Author Topic: The Lost60 Project - An open Bluetooth 60% Keyboard PCB for the modern era  (Read 6036 times)

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Offline iamatesla

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Hi everyone - first time post here. Just recently got into this hobby and am already addicted like most. I began a few months ago with a WYSE keyboard which I recently hacked to make a hand wired 60% with Bluetooth connectivity. You can see my album of that project here: I really built this hand wired board as my test platform for an eventual Bluetooth 60% PCB.

See, I love the idea behind the GH60 board. Unfortunately that project seems a bit dated now. Also, I honestly hate wires running across my desk - thus the Bluetooth support.

Finally I come to the Lost60 Project (name is tentative). My goal is to make an open source GH60 form factor compatible board with modern amenities including Bluetooth Low Energy and improved lighting. Sorta my open version of the NerD60 pcb. I also want the design to be done in Eagle PCB because that's what I am most familiar with.

So far, I have ported a good amount of the GH60 board to Eagle. Please see attached image. I've also added in Adafruit's entire "Feather M0 Bluefruit LE" electrical design as the integrated controller for the keyboard. The electronics will not be Adafruit's board - the components will be integrated by me onto the PCB - i'm just copying Adafruit's schematic really.

  • What is the interest level in this project from this community?
  • Anyone want to eventually help with Firmware design? I'm a ****ty programmer...
  • Other features you'd like to see included?
  • What lighting arrangement? RGB Leds on bottom or sides?

I'll open source the PCB files in the next few days on GitHub if anyone wants to play around with them in Eagle. Like I said, so far each switch is direct coordinate mapped from KiCad to Eagle, so the layout should be identical to GH60 right now.


Offline zl_ramiel

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Do you have any ideas how long the battery can last?

Offline iamatesla

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Battery life should almost 100% be dependent on smart Firmware design and amount of use. I expect several days (minimum time with use for 8+ hours a day typing) to multiple weeks (only a couple hours a day typing). It will also depend on final battery size choice - this is partially up to the end user.

The plan is to have the usb port work as a standard usb keyboard as well as recharge the battery while plugged in. If your battery gets low, temporary plug in a usb cable to continue use and recharge the keyboard.

tldr: too many variables to know at the moment

Offline Phenix

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a general question: could you add support for a all-grid (cf. preonic)?
Winter is coming.

Offline llkiwi2006

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Re: The Lost60 Project - An open Bluetooth 60% Keyboard PCB for the modern era
« Reply #4 on: Mon, 09 October 2017, 06:24:48 »
Hi, another member interested in a bluetooth gh60 here.

I've ordered a nRF52832 board to do some software and power consumption tests. I've never done pcb design before so I hope to get some help in that aspect.

Your board has an older nRF51 series chip, with somewhat worse power consumption.

Here are some of my thoughts on the topic:

Unless supply for a certain bluetooth module can be guaranteed, I think it's better to integrate the chip and antenna onto the main pcb.

Also, I think a single chip solution (with nRF52840) combining bluetooth and usb would be ideal, but the packaging on that chip is be a pain to deal with. A two chip design with a dedicated rf chip would probably be easier to layout, the downside being software upgrades becomes more complicated.

Regarding power consumption, the bluetooth chips from nordic semi claim to have an active power of around 6mA, so a current consumption goal of 10mA should be achievable. At that level, a even a small 600mA battery can potentially last more than a week (few hours a day of use).

I believe the cost for such a board can be brought down to around the same as a gh60 as well, considering how an atmega is actually slightly more expensive than a nRF52832 (cortex-m4 processor with integrated bluetooth, sadly no usb though).

Offline mike873

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Re: The Lost60 Project - An open Bluetooth 60% Keyboard PCB for the modern era
« Reply #5 on: Tue, 10 October 2017, 19:40:25 »
I could think of a few cool things to add.

- Separate controller board - this would allow for upgradability of the boards without having to desolder the switches. So if you wanted to get a BT board, you could, or if you wanted just the wired option, that would just be a matter of switching the controller daughter card.
- Separate USB interface board - similar idea. The usb plug could fail mechanically from repeated cable insertions, or maybe you want a usb-c interface instead of micro-usb, or you want the wireless option, so that board could have the charger integrated as well.

A modular design would add some cost, but it has significant benefits, especially for a community where modding it the primary interest. These control boards could then be reused on other kinds of switch layout PCBs too.

Also, buzzer, 'cause why not. Some LED indicators somewhere, those could be handy.

Offline lishi

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Re: The Lost60 Project - An open Bluetooth 60% Keyboard PCB for the modern era
« Reply #6 on: Fri, 13 October 2017, 14:13:05 »
Have you seen this?

Supposedly compatible with bluetooth and stellar battery life according to spindle and the schematics and stuff are open source I think
All the kustom 60s