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iRulu 10.1" Model AX105 with Android 4.2

External USB Keyboard

If you're lucky, the first time you plug in an external USB keyboard, it will work just fine. Based on my experience, I recommend that it be the first USB device you plug in and try to configure.

I wasn't quite so lucky, and the impetus for this page is to help others avoid or solve the same problems I experienced.

I configured a USB 10/100 Ethernet adapter first, and then had trouble getting an external USB keyboard configured when I plugged it in somewhat later.

Note that the easy configuration that I experienced later (after resetting and clearing the iRulu) was with the keyboard plugged into the Host port via the OTG cable.

Once you have USB devices configured, it doesn't seem to matter when you plug them in to the iRulu (or a USB hub), nor does it matter which port or cable you use to connect them.

If you start to run into problems because you've installed some other USB device before the keyboard, the solution that worked for me was to do a complete reset on the device, and then start over, configuring the keyboard first. (I didn't do that at first, but it would have saved me a lot of time and frustration.)

By "complete reset", I mean both a hardware reset and a Factory Data Reset--maybe only the Factory Data Reset is required, but I haven't tried that so far.

After the complete reset, the first thing I plugged in was the external keyboard (using the OTG cable into the Host port). That worked fine. The next thing I plugged in was the USB 10/100 Ethernet adapter, which was also recognized properly, and after a short delay, I was (again) connected to the Internet.

Finally I plugged the USB keyboard into one of the ports in the USB hub (that is, the one that is part of the 10/100 Ethernet adapter), and again, the external keyboard worked properly as did the Internet connection.

In the following, I will discuss:

  • the settings to be expected in the configuration screens before an external USB keyboard is plugged in
  • the settings to be expected in the configuration screens after an external USB keyboard is plugged in, recognized, and functioning
  • (later: the settings I got when I managed to get the external USB keyboard working the first time, when, at first, it didn't work)
  • for posterity, the reasons I suspect I did not get the external USB keyboard working on the first installation (when I installed the Ethernet adapter first)
  • the things I tried in order to get the external USB keyboard working on the first installation
  • behavior to expect when the external USB keyboard is installed and working (and when it is not)

Old statement that I'm not sure I've fully incorporated here: "Summary: I found that I had to use a non-OTG micro USB male to USB female adapter and plug it into the USB (not the Host) port to make the external keyboard be recognized reliably. With that done, I did not need to load any additional software to get the external keyboard to work. I did have to tweak some settings, and I will summarize those below later in the day."

See:

Contents

Behavior before and after the external keyboard is plugged in and configured

Before an external keyboard is installed, when you select a field which requires or allows a text entry, the image of a keyboard (a "soft" keyboard) appears on the bottom half of the screen and you can touch the image to enter text.

After an external keyboard is installed, at any time you can use some of the keys on that keyboard to do certain things. (For example, press <Tab> to move between fields on a web page, <Ctrl> and <Alt> to modify the behavior of "stylus presses" (sort of the analog of mouse clicks).)

In addition, then if you select a field which requires or allows text entry, the image of the soft keyboard does not appear on the screen. However, all (or most) of the keys on the external keyboard will work to allow text entry into that field.

Configuration settings before keyboard is plugged in

Obviously, these are not all of the configuration settings for the iRulu, nor all those that are relevant to the keyboard, but only those that seem to be relevant to the configuration of the external keyboard.

Language & input
 KEYBOARD & INPUT METHODS
  Default: English (US) - Android Keyboard
  Android Keyboard: English US: Selected (checked) but checkbox greyed out
  External keyboard: <no such entry>

 PHYSICAL KEYBOARD <no such entry>
  CZW USB Keyboard: <no such entry>

Android Keyboard: Advanced settings: Switch to other input methods: Language switch key covers other input methods too: unchecked

Notes:

  1. When an item is marked <no such entry> it means that you won't find such a setting in the configuration screen. Under some circumstances, such an entry may be found later.
  2. The last item on the list may not be relevant, but, in my first go round, one of the suggestions I found to make the external keyboard work was to select that item. As it turned out, that doesn't seem to be required. There is a slight chance it was required in the oddball scenario I got into on my first attempt to install the keyboard.

Configuration settings after keyboard is plugged in and functioning

Obviously, these are not all of the configuration settings for the iRulu, nor all those that are relevant to the keyboard, but only those that seem to be relevant to the configuration of the external keyboard.

