OrangeBoyErgo [OBE] Build Guide

Orange Boy Ergo

The Orange Boy Ergo (aka OBE) is our take on a super budget ergo / Alice-like kit. Not everyone has hundreds of dollars to spend on something they might not enjoy. We went with a layout that includes arrow keys since most people need them. There’s also 3 macro keys on the left hand side but you could have a knob and 2 macro keys instead.

Product Page

This is one of the simpler kits we have to build, with one exception. Please follow the guide as we have it written to ensure that everything goes smoothly. If you have any problems during your build, feel free to stop in to the MechWild Discord Server and ask for assistance.

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.

Kit Contents

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

The Big Stuff

PCB

Bottom

Plate
(if your purchased one)

Components

Blackpill

Diodes (75)

LEDs and 220 Ohm Resistors

EEPROM and 10k Ohm Resistors

LED Strip
(if you purchased one)

Encoder and Knob
(if you purchased one)

Assembly Hardware

Standoffs, Screws, and Bumpons

This will contain:

  • 8x 8mm standoffs
  • 8x 10mm standoffs
  • 16x screws
  • 4x rubber bumpons (feet)

Aluminum Cone Feet
(if you purchased them)

Step 0: Test and Flash Your Blackpill

There is a known issue with the model of Blackpill board that we are providing with this kit. Sometimes the timing is off inside of the microcontroller and this causes it to not be able to be put into bootloader mode. Fortunately this is a rather easy thing to work around and can be solved using tools you already have. First thing first, we need to figure out if it affects you. The best way is to plug in your Blackpill and look at the blinking blue light on the bottom right side of the board as you look at it. If it blinks too quickly, it likely is affected. If it is a nice slow breathing look for the LED, it is probably fine. Neither is definitive, but it is a good start in the right direction. Here is a gif comparing the two.

Next, we will try and put it into bootloader mode. To do this, hold the button labeled “Boot0” on the top of the Blackpill, and while you are still holding that button, tap and release the “NRST” button. Then after a second or two, release the “Boot0” button. If the blue light is no longer blinking, you did it! If the blue light is blinking still, try again.

At this point, if you managed to put it into bootloader mode and your device is no good, you might get the following error:

Now we will try and flash the Blackpill using QMK toolbox (or your tool of choice.) 

First download the firmware bin file from this link:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xAEpVMf-otzNdROUL32P6RyDaUMQrRls/view?usp=sharing

Then select that file from QMK Toolbox and click the “Flash” button in the top right.

If you attempt to flash one of the affected units, you will likely get the following error:

Alright, for most of you, this probably worked and you did not get that error. Go ahead and move on to the rest of the build if that is the case. If it did not work and you got the error above, we are about to fix this is probably the most ridiculous seeming way possible: We need to heat up the microcontroller on the Blackpill using your soldering iron. Yep. Put the hot soldering iron tip directly on the microcontroller like in this picture and hold it there for 10 or so seconds.

 

THEN, WHILE IT IS STILL HOT (or at least like pretty warm, you have some time), put your board into bootloader mode again (hold Boot0, tap NRST, same as before) and try to flash it again. It will just work now. Once you have it flashed with the firmware above, you will be able to configure it with VIA just fine and use it as regular, but to change the firmware out with bootloader mode again, you will likely need to heat it once more.

 

Step 1: Diodes

THE DIRECTION THAT THE DIODE IS FACING WHEN YOU SOLDER IT ON MATTERS. A LOT.

Yep, getting the boring part out of the way early on this build. Make sure the black line on the diode body lines up with the line on the silkscreen under it. Also make sure that the diodes are on the same side of the board as the large “ORANGE BOY ERGO” graphic, as that is the side of the board that everything goes on except for the switches, LEDs, and encoder. Every position that is labeled with a D is a diode. If the position is labeled with something else (like an R for example, THEN DO NOT PUT A DIODE THERE. THOSE ARE FOR OTHER THINGS.)

