Author Topic: keyboard0 - TKL + Macro keys with USB hub  (Read 1305 times)

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Offline ht12345

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  • Posts: 2
  • Keyboard designer
keyboard0 - TKL + Macro keys with USB hub
« on: Sun, 09 January 2022, 22:10:34 »
Hey everyone! This is my first Geekhack post, hopefully it's good enough!

I'm quite new to the hobby, and recently got quite interested in getting a custom keyboard for myself after using a gaming keyboard for over 4 years. After searching, I couldn't find anything that I specifically preferred, and decided to just try to design my own.
Hence this project! So for the past 3 months, I've been working on developing this keyboard. I dubbed this the "keyboard0" because it's a keyboard, and since it's the first keyboard I'm designing, it has an index of 0.
I plan to eventually open source the files to this project

  • TKL layout + left macro row column (90 keys in total)
  • 2 rotary encoders
  • OLED display
  • STM32 microcontroller
  • Per-key RGB matrix lighting
  • USB hub through daughterboard
  • Hotswap fixed ANSI layout (for now)
  • QMK firmware ready, with eventual VIA/Vial support

I intend on this to be gasket mounted. Other than that, I don't have any specific specs for the case.


First prototype:
I tried integrating the USB hub into the actual keyboard design for my first prototype, in an attempt to have everything on one PCB. This unfortunately proved to be a horrible idea, as it created multiple points in the design where it could fail, and it ultimately did fail once I received the prototypes. More information on the first prototype can be found here.

Second prototype:
After the failure of the first prototype, I redesigned it addressing several issues. I decided to remove the USB hub, but kept a footprint for a JST connector so that it can be used with a daughterboard as well. I also switched from using SK6812's for RGB lighting to an RGB matrix with 3 IS31FL3731 drivers and MHT151RGBCT LEDs (they seem to be generic common anode LEDs).
The second prototype worked! One of the prototypes is fully functioning as expected, while the other one had some minor issues with the RGB.

Images of the prototypes:
More images are on my Instagram!

Future plans:
On the design of the keyboard:
I plan on creating a case design compatible with my current prototype, as well as further refining the PCB design. I'm hoping to transition away from the IS31FL3731s to something like the IS31FL3733s, although I can't find them in stock anywhere. I'm also planning on removing the integrated USB port, sticking with just a daughterboard.

On bringing this keyboard to market:
This post is sort of an implicit IC. I know a handful of people that expressed interest in buying this keyboard, but I'm not sure whether I should bring it to market considering my relative inexperience in this. As of now, I don't have any plans to sell it. Any feedback is incredibly appreciated though!

I am incredibly thankful to the members of the Keyboard Atelier discord server for taking the time to review the schematic and PCB design I posted for this keyboard, namely 4pplet, sigprof, Sleepdealer, Xelus, and many others.

Note on the name:
I'm a software developer by trade, hence why the name for this keyboard is... kind of uncreative. Any suggestions are appreciated!
« Last Edit: Sun, 09 January 2022, 22:12:53 by ht12345 »