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Remapcro: A Hardware Keyboard Macro Recorder

I posted once recently about the prototype of this project, but as of today I’ve finished the first real one. The name Remapcro is a portmanteau of remap and macro, because that’s what it does. It’s an array of extra keys onto which macros can be stored, and then replayed at a touch. It works by sitting between your keyboard and computer. Normally key presses are passed straight through, but when recording a macro they are stored and then later replayed. I made a handful of small errors along the way, but none were fatal. The worst is in the picture on the right, above. There are two PCBs to hold the electronics. On top one holds the key switches and the diodes which help make the keyboard matrix easy to read and error free. Then a second smaller one, holding the “smarts”. There are a couple connections between the two of them, and the cross-wise one (top to bottom, at the edge of the smaller board) is off by one space. I ended up mounting the smaller board “upside down” and even though I thought I had the connector perfectly centered, it was off by a tenth of an inch. Thanks to the size of the key caps, there was already some extra room in the case I designed, and cutting a bit of the corner off the smaller board helped squeeze everything in anyway. There’s also one LED tucked into the top-left key (bottom left in the left picture above). It’s actually three LEDs (red, green, and blue). And specially designed to fit exactly into these key caps. I could only find it in a lot of 50 from China, and I was too impatient to wait for it to arrive (and carefully check my design against it) before I ordered the PCBs. I ended up needing to put it in backwards, trim off a bit of the bulge that now sticks out rather than into the slot it’s designed for, and re-wire the connections a bit.”

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