The only thing better than a nice mechanical key is, perhaps, FOUR mechanical keys that also can glow any color of the rainbow - and that's what the Adafruit NeoKey 1x4 QT I2C Breakout will let you do! This long 3" x 0.8" PCB fits four Cherry MX or compatible switches and make it easy to use with a breadboard/perfboard or with a STEMMA QT (Qwiic) connector for instant I2C connectivity on any platform.

Please note, each order comes with one assembled and programmed PCB but no switches or keycaps or microcontroller. Most folks have specific key switches and keycaps they want to include, this is just the controller board that plugs into a microcontroller.

The breakout has four Kailh sockets, which means you can plug in any MX-compatible switch instead of soldering it in. You may need a little glue to keep the switch in place: hot glue or a dot of epoxy worked fine for us. Each key also has a reverse-mount NeoPixel pointing up through the spot where many switches would have an LED to shine through.

A microcontroller is pre-programmed with our Seesaw firmware so button presses and NeoPixel-controlling is done all over I2C. You can even connect multiple board by chaining the I2C and soldering closed the I2C address jumpers - with four jumpers you can have up to 16 of these boards on a single I2C bus. We have Arduino and CircuitPython/Python libraries for controlling the NeoKey 1x4's so you can use any microcontroller/computer for quick creation of a custom macropad.

You can also fit the breakouts onto a breadboard if you like - with two sets of breakout pads, there's plenty of flexibility for any kind of use. There are two rows of 6-pin contacts on a 0.1" grid on both sides. Solder in both sides for mechanical stability.

Soldering is required to attach the header for breadboard use, you may also need to solder jumpers closed to connect multiple boards together. A microcontroller is required to drive this board, it isn't stand-alone. Keys & keycaps are not included: Use any MX-compatible switch: Kailh, Gateron, etc all work!

This guide was first published on Jun 25, 2021. It was last updated on Jul 19, 2024.

This page (Overview) was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

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