How to Configure your CTRL Keyboard!
Hey everybody! Thank you for purchasing your Massdrop CTRL Mechanical Keyboard. We hope you’re enjoying it so far. If you’ve landed here, you probably want to take full advantage of the keyboard’s features so you’ve come to the right place. We’ll start with the basics, then we’ll move on to complete custom configuration.
Default Hot Keys Hold FN + listed keys to activate LED Keys
Fn + A: LED Pattern Select Previous Fn + D: LED Pattern Select Next Fn + W: LED Brightness Increase Fn + S: LED Brightness Decrease Fn + Q: LED Scrolling Pattern Speed Decrease Fn + E: LED Scrolling Pattern Speed Increase Fn + Tab: LED Toggle Breathe Effect Fn + Caps Lock: LED Toggle Scrolling Pattern Direction Fn + X: LED Toggle On/Off Fn + Z: LED Toggle Mode (Keys+Edge, Keys Only, Edge Only, Only modifiers) Media Keys
Fn + Page Up: Volume Up Fn + Page Down: Volume Down Fn + Print: Mute Fn + Insert: Play/Pause Fn + Home: Stop Fn + Delete: Previous Fn + End: Next Keyboard Option Keys
Fn + N: Toggle keyboard 6KRO/NKRO (Default state 6KRO)
How do I configure my keyboard? Note: You will currently need a second keyboard to complete the 3rd step of this process. 1. Create your configuration. 2. Compile the firmware with your configuration. Use our web-based configurator tool to handle both steps at once: . See below for more information about our configurator. If you are comfortable with programming and want to use QMK functionality that our configurator does not support, you can manually create and compile your configuration by checking out the official QMK repository: . CTRL Keyboard is in the folder "massdrop/ctrl". QMK setup instructions are here: 3. Load the firmware onto your keyboard. To load the firmware onto your CTRL keyboard, download the appropriate loader application for your computer's OS here: Then follow the instructions here: . We are working with Jack and the other QMK contributors to get the loader application integrated into the next version of QMK Toolbox to simplify this loading process.
MASSDROP KEYBOARD CONFIGURATOR When you first go to the configurator, you will be prompted to choose your keyboard (only CTRL Keyboard available for now). After choosing, you will see a top-down view of the keyboard and a layer selector on the right side. By clicking on a key, you can customize its behavior by selecting another key or function in the panel that appears below the keyboard. The currently available behaviors are: - Keys - Individual keys such as letters, numbers, media keys, and function keys. - Layer - Activate and deactivate layers. The CTRL Keyboard ships with a keymap where the Fn key activates layer 1. - Modifier - Send multiple modifiers with a single key press or allow a key to be a modifier when held and another key when tapped. - Special - Behaviors specific to the keyboard. For the CTRL Keyboard, these control the LEDs. After you have configured the behaviors to your liking, click the "Compile & Download" button in the top right to download the compiled firmware for your configuration. This typically takes around 30 seconds. You will need to load this compiled firmware onto your keyboard. See step (3) above for instructions. If you are logged in to Massdrop, you will see a "Save as a New Copy" button next to the "Compile & Download" button. Clicking this button will save your configuration, allowing you to revisit it and modify it. The next time you go to the configurator, you will see your saved configurations above the list of keyboards. About Layers Layers allow you to configure your keyboard with more behaviors than its number of physical keys. For example with the CTRL Keyboard, by default, when you hold Fn + A to change the LED pattern, the keyboard is actually activating Layer 1 and sending the code for switching to the previous LED pattern. The physical key that is mapped to the letter A on Layer 0 is mapped to changing LED patterns on Layer 1.
For each key, its behavior is determined by the highest active layer. For the highest active layer, if the key's behavior is "transparent" (denoted by a grayed-out "(trns)" on the keyboard display), then it falls back to the next-highest layer where its behavior is not transparent. The QMK documentation has some tips for working with layers:

Configurator Development Roadmap Our configurator tool is still a work-in-progress. Here is what you can expect to be added to the tool in the future: 1. Merge our QMK changes back into the main QMK repository 2. Macros support 3. Support for changing some QMK settings 4. Support for more keyboards
Having any issues or generally need some help?
Let us know in the discussion and we’ll give you a hand.
(Edited by moderator Elbert)
thumb_upLxsry, Verified Real Human, and 89 others

Mech Keys
Aug 6, 2019
Download the appropriate loader application for your computer's OS here:

Windows users: Download mdloader_windows.exe and applet-mdflash.bin and put them in the same folder. Linux users: Download mdloader_linux and applet-mdflash.bin and put them in the same folder. chmod u+x mdloader_linux to make it executable. Mac users: Download mdloader_mac and applet-mdflash.bin and put them in the same folder. If downloading with Safari, mdloader_mac will have a .dms extension appended to it. This is fine. chmod u+x mdloader_mac to make it executable. (chmod u+x mdloader_mac.dms if downloaded from Safari) 1) Go to the default configuration and click COMPILE & DOWNLOAD for the default keymap. Otherwise, make your desired changes before clicking COMPILE & DOWNLOAD.
2) Locate the BIN file generated and downloaded via the configurator
3) Move the file to the same folder as mdloader_windows.exe
4) Open the command prompt
5) a) Determine the file path to the directory that contains the BIN file you just downloaded. You may simply click the file path near the top of windows explorer. Clicking it will show the file path and highlight it. Copy that file path.

b) In the command prompt, navigate to the directory that contains the BIN file by typing “cd [file path]” and pressing Enter. As you have copied the file path in the above step, simply type “cd” and paste (Ctrl + V) the file path. Note that there is a space between “cd” and [file path].
The highlighted line in the image below shows the directory you are currently in. It should match the file path that you copied.