Language & input
 KEYBOARD & INPUT METHODS
  Default: English (US) - Android Keyboard
  Android Keyboard: English US: Checked but checkbox greyed out
  External keyboard: <no such entry>

 PHYSICAL KEYBOARD <entry has appeared>
  CZW USB Keyboard: <entry has appeared> Default

Android Keyboard: Advanced settings: Switch to other input methods: Language switch key covers other input methods too: unchecked

Notes:

  1. As it happens, these entries were noted after plugging the external keyboard into the iRulu Host port using the OTG cable, but I think they would be the same regardless of which port and what kind of cable is used (as long as the keyboard is recognized).
  2. When an item is marked <no such entry> it means that you won't find such a setting in the configuration screen. Under some circumstances, such an entry may be found later.
  3. The last item on the list may not be relevant, but, in my first go round, one of the suggestions I found to make the external keyboard work was to select that item. As it turned out, that doesn't seem to be required. There is a slight chance it was required in the oddball scenario I got into on my first attempt to install the keyboard.

Reasons I suspect the keyboard wasn't recognized on first installation

  • I didn't know what to expect / look for (I thought I did, and it should seem obvious, but I apparently didn't)
  • I installed the USB Ethernet adapter before the keyboard--I'm not 100% sure, but I believe that did something to prevent the automatic configuration of the external keyboard

More details on that:

  • After I installed the USB Ethernet adapter, I tried plugging it in in all four of the following configurations, to see if any of them did not work:
    • using the OTG cable into the Host port
    • using the OTG cable into the USB port
    • using a non-OTG cable (bought separately) into the Host port
    • using a non-OTG cable (bought separately) into the USB port

All four plug in configurations worked (although I don't know for sure that all four would have successfully done the initial configuration (and, at the moment, I don't see a note on which I tried first)).

So, I assumed the external USB keyboard would work in any of the four configurations. IIRC, I left the Ethernet adapter plugged into the USB port using the OTG cable, and then plugged the external USB keyboard into the Host port using the non-OTG cable. That could have been (or have contributed to) my problem.

Aside: Sometime before I attempted to configure the keyboard, I installed the "Terminal Emulator" application. I don't know if that had any effect on my problem (positive or negative).

In one of the early efforts to get the keyboard working, I installed an application named "External Keyboard". That did not seem to have an effect (it certainly didn't solve the problem)

One added note, I found that sometimes I got the keyboard to work--then when I thought I had it working I'd reboot to confirm that it was "permanently" configured, and quite often (well, I think almost every time), I found that one symptom of that problem was that the lines related to the "CZW USB Keyboard" did not appear--if they did appear after a reboot, the keyboard worked (iirc).

In googling for help, I found a suggestion that I set the configuration option (under the Advanced options for the Android (i.e., the built in soft keyboard):

Android Keyboard: Advanced settings: Switch to other input methods: Language switch key covers other input methods too: checked

Because I wasn't strictly trying one change at a time (my bad), and wasn't always keeping detailed notes, I'm not clear whether this helped or not--sometimes it seemed to help, others it didn't.

Eventually, for various reasons, I thought maybe that plugging into the Host port might be the (or part) of the problem. After I plugged it in there, recognition and therefore configuration and functioning was consistent.

Then I tried plugging it into the USB hub that is integral to the USB Ethernet adapter I bought (plugged into the Host port via the OTG cable). It then seemed to work consistently there.

Eventually I did the complete reset discussed above. Plugged in the keyboard first (into the USB port using the non-OTG cable). Then I plugged in and configured the USB Ethernet adapter.

Sometime after doing all of the above, for kicks I tried the keyboard in all four plugin configurations (mentioned above--that is with and without the OTG cable and using the Host or USB port) and it now works reliably in any of the four.

In my present configuration, I keep the keyboard plugged into the hub that is integral to the Ethernet adapter, and keep that plugged into the Host port using the OTG cable.

Things I tried to get the keyboard configured on first installation

Hmm, ok, I guess I covered those above. I'm sure I'll edit this page again and may reorganize some of this (or not wink

Configuration settings after I got keyboard working on first installation

Obviously, these are not all of the configuration settings for the iRulu, nor all those that are relevant to the keyboard, but only those that seem to be relevant to the configuration of the external keyboard.

Language & input
 KEYBOARD & INPUT METHODS
  Default: External keyboard
  Android Keyboard: English US: not checked
  External keyboard: <entry has appeared> checked

 PHYSICAL KEYBOARD
  CZW USB Keyboard: Default

Android Keyboard: Advanced settings: Switch to other input methods: Language switch key covers other input methods too: checked

Notes:

  1. When an item is marked <no such entry> it means that you won't find such a setting in the configuration screen. Under some circumstances, such an entry may be found later.
  2. The last item on the list may not be relevant, but, in my first go round, one of the suggestions I found to make the external keyboard work was to select that item. As it turned out, that doesn't seem to be required. There is a slight chance it was required in the oddball scenario I got into on my first attempt to install the keyboard.

Contributors

  • () RandyKramer - 2014-02-26
  • If you edit this page: add your name here; move this to the next line; and if you've used a comment marker (your initials in parenthesis), include it before your WikiName.

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Topic revision: r5 - 2014-11-11 - RandyKramer
 
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