Getting cables out of the inside

I’m interested in using the expansion port inside of the keyboardio to run something like an led strip outside the case. I realize this is super not happy path as far as modifications go, but I think it would be cool to have a keyboard underglow which could be configurable by the firmware.

As far as I can tell there are two main routes I can go. First I could build a glow controller out of another micro controller on the outside that can communicate wirelessly to the inside of the case. This has the benefit of not requiring any case modifications, but is a bummer because it might have too strenuous of power requirements and would require some sort of powering on the outside for the micro controller and led strip. This is probably necessary anyway as I suspect I would be approaching the limits of what usb can give me. A benefit of this approach would be that I could build identical led controllers for each half of the keyboard which would be managed wirelessly in the same way by the leonardo on the left side.

The second option would be to build the led strip management into the teensies on either side of the keyboard. This assumes that enough power can be sent to either side for the led strips, but is cool because the model01 is built this way for key scanning and key led management already. This would be an added feature on top of the existing stuff. Unfortunately I don’t know how I would get the required cables outside of the case. The only outputs are the rj45 cables and I suspect they are already used pretty fully already. So either I would have to modify the cases or manufacture my own with the correct outputs. This is potentially doable as I have access to a 3d printer, but losing the beautiful original wood cases would be a big bummer.

I could also be missing some other idea. I’m just spitballing! What are your guy’s thoughts on this? Is something like this achievable? Any solution for this would open up the possibility of other io as well. I think having a clean and supportable method for getting i/o out of the keyboard would be cool. The groundwork is there with the expansion port, and I suspect the teensies could be convinced to do a bit more work as well. I’m interested in your ideas.

Be aware the LEDs on the keyboard itself already are capable of drawing more power than the USB connection can supply. A brutally direct way to prove this is to upload a firmware with the LEDs set to bright white.

So the power budget remaining for after-market LEDs is slim at best.

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Thats a fair point. I wonder if I impose software limits on what lights are allowed on at any time I might be able to manage. For instance I currently just use the fade mode on my keyboard instead of a full board color mode. I suspect that leaving this

I’m also curious, I know that usb c supports more current draw. If I run a usb c to usb c chord is it possible to draw more current? I know that the usb a to c cable doesn’t allow more current, but I don’t know if the keyboard side might allow more current.

Sadly, no. The Model 01 is a USB 2 device, which doesn’t support power negotiation.


Thats a mad bummer. I guess I’ll have to be more creative