Ergodox Assembly Instructions - Massdrop

Step 1.

Prepare the components and tools for the assembly. We recommend a temperature-controlled soldering iron with a flat tip. Here is the list of components required for the keyboard assembly; you’ll find a few extras in the box.

NOTE: Check to make sure that the PCB fits inside plate #2. You may have to do a little sanding of the PCB/case corners to make it fit.

  • 2 x PCB
  • 10 x Acrylic case Plates (see this image for layer ordering)
  • 1 x Teensy USB Board, Version 2
  • 1 x MCP23018 I/O expander
  • 2 x 3.5mm TRRS connector
  • 1 x USB mini B plug
  • 1 x 0.1uF ceramic capacitor
  • 76 x 1N4148 diode (through-hole) or 1N4148W-7-F diode (surface-mount)
  • 2 x 2.2kΩ resistor
  • 3 x 3mm T1 LED
  • 3 x 220Ω resistor
  • 76 x Cherry MX switch
  • 2 x USB cable Male A to male mini B
  • 1 x TRRS cable
  • 14 (16 for Full cases) x Case screws/nuts

Step 2.

Solder the diodes onto the backside of the PCB for both the left hand side and right hand side PCB. Note the cathode of the diode (denoted with a line) connects to the square pad on the PCB.

NOTE: Kits contain both surface-mount and through-hole diodes. It is recommended you use the surface-mount diodes as the through-hole diodes create spacing issues in Step 10 (the sandwiched plate does not sit flush against the PCB surface). If you do use the through-hole diodes (again, not recommended), you will have to clip the solder joint very close to the PCB surface so that the sandwiched plate is as close to the PCB as possible.

Do that for all the keys.

Step 3.

On the right hand side PCB, solder two 2.2kΩ resistors on the two resistor outlines on the PCB labeled "2.2kΩ". And solder three 220Ω resistors on the three resistor outlines on the PCB labeled "LEDa", "LEDb", and "LEDc".

NOTE: These components (and the electronic components from subsequent steps) will be on the opposite side of the PCB from the diodes. This is so the PCB will sit flush against the sandwiched case plate, as well as allowing access to the diodes after the switches are soldered in place.

Step 4.

Solder the MCP23018 I/O expander on the left hand side PCB. Note the location of the ground on the chip.

Step 4.1 (optional).

Solder the ceramic capacitor as shown in the image, and bridge the two rectangular pads next to the capacitor. For keyboard with aluminum casing, it is recommended to double check the clearance between the PCB, capacitor connection points, and the solder points in case of potential short circuit.

The capacitor is for cleaning the electric signal, and it's not required for the functionality of the keyboard.

Step 5.

First, jump wire and short the two sets of connections with white outline on both the left hand side and right hand side of PCB as shown in the first image. Then solder on the TRRS connectors.

Step 6.

Solder the header pins onto the Teensy board.

Step 7.

Solder on the Teensy board on the right hand side PCB.

Step 8.

Cut off the USB cable and cut open the mini USB connector side of the cable.

Step 9.

Connect mini USB male connector to the Teensy board, and solder the black, white, green, and red wires onto the board

  • Black - GND
  • White - D-
  • Green - D+
  • Red - 5V

Step 10.

Finally, start solder the key switches on to the PCB with case plate layer #3 sandwiched in the middle. The #3 plate with two notches along the top is for the right hand and the one with one notch is for the left hand.

NOTE: For the aluminum cases, make sure you sandwich the supplied Mylar sheet between the aluminum plate and the PCB to prevent shorts.

For SW2:7, SW4:7, and SW5:7, also solder LEDs. Note the polarity of the LED. The long end of the LED connection goes to the square pad on the PCB.

Step 11.

Updating the firmware on the Teensy board.

Required files

For the firmware, you only need to download the file with the keyboard layout you want. If you are unfamiliar with different keyboard layouts, choose the file ending in "" from the Dropbox folder.

Disclaimer: Full credit for developing this firmware goes to Ben Blazak and contributors to the Github project.

Step 12.

Ensure you have access to the pushbutton on the Teensy board (requires the top acrylic sheet of the keyboard to be removed).

Step 13.

Connect the keyboard to your computer via a USB (A/Mini-B) cable. If the keyboard is using a fresh Teensy board, the LED on the board should blink on and off every two seconds. This is the default program loaded on the board.

Step 14.

Run the Teensy Loader Application.

Step 15.

Click the Auto button (right-most button in the toolbar). It should light up to a brighter green and instructs the program to load the current file onto the Teensy board.

Step 16.

Extract the Ergodox Firmware binaries from the .zip file.

Step 17.

Drag and drop the .eep file onto the Teensy Loader. The bottom bar should now read "firmware.eep", followed by the percentage of the memory used by the program.

Step 18.

Press and release the Teensy reset button (see Step 12). A Reboot OK message should flash on the Teensy Loader, and you may get the following warning (everything is fine, don’t worry).

Step 19.

Drag and drop the .hex file onto the Teensy Loader. The bottom bar should now read "firmware.hex", followed by the percentage of the memory used by the program.

Step 20.

Click the Auto button. Wait for the loader to complete programming and rebooting.

Step 21.

Press and release the Teensy reset button (see Step 1). Your keyboard should now be accepting inputs!


Stack up the acrylic case plates as illustrated in the image below (left hand pictured), and secure it with appropriate screws.

Enjoy your new awesome keyboard!

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