The Keyboardio Model 100

Getting your hands on a Model 100

You will soon be able to order the Keyboardio Model 100 at https://shop.keyboard.io

Getting started with your new keyboard

Thank you for purchasing the Keyboardio Model 100.

We’ve worked hard to build you the best keyboard we can. We hope that you find it to be worthy of a place on your desk or in your lap for years to come.

As you get used to your new keyboard, we’d welcome your feedback by email to team@keyboard.io.

<3 Jesse + Kaia

Caring for your hands

We’ve done our best to make typing on the Keyboardio Model 100 as comfortable an experience as possible. Part of that work was to make the two halves of the Model 100 independently adjustable. As you get used to your new keyboard, you should experiment to find the most comfortable angles and positions for typing. See the section “Adjusting the Model 100” later in this guide.

Your hands are important! You only get one set. Please take good care of them. Take frequent short breaks when typing. If your hands hurt, stop typing and see a doctor. Typing, whether on the Model 100 or any other keyboard, is bad for your health and can cause or worsen debilitating repetitive stress injuries.

Connecting the Model 100

First, connect the two halves of the keyboard to each other by plugging one of the included RJ45 cables into the port on the side of each half. We’ve included two RJ45 cables; most people will want to use the short one, but if you want to separate the two halves more than a couple of inches use the longer one.

Once that’s done, you can connect the Model 100 to your computer with a USB cable. Just plug it in and start typing. You don’t need any special drivers. The Model 100’s USB port is a “Type-C” port. To plug the Model 100 into most computers, use the USB A to Type-C cable included with your keyboard.

To plug your Model 100 into a Type-C port on your computer, you’ll need a Type-C to Type-C cable. If you want to plug your Model 100 into an iOS or Android device, you’ll likely need an adaptor.

 Depending on what kind of device you're using, the instructions for connecting your keyboard may vary a bit. We wrote a quick guide to what kind of cable you should use with your keyboard.

We recommend that you disconnect the USB cable from the Model 100 before you disconnect or reconnect the RJ45 cable.

We’ve tested the Model 100 with macOS, Windows, iOS, and Android, as well as a variety of Linux distributions.

Typing on the Model 100

Getting started

Learning a new keyboard layout can be an incredibly frustrating endeavor. Don’t expect to be back up to your full normal typing speed in the first few days or even the first few weeks.

Like any new skill, typing on the Model 100 takes practice. We recommend starting off with no more than 15 minutes of typing at a time, early in the day. When you get frustrated or start to feel fatigued, switch back to your regular keyboard.

If you’re comfortable diving right into work, feel free to go for it, but we’d recommend getting comfortable with your new keyboard before using it for “real-time” activities like online chat and taking notes during a meeting.

One of the best ways to get started is with a typing tutor app. There are numerous free and commercial typing tutor applications. As of 2022, a few of our free favorites are Keybr.com and 10fastfingers.com (especially its “Top 1000” mode). A paid option that is more of a beautiful, immersive game than typing tutor is Epistory.

Home position


We designed the Model 100’s key layout to reduce the amount of twisting and stretching involved in day-to-day keyboard use. As a result, the layout is somewhat different than a traditional keyboard. To help you find your way, you’ll find “homing dots” on the home positions of your pinkies, index fingers, and thumbs.

With the Model 100’s default layout, your left pinkie rests on ‘A’, your left index finger rests on ‘F’, and your left thumb rests on ‘Backspace’. Your right pinkie rests on ‘;’, your right index finger rests on ‘J’, and your right thumb rests on ‘Space’.

A few notes on key labels

Apple and various PC makers use different labels to represent the same behavior. We’ve chosen to label the Model 100 in a way that makes sense to us:

Enter is Return on a Mac and Enter on a PC
Cmd is Cmd on a Mac and the Windows key on a PC
Alt is Option on a Mac and Left Alt on a PC
The butterfly is Right Option on a Mac and Right Alt on a PC
Bksp is Delete on a Mac and Backspace on a PC
(Fn-Bksp is Forward Delete on a Mac and Delete on a PC)

Function keys


One of the things that makes the Model 100 different is the pair of function keys we’ve placed under your palms. Out of the box, both function keys work the same: If you drop and hold either palm onto the function key, the Model 100 switches into “function mode”.

