ANAVI Macro Pad 2 – a Tiny 2% Mechanical Keyboard

ANAVI Macro Pad 2

Meet ANAVI Macro Pad 2! It is an open source, programmable two-key mechanical keypad with backlighting. Each of the keys on ANAVI Macro Pad 2 can be reprogrammed for use as a macro or even as a dedicated shortcut key, making it perfect for a number of applications across various industries.

ANAVI Macro Pad 2

ANAVI Macro Pad 2 runs on a Microchip ATtiny85, which is a reliable, low-cost, 8-bit AVR RISC-based microcontroller. It has a gold-plated printed circuit board, Gateron red mechanical switches, 3mm red LEDs and translucent keycaps.

Gateron red mechanical switches with 3mm LEDs on ANAVI Macro Pad 2

Only free and open source software tools like KiCad, OpenSCAD, and Inkscape were used to design ANAVI Macro Pad 2. Quantum Mechanical Keyboard (QMK) with V-USB is the default open source firmware. Source code and schematics are available on GitHub.

ANAVI Macro Pad 2 with stickers on the translucent keycaps of the mechanical switches

We kicked off a crowdfunding campaign for ANAVI Macro Pad 2 at Crowd Supply. We have a stable product and we are ready to proceed with low-volume manufacturing. We hope you help us bring this entirely open source project to life by ordering a developer or a maker kit!

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Getting Started with QMK Firmware

Out of the box, all kits of ANAVI Macro Pad 8 are powered by the popular open source QMK firmware.

ANAVI Macro Pad 8
ANAVI Macro Pad 8

QMK stands for Quantum Mechanical Keyboard and it is an open source community centered around developing various computer input devices. The project is hosted in GitHub. More than 1700 developers contributed to this open source firmware over the years. QMK supports more than 2000 keyboards and keypads brands.

Although QMK is very powerful and flexible, it might be a challenge to get used to it if you haven’t used it before. Over the next weeks and months, as part of efforts for increasing the documentation related to ANAVI Macro Pad 8, we will be rolling out updates related to QMK.

QMK Configurator loaded in a web browser with the default keymap for ANAVI Macro Pad 8

QMK offers several options to select, customize and flash a keymap for your keyboard:

  • Command-line interface – advanced but not very user friendly
  • QMK Toolbox – application for MacOS and Windows users
  • QMK Configurator – an online tool used for easily creating firmware files for keyboards supported by QMK.

You can use QMK on MS Windows, MacOS and GNU/Linux distributions. To get started with the QMK firmware please explore this tutorial from the official documentation and install all required software suitable for the operating system on your PC.

Keymaps for ANAVI Macro Pad 8

The QMK source code for ANAVI Macro Pad 8 is available as part of the main repository in GitHub. So far there are 5 keymaps available:

  • Default – with 2 layers for demo purposes
  • KiCad – free software suite for electronic design automation which as used to design ANAVI Macro Pad 8,
  • Kodi – for the free and open source media player application,
  • OBS – for the popular open source video recording and live streaming software,
  • Zoom – for the popular video communication software.

Over the time we plan to extend the list with keymaps for other popular software applications. Please feel free to submit your favorite keymaps for ANAVI Macro Pad 8 to the QMK repository in GitHub!

Compile QMK for ANAVI Macro Pad 8

After installing QMK software on your computer, from the command line you can compile QMK firmware with the default keymap for ANAVI Macro Pad 8 using the following command:

qmk compile -kb anavi/macropad8 -km default

Flash QMK on ANAVI Macro Pad 8

Follow the steps below to flash the compiled QMK firmware to ANAVI Macro Pad 8:

  • Connect ANAVI Macro Pad 8 to your personal computer with USB to micro USB cable
  • Execute the following command in a terminal to flash the default keymap:
qmk flash -kb anavi/macropad8 -km default
  • Press the RESET button on ANAVI Macro Pad 8 when asked:
Detecting USB port, reset your controller now.....
  • Wait until the firmware flashes successfully:
avrdude done.  Thank you.

The heart of ANAVI Macro Pad 8 is Microchip ATmega32U4. It is an 8-bit microcontroller part of the AVR family. QMK relies on avrdude as the utility to download, upload and manipulate the firmware of these microcontroller.

Microchip ATmega32u4
Microchip ATmega32u4 on ANAVI Macro Pad 8

ANAVI Macro Pad 8 is available at our distributors Crowd Supply and Mouser. Please contact us if you are interested in wholesale orders or if you prefer shipping directly from the EU.

