How to Configure your CTRL Keyboard!
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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.

THE BASICS 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)

CUSTOM CONFIGURATION 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: https://www.massdrop.com/mechanical-keyboards/configurator . 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: https://github.com/qmk/qmk_firmware . CTRL Keyboard is in the folder "massdrop/ctrl". QMK setup instructions are here: https://docs.qmk.fm/#/newbs
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: https://github.com/Massdrop/mdloader/releases/tag/1.0.3. Then follow the instructions here: https://github.com/Massdrop/mdloader .
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 https://www.massdrop.com/mechanical-keyboards/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.
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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: https://docs.qmk.fm/#/feature_advanced_keycodes?id=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.
thumb_upBrian Giang, Gorecki, and 67 others
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jxliu
796
Engineer
Oct 19, 2018
Stickied
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Hi all, we have new updates to mdloader, our keyboard configurator, and our fork of QMK. If you have previously downloaded the mdloader tool. Please download the latest version at: https://github.com/Massdrop/mdloader/releases/tag/1.0.3 This new version of mdloader adds a new "--first" option that 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. It also adds .hex file support. In a few weeks, we will be switching the keyboard configurator to output .hex files instead of .bin files, so it's important that you download this new version of mdloader. Our keyboard configurator has been updated with the following: - New keycode MD_BOOT: hold for two seconds and then release to reset the keyboard. No more needing to keep a pin handy to flash your CTRL keyboard! - Support for the ALT Keyboard We have updated our fork of QMK with the latest from the main QMK repository. This includes MD_BOOT support and other changes. We are working on getting changes on our fork back into the main QMK repository.
(Edited)
Oct 19, 2018
Sage_is_Away
4
Aug 19, 2019
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How does one add the MD_BOOT keycode? I could not find it.
Aug 19, 2019
jxliu
796
Engineer
Aug 19, 2019
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If you are using our web configurator, it's the first item under the "Special" tab:
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Also the hold time has been increased to 2 seconds to trigger the soft reset. (Edited my comment above). If you are directly coding in QMK, the key code is MD_BOOT.
Aug 19, 2019
jxliu
796
Engineer
Aug 24, 2018
Stickied
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If you're trying to load firmware onto your CTRL Keyboard and wondering where the reset button is: reset button is in the hole on the left side bottom of the keyboard. Use a pin or something thin to press it.
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Aug 24, 2018
LastContinue
131
May 26, 2019
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Are you talking about hitting the reset button? If so, "yes" all of the lights should go off and you shouldn't be able to input anything on the keyboard until you unplug the keyboard and plug it back in again.
May 26, 2019
Luna55
88
May 26, 2019
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Thanks but I was using the tip of a ballpoint which didn't get in far enough. With a toothpick it worked. That's the trouble with running out of paperclips. ;)
May 26, 2019
Elbert
767
Collaborations
Aug 6, 2019
Stickied
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Download the appropriate loader application for your computer's OS here: https://github.com/Massdrop/mdloader/releases/tag/1.0.3Windows users: Download mdloader_windows.exe and applet-flash-samd51j18a.bin and put them in the same folder. Linux users: Download mdloader_linux and applet-flash-samd51j18a.bin and put them in the same folder. chmod u+x mdloader_linux to make it executable. Mac users: Download mdloader_mac and applet-flash-samd51j18a.bin and put them in the same folder. If downloading with Safari, mdloader_mac with 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.
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2) Locate the BIN file generated and downloaded via the configurator
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3) Move the file to the same folder as mdloader_windows.exe
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4) Open the command prompt
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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.
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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].
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The highlighted line in the image below shows the directory you are currently in. It should match the file path that you copied.
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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.
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3) Press the reset button. 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.
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P.S. Yes, the images show an ALT, but the process is identical.
(Edited)
Aug 6, 2019
jxliu
796
Engineer
Aug 12, 2019
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Are you using Linux? If so, your user will need to be in the dialout group or you will need to sudo the mdloader command. If you are using Mac or Windows, are you resetting your keyboard after executing the mdloader command (pin to press the reset button or hold half second+release Fn+b for newer CTRLs)? When the keyboard is reset, it will be unresponsive to keypresses and all LEDs will be off except for an orange status LED on the underside.
Aug 12, 2019
stepsten
38
Aug 13, 2019
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ahh...okay, i'm using windows and was waiting for the port to be found before resetting. i reset after executing the command and the flash was successful. hopefully this will fix the issue. thanks..
Aug 13, 2019
Columbo
0
Nov 11, 2019
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Anyone know how to Enabling SmartEEPROM in QMK?
Nov 11, 2019
JChud
0
Oct 2, 2019
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Recently using the web configurator I made two additional custom layers in an effort to create a way to lockout the Windows key. Granted I had already achieved this before compiling my own version of the firmware manually. But figured I would try it via the web to see if I could make it where when on layer 2, when the Windows key is disabled, the LED for the key could be turned off as well. However despite including that in the new firmware it does not seem to take effect. It does so though when I switch to layer 3, which is just a copy of layer 1 with the addition that pressing the Windows key from there switches me to layer 0 where that key is once again active, the LED shuts off (and of course back on when in layer 0). Any idea why the LED doesn't switch off when in layer to 2 as indicated by the layers I made? Also speaking of layer 3 being basically a clone of 1, is there anyway to include the J_T_AUTO and J_T AGCR keys as they do not appear to be a selectable option via the web tool?
Oct 2, 2019
pavel_luden
0
Sep 29, 2019
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Hi. I've googled some internets and found no answers, so maybe you'll help. I think 10 or so predefined backlight colors are not enough. Web-configurator-flashing-tool is too much for changing colors, in my opinion. I want a simple thing - instantaneously change color of rgb backlight, picking from a full rgb pallet from my pc. Isn't it be be nice? You just open an app, choose color with color picker and done! no flashing, booting, no web-configurators, no console programming. just change a color with single click! Maybe someone already made such a nice app? If not, do you know some way to communicate with qmk via usb or maybe other hidden service port? Not changing firmware, but sending commands, which can be processed on a hardware side. Maybe someone know code examples of such communication?
Sep 29, 2019
lolskilled
0
Sep 26, 2019
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I'm unable to download compiled software, anyone else? Endless waiting and nothing happened..
Sep 26, 2019
masterhail
0
Sep 24, 2019
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configurator down for anyone else? have tried for the past few days and i can't download any of my configs. tried on different browsers and computers with the same issue.
Sep 24, 2019
lolskilled
0
Sep 26, 2019
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same shit here..already month ago..
Sep 26, 2019
TheYKD
4
Sep 19, 2019
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Sorry if this is a dumb question. but for some reason my CTRL keyboard can't use Alt+Tab to switch between various tabs. I have no experience with mech keyboards, I tried to reset the board with the hole in the bottom, but still no luck. any ideas ?? thanks for any help!
Sep 19, 2019
djehuti
0
Sep 12, 2019
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Keyboard Configurator - requesting some features In the keyboard configurator, I'd like to be able to:
  • Manage my saved layouts (i.e., save a new copy of an already saved one)
  • Duplicate a layer
  • Rearrange layers (i.e. make layer 1 become layer 2 and insert a new layer 1)
Really, just the ability to duplicate (and delete) saved layouts and duplicate layers would get me what I'm looking for.
(Edited)
Sep 12, 2019
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