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Using and programming function keys on Allegro 2

22 Jan 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.