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imgs Working dactyl-manuform Mar 28, 2017
keymaps added key map with Colemak layer, Kenesis and coding keys Jun 12, 2017
Makefile Working dactyl-manuform Mar 28, 2017
config.h Working dactyl-manuform Mar 28, 2017
dactyl-manuform.c Second try Mar 20, 2017
dactyl-manuform.h Working dactyl-manuform Mar 28, 2017
i2c.h Second try Mar 20, 2017
pro_micro.h Second try Mar 20, 2017 Update readme Mar 28, 2017 Working dactyl-manuform Mar 28, 2017
split_util.c Second try Mar 20, 2017
split_util.h Second try Mar 20, 2017


This is for the Dactyl-Manuform keyboard, a fork of the Dactyl keyboard that incorporates the thumb cluster of the ManuForm.

This code was adapted from the Let's Split code. This readme and most of the code are from

Split keyboard firmware for Arduino Pro Micro or other ATmega32u4 based boards.

First Time Setup

Download or clone the whole firmware and navigate to the keyboards/dactyl-manuform directory. Once your dev env is setup, you'll be able to generate the default .hex firmware files using:

$ make 

You will see a lot of output and if everything worked correctly, you will see the built hex files:


If you would like to use an alternative keymaps, copy and adjust one of the existing keymaps, and run make like so:


If everything worked correctly you will see a file:


For more information on customizing keymaps, take a look at the primary documentation for Customizing Your Keymap in the main


Some features supported by the firmware:

  • Either half can connect to the computer via USB, or both halves can be used independently.
  • You only need 3 wires to connect the two halves. Two for VCC and GND and one for serial communication.
  • Optional support for I2C connection between the two halves if for some reason you require a faster connection between the two halves. Note this requires an extra wire between halves and pull-up resistors on the data lines.

Required Hardware

Apart from diodes and key switches for the keyboard matrix in each half, you will need:

  • 2 Arduino Pro Micro's. You can find theses on aliexpress for ≈3.50USD each.
  • 2 TRS sockets
  • 1 TRS cable.

Alternatively, you can use any sort of cable and socket that has at least 3 wires. If you want to use I2C to communicate between halves, you will need a cable with at least 4 wires and 2x 4.7kΩ pull-up resistors

Optional Hardware

A speaker can be hooked-up to either side to the 5 (C6) pin and GND, and turned on via AUDIO_ENABLE. This is not tested with the Dactyl-ManuForm.


The 3 wires of the TRS cable need to connect GND, VCC, and digital pin 3 (i.e. PD0 on the ATmega32u4) between the two Pro Micros.

Then wire your key matrix to any of the remaining 17 IO pins of the pro micro and modify the matrix.c accordingly.

The wiring for serial:

serial wiring

The wiring for i2c:

i2c wiring

The pull-up resistors may be placed on either half. It is also possible to use 4 resistors and have the pull-ups in both halves, but this is unnecessary in simple use cases.

Notes on Software Configuration

Configuring the firmware is similar to any other QMK project. One thing to note is that MATIX_ROWS in config.h is the total number of rows between the two halves, i.e. if your split keyboard has 4 rows in each half, then MATRIX_ROWS=8.

Also the current implementation assumes a maximum of 8 columns, but it would not be very difficult to adapt it to support more if required.


From the keymap directory run make KEYMAP-avrdude for automatic serial port resolution and flashing. Example: make default-4x5-avrdude

Choosing which board to plug the USB cable into (choosing Master)

Because the two boards are identical, the firmware has logic to differentiate the left and right board.

It uses two strategies to figure things out: look at the EEPROM (memory on the chip) or looks if the current board has the usb cable.

The EEPROM approach requires additional setup (flashing the eeeprom) but allows you to swap the usb cable to either side.

The USB cable approach is easier to setup and if you just want the usb cable on the left board, you do not need to do anything extra.

Setting the left hand as master

If you always plug the usb cable into the left board, nothing extra is needed as this is the default. Comment out EE_HANDS and comment out I2C_MASTER_RIGHT or MASTER_RIGHT if for some reason it was set.

Setting the right hand as master

If you always plug the usb cable into the right board, add an extra flag to your config.h


Setting EE_hands to use either hands as master

If you define EE_HANDS in your config.h, you will need to set the EEPROM for the left and right halves.

The EEPROM is used to store whether the half is left handed or right handed. This makes it so that the same firmware file will run on both hands instead of having to flash left and right handed versions of the firmware to each half. To flash the EEPROM file for the left half run:

avrdude -p atmega32u4 -P $(COM_PORT) -c avr109 -U eeprom:w:eeprom-lefthand.eep
// or the equivalent in dfu-programmer

and similarly for right half

avrdude -p atmega32u4 -P $(COM_PORT) -c avr109 -U eeprom:w:eeprom-righhand.eep
// or the equivalent in dfu-programmer

NOTE: replace $(COM_PORT) with the port of your device (e.g. /dev/ttyACM0)

After you have flashed the EEPROM, you then need to set EE_HANDS in your config.h, rebuild the hex files and reflash.

Note that you need to program both halves, but you have the option of using different keymaps for each half. You could program the left half with a QWERTY layout and the right half with a Colemak layout using bootmagic's default layout option. Then if you connect the left half to a computer by USB the keyboard will use QWERTY and Colemak when the right half is connected.

Notes on Using Pro Micro 3.3V

Do update the F_CPU parameter in to 8000000 which reflects the frequency on the 3.3V board.

Also, if the slave board is producing weird characters in certain columns, update the following line in matrix.c to the following:

// _delay_us(30);  // without this wait read unstable value.
_delay_us(300);  // without this wait read unstable value.
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