AcidFire, Are you done with the modification of the PCB? Are you planning on uploading them to the ergodox website?
Is it essentially just a Quadradox, with the thumb cluster split out of each of the main boards? If so, are you planning on using Ben's firmware?
Needless to say, you have piqued my interest.
I haven't begun to work on the PCB yet as I've been trying to settle out on my layout first, but while it'll be similar to the ergodox layout there is definitely going to be a few changes:
- Each half will have a ATMEGA32u4 w/ an open source bootloader. I had considered just using the Teensy 2.0's, however open source & open hardware is very much a part of what I do for work that I don't feel right using something close sourced when I have other options. The ironic thing is, I'm using a full controller in each because I plan to use a Bluegiga WT12 bluetooth radio (which is closed source) in each half (eventually) to set the whole thing up as wireless and compatible w/ my mobile devices. If I produce a kit for this, the bluetooth would be an optional add on. If someone knows of a more open module that would allow me to actively switch between bluetooth connections (without having to cycle through them), i'd love to take a look at it.
- The keys themselves will most likely be a 7x5/8x5 matrix layout connected to a MCP23018, keeping it from eating all the I/O on the 32u4 as I have a few other things in mind and leaves more of it open to be hacked/used for other things down the road.
- The thumbpad will most likely be connected on an MCP23008 so that its simple to address/change, move, etc w/o needing large connectors.
Using an I2C bus for the keys allows for simple modifications & tweaks, especially w/ customizing the layout as the MCU will be laid out on a seperate board, and additional peripherals/keypads/foot switches could be added w/ minimal effort.
So basically, there will only need to be 4 pin connectors between each board and each half will have three boards for now (not including the bluetooth.)
There a few more additions/plans I have for the board that I'll be keeping a surprise for now, but I think they'll add an interesting touch to the project
The other reason as well that I'm not planning to use existing firmware is that I plan to produce a proper configuration tool that would allow myself & others to configure/set keys w/o having to mess around with the firmware. I have it laid out right now to support 8+ layers, possibly more, all stored on the boards so that you can take your setup with you and not need the software.
As I've already had a few people inquire to a kit both here and in my office, the rough number I have for the base setup w/o keycaps is between 200-250, and probably another 50-100 for the wireless addon. Also, since I don't think I had made it clear at the start, everything I produce for this project will be released open source/open hardware, either when the project is complete or after I've made a kit available for sale.