Squire ~ Hand-wiring

Hand-wiring your Squire


What is needed

  • Case + Stand Offs
  • Plate
  • Pro Micro or Teensy 2.0
  • 22-25 x Switches (Cherry, Gateron, Matias, etc.)
  • 22-25 x 1N4148 Diode
  • Key caps
  • Wire – Recommended: 26 gauge Solid Strand
  • Optional: Small Switch to easily reset Pro Micro (included with the Squire)

Tools

  • Solder Gun – Recommended: Hakko 888D
  • Solder
  • Wire Stripper – Recommended: Klein Katapult
  • Wire Cutter
  • Safety Glasses & Mask

Getting Started
This guide is specifically about handwiring your Squire. It will, however, also apply to other keyboards.  I suggest reading over the guide before you start. You may also choose to flash your Pro Micro or Teensy before hand.

I won’t be going into specifics in how to solder for this guide. If you’re new to soldering, I do suggest your iron be set to around 330C. Please make sure to wear eye protection and properly place your soldering iron back into its holder. The area you solder in should be well ventilated and if using lead solder please wear a mask.


(L)First Prototype Squire with unusual keys – (M)Prototype Keycaps with 2U keys – 25 1U Layout


1. Layout & Switch Placement
This is your time to decide if you want a standard Numpad (2U size key caps on the 0, +, and Enter keys), or all 1U size key caps.

1. Start by inserting each switch into its designated hole. The switches need to be placed in a particular way. The connections for 1U spacing should all be on the top, with the left being higher than the right. For vertical 2U keycaps (+ and Enter) rotate the switch counter clockwise, so the connections are on the outside of the plate. Please look at the picture to see the correct orientation and location.

 

 

 

 


-Optional-

Squirt some hot glue between the left/right sides of the switches and plate to help keep them from coming out. Do this from the bottom side of the plate. This is particularly helpful when pulling off keycaps.


2. Diode Direction & Soldering
Next, you will be soldering the diodes to your switches. We need to pay attention to the correct orientation. The black band (cathode, negative) on the diode will always be at the bottom/south, and solder to the left connection of the switch. Please refer to the image below for the correct direction.

 

 

 

 

 

1. Start by placing a small amount of solder on the left connection of each switch. You can save time and do it for the right side as well.
2. Trim the terminal below the black band of your diode so there’s only about 0.1″ remaining.
3. Place your diode flat against your switch and in the middle. Make sure the black band is at the bottom. I recommend only doing a row at a time.
4. Melt the solder onto the diode.
5. Trim the terminal connection as close as you can to the solder. You may also choose to trim this terminal before soldering.
6. Repeat steps 1-5 for each switch.


3. Wiring – Columns 
For this step, start by wiring up the right connection of the switch. These connections are connected vertically which make up your columns. The Squire does not have a staggered layout; it is very straightforward on what your columns are. For staggered layouts: choose a side, start from the top, and simply work your way down to determine your columns. Not every column will have the same amount of switches, or be perfectly straight. Please refer to the image below for proper wiring of the Squire.

Easiest, but not as tidy
1. Cut individual wires which span from switch to switch
2. Solder the wire to switches

Cleanest, but tougher to properly solder
1. Cut one entire length of wire from top switch to bottom
2. Solder the top switch connection to the wire
3. Use your solder to melt the plastic or get fancy with wire strippers where the next switch connection is located
4. Solder the wire to the switch, working your way down.


4. Wiring – Rows
Your rows are similar to the columns, however, they are obviously horizontal. You will need to solder the wire to each diode below the black band (cathode, negative). Please refer to the image below for proper wiring of the rows.

Easiest, but not as tidy
1. Cut individual wires which span from switch to switch
2. Solder the wire to switches

Cleanest, but tougher to properly solder
1. Cut one entire length of wire from top switch to bottom
2. Solder the top switch connection to the wire
3. Use your solder to melt the plastic where the next switch connection is located
4. Solder the wire to the switch, working your way down.


5. Wiring – Microcontroller (Pro Micro/Teensy)
You are almost done soldering! Each row and column needs to be connected to the correct pin in the microcontroller. You should wire your keyboard so the columns are all connected to pins next to one another, and typically the same for rows. Start with the columns. When you connect a row to the MC, make sure it’s not on a switch connection (needs to be below the black band of the diode).

 

 

 

 

 

Squire Pin Locations using a Pro Micro
Columns:
0 – B3
1- B2
2 – B6
3 – D0
4- D4

Rows
0 – F4
1 – F5
2 – F6
3 – F7
4 – B1

 

 

 

 

 

Additionally, you may set up LED lighting for the Num Lock (D1) and optional back light control (B7). The supplied hex file is programmed to support LED lighting with 5 different brightness levels. I will add hand-wiring LED lighting to this guide at a later time.

-Optional- This makes flashing your Pro Micro immensely easier.
1. Cut two pieces of wire about 1″ length
2. Solder one wire to GND
3. Solder the other wire to RST
4. Solder these wires to the provided switch/button or your own. A full size Cherry switch will not fit once you put the case and plate together, but you can use it for flashing purposes. Please look at the image below for soldering to the correct terminals on the provided switch.


6. Mounting your Pro Micro
I use about .25″ of hot glue on the underside of top middle switch and press the Pro Micro so it’s parallel to the plate. It’s been strong enough to hold the Pro Micro on with plugging/unplugging a cable. Aside from a dedicated PCB, if you have a more elegant method, please let me know.

You will want to check to make sure the Micro USB port is in the middle of the hole.


This sums up hand wiring the Squire. In the next tutorial, I will go over flashing the Pro Micro.

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King Icewind

Head Clacker at Keys of Kings
I like heavy switches.
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