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ANAVI Macro Pad 8 Manufacturing Progress

ANAVI Macro Pad 8 is an open source, programmable, eight-key keypad with backlighting, underlighting, and OLED screen. Following the successful crowdfunding campaign we manufactured the printed circuit boards in a small local factory in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, EU. We would like to explain in detail the whole manufacturing process.

The fabrication includes a procedure called panelization which groups together a number of PCBs on a larger board called a “panel”. In the case of ANAVI Macro Pad 8 the “panel” contains 3 boards. All of them are gold plated through electrolytic nickel-gold process. Gold is very expensive, especially at the moment, but it is still worth it. Gold-plated PCBs have excellent quality with high hardness, wear and oxidation resistance.

A panel with 3 printed circuit boards for ANAVI Macro Pad 8

Sourcing parts in the COVID-19 time is a challenge but we work with trusted and reliable suppliers. We bought Microchip ATmega32U4 microcontrollers from Mouser. They arrived from the warehouse in Texas, USA. Each microcontroller is with TQFP-44 package that requires surface mount technology (SMT). The local factory has already assembled them alongside with all other SMT components.

The assembly of Gateron red mechanical switches and the red 3mm LEDs for all developer kits requires through-hole technology, a.k.a. manual soldering. This is a time consuming process. To simplify the work and to keep the mechanical switches on their places we created this plate that matches the size of the panels.

There are special holes on each mechanical switch for the 3mm LED. After soldering all of them, the leads of the LEDs have to be cut from the back side of the panel.

After all these steps, testing and packaging the developer kit will not require any soldering. However, people who enjoy soldering like me can order a maker kit and experiment with various mechanical switches and 3mm LEDs with different colors. Furthermore, the maker kit allows to perform a hot-swap upgrade as explained in the previous post.

After burning a the same bootloader as in Arduino Leonardo, flashing the open source QMK firmware and testing our mechanical keyboards are ready for packaging!

ANAVI Macro Pad 8 Developer Kit
ANAVI Macro Pad 8 Maker Kit

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Microchip ATmega32U4 – The Heart of ANAVI Macro Pad 8

Have you already ordered our open source mechanical keypad ANAVI Macro Pad 8 from the recent crowdfunding campaign? It is powered by Microchip ATmega32U4: an 8-bit microcontroller with 32K bytes of ISP Flash, USB Controller and I2C. This microcontroller is part of the AVR family of microcontrollers developed since 1996 by Atmel and acquired by Microchip Technology in 2016.

Microchip ATmega32U4 on the open source mechanical keyboard ANAVI Macro Pad 8

Microchip ATmega32U4 is how ANAVI Macro Pad 8 connects to the USB port of a personal computer, shows graphics and text on the mini OLED display through I2C. Furthermore, this microcontroller has more than enough general-purpose input/output (GPIO) pins for the mechanical switches.

Photo of Microchip ATmega32U4 between microUSB connector and 4-pin slot for I2C mini OLED display on ANAVI Macro Pad 8

The popular open source Quantum Mechanical Keyboard (QMK) Firmware supports Microchip ATmega32U4 and therefore it is easy to use as the default firmware for ANAVI Macro Pad 8. However, it is technically also possible use ANAVI Macro Pad 8 as a development board and upload Arduino sketches compatible with Arduino Leonardo through Arduino IDE or PlatformIO. Many popular development boards such as Arduino LeonardoSparkFun Pro MicroTeensy 2.0Olimex eduArdu also use ATmega32U4.

ANAVI Macro Pad 8

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ANAVI Macro Pad 8 – (Not) Yet Another Mechanical Keyboard

After several months of development, the crowdfunding campaign for ANAVI Macro Pad 8 has been launched at Crowd Supply!

ANAVI Macro Pad 8

ANAVI Macro Pad 8 is an open source, programmable, eight-key mechanical keyboard with backlighting, underlighting, and OLED screen. The popular open source QMK firmware allows you to easily configure custom keyboard layouts and macros, even directly in a web browser.

The crowdfunding campaign has a very modest goal of just $1. We have 3 stretch goals! If we raise $500 or more we’ll add super cool 32 transparent emoji keyboard stickers to all kits. You can stick them to the top or the sides of the key caps.

Transparent stickers for the translucent keycaps on ANAVI Macro Pad 8

The crowdfunding campaign will help us manufacture it in a local factory in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, EU. We hope you’ll jump in and help us bring this entirely open source project to life!

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