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Add HACKING file

Ondrej Jirman 1 year ago
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Pinephone keyboard firmware
Current firmware implementation relies on polling the key matrix
once every 20ms.
The controller has ability to detect change on
the row input port, so it is possible to ground all column GPIOs
enable pull-ups on row GPIOs, and wait on change on the row GPIOs.
This only works when no key is pressed, otherwise one pressed
key would mask changes in the state of other keys on the same row.
This is good to achieve large power savings by not polling when
we detect that no keys are pressed, which is the normal state
of all keys.
Firmware thus switches between two modes of operation:
- idle - when no keys are pressed, columns are grouded, rows are pulled up
and the controller only reacts on the change in the row GPIOs
- when the change is detected, it switches to active mode
- active - when a key is pressed, the firmware performs periodic
full scans of the keyboard matrix, to determine what keys
are actually pressed
- when no keys are pressed anymore it switches to idle mode
It is possible to power down the CPU and all peripherals in idle mode
via PCON.PD bit and only wait to be woken up by GPIO change interrupt.
(or I2C interrupt)
My prototype keyboard has Z key always pressed due to some HW bug,
so this method of switching to idle mode and powering down the
controller will not work on my keyboard. The firmware implements
in this case a always active polling mode.
- Power consumption in polled mode is about 20mW.
- I2C interrupts don't always wake from power down. (maybe the wakeup
only works on the I2C address match condition, as stated in the manual
so we need to ensure that the controller is not put back to powerdown
mode, until the I2C transaction finishes)
How to flash the firmware
- If you have original firmware, it's enough to just run the flashing tool.
- If you have this firmware, you can enter flashing mode by pressing
- If you have broken firmware, you need to short P90 (7th test pad from the left)
to GND and power cycle the keyboard controller.
- Power cycling requires powering down the connected pinehone and maybe
ensuring VOUT is disabled on the kb charger (can be done via I2C,
or by pressing the charger key)
- You need to keep P90 shorted until the flashing is complete.
- You can insert the flasing USB cable safely even with 5V/VBUS wire
connected regardless of whether the charger's VOUT is enabled or not.
- Flashing tool is configured by modifying the source code for now.
If your firmware grows, don't forget to increase the flashing area
size. Currently it's set to 0x2000 - 0x2600.