Mokulua Build Guide

Mokulua

The Mokulua is our split alice-like layout with some interesting bottom rows, angles, and and positioning for components. This board features a rectangular half design that allows for easy tenting of the halves however suits you. This is a simple and easy to build and enjoy split board, and an excellent choice to start off with but still get a taste of an unusual build.

Product Page

Like most of our kits, this isn’t too difficult to build, but you will really need to take care to make sure you solder things in the right place, so PLEASE follow the guide and be careful. Feel free to come and ask anyone to double check you in the MechWild Discord Server!

Required Tools and Components

These tools and components are required to complete the project and are not included in the kit. The linked names of the components will generally link to a place where you can buy them.

These tools are not necessary to complete the build, but might make the process a little easier for you or help you correct mistakes if you make them.

Because this kit has two USB ports to connect between the halves, Soldering Flux is HIGHLY recommend.

NOTE: This build guide assumes you are building a traditional stagger pair and not just doing a single half or the mirrored layout.
That doesn't change many things, but your component count or steps might differ slightly.

Kit Contents

Note: You might have extras of some components. This is normal and is to account for small mistakes.

The Big Stuff

Left Half PCB

Left half always uses the mirrorable PCB

Right Half PCB

Right half can use mirrorable PCB (pictured above) or traditional stagger PCB (pictured here)

Left Half Plate

Left half always uses the mirrorable plate

Right Half Plate

Right half can use mirrorable plate (pictured above) or traditional stagger plate (pictured here)

Left Half Acrylic Bottom

Left half always uses the mirrorable bottom

Right Half Acrylic Bottom

Right half can use mirrorable bottom (pictured above) or traditional stagger bottom (pictured here)

Components

Pro Micro (2)

USB C Ports (2)

Diodes (80)

 

(40) per half

SMD LEDs (20)

 

(10) per half

Encoders (2) and Knobs (2)

Assembly Hardware

Standoffs, Screws, and Bumpons

This will contain:

  • 16x 12mm standoffs (8 per side)
  • 4x 3mm male to female standoffs (2 per side)
  • 32x 4mm screws (16 per side)
  • 8x rubber bumpons (4 per side)
  • 2x Reset switches (1 per side)

Acrylic Guards (2)

(1) per half
You will have acrylic to match your PCB choice

Plug in your Pro Micro and flash it to make sure it works. You absolutely want to make sure the Pro Micro works before soldering it to the board, as removing a defective one can be quite bothersome.

Get the latest firmware here.

QMK Toolbox (download the .exe)

If this is your first time flashing a Pro Micro, you will need to download QMK Toolbox as well as the firmware you’ll be flashing (both linked above). Run the program and allow it to install drivers when prompted. Next, you will Open your firmware file you have just downloaded. Your firmware file name may differ from the one in the following screenshot. Make sure the MCU field reads “ATmega32U4” and that you have the correct firmware file selected. Also, check the “Auto-Flash” box. Your QMK Toolbox window should look like this:

Step 0: Test and Program the Pro Micro

Inspect the anchor joints that secure the connector. If it looks like there isn’t enough solder around the micro usb port (this is not needed for USB C), please add some solder to the joint on either side of the connector.

Now plug in your Pro Micro and locate the RST and GND pins.

Then short the RST and GND pins by connecting them with a pair of tweezers or something similar. If doing this once does not cause QMK Toolbox to start flashing the pro micro, try “double tapping” RST by connecting them twice really quickly.

If you want more info on these steps, check out the guide here:
Guide to Flashing Pro Micro

Step 1: Solder Jumpers

The MOST IMPORTANT part of this step is making sure that you are soldering the correct side of the PCB. Every single component that you will be solder on the PCB (EXCEPT THE OLED) will be ON the bottom of the PCB. The left side PCB is reversible and it is easy to put things in the wrong place or on the wrong side if you are not paying attention. Refer to the following pictures to see which is top and which is bottom for the assembly of the LEFT half. 

Now to solder the jumpers. A soldered jumper is two or more metal contacts that are nearby and need to be connected to basically make a “choice” on the board. For these, all you need to know is just connect the inner ones on both jumpers. This is to select between I2C and Serial communications for the halves. You will be using Serial by default. You would only want to enable I2C communications between the halves if you have a very specific reason to do so. If you don’t know if you need it, you don’t need it. Solder them like this ON THE BOTTOM OF THE PCB:

Step 2: Solder SMD LEDs

For these, the orientation matters. The little dip in the corner of the LED is supposed to line up with the L shape on the silkscreen. I like to apply a little bit of solder on one of the pads, then push the LED up to the solder while I am heating it to align it with where it needs to be.

From that point, you will want to go and do all the other LEDs as well. PAY SPECIAL ATTENTION TO MAKE SURE THE LEDs MATCH THE ORIENTATIONOF THE SILKSCREEN.

Step 3: Solder USB Port

 To do this, I recommend having high quality solder and extra flux on hand if possible. The simple summary is:


1. you are going to solder one of the holes on the top of the PCB.
For this one I chose the top right hole

2. you then push the USB port against it lightly (but with enough pressure to hold it there) and reheat the hole you soldered from the underside of the PCB

Before soldering more points on the port, make sure the port is on the BOTTOM side of the PCB and is flat against the surface.