H, J, K, L become your arrow keys
U, I, O, P become {, }, [, and ] respectively
W, A, S, D will move the mouse cursor 

Numpad

The Model 100’s default layout includes an embedded numpad. To access it, just tap the Num key in the upper-right corner of the keyboard.

Controlling built-in LED lighting effects

Your Model 100 ships with a number of built-in LED lighting effects. To cycle through them, tap the LED button in the upper-right corner of the left side of the keyboard.

Customizing the key layout

Your keyboard ships with Keyboardio’s standard “QWERTY” layout. Because the Model 100’s firmware is completely customizable, it’s possible for you to change the functions of some (or all) of the keys to suit your own usage.

The easiest way to update your keyboard's layout is to use Chrysalis, our graphical configuration tool for Windows, macOS and Linux.

You can download Chrysalis at https://github.com/keyboardio/Chrysalis/releases

Adjusting your keyboard

You can and should adjust the Model 100 to put your hands and arms in a comfortable, neutral position while you’re typing. This might include separating the two halves or adjusting the angles of each half using the stands and/or center bars.

The simplest Model 100 configuration is flat on the table, without making use of the stands. You can optionally use the flat center bar to keep the two halves firmly positioned relative to each other (which is also nice if you’re using the keyboard on your lap).

Using the stands

The Model 100 comes with a pair of identical angled stands. To attach a stand to the keyboard, disconnect the keyboard from your computer, then gently flip the keyboard over on your desk. To make sure you don’t damage the keycaps or wood, we recommend placing something soft under the keyboard when you flip it over. Align the hole in the center of the stand with the brass-colored tripod screw mount in the middle of one side of the keyboard. Use the included tripod screw to loosely attach the stand to the keyboard base. Repeat the same procedure on the other side of the keyboard.

Carefully, flip the keyboard over.


Use one hand to steady the keyboard’s wooden enclosure and use the other hand to rotate the stand until you find a comfortable angle.

Once you’ve found the angle you prefer, lift the keyboard off the table and tighten the tripod screws to lock the keyboard in place. Be careful not to overtighten the screws.

Depending on how your computing setup is arranged, you may prefer to “tent” the Model 100, with the middle higher than the outside edges. You may also prefer to configure the keyboard with the palm rests higher or lower than the keys. You should never adjust your keyboard to make the outside edges higher than the center, as this is considered to be pretty bad for your hands and arms.

Using the center bars

Your Model 100 comes with two center bars that you can use to connect both halves of the keyboard. You can use the angled center bar to “tent” the middle of the Model 100 higher than the outside edges.

To use the angled center bar on a desk, you need to use the stands that come with the Model 100. If you’re going to put the Model 100 in your lap, you can use the tented center bar without the stands.

To attach a center bar, turn the keyboard over, align the “o” in the Keyboardio logo on the center bar with the points of the arrows on the rails at the back of the keyboard, and then slide the center bar onto the keyboard. To remove the center bar, just reverse that procedure.

Using tripods

The mounting hole on the bottom of each half of the keyboard is a standard 1/4-20 camera tripod mount. If you want to mount the Model 100 in an “interesting” configuration, you can use the tripod mounts with an adjustable camera tripod or custom hardware. The metal tripod mount is molded into the plastic baseplates of the keyboard at manufacturing time. It’s pretty sturdy, but we don’t recommend stressing the mounts more than necessary.

Caring for your keyboard

Cleaning

We’ve designed the Model 100 to be easy to care for. The wood is sealed with polyurethane and does not require treatment with oil or wax. If the wooden case, plastic base plate, or keycaps need cleaning, we recommend unplugging the keyboard and wiping it down with a cloth or paper towel that has been slightly dampened with water. We recommend against using any chemical cleaning products.

In the dreaded case of crumbs or lint falling into the keyboard, we find canned air to be effective.

If you spill liquid into your Model 100, unplug it immediately and turn the keyboard upside down to allow as much of the liquid as possible to drain. You might also consider unscrewing the wooden enclosure and wiping down the inside of the keyboard with a dry, lint-free cloth.

Always allow electronics to dry before plugging them in.

Transport

Properly taken care of, your Model 100 should be a good companion for many years.

When transporting your Model 100, make sure that the keys are protected from scrapes, impacts, and gunk. We’ve found that a roomy 13” laptop sleeve makes a great soft case.

