Made a Reviung5 macropad

Made a Reviung5 macropad

My first attempt at a fully-functional, tiny, wireless keyboard - the RoMac macropad - was more or less successful and I started to look for a kit for a bigger keyboard. While I'd been doing that, I stumbled upon a kit for Reviung5 - a tiny, 5-key macropad. It looked really charming and supported an encoder, which I always wanted to try.

I thought - hey, this might be really cool for media controls! The middle three buttons could be βͺ rewind/ ⏸ pause/ ⏩ forward, with the rotary encoder on the right serving for volume πŸ”Š up/ πŸ”‰ down on rotation, and mute πŸ”‡ when pressed. (With the leftmost button reserved for bluetooth control.) So I went ahead and ordered one from 42keebs.

I have also bought two sets of keycaps - the black on orange combo you see in the header picture, and black metal ones. I ended up using the metal ones - they feel nice and go well with the black encoder knob.

This is what it looks like from the side. The controller is on such tall legs because I want to place a battery under it. That's not normally supported - by default the Reviung5 kit only supports wired operation. (On the other hand - it does support RGB underglow, but I won't be adding that because I want to preserve the battery life.)

Side view, with black keycaps.

It turns out I overlooked one important part - there is no ZMK-compatible firmware for this board. (The original FW uses QMK, which doesn't support bluetooth.) It "just worked" for the RoMac, so it hadn't even occurred to me to check. πŸ˜… I have eventually gotten it to work, after some issues with the encoder. (Update: My PR was merged and now it is directly in the ZMK. Yay!)

Next step: making it wireless. The board is designed to use the Pro Micro controller. I have replaced it with the nice!nano v2, which is pin-compatible, but also handles bluetooth and has extra pins for adding a battery.

This time I won't be soldering the battery directly to the controller; I'm adding detachable connectors and an off switch.

The kit also has an acrylic cover to protect the controller, but it's not tall enough to cover the added height of the battery. I will add taller standoffs... eventually.

This is what it ended up looking like: you can barely see the extra wiring.

It works like a charm. I'm very happy with how it turned out. It's a joy to use, and I really like the tactility of the encoder.

In my experience, when wireless devices aren't used for a while and go to sleep to preserve battery, Β there is a bit of lag when they wake up. I'm surprised to find there is none of that here: the input is registered immediately, even when I have not touched the device for twelve hours before.

The battery life is... I don't actually know yet. The 300mAh battery has worked for a week on a single charge so far, so we'll see how long it'll last.

I'm considering one more upgrade: a magnet for the bottom plate. That would let me stick it to places and keep it out of the way when I'm carrying it around the house. πŸ€”πŸ§²