3. Then flip the PCB over so it is bottom up, and fill the anchor spots with solder for a good mechanical connection

4. Then this is where you especially want high quality solder and/or extra flux. You are going to go through and solder each of the holes. You can get away with feeding a small amount of solder to your soldering iron and dragging it across the pins, then going back and touching up spots if it looks like 2 of the pins are connected (you don’t want this, it wont work that way)

This image shows the base steps for seating it initially:

 

Step 4: Solder Pro Micro

I will be showing socketing on this build, but if you would like to see the same steps with soldered headers, check out the MurphPad Build Guide.

 

The main thing to pay attention to here is to put the pins in the correct spot. On whichever side of the board you are soldering (in this case, the bottom, the same side as the LEDs and everything else so far) there will be a set of pins with a box around them on the silkscreen. The pins go in those spots, like this:

I then like to put a pin in each of the corners, then put the pro micro on the pins, line them up, and solder those corners to hold them in place.

Step 5: Reset Button and Diodes

Same as everything so far, the button goes on the same side of the PCB (the bottom).

After that, put the diodes on. Pay attention! The direction that the diodes are facing is extremely important! The black line on the diodes should match the thick line on the silkscreen like this (but make sure to push it all the way in):

After that go through and do all the diodes, making sure to keep paying attention to the direction they need to be in.

Step 6: Solder OLED

I like to stand the OLED up on a heat resistant soldering mat like this and solder the headers on this way:

Then you will want to put the OLED on the TOP OF THE BOARD. THIS IS THE FIRST THING YOU ARE PUTTING ON THE TOP SIDE. From here I do one pin at a time until I can verify it is lined up correctly and parallel to the PCB (so it looks flat from above). Once you have the pins soldered, you will want to add a little bit of extra solder to connect the jumpers that are joined with the OLED pins on the side you are soldering. You can trim the pins if you want, but it is not needed.

Step 7: Solder Encoder

If you got an encoder, now is the time to solder it. I am not doing encoders on this build, so I won’t be showing that done for this board, but here is a picture from the MurphPad build guide:

Step 8: Attach Standoffs

Attach the standoffs to the top plate now with screws and the smaller standoffs. Here is which goes where:

Step 9: Put Stabilizers On and Solder Switches

Do it. You know how to do it. MAKE SURE THE SWITCHES ARE GOING THROUGH THE PLATE AND INTO THE PCB. Also please make sure to put the stabilizers on before soldering switches or you are gonna have a hard time getting them on later

Step 10: Install Acrylic Pieces

Note: Your acrylic pieces have at LEAST one side covered in protective
plastic (typically either blue film or adhesive paper backing).

Make sure to remove this before continuing with your assembly!

Additionally, there will be a small amount of residue leftover on the side that is engraved. 
Clean this away with some soap and water for a nice clean look!

Put the screws on through the acrylic pieces for top and bottom to assemble your board. The Larger island image on the bottoms is for the left half. The side of the acrylic that is has been laser engraved is always the side that should be facing the PCB. The completely smooth side faces towards the desk.

Now throw on the bumpons.

Plug it in and see if the lights all light up and the OLED comes on. If it doesn’t, now would be a good time to check in with our discord server and see if anyone has troubleshooting tips for you.

Step 11: Test the half

Step 12: Solder Jumpers

For details, see the above description in Step 1.

Step 13: USB Port

For details, see the above description in Step 3.

Step 14: SMD RGB LEDs

For details, see the above description in Step 2.

Step 15: Pro Micro

For details, see the above description in Step 4. I have included a picture of the regular soldered half and also the basic picture shown above for the guide on step 4.

Step 16: Reset Button and Diodes

For details, see the above description in Step 5. I have included a picture of the regular soldered half and also the basic picture shown above for the guide on step 4.

Step 17: Solder OLED

For details, see the above description in Step 6. This half, if you are building the one-sided traditional half, then your right half will not have jumpers on the OLED pins. I hit the single pin kind of hard in this pic, because I always do a single pin, then make sure the OLED is aligned how we want it to be, then I go back and clean up after getting the others soldered.

Step 18: Solder Encoder

For details, see the above description in Step 7. This only applies if you want to solder an encoder on this side.

Step 19: Put Stabilizers On and Solder Switches

Do it. You know how to do it. MAKE SURE THE SWITCHES ARE GOING THROUGH THE PLATE AND INTO THE PCB. Also please make sure to put the stabilizers on before soldering switches or you are gonna have a hard time getting them on later

Step 20: Attach Standoffs

Attach the standoffs to the top plate now with screws and the smaller standoffs. Here is which goes where:

Step 21: Install Acrylic Pieces

Put the screws on through the acrylic pieces for top and bottom to assemble your board. The smaller island image on the bottoms is for the right half. The side of the acrylic that is has been laser engraved is always the side that should be facing the PCB. The completely smooth side faces towards the desk.

Now throw on the bumpons.

Step 22: Test the half

Plug it in and see if the lights all light up and the OLED comes on. If it doesn’t, now would be a good time to check in with our discord server and see if anyone has troubleshooting tips for you.

Step 23: Test the Whole

Plug it in and see if the lights all light up and the OLED comes on. Both sides should be acting normally and lighting up/showing info on the OLED. If it doesn’t, now would be a good time to check in with our discord server and see if anyone has troubleshooting tips for you.