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Preface: I have the first generation PCB –

“Also, the difference between the two boards is that the first version has 3 downfacing WS2812b RGB LEDs that are controlled by QMK “rgblight”. The top facing LED uses 3 pins on the controller and is not fully supported under QMK. It is possible to write custom code for it, however.

The new version uses a total of 5 WS2812b LEDs, 4 on the bottom, 1 on top. By default, these are all managed like a single “strip” in QMK. It is possible to set the individual state of each, though. That is a simple function call in QMK that you could add to your keymaps.” – Woodkeys

I recently won a giveaway for a PCB for a Novelkey Bigswitch. Upon receiving my price I realized I needed a Bigswitch the wood case to go with it. upon receiving all my stuff, I found that It was more involved than I anticipated and there wasn’t much documentation on setting one of these switches up, so it spawned a project. All my information is coming from the Woodkey’s discord and Mechanical keyboard’s discord.

I wasn’t confident in my soldering skills considering the pcb spot for the leds was super tiny.

This last picture shows what the PCB does when it’s right side up, I would like it to sit flush with the top and am unsure if I want to solder it in place.

Decided to solder the tabs of the big switch to the PCB to hold in place.

Just have to learn QMK to program!

So the first thing I did was follow the documentation for QMK here

The first thing I did was download the GitHub repo for QMK that has a big switch profile provided by woodkeys on their discord channel, which is a great place to ask questions if you get stuck. Here is the link to the GitHub zip file – BIGSWITCH QMK. Move the extracted zip file into the root of your C drive to make the documentation of the install match. The next thing I did was installed my build tool, in this case, it was Windows with msys2 the link I provided is to the qmk documentation as you might not have a windows OS. Follow the documentation, follow the prompts, and you

The best environment to use, for Windows Vista through any later version (tested on 7 and 10), is msys2.

  • Install msys2 by downloading it and following the instructions here:
  • Open the MSYS2 MingGW 64-bit shortcut
  • Navigate to your qmk checkout. For example, if it’s in the root of your c drive:
    • $ cd /c/qmk_firmware-bigswitch/
  • Run util/ and follow the prompts

NOTE: when I was doing the install, I chose every option that downloaded everything, for example it prompted me a few times to add the drivers to all, and other options for ARM based keyboards – I said Yes to everything.

Once you get the confirmation that it installed successfully, do the following

  • re-open MSYS2 mingGW 64-bit
  • cd /c/qmk_firmware-bigswitch/
  • make bigswitch:default

You should see a long list of compilation confirmations and big green OK text. This generated a hex file – if done correctly it will be located


You then need to download and install software to flash the hex code to the device, in my case I chose QMK_Toolbox – Here is the download link

Once launched, all you have to do is RESET EEPRROM,

Click the RST1 Button on the bottom of your PCB controller connected to your switch, make sure the local file is pointed at “C:\qmk_firmware-bigswitch\bigswitch_default.hex“, make sure microcontroller has atmega32u2

Then click “FLASH

You will know you if it worked when your switch lights up like a Christmas tree!

EDIT: If you’re using the code mentioned above, you will notice that when you push the button, it sends the string, “HOWDY!!!”. I didn’t want this everytime I pushed the button, but wanted to keep the LED functionality the same. I spoke with woodkeys, and with their help I found out what file I needed to modify.

In your QMK folder on the root of C, navigate to: C:\qmk_firmware-bigswitch\keyboards\bigswitch\keymaps 

Copy the default folder, and past it in the same location & rename it something you will remember, in my example I named it nerdblog

open up the folder, and open the keymap.c file with notepad or your favorite text editor.

replace the file with the code from my pastebin.

Now all you would need to do is go to the step where you type in “MAKE bigswitch:default” and change it to whatever you renamed your folder to!

Now you can use your bigswitch to lock your screen when you’re on your way out of the office!

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