After our crowdfunding campaign concluded successfully, we immediately started the manufacturing phase without delay. Thankfully, we had the foresight to ensure we had all the necessary components in stock ahead of time. Just recently, we happily received the first batch of ANAVI Arrows and Macro Pad 12 printed circuit boards, which are adorned with surface mount components on both sides.
We are already in the process of locally producing our second batch, and we expect it to be ready by the end of September. These printed circuit boards are meticulously gold-plated to guarantee the highest quality.
Additionally, the acrylic enclosures were laser cutted in August. Our next steps include programming CircuitPython and the KMK firmware, testing, and packaging all keyboards.
Once again,thank you for your support of ANAVI Macro Pad 12 and ANAVI Arrows. Stay tuned for more exciting updates in the coming weeks!
Within the realm of computer keyboards, a remarkable open-source firmware called KMK has surfaced, captivating enthusiasts from all corners. KMK possesses a potent capability to revolutionize mechanical keyboards into personalized instruments, enabling users to venture into uncharted territories of customization and productivity.
CircuitPython is an open-source programming language that runs on microcontrollers used in various embedded applications, including mechanical keyboards like ANAVI Macro Pad 12 and ANAVI Arrows from our crowdfunding campaign at Crowd Supply. Built upon the foundations of Python, CircuitPython is specifically crafted to cater to the requirements of resource-limited embedded devices housing microcontrollers. One of the standout merits of CircuitPython lies in its user-friendly nature and effortless adaptability, particularly beneficial for newcomers who may not possess extensive coding expertise.
The source code of KMK is readily available on GitHub, released under the GPLv3 license. The inception of KMK can be traced back to 2018. Notably, the KMK source code follows a coding style that employs the Python code formatter, known as Black, and embraces the usage of single quotes.
The hardware requirements for microcontrollers to run KMK are: a minimum of 256KB of flash storage, support HID over USB and/or Bluetooth, CircuitPython version 7.0 or newer. With its impressive hardware capabilities, the Raspberry Pi RP2040 microcontroller is a perfect fit for CircuitPython and KMK. Because of this we selected Seeed Studio’s XIAO module with RP2040 for ANAVI Macro Pad 12 and ANAVI Arrows.
KMK offers many key features:
Key Mapping: Customize key assignments to suit individual preferences
Macros: Create and assign macros for automating tasks or executing commands
Layers: Define multiple virtual layers for accessing different functions or modes
LED Control: Customize backlighting and LED behavior
Rotary Encoder: Rotary encoders for various functions like volume control or scrolling.
Mini OLED Display: Compatibility with mini OLED displays, allowing users to display custom information or visuals on their keyboards
A standout feature of the ANAVI Macro Pad 12 and ANAVI Arrows is their seamless switch swapping capability, allowing you to tailor your typing experience on the go! With utmost ease and no need for soldering, thanks to the convenient hot-swappable sockets integrated into the printed circuit board, anyone can effortlessly remove a switch from its socket and replace it with another compatible switch.
This revolutionary feature provides several benefits to keyboard enthusiasts and users who like to customize their typing experience. It allows for easy experimentation with different switch types, enabling users to find the switch that suits their preferences best. It also simplifies switch replacement, making it more convenient to replace a faulty switch or try out different switches without needing specialized soldering equipment or skills.
Basically the whole key is like a sandwich: hot-swappable socket, mechanical switch and a keycap. All kits with ANAVI Macro Pad 12 and ANAVI Arrows include Gateron red mechanical switches. However thanks to the hot-swappable sockets you can experiment with various options of clicky, tactile and linear Cherry MX compatible mechanical switches from different brands with various tech specs and colors: red, blue, brown, green, silver, etc.
The printed circuit boards of ANAVI Macro Pad 12 and ANAVI Arrows are designed with Kailh hot-swap sockets on the back. These sockets are for surface-mount technology (SMT) assembly. To provide backlight on the front of the printed circuit boards there is a separate LED under each mechanical switch. We decided to make both of these keyboards with north-facing switches, aka the LED on each key is on the top (north) part of the switch. Furthermore, there are WS2812B addressable LEDs on the back. All these LEDs combined with the translucent keycaps included in the kit create awesome light effects when the keyboard is turned on. The open source firmware KMK allows fine tuning of the lights.
Although, as you can see in the video it is possible to hand-solder the sockets, this is appropriate only for a prototype. For manufacturing the keyboards ordered from the crowdfunding campaign we have hired a trusted local factory and they will do a professional lead-free assembly of all components. Using these hot-swappable sockets and SMT LEDs there is no need of manual hand soldering of any mechanical switches. This significantly simplifies and speeds up the manufacturing process. The end result is better quality and lower price.
Our crowdfunding campaign has a very modest goal of just $1. It will help us make the keyboards in my hometown Plovdiv, Bulgaria, EU thanks to the trusted supply chain we have established throughout the years. Order ANAVI Macro Pad 12 or ANAVI Arrows to get a cool mechanical keyboard and help us bring these entirely open source hardware projects to life!
