Macro keyboard with GPIO/I2C breakout, rotary encoder, LED lights, and 8 keyboard-style keysDesigned by JC Devices in United States of America
This listing is for an item from a finished Kickstarter campaign. The original JC Pro Macro is for sale here, though likely will not be restocked when parts on-hand are gone. What is it? The JC Pro M…Read More…
The JC Pro Macro 2 is a mechanical macro keypad based on the ATmega32u4 Pro Micro board. It emulates a keyboard, and each of its 8 programmable keyswitches can be programmed (via the Arduino IDE) to act as a keystroke, combination of keystrokes, or sequence of keystrokes. Additionally, a rotary encoder is prominently featured in the design, and can also emulate keystrokes etc when rotated forwards or backwards. It can also be pressed down for an additional input.
Long story short, you can use this ‘pad for just about anything you like interface-wise.
Besides being a competent computer interface doodad, the JCPM2 also has 5 GPIO pins broken out. Two of these are used to power an optional I2C display, but three are totally free for you to use for whatever you like. +5V power and GND are also broken out, and the format just so happens to fit the connector for a PC fan, for cooling at the click of a key switch!
Of course, you can still use the I2C pins for other purposes, and a second output arrangement is available for hacking. Power and ground on these pin arrangements are assignable via solder pads, making them compatible with a variety of accessories.
The Pro Micro board is attached to the bottom via a socket, you you can swap it out as needed. In fact, the JCPM can be used without a computer, perhaps as a standalone controller if you’re so inclined. I’ve seen it used as a CNC pendant, and as a MIDI controller.
The GPIO breakout is the unique feature of the device. Each key switch has it's own addressable LED that shines up into the key caps, and it has four addressable LEDs to light the bottom. The base and key switch retention features are laser-cut out of clear acrylic.
As a pure computer interface device, the rotary encoder is positioned as a central feature of the design, not an afterthought. It can accommodate a fairly large encoder knob if you choose to go the sans-control cylinder option.
The standard program includes a media/general control mode, a mouse jiggler (to keep your computer awake), and a Final Cut Pro X mode. While not everyone has FCPX, I find this feature to be absolutely phenomenal when editing, so it seems a shame to leave it off. Seriously, I feel like a ninja chopping up clips left and right. It saves me a massive amount of time when editing. You can, of course, remove it via the Arduino IDE. If you poke around on the standard code, there are a few additional modes available.
This project started out many years ago as a simple volume knob based on the Adafruit Trinket. After several upgrades, learning to design PCBs with KiCad, and several more iterations after that, the result is the JC Pro Macro 2. I love using it, and I think you will too!
You can see the whole development story on this YouTube playlist. Documentation on the device is found here, and if you have any questions, comments, or improvements to share, you can reach out on Discord.
The JCPM2 is largely the same as on Kickstarter, however, there are two differences in what is provided:
It’s available as a board with LEDs, as kit [with needed assembly components, including: ATmega32u4 Pro Micro format board, Cherry MX Blue-style clone keyswitches, translucent keycaps + (1) 4-pin header for I2C display or other uses], or as a full assembly. Surface mount LEDs are included and soldered onto the board in all configurations. Only through hole parts need to be soldered for kits.
The last two images depict the JCPM2 with:
Neither is included, but shows the device's versatility. I don't sell the 5V fan depicted above, but they are available on Amazon (affiliate). Standard 12V PC fans may work, but tend to be slow.
Other options include an OLED screen, and a Micro USB cable for interface.
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