Take a look at this picture that is demonstrating both the correct orientation of the diode AND the way to properly leave non-diode positions empty. See how there is nothing in the spot labeled R3? PERFECT! (Do make sure you diode is more in than that bottom one though, I pulled it out a little so you could see the silkscreen under it better for an example)

Once you have your diodes all put in, go ahead and solder them and then clip the legs. Here is how it should look from the top side when it is done:

Step 2: EEPROM (U1), R1, R2​

Now we are going to put our EEPROM and the EEPROM resistors on the board. This is pretty simple. The only thing you need to worry about is making sure that the notch on the top of the EEPROM is on the same side of the silkscreen as the notch on the silkscreen AND you also need to make sure that you are putting it on the right side of the PCB. It should be on the same side as the diodes and NOT on the same side as the paw. The direction of the resistors doesn’t matter. I like making them match so it looks better, but these wont be visible anyway, so go crazy with power and put them facing opposite ways if you want. Same with all the throughhole components you will be using, you put the components on one side, then flip the PCB over and solder them on the other side. Make sure you clip the resistor legs after you are done soldering them.

JUST TO MAKE SURE YOU UNDERSTAND: Here is a zoomed in one for ya.

Step 3: Status LEDs, R3, R4​​

The direction you put the status LEDs on the board REALLY matters. Just like the diodes before. LED stand for Light Emitting Diode, and diodes like to go on things facing a specific direction. For the LED, there are two ways to tell which way it needs to face. One way is that there is a little flat edge on the LED. The other way is that one of the legs is shorter than the other. Here is a picture showing both:

Ok, so the short leg side will go in the square hole. Yep. It is that easy. Short leg, square hole. Do it. Make sure the LED is sitting flat again the PCB and not leaning to the side or anything or that could make issues with your plate later. This is the way it will go on the PCB. PLEASE MAKE SURE THESE ARE ON THE SAME SIDE AS THE PAW.

After you have those both on, go ahead and put the LED resistors in the positions labeled R3 and R4, solder them into place, and then clip their legs like all the other stuff so far. Like this:

Step 4: Soldering the Blackpill​

Ok, now we are going to solder the headers onto the Blackpill. Put the headers into the PCB with short side facing down.

Then put the Blackpill on the pins with the BUTTONS FACING AWAY FROM THE PCB. YOU WILL NEED THOSE BUTTONS.

Now you will solder all those pins on the top of the Blackpill (not the other side yet, just do the one side) and then snip the excess of the pins away with your flush cutters.

Now flip the board over and solder the short pins but don’t cut them yet, we need to be precise about it so I want to explain that separately.

Ok, so the escape, tab, and caps lock keys all go over top of the pins from the Blackpill. This is perfectly fine BUT it requires that we be super careful in this part. We need to cut the headers pins as close to the PCB as possible so it does not disturb the way the switch wants to sit naturally. Under MX style switches there is actually a small area where the switch does not sit perfectly flush on the board and it is propped up slightly by two little nub feet. This is to our advantage because that means that you don’t have to completely remove the pin header, but you DO need to be as close to that as possible. Here is a picture of the intended height:

Take a switch and throw it in the escape position to see and make sure it is low enough to not cause any issues.

Step 5: Plug it in and test it​

Now that all the important components are on, go ahead and plug it in and open up VIA to make sure it loads up correctly. You may now also check your switch positions with a pair or tweezers if you like.

Step 6: Encoder (if your purchased one)​​

Throw your encoder on here and solder it in if you got one.

Step 7: Put Standoffs on the PCB​​​

If you got a plate, you will now need to put the standoffs on the PCB. You have two kinds of standoffs in your bag. The short ones are for if you did not order any of the sockets and pins for the Blackpill. By using those, it will sit a little lower on the your desk and be more comfortable to type on. Since the socket makes it sit a little higher, we included extra larger standoffs to use instead if needed. Put all 8 standoffs on the PCB now and tighten really well.

Step 8: Put on your stabilizers and switches​​

I’m not going to walk you through this part. Put on your stabs and switches. Please remember that the switches go THROUGH the plate before being soldered and that once you solder on your switches you will not be able to put the plate on afterwards.

Step 9: RGB Strip​​

I walked through this on stream and will be providing more details on it later. Basically, make sure the 5v and ground of your strip is connected to the 5v and ground on the RGB LED position and that the Din (data in) position is connected to the Do (data out) position on the PCB. You can use whatever wire you want for this and if you do not want to complete it now, you can always go back and add it later. This is easy to add afterwards.

Step 10: Finish up

If you ordered some aluminum feet, put those on the bottom piece before screwing it into place. Then, go ahead and screw the bottom into place and put the rubber bumpons onto your board. If you did get aluminum feet, try and keep the bumpons as close to the edge as you possibly can like in this picture as it will help keep the front lip of the board from touching your desk. Enjoy your board. You worked hard on it.