Both ANAVI Macro Pad 12 and ANAVI Arrows feature high-quality gold-plated circuit boards designed with the free and open source software KiCad. These compact keyboards are driven by the Seeed Studio XIAO RP2040 with Raspberry Pi RP2040 microcontroller, ensuring top-notch performance. Equipped with a USB-C connector and a charming mini yellow-blue OLED display, they combine functionality with visual appeal. Thanks to the popular open-source KMK firmware written in CircuitPython, personalizing keyboard layouts and macros becomes a breeze.
Import your typing experience with our bright and shiny compact mechanical keyboards, made in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, EU. Support our crowdfunding campaign and help us bring these unique and high-quality open source keyboards to life.
Huge thanks to Stefan for his valuable contribution to the upstream of KMK! If you own Macro Pad 10, Knobs 3, and Knob 1, please consider upgrading the KMK firmware on your mini mechanical keyboard to get his fix.
In other news: the GitHub pull request that adds support for ANAVI Knobs 3 was finally merged in QMK! QMK stands for Quantum Mechanical Keyboard. It is probably the most popular firmware for mechanical keyboards and supports literally hundreds of devices, including ANAVI Macro Pad 8 and our other mechanical keyboards. The source code is available under GPLv2 license and written in C. Initial support for the Raspberry Pi RP2040 microcontroller in QMK was added in September 2022. We started the porting efforts in October, and shortly after that, patches for ANAVI Macro Pad 10 and Knob 1 were merged. However, it took almost 6 months to merge the GitHub pull request for ANAVI Knobs 3. The long wait is over: now all of our mini mechanical keyboards are supported by QMK!
The community is very important and makes all the difference in any open source project. Thank you for supporting and improving our open source hardware mechanical keyboards!
As part of the covered stretch goals, each kit will include stickers from ANAVI Technology and KiCad, the free and open source CAD software used for designing the printed circuit boards of the keyboards. Furthermore, ANAVI Macro Pad 10 kits will include 32 super-cool emoji stickers. You can stick them on the top or sides of the translucent keycaps. Last but not least, we’ll be publishing various video tutorials to ensure getting started is easy.
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 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.
In a previous update we shared the exact steps how to assemble ANAVI Macro Pad 8 Developer Kit. Now let’s have a look at the Maker Kit.
The maker kit provides the printed circuit board (PCB) and an addressable LED strip. There are also some nice stickers. Other accessories have to be purchased separately. You can use any mechanical switches compatible with Cherry MX plate footprint and 3mm LEDs.
The assembly of ANAVI Macro Pad 8 Maker Kit requires soldering and advanced skills. The following tools are required:
Optionally: screwdriver, tweezers and a keycap puller
It is also a good idea to stay safe and get a smoke absorber while soldering, for example our open source ANAVI Fume Extractor.
Please have a look at the video and follow the steps below if you have ANAVI Macro Pad 8 Maker Kit.
Solder mechanical switches to the PCB
Any type of mechanical switch compatible with Cherry MX plate footprint is suitable for ANAVI Macro Pad 8. The developer kit comes with Gateron mechanical switches. The maker kit allow you to use different brand and color.
Choosing the most appropriate switch for your needs and taste is a matter of personal preference. There are many different brands and colors. For example, the blue mechanical switches are more noisy which could be sometimes fun but also annoying during daily work. The red switches are fast and not very noisy therefore they are often proffered by gamers.
There are two pins on each mechanical switch that must be soldered to the printed circuit board. That makes 16 pins in total. The position of the each pin is very specific and the switch goes into the PCB. One of the pins is for the signal coming from the Microchip ATmega32U4 microcontroller, the other pin is for ground.
Solder 3mm LED
This step is actually optional depending on the the type of the mechanical switch. Some mechanical switches may not have a hole in the plastic enclosure for a 3mm LED.
Each 3mm LED for through-hole soldering has 2 legs. The longer leg is the positive terminal, also known as anode. The shorter leg is negative and also known as cathode.
The shorter leg that indicates the negative terminal must go into the square hole of the PCB. ANAVI Macro Pad 8 has 8 mechanical switches therefore 8 LEDs are required. If you want you can use different color of the LEDs. You can even mix colors.
Solder WS2812B addressable LED strip to the back of the PCB
Using scissors cut a little bit from both ends of the LED strip to make sure it will stretched when placed on the board. However it is tricky, be careful and make sure enough from the pads are available to make a good contact after soldering them.
It is very important to properly set the direction of the WS2812B LED strip. On the LED strip you will notice small arrows indicating the direction. They should point from the microUSB connector towards the other end of the PCB as shown in the video.
If you have successfully completed these 3 steps your ANAVI Macro Pad 8 should look just like a developer kit having all accessories soldered. Therefore the next steps are the same as for both the developer and the maker kit. Explore them at our previous blog post as well as in the user’s manual.
Thank you for using ANAVI Macro Pad 8 and for supporting this entirely open source project!
Out of the box, all kits of ANAVI Macro Pad 8 are powered by the popular open source QMK firmware.
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 offers several options to select, customize and flash a keymap for your keyboard:
Command-line interface – advanced but not very user friendly
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.
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.
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.