Using and programming function keys on Allegro 2

January 2015

The function keys on the Allegro 2 may be assigned manually under Start > Settings > Personal > Buttons > Program Buttons tab. If this does not work for you, please see below.

 

The following file is a basic utility for just hard coding the alternative function key codes on the Allegro 2 (similar to the FKey Mode on the Allegro MX) for use with apps such as the USFS MIDAS (may or may not also need the latest MX Key-Redirect utility to be installed). NOTE - Installing this utility will make the function keys no longer re-assignable under Start > Settings > Personal > Buttons > Program Buttons tab (even though they will still appear in that list). To install, download (do no extract) and copy this file to the Allegro 2, then locate and run from File Explorer on the handheld.

 

Allegro2-FKeys.CAB

 

If this still does not work for you, see below for a detailed explanation and more options.

 

As previously noted with the Allegro MX, some of the original IBM-PC ASCII function key codes are being used by the Microsoft Windows Embedded Handheld (formerly Windows Mobile) operating system for other purposes (such as for phone functions). This is as outlined in the following table.

 

Key Original VK Code Hex New VK Code Description (link)
F1 VK_F1 0x70 VK_TSOFT1 Softkey 1
F2 VK_F2 0x71 VK_TSOFT2 Softkey 2
F3 VK_F3 0x72 VK_TTALK Talk
F4 VK_F4 0x73 VK_TEND End
F5 VK_F5 0x74  
F6 VK_F6 0x75 VK_TVOLUMEUP Volume Up
F7 VK_F7 0x76 VK_TVOLUMEDOWN Volume Down
F8 VK_F8 0x77 VK_TSTAR *
F9 VK_F9 0x78 VK_TPOUND #
F10 VK_F10 0x79 VK_TRECORD Record
F11 VK_F11 0x7A VK_SYMBOL Symbol (SYM) key
F12 VK_F12 0x7B    

 

Because of these preset functions in the operating system, it is difficult to use these original function key codes for other purposes. For additional reference to these and other key codes, see the following web page.

 

Key codes on Windows Mobile Field PCs

 

To allow custom programming of the function keys on the Allegro 2, we have instead set the F1 through F12 function keys to (by default) generate our custom VK_OEM_F1 (233 or 0xE9) through VK_OEM_F12 (244 or 0xF4) key codes respectively instead (though at a high level than with the Allegro2-FKeys.CAB utility installed so the function buttons can still be manually re-assigned through the control panel). So an app must watch for these key codes (similar to the Allegro MX when in the optional FKey mode).

 

At a higher level, it may be possible to temporarily access F1 through F6 as WM Hot Keys (VK_App1 through VK_App6) by either manually setting the values under Start > Settings > Personal > Buttons > Program Buttons tab, or directly in the Windows registry under the following registry entry.

 

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Shell\Keys\]

 

Otherwise, a highly technical method to re-program any hardware key (including the function keys) is described in the “A2-Keyboard-Power-Users-Guide.pdf” document of our SDK which is available at either of these links.

 

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