If you separate the two halves of the keyboard for transportation, disconnect the RJ45 interconnect cable to reduce the chance of a strong tug hurting the connectors. If you would prefer to keep the two halves of your keyboard connected for transport, use only the flat center bar.

We strongly recommend disconnecting the stands (or anything else) from the tripod mounts on the bottom of the keyboard when packing it for transport.

Open source firmware

The Model 100 is powered by Kaleidoscope, a comprehensive open source firmware for keyboards. Kaleidoscope is based on Arduino, so it's really easy to get started with.

We’ve designed Kaleidoscope to be easily customizable, with an extensive library of plugins to add nifty features you might find useful or entertaining.

You can learn more about Kaleidoscope at https://github.com/keyboardio/Kaleidoscope and https://kaleidoscope.readthedocs.io/en/latest/.

Cables

USB Cable

The Model 100’s USB cable is a USB 2.0 cable with a USB Type-C connector on the keyboard side.

Interconnect cable

The cable that connects the two halves of the Model 100 is 8P8C twisted pair wire with RJ45 connectors on either end. If you need to replace the cable that came with your keyboard, any “regular” Ethernet cable should work.

Warranty and Repair

Limited one-year parts and labor warranty

If you have purchased a new Model 100 from Keyboardio or an authorized distributor, your keyboard is covered by a limited one-year parts and labor warranty from the date of purchase.

Opening your keyboard does not void your warranty

Your keyboard comes with a screwdriver. You can
use this screwdriver to disassemble your keyboard. Be careful when doing this, as there are sensitive electronics inside and damage to the electronics due to you poking at them will void your warranty. The mere act of unscrewing the parts of your Model 100, however, does not void your warranty.

Replacing or updating your keyboard’s firmware does not void your warranty

The Model 100’s firmware is open source. You are free to modify it and, if you wish, to share your changes. It’s also possible to replace our firmware entirely. We’ve done a bunch of work to make sure that you can’t “brick” (destroy) your keyboard just by flashing alternate firmware. If you think that you might have bricked your keyboard, please drop us a line and we can walk you through recovery procedures.
That said, it is possible for custom firmware to do things that will destroy your keyboard. If misbehaving custom firmware destroys your keyboard, that voids your warranty.


Using the expansion connector does not void your warranty

You have the right to modify your Model 100. That means that we’re ok with you changing the keyboard’s firmware and doing unspeakable things to the keyboard’s circuit board. To that end, we’ve provided an “expansion” connector inside the left side of the Model 100. This connector gives you access to all the pins you might find on an Arduino Leonardo. Simply plugging something into this expansion connector does not void your warranty, but as you’ll read below, frying the board by doing so does void the warranty.

Misusing the expansion connector may void your warranty

It is entirely possible for you to wire up custom electronics to the expansion connector in a way that will destroy your keyboard. While this voids your warranty, a good write-up of what you were trying to do and where you went wrong is likely to get you a nice discount on a repair or replacement. If you’re doing something interesting with the expansion port, consider documenting (and photographing) your work as you go. If things go well, you’ll have a tutorial to share. If things go badly, at least you’ll have a well-documented sob story.

Accidental or intentional damage will void your warranty

This warranty covers defects in materials and workmanship, but does not cover accidents, abuse or normal wear and tear.

The Model 100’s enclosure is made from wood. We’ve worked hard to design the Model 100’s enclosure to be as sturdy as possible. When treated well, it should last you for many years. However, unlike plastic and metal, wood has a habit of shattering when dropped. It also tends to crack when you freeze it or bake it. Really, there are a lot of ways to damage wooden parts. Damage to the wooden enclosure which we determine is not the result of a defect in manufacture or workmanship is not covered by the warranty.

Contact us about repairs

If your keyboard stops working, please contact us at support@keyboard.io and we’ll work with you to figure out the best way to get you back up to speed.

If we determine that your keyboard was damaged due to to an accident or abuse or that it is otherwise out of warranty, we may, at our option, choose to repair your keyboard, or offer you replacement parts or a replacement keyboard at a discount.

Getting help

Keyboardio community

We maintain an online forum for customers at https://community.keyboard.io. The forum is a great place to connect with other Model 100 users, to talk about key layouts and firmware modifications, and to get help with your Model 100.

Customer support

If you need help with your Model 100, please don’t hesitate to email us at support@keyboard.io. We’ll do our best to help you out.