Firmware

In order to get your board properly working you need to make sure that the correct firmware is installed on it to give you the correct outputs. In this guide, i will walk you through how to find default .hex files, create your own and install them to the PCB.

Building firmware

The easiest way to build your own firmware without needing to create your own keymap compiling environment is to use either QMK configurator or the real-time keymap editor in the VIA app. In order to use via you need to download the correct firmware for your PCB (The file name is typically just the name of the PCB) from VIA’s websiteThen flash that to the PCB. To use QMK configurator you will need to go to the QMK config website and load the correct keymap for your PCB in the “KEYBOARD” box. Next, give your keymap a name in the “KEYMAP NAME” box. Now you can start to build your layout. To do this all you need to do is select the key and the keystroke you want it to register. You can edit various layers to give you as versatile a keymap as you need. Once the layout is done, click the “COMPILE” button and wait for the process to complete. After compiling you can click the “FIRMWARE download button” and your .hex will download ready to be flashed.

Plugging and prepping

Now that your keymap file is all good to go all that’s left to do is find a compatible cable for your PCB that has data transfer capabilities instead of just power transfer. With your cable located, plug it into the board and locate the reset button, usually on the bottom of the PCB unless you are using a separate controller like the Elite-C, though if you’re using one of these you most likely know how to flash already. Now that everything is plugged in and you know where the reset button is you’re good to go. Open up QMK toolbox and get ready to flash.

Flashing

After downloading and installing QMK toolbox you should have everything you need to program your board and get it up and running. Go to the top left box of the UI and select the .hex file that you created or downloaded in the first step. With the keymap loaded into QMK, it’s time to press the reset button which should give you 2 pieces of yellow text, “device disconnected” & “device connected”, once you see “device connected” click the “flash” button. If all goes well then you should get some form of success message (If you don’t then refer to the troubleshooting guide or try a different .hex). With the board programmed, all that’s left to do is test. To test the PCB I use QMK configurator’s tester and a set of tweezers to short the connections. With the tweezers, you need to put one leg in each of the 2 contacts on the PCB to close the circuit which should send a signal to the QMK tester.