware

The existing firmware assumes your keyboard layout is US ANSI.

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