Pearl can be purchased with 3 different PCB options. The red QMK PCB runs on QMK Firmware and our two blue ZMK PCB's run on ZMK Firmware. Of the two blue PCB's, one has hotswap sockets so you dont need to solder.
QMK and ZMK are firmwares that need to be built first on a computer and then flashed onto your PCB for the keyboard to function. They are the operating systems of the PCB.
QMK Firmware is one that we all know and love, and pairs well with programs such as VIA or VIAL to help remap keys on the fly. It is a very mature firmware and has support for many cool features.
ZMK Firmware works almost the same as QMK, but is tailored towards a wireless bluetooth experience.
Both QMK and ZMK are not compatible with each other and must be flashed onto their respective PCB's. That is to say, you cannot flash a compiled QMK hex file onto a PCB designed for ZMK, and vice versa.
Purchasing a QMK PCB restricts you to a solder build and non wireless capabilities. You get a Piezo speaker and Haptic (rumble) feedback if you wish to have them enabled. The QMK pcb runs on an ATMEGA32U4 microchip and can only be flashed with a QMK hex file. The 3 leds on the bottom right blocker can be configured in QMK to turn on/off however the user chooses, defaulting to changing states when Caps, Num and Scroll locks are toggled.
Purchasing a ZMK PCB allows you to use the Pearl wired or unwired (if you have a battery installed internally), and allows you to power your dual usb hub USB-A ports if you so choose when being used wirelessly. This feature allows your Pearl to act as a battery bank of sorts, pulling 5V power from an internal 3.7V battery. With a ZMK PCB you do not have a Piezo speaker, haptic feedback or VIA/VIAL support. The ZMK pcb runs on an Holyiot Nordic microchip and can only be flashed with a ZMK uf2 file. The 3 leds on the bottom right blocker cannot be configured in firmware and toggle to represent when wireless mode is on, when the hub is powered and when charging is in progress/done.
Our QMK PCB's allow you to solder an included tiny rumble motor onto your PCB, and customize it both in firmware and with QMK keycodes. Whenever you type, the little motor will shake and rumble and you will feel it! To use haptic feedback please assign these keycodes to your keys. This can be done on a local QMK environment, using QMK Configurator or VIA/VIAL. Full documentation is here QMK haptic feedback
Our QMK PCB's come with a tiny piezo electric speaker that can be configured both in firmware and with QMK keycodes. Whenever you type, expect little 4-bit beeps and boops! To use this speaker please assign these keycodes to your keys. This can be done on a local QMK environment, using QMK Configurator or VIA/VIAL. Full documentation is here QMK Audio
Only a Pearl R2 core (PCB and plate together) can go in a R1 case. You cannot use a R2 plate with a R1 PCB or a R2 PCB with a R1 plate.
If you do choose to put a Pearl R2 plate+pcb into a R1 case, you willl need to internally hide the cable as R2 pcbs connect using a JST4 cable->daughteboard, which a usb cable then plugs into. This daughterboard screws onto the R2 case, so in a R1 case it will be dangling around inside the case and the usb c cable will need to connect to it internally.