SETTING UP YOUR CARINA
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Thank you for your Drop Carina Mechanical Keyboard purchase. It is now time to assemble your Carina. We’ve created a video for you that goes through the process of keyboard assembly—starting with the components received and moving on to installing the components together.
Here's a step-by-step guide for the build as well. Step 1: Parts Check Make sure you've all the components that are required to build your Carina.
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Step 2: Install PCBA & Standoffs Inspect the PCBA for visible issues.  With the side of the PCBA that has surface mounted components facing down, angle and gently lower the USB-C ports into the two cutouts before lowering the rest of the circuit board into the acrylic case.
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After, grab your brass standoffs, thread and tighten them by hand through each of the four holes into the inserts below.
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Step 3: Test Basic Functionality  Plug in the keyboard and check if everything is working. Every LED should be lit. Be sure to check the per-switch LEDs as well as the underglow LEDs.
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Step 4: Assemble Stabilizers You should have 5 wires (4 short and 1 long), 10 stabilizer inserts and 10 stabilizer housings. If you prefer quieter sounding stabilizers you can lube or grease them during assembly.
  • Assembling the Inserts and Housings
Take one insert and drop it into a housing. There is only one correct orientation. If the insert does not seem to fit, remove it, rotate it 180 degrees and try again.   
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  • Add Stabilizer Wire
It goes through the opening on the housing and through the bottom hole on the insert. Align the two parts, insert the bar, and it should look like this.
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If it refuses to go in all the way, the wire was placed too high up on the insert.  Pull the wire out, raise the insert and try again.   If that’s good, you can snap the wire into the groove below and you should hear a click. All the parts will stay together and rotating the wire will pop the insert up.  
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Repeat the same process for the other side. Repeat for all stabilizers. Below is an image of an assembled stabilizer.
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  • Install Stabilizers on the plate
Rotate each stabilizer assembly so the bar faces towards the bottom in U shape.  Drop the bar through the cutout, pull down until both stabilizer ends are seated on the plate, then push the opposite end into place. They will clip into the plate. Install the other four in the same way.  
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Step 5: Install Switch Plate Before installing the switch plate, we will first add switches to the four corners of the plate. This is an important step to align the plate with the circuit board and prevent damage during assembly. Before placing each switch you want to check the underside and see if the pins are straight. If bent, you can use your fingers to straighten them but it's best to use another one instead.
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To insert the four switches in each corner, center each switch over the plate, ensuring that the pins align with the sockets, and press firmly until seated. They will snap into place.
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Next, place the plate over the PCBA and make sure the switch pins are aligned with the hot-swap sockets.  Press down on opposing corners to seat the switches.
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Take your screws and secure the plate through the four holes.  Start from the middle screw and work outwards so the pressure is evenly distributed.  
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Step 6: Add Switches Check each switch for straight pins (orthogonal to the bottom of the switch). If they are slightly angled, you can gently straighten them with your fingers. 
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Align each switch so the pins line up with the hot-swap socket. To insert, center the switch over the plate. You want to make sure all sides are level so the pins can easily slide straight into the socket. Using two fingers push straight down with even pressure to seat the switch. It will clip into the plate.
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Repeat this same process across most of the board, checking the pins are straight each time. It is recommended that you install switches starting from the ends of each row and work your way towards the middle of the row.
  • Check Switches & Troubleshooting
Once all the switches are in, check for functionality. Plug your USB-C cable into your keyboard and computer.  You should see all your keys lighting up. Next check that each switch is working. Navigate to keyboardtester.com, launch the tester and check that each switch outputs correctly when pressed. Note that pressing the function key by itself will not show anything. You’ll need a combo like fn + 1 (outputs F1) to see if the key is working.   If there’s a problem, press the switch down firmly to make sure it's fully seated. If you still have trouble, remove it using a switch puller and check for bent pins.  Place the tips into these grooved slots above and below the switch. Squeeze firmly to depress the tabs, and pull straight up to remove the switch.
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Step 7: Add Keycaps Lastly, add your desired keycaps.
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Voila! Your Drop Carina Mechanical Keyboard is ready.
thumb_upgulnoza jorayeva, Ashburn81, and 15 others
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Exlipse
1
Dec 14, 2020
I have tried doing step 3, however my board only has a continuous orange light flashing. I have tried unplugging and plugging back in, and changing to many different USB ports, but to no avail. Could someone help?
jcolesdreads
0
Jan 13, 2021
did you connect it to a pc?
edanirac
3
Dec 6, 2020
Can anyone help me configure the keyboard? I've downloaded all the necessary files for the mdloader.. however when I try to execute "chmod u+x mdloader_mac" it says no such file or directory, even though I've changed the directory to a folder containing everything. I've tried to bypass the need to execute using "./mdloader_mac --first --download "my_file_name" --restart", however it still says no such file or directory. I'm new to this so any help would be awesome! Thanks! Edit: It started working once I downloaded the default .bin file for the keyboard and put in the same folder! :)
(Edited)
edanirac
3
Dec 9, 2020
If you're trying to help, I've figured it out! :) Thanks I can upload a screenshot if you have the same issue and need help though
DetectiveSocks
45
Dec 11, 2020
I just figured it out too! Thanks!!
balooberry
3
Dec 1, 2020
Just attempted to configure my LEDs through the process here: https://drop.com/talk/9382/how-to-configure-your-ctrl-keyboard/2486201 Everything was successful, but now my keyboard refuses to turn back on. I get a flashing orange LED when I have the USB plugged in, but nothing else. No LEDs, no key inputs, nada. I tried to put the default configuration back on and once again it was also successful, but the keyboard still isn't responsive. edit: I reckon it helps if you use the correct firmware. I have solved my issue, just trying to see if I can change the LEDs still, gave me a parse error the first time. edit2: second problem solved, all good! keyboards' working dandily and it's as blue as I want it to be.
(Edited)
RoseSelkie
0
Dec 2, 2020
How did you manage to get it to work? I downloaded the carina firmware and did the command in powershell following the directions, but I'm getting the orange light vs actually seeing my keyboard be blue. Edit: no joke, unplugging it and plugging it back in worked.
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DetectiveSocks
45
Dec 9, 2020
I got the same problem too! How did you fix your problem? I tried using Drop’s configurator and when I tried to compile, it kept stalling and wouldn’t give me a prompt to download. So I just to QMK and download the CTRL compile.
AlexG24
7
Nov 30, 2020
Hoping the keyboard firmware is added to GitHub soon. They only have the Alt and Ctrl. Please let me know if anyone gets a hold of it. Only main layer on the keyboard so far.
Niko08
12
Nov 30, 2020
How do you use the firmware to change the LED colors?
Sweetsniper5
0
Nov 30, 2020
Trying to test the LED'S, after plugging it in, im getting an orange flashing light under the space bar and no other LED'S will work, help?
Sweetsniper5
0
Nov 30, 2020
Nevermind, pulled it into my USB 3.0 and it worked fine, don't use a 2.0
Nicholas_M
24
Nov 29, 2020
Are standoffs compulsory or recommended to complete the build? I heard that standoffs decreases the keyboard feel. Also does the method of installing switches from the outside to the inside apply to other Drop keyboards such as the alt?
Strictly speaking, no, but the standoffs help to keep the plate and PCBA fixed relative to each other in order to easily use the hotswap feature. If you do not install the standoffs, there will be nothing to which to secure the plate - it will only be held by the switches. The method of installing the switches from the outside-in does not apply to other Drop keyboards (CTRL/ALT/SHIFT), as they have an integrated plate that does not move independently.
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Shutout
16
Nov 28, 2020
any chance we can get a video on how the software works?