To flash your keyboard: 1) Plug in the keyboard 2) In the command prompt, type “mdloader_windows.exe --first --download FILE_NAME --restart” where FILE_NAME is the filename of your compiled firmware (the BIN file you downloaded from the configurator). For example, I would type “mdloader_windows.exe --first --download massdrop_alt_config_ALT___2_Layers_with_Custom_Colors_2650.bin --restartThe "--first" option auto-detects the first available keyboard to flash over the next 60 seconds. Using --first, you can submit the flashing command with your CTRL keyboard and then press the reset button---no second keyboard needed. Press Enter.

IMPORTANT: Make sure you flash your firmware configuration file and not the applet file. Example of what not to do: "mdloader_windows.exe --first --download applet-mdflash.bin --restart". Flashing the applet file will show as a successful flash, but the keyboard will be unresponsive. To resolve this, simply put the keyboard back into DFU mode (press the reset button) and flash a valid firmware file. If the keyboard you are attempting to flash is your only input device, you'll need a second keyboard to type the correct command given that a keyboard flashed with the applet file will be unresponsive to inputs.
3) Press the reset button within 60 seconds of submitting the flash command (i.e. during the "scanning for device" message). The reset button is in a hole on the underside of the keyboard. After pressing the reset button, all the LEDs will turn off. Your keyboard should flash and restart.

P.S. Yes, the images show an ALT, but the process is identical.
Dec 10, 2020
So how do i use this with QMK after flashing?
It runs QMK.
Jan 17, 2021
My Drop ALT keyboard has its Fn (Mo(1)) locked and I can't unlock it back to use the default layer. It is not a hardware issue, I pulled out the physical switch and the Fn is still locked. Please help.
Jan 15, 2021
Am I being stupid or has it still not be integrated with the QMK Toolbox? Is there still plans to get that done?
Jan 8, 2021
I tried to upload the firmware to the Carina. it shows "the application cannot run on your PC" using the windows10 19042.685 the mdloader is the latest to fix it?
Jan 13, 2021
Did you find a solution to this issue? I am running into the same problem.
Jan 13, 2021
yeah ,it works but im not sure which step fix it. what I did is move the document from D:\ to the desktop, made everything ready in CMD, prush the reset button on keyboard, press the enter key on screen keyboard
Jan 5, 2021
IM trying to user the drop configurator and after following all the steps it tells me an error code that says Could not find a valid device port! what am I doing wrong?
Dec 30, 2020
I am a windows user with a CTRL keyboard. I follow all the steps to upload a new configuration. Please see CMD extract below. I created a .BIN file with the configurator with a new KEYMAP & a new LEDS configuration. However, only the colors of the LEDS change. I do not manage to change the KEYMAP. I would like to switch from QWERTY to AZERTY. Any suggestions? C:\Users\mathi> cd C:\Users\mathi\Documents\Keyboard C:\Users\mathi\Documents\Keyboard>mdloader_windows.exe --first --download ties3.bin --restart Massdrop Loader 1.05 Massdrop Loader Copyright (C) 2018-2020 Massdrop Inc. This program is Free Software and has ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY Scanning for device for 60 seconds ............ Device port: COM4 (SAMD51J18A) Opening port 'COM4'... Success! Found MCU: SAMD51J18A Bootloader version: v2.20 Mar 27 2019 10:04:47 [ctrl] Applet file: applet-mdflash.bin Applet Version: 1 Writing firmware... Complete! Booting device... Success! Closing port... Success! C:\Users\mathi\Documents\Keyboard>
Dec 23, 2020
For some reason, my 1, Q, and A switches are not changing to the appropriate colors when I use the Drop Alt configurator tool. I'm trying to do 3 different colors on the keyboard and it only manages to get like 2. I've attached an imgur link to show you what I mean. Is there any fix to this?
Dec 18, 2020
Hi so I've remapped a bunch of my keys so it'd be easier for me to remember and I seem to be running into the same issue as everyone else that after i press my reset button im stuck with this perpetual orange flashing. When i flash my keyboard and press the reset button i hear it disconnect reconnect then disconnect again with no follow up reconnect sound. Ive also tried reverting to default but im still stuck with this orange flashing light and it not turning on. I unplugged and replugged many of times and one time it actually turned on but all of my mappings were wrong. What am I doing wrong? Edit: unplugging and replugging works for all of one time. If it is disconnected i have to go through the process of which random time the keyboard will turn on. What can i do to make this faster or stop this from happening
Dec 17, 2020
Struggling with this on Mac - getting zsh: command not found: mdloader_mac Any help much appreciated!!
Dec 15, 2020
How are macros coming along? I would really like to have some on my CTRL
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Jan 18, 2021