You’ve built your keyboard and now you want to make it work. To do this you’ll have to flash your microcontroller.
The exact specfics of how you do this depend on the microcontroller that you’re using, so take a look at their specific documentation. I will go through the process of flashing a Pro Micro conroller here.
You’ll need a compiled firmware file. This is something that you might have downloaded from where you bought your keyboard, or something that you configured and built yourself. It’s a file that has a .hex file format.
Open QMK Toolbox and connect your keyboard to your computer over USB. You might see something in the QMK console when you connect it, but not always.
Press open at the top of the QMK configurator window and choose the .hex file that you want to flash to your microcontroller. Precompiled (and Vial compatible) hex files for the Litl are available here with a WPM HUD and here with Bongocat (right click and ‘Download linked file’) on our Github. If you want to be able to configure your keyboard using Vial (recommended) then make sure to flash one of the vial hex files. Ensure that the file that you’re trying to flash has the file format .hex as sometimes browsers will download these files oddly.
Ensure that you have the correct MCU chosen at the top right of the QMK Toolbox window. For a Pro Micro it is an atmega32u4
Now comes the slightly tricky bit. You’ll need something metal to short two of the pins on the microcontroller. You can use pliers, a piece of wire or even a pen. You want to briefly connect and then disconnect the RESET and the GROUND pins of the Pro Micro. These are the second and third pins on the right hand side when the components are facings towards you and the usb port is facing up.
If you’re flashing the controller once it’s already soldered on the keyboard then you will need to short the same pins but likely from the other side. It’s the two pins pictured in the image below.
If you’ve successfully connected the pins and then disconnected them you should see a yellow line in the QMK Toolbox console like this. The line might say something slightly different depending on your controller.
Once you see the yellow line, you need to press Flash within 5 seconds. There will be lots of text rendered on the console when you do this, but it will ultimately say something like avrdude done. Thank you and then will print another yellow disconnect line if it succeeds.
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