Retrocomputing Advice: Linksys ProConnect KVM2KIT

If you have a retrocomputing hobby, and you don’t have a lot of room (like most of us), it can be difficult to leave your stuff set up so you can enjoy it when you need to take a break.

One way to mitigate that problem is to use a KVM switch, so you can have PCs from multiple eras sharing the same desk, keyboard, mouse, and monitor.

I actually received my first Linksys ProConnect KVM2KIT in a gift of hand-me-down hardware and discovered that it is just about the most perfect KVM you could want for retrocomputing.

First, it switches two PS/2 ports and a VGA monitor. The only thing it’s missing is audio.

Second, you switch between the two PCs by double-tapping Scroll Lock, so you can hide the unit itself under or behind your desk to avoid having an anachronistic-looking box or button marring your setup like with something like the Belkin Flip F1DG102P.

Third, it requires no external power source, being powered by the PS/2 keyboard connector.

Fourth, it’s not that expensive on eBay.

Fifth, if you need it, you can set it to automatically cycle between its two inputs at a configurable rate… useful when you are doing something else while babysitting some install wizards.

As mentioned, it does lack audio switching, so you’ll have to come up with a solution for that on your own (two pairs of speakers, feeding the speaker out from one PC into the line in from another, a separate switch box, a mixer, etc.) but, aside from that, I have no complaints.

It Just Works™ and makes for a very comfortable and unobtrusive way to put two retrocomputers on one desk. Pair up an S-Video or Composite to VGA converter that supports VGA pass-through when not in use and is OK with more esoteric signals and you could add a console or an 8-bit micro to the mix.

CC BY-SA 4.0 Retrocomputing Advice: Linksys ProConnect KVM2KIT by Stephan Sokolow is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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