Flashing Firmware To Your Keyboard

as easy as it always be

* This tutorial is only for keyboards those powered by QMK Firmware. If you are not sure if your keyboard is running QMK or not, please contact manufacturer/maker before continue.

Step 0: Preparing

In order to flash a new firmware to your keyboard, you need:

– A keyboard which will be re-flash (sound reasonable, right?)

– A firmware file: should be a file with .hex or .bin suffixes (for example: kiwikey_kawii9_via.hex)

– QMK Toolbox: (a software that upload the firmware file into keyboard)

Download: https://github.com/qmk/qmk_toolbox/releases

Tip: QMK.Toolbox.pkg is for Mac, qmk_toolbox_install.exe is for Windows

Install and run QMK Toolbox until you can see this window:

Step 1: Put keyboard into DFU Mode (Bootloader Mode)

You must put your keyboard into a special mode to flash it, called “DFU Mode” or “Bootloader Mode”.

There are several way to do so, if you are not sure what to do, try one the following ways:

  • Press the physical Reset button on the underside of your PCB (always works)
  • Unplug your keyboard, hold the top left key (usually ESC), then plug in your keyboard
  • Modern way: (only if your keyboard is being detected by VIA) mapping a key to RESET, and press it
  • Hardcore & dangerous way: find the RESET and GND pins on the PCB, and short them together (mostly used with keyboard using Pro-Micro controller)
If you tried all above ways and end up with no result, time to ask for help.
Otherwise, you will see a yellow message in QMK Toolbox, like this:
Tip: the message could be different.

Step 2: Setting up the QMK Toolbox

(1) Locate the firmware file, by clicking “Open” and navigate to where your firmware file is stored

Tip: if you already downloaded it, try looking at your Downloads folder, or if you built the firmware file yourself, it is in your qmk_firmware\.build folder

(2) Under “MCU (AVR only)” label, click the drop-down menu and select correct MCU (controller chip)

Tips: just choose atmega32u4, in most cases it works

(3) Make sure the yellow message in QMK Toolbox is still “connected”, if not, do Step 1 again

Step 3: Flash your keyboard

Click the Flash button in QMK Toolbox, some miracle lines appears, just let the magic do its work.

If you can see these “Success” texts in QMK Toolbox, everything is good:

Warning: do not unplug your keyboard during flashing, or it can be bricked (could be fixed, but tricky and need some  special tools).

Step 4: Test it and enjoy it!

Check some basic functions of your keyboard (typing, LED lighting,…).

Tips:

  • If you use a VIA-supported firmware, your keyboard should be detected by VIA (with or without loading JSON file into VIA)
  • If you have done all steps with no error, but the keyboard does not work at all, it is high chance that you chose wrong firmware file. No worries, just do this tutorial all over again, with the correct file