ANAVI Macro Pad 12 & Arrows

Two fully programmable, open source, no-solder, hot-swappable mechanical keyboards powered by Raspberry Pi & CircuitPython

Aug 04, 2023

Project update 6 of 10

The Perfect Match: Exploring the XIAO RP2040's Harmony with Mechanical Keyboards

by ANAVI Technology

At the core of both ANAVI Macro Pad 12 and ANAVI Arrows lie the formidable Raspberry Pi RP2040 microcontroller seamlessly integrated into a Seeed Studio XIAO module.

Raspberry Pi, a renowned name in the world of single board computers, made a significant stride on January 21, 2021, by venturing into a new domain with the introduction of their first microcontroller, the RP2040. It is designed to provide a powerful and cost-effective solution for various embedded systems and Internet of Things (IoT) applications. The RP2040 features a dual-core 32-bit ARM Cortex-M0+ processor running at a clock speed of 133 MHz, abundant GPIO (General Purpose Input/Output) pins, flexible peripherals, and support for various communication protocols. It offers a compelling combination of performance, versatility, and affordability, making it a popular choice for a wide range of projects and devices.

The RP2040 microcontroller also offers multiple programming options, supporting languages such as Assembly, Rust, C, C++, MicroPython, and CircuitPython. Its capabilities extend to running TensorFlow Lite, demonstrating its impressive computing power. Our mechanical keyboards with the RP2040, including ANAVI Macro Pad 12 and ANAVI Arrows, rely on the open source firmware KMK and CircuitPython.

The initial deployment of the RP2040 was with the Raspberry Pi Pico development board. Subsequently, other iterations like the Raspberry Pi Pico W and a multitude of development boards utilizing the RP2040 from various manufacturers were introduced to the market. The Seeed Studio XIAO module stands out of this crowd because of its compact form factor and size making it a perfect fit for miniature mechanical keyboards.

Seeed XIAO is a compact and user-friendly line of development boards which are all the same size but are equipped with various microcontrollers, including the XIAO RP2040 we use in the ANAVI Macro Pad 12 and ANAVI Arrows. XIAO RP2040 is FCC and RoHS compliant. Measuring only about the size of a thumb, the dimensions of the module are just 21x17.5 mm. The strategically placed castellated holes on both sides of the module facilitate seamless integration with surface-mount technology (SMT), streamlining the assembly process during manufacturing. Another major benefit of XIAO RP2040 is its USB-C connector because it surpasses previous USB connectors with its reversible design, faster data transfer speeds, increased power delivery, versatile functionality, and widespread adoption.

The uniform dimensions across all XIAO modules expands realm of possibilities as the open-source nature of our projects beckons. For folk with advanced skills and tools, the potential exists to replace the module on ANAVI Macro Pad 12 and ANAVI Arrows with an alternative XIAO module with a different microcontroller and Bluetooth connectivity. Our meticulously crafted design features a discreetly placed cutout on the back of the printed circuit boards, granting easy access to VIN (voltage in) and GND (ground) pads. This allows for seamless attachment of a battery, paving the way for an extraordinary possibility - through advanced hardware modification, your keyboard can evolve into a wireless, battery-powered masterpiece, unrivaled in convenience and mobility.

The XIAO RP2040 is an exceptional choice for a multitude of projects, particularly when it comes to compact mechanical keyboards. With its arsenal of 11 digital pins, it empowers designers to craft printed circuit boards teeming with an assortment of keys, rotary encoders and other peripherals, enabling endless possibilities for customization and functionality.

Grab your ANAVI Macro Pad 12 or ANAVI Arrows re-programmable keyboard infused with the power of XIAO RP2040 and revolutionize your typing experience like never before!

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