The keypad manufacturer Storm Interface has made it simple to connect keypads to any USB compatible host system. The Storm 450 Series USB Encoder is a small black box, about the size of a matchbox. It simply presses on to the back of any Storm keypad, instantly turning it into a ‘connect and communicate’ device.
In its ‘out-of-the-box’ configuration the 450 USB Encoder is pre-programmed to output USB key codes compatible with the most commonly used keypad formats, including 4, 12 and 16 key arrays. This without additional software downloads or re-configuration. However the Storm 450 and 450i series encoders do much more than provide a simple system interface. They can be easily re-configured, by the user, to transmit alternative USB codes for customized keypad functionality. This enables the keypad to address a variety of system functions, not just numeric data entry. Multiple keypads with USB encoders can be connected to a single host system and used in combination to provide more complex system controls.
The 450i model encoder also drives and controls keypad illumination (featured as an option in many Storm keypads). Audible alerts and key press confirmation tones are also generated by the 450i model.
The 450 and 450i Encoders are the first in a range of modular USB interface devices planned for introduction by Storm during the coming months. This is part of a new initiative to make industrial specification human interface devices easier to implement and use. “It’s about reducing development time and installation costs for our customers” said Peter Ward, CEO, in a prepared statement.