Programming the Red Scarf Keyboards
IntroductionFirst off, GeekHack users azhdar and Ryu and kai1103 have done most of the grunt work in organizing a lot of the data on how programming the Red Scarf series of boards works on this GeekHack thread (https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=69282.0). Definitely a thread worth checking out for more information! Please make sure to get the manual by kai1103 as well, it is a PDF available for download in the linked GH thread!
For this guide I have been using a Red Scarf II( (96 key layout) but this should work for the other keyboards in the series as well. I will update it once I get the other keyboards to tinker with if needed.
I have made the raw data available for KLE for all possible layouts available to download at the bottom of the page. For some layouts I will go ahead and include the FN Import text for TMK and the .eep files .
OverviewThe Red Scarf keyboards are relatively easy to program once you understand the process. You will be using Keyboard Layout Editor (KLE), an online layout creation tool, and TMK Keymap Generator, another online tool that will actually create the configuration file to be flashed to the keyboard.
In this guide I will be going over the easiest way I've found to create a layout and flash it to the keyboard. Obviously one of the key selling points to the RS keyboards are the fact that they have quite a few possible layouts. Here are the possible ones for the RS96 that I built:
Because there are so many different layouts available, creating your own physical layout is just half the battle, afterwards you will need to make sure the keyboard recognizes the keys in the way that you want it to. This guide will go over how to do just that.
Creating Your Keyboard Layout in Keyboard Layout EditorKeyboard Layout Editor (http://www.keyboard-layout-editor.com/) is an excellent online tool that can be used for a variety of things. We will be using it to create the layout for the Red Scarf. To begin, you will need to perfectly replicate the layout of your keyboard in KLE. The easiest way I have found to do this is go to Preset -> ANSI 104 and edit the keyboard to match the Red Scarf Layout from there. (If you need help using KLE be sure to read the Help and Keyboard Shortcuts at the bottom right of the page). Be sure to perfectly replicate the physical layout of your keyboard.
This is what my layout came out looking like:
- Note: During this stage while you are setting up your keyboard layout, go ahead and label the spacebar as space in the top legend slot. Without doing this the space bar will not register after flashing the new layout to the keyboard.
Creating Your FN Layer In Keyboard Layout EditorThere are actually three ways to create FN layers in KLE that can be ported into TMK, but for this guide I will be showing you the one that I found to be the easiest called a simple layout. To begin, you will want to choose the key you want to act as your FN key, and label it fn0. In my case, you can see in the image above that I am using the Right CTRL key as my FN key.
The simple layout FN layer is created by putting any keys or controls that you want to be on the FN layer onto the front legend of the corresponding key. Please use ONLY the labels allowed by TMK, for a full list of available labels see the TMK help page (http://tkg.io/#help
Having a remote for the Red Scarf keyboard can be a fun little trick to have, but honestly I don't want to have to rely on a remote every time I want to change the color of SMD LED's on the bottom of the PCB every time. It is possible to program every single button from the remote right into the FN layer of the Red Scarf. The remote cooresponds to the Fn# as shown in this image by azhdar:
So, for now all that you need to do is put Fn1-Fn24 onto the front legend of the caps you want to control in KLE. If you take a closer look at my layout above you will notice that I grouped my reds, blues, and greens all together and then grouped the lighting control functions together. This just made it easy for me to remember on the go, but you can put them anywhere you'd like.
- Note: Before going nuts with the FN keys, I should note that Fn1-Fn24 are used by the remote for lighting controls, leaving you Fn25-Fn32 to use as you please.
- I would STRONGLY recommend that you login to GitHub or sign up for GitHub so that you can save your newly created layout in KLE. This will allow you to create multpile layouts to try, or allow you to pull up the current layout of your keyboard again if you need to. Save often!
Creating the Configuration File In TMK Keymap GeneratorKeeping the KLE tab open in your browser, head over to TMK Keymap Generator (http://tkg.io/#). The very first thing to do when hitting the page is to select the keyboard you are creating a layout for in the General - Keyboard tab. In my case it was the RedScarfIII.
Next under Layer - Layer Mode select Simple. This is telling TMK that you want to use the front legends as the FN layer essentially.
Finally it is time to post the raw data from KLE into the Composite Layer box. Open up your KLE tab again and click on the raw data tab under the keyboard layout. Select and copy all, and post it into the Composite Layer box. If done correctly, wait a few seconds and you should see a string of FN options appear in TMK Keymap Generator.
The FN layer is where you will actually define what the Fn's do that you set in KLE. Setting up the lighting is the major task that I will show you how to configure.
First, set the Fn0 as Layer action > momentary and select layer 1 in the second drop-down box. This will set up the key as a standard Fn key able to access the Fn layer (any key on the front legend's in KLE).
To set up the lighting simply copy the Fn actions as seen in my image below:
Now that lighting has been set up, finish selecting what any additional Fn's you may have added should do.
Flashing The Keyboard The Red Scarf boards should ship with the newest firmware already on them, and we are not flashing new firmware to the keyboards. This is a good thing, because if you screw up the process you won't brick the keyboard. All we will be flashing is a configuration file (.eep) and not the firmware (.hex) file.
If you have entered in all of the information correctly you should see the Download .eep file at the bottom of the page go from grey to green. TMK Keymap Generator will not allow you to have errors in your layout.
After you have downloaded the .eep file open up Notepad. After you have Notepad open find the .eep file in the file broswer and drag it into Notepad.
Now all that is left to do is flash the file to the keyboard. To do this put the keyboard in bootloader mode (plug the keyboard in holding the top left key - the Caps Lock LED will flash if there is one installed). Then in notepad File - Print - Generic / Text Only. If successful the Caps Light will flash rapidly and then turn off. All that is left is to unplug the keyboard and plug it back in normally, and the new layout should be instantly available.
- Note: the most common errors you will get will come from having the wrong labels used in KLE, and TMK can't recognize them. Should this happen simply fix the errors in your KLE file and paste the corrected raw data into the box.
Questions and UpdatesShould any new information get added to this guide I will make note of it here with the date of the edit to keep it easy for everyone to have the most current information. I will also make any updates needed as I get other keyboards in the series.
I will be working on some KLE files of the most popular layouts along with .eep files to go with them and share them on my GitHub when I have time.
If you have any questions feel free to contact me here, on GeekHack, Deskthority, Reddit, or from my website KeyChatter.com.
- Added all layouts w/ raw data to copy/past into KLE.
Layouts w/ .eep Files To DownloadI will make a few layouts and have them available to download from here. Remember, the physical layout of your keyboard will have to match the layout of the .eep file exactly or it won't work correctly.
Winkeyless w/ Arrow keys (7u Spacebar)
Or if you want to tinker with my layout a bit:
Winkeyless w/o Arrow Keys (7u Spacebar)
6.25u Spacebar w/ Arrow keys
Standard 6.25u Layout w/o Arrow Keys
6u Spacebar w/ Arrow Keys