RGB Lighting

QMK has the ability to control RGB LEDs attached to your keyboard. This is commonly called underglow, due to the LEDs often being mounted on the bottom of the keyboard, producing a nice diffused effect when combined with a translucent case.

Planck with RGB Underglow

Some keyboards come with RGB LEDs preinstalled. Others must have them installed after the fact. See the Hardware Modification section for information on adding RGB lighting to your keyboard.

Currently QMK supports the following addressable LEDs (however, the white LED in RGBW variants is not supported):

  • WS2811, WS2812, WS2812B, WS2812C, etc.

  • SK6812, SK6812MINI, SK6805

These LEDs are called "addressable" because instead of using a wire per color, each LED contains a small microchip that understands a special protocol sent over a single wire. The chip passes on the remaining data to the next LED, allowing them to be chained together. In this way, you can easily control the color of the individual LEDs.

Usage

On keyboards with onboard RGB LEDs, it is usually enabled by default. If it is not working for you, check that your rules.mk includes the following:

RGBLIGHT_ENABLE = yes

At minimum you must define the data pin your LED strip is connected to, and the number of LEDs in the strip, in your config.h. If your keyboard has onboard RGB LEDs, and you are simply creating a keymap, you usually won't need to modify these.

Define

Description

RGB_DI_PIN

The pin connected to the data pin of the LEDs

RGBLED_NUM

The number of LEDs connected

RGBLED_SPLIT

(Optional) For split keyboards, the number of LEDs connected on each half directly wired to RGB_DI_PIN

Then you should be able to use the keycodes below to change the RGB lighting to your liking.

Color Selection

QMK uses Hue, Saturation, and Value to select colors rather than RGB. The color wheel below demonstrates how this works.

HSV Color Wheel

Changing the Hue cycles around the circle. Changing the Saturation moves between the inner and outer sections of the wheel, affecting the intensity of the color. Changing the Value sets the overall brightness.

Keycodes

Key

Aliases

Description

RGB_TOG

Toggle RGB lighting on or off

RGB_MODE_FORWARD

RGB_MOD

Cycle through modes, reverse direction when Shift is held

RGB_MODE_REVERSE

RGB_RMOD

Cycle through modes in reverse, forward direction when Shift is held

RGB_HUI

Increase hue, decrease hue when Shift is held

RGB_HUD

Decrease hue, increase hue when Shift is held

RGB_SAI

Increase saturation, decrease saturation when Shift is held

RGB_SAD

Decrease saturation, increase saturation when Shift is held

RGB_VAI

Increase value (brightness), decrease value when Shift is held

RGB_VAD

Decrease value (brightness), increase value when Shift is held

RGB_MODE_PLAIN

RGB_M_P

Static (no animation) mode

RGB_MODE_BREATHE

RGB_M_B

Breathing animation mode

RGB_MODE_RAINBOW

RGB_M_R

Rainbow animation mode

RGB_MODE_SWIRL

RGB_M_SW

Swirl animation mode

RGB_MODE_SNAKE

RGB_M_SN

Snake animation mode

RGB_MODE_KNIGHT

RGB_M_K

"Knight Rider" animation mode

RGB_MODE_XMAS

RGB_M_X

Christmas animation mode

RGB_MODE_GRADIENT

RGB_M_G

Static gradient animation mode

RGB_MODE_RGBTEST

RGB_M_T

Red, Green, Blue test animation mode

Configuration

Your RGB lighting can be configured by placing these #defines in your config.h:

Define

Default

Description

RGBLIGHT_HUE_STEP

10

The number of steps to cycle through the hue by

RGBLIGHT_SAT_STEP

17

The number of steps to increment the saturation by

RGBLIGHT_VAL_STEP

17

The number of steps to increment the brightness by

RGBLIGHT_LIMIT_VAL

255

The maximum brightness level

RGBLIGHT_SLEEP

Not defined

If defined, the RGB lighting will be switched off when the host goes to sleep

RGBLIGHT_SPLIT

Not defined

If defined, synchronization functionality for split keyboards is added

Effects and Animations

Not only can this lighting be whatever color you want, if RGBLIGHT_EFFECT_xxxx or RGBLIGHT_ANIMATIONS is defined, you also have a number of animation modes at your disposal:

Mode number symbol

Additional number

Description

RGBLIGHT_MODE_STATIC_LIGHT

None

Solid color (this mode is always enabled)

RGBLIGHT_MODE_BREATHING

0,1,2,3

Solid color breathing

RGBLIGHT_MODE_RAINBOW_MOOD

0,1,2

Cycling rainbow

RGBLIGHT_MODE_RAINBOW_SWIRL

0,1,2,3,4,5

Swirling rainbow

RGBLIGHT_MODE_SNAKE

0,1,2,3,4,5

Snake

RGBLIGHT_MODE_KNIGHT

0,1,2

Knight

RGBLIGHT_MODE_CHRISTMAS

None

Christmas

RGBLIGHT_MODE_STATIC_GRADIENT

0,1,..,9

Static gradient

RGBLIGHT_MODE_RGB_TEST

None

RGB Test

RGBLIGHT_MODE_ALTERNATING

None

Alternating

Check out this video for a demonstration.

Note: For versions older than 0.6.117, The mode numbers were written directly. In quantum/rgblight.h there is a contrast table between the old mode number and the current symbol.

Effect and Animation Toggles

Use these defines to add or remove animations from the firmware. When you are running low on flash space, it can be helpful to disable animations you are not using.

Define

Default

Description

RGBLIGHT_ANIMATIONS

Not defined

Enable all additional animation modes.

RGBLIGHT_EFFECT_ALTERNATING

Not defined

Enable alternating animation mode.

RGBLIGHT_EFFECT_BREATHING

Not defined

Enable breathing animation mode.

RGBLIGHT_EFFECT_CHRISTMAS

Not defined

Enable christmas animation mode.

RGBLIGHT_EFFECT_KNIGHT

Not defined

Enable knight animation mode.

RGBLIGHT_EFFECT_RAINBOW_MOOD

Not defined

Enable rainbow mood animation mode.

RGBLIGHT_EFFECT_RAINBOW_SWIRL

Not defined

Enable rainbow swirl animation mode.

RGBLIGHT_EFFECT_RGB_TEST

Not defined

Enable RGB test animation mode.

RGBLIGHT_EFFECT_SNAKE

Not defined

Enable snake animation mode.

RGBLIGHT_EFFECT_STATIC_GRADIENT

Not defined

Enable static gradient mode.

Effect and Animation Settings

The following options are used to tweak the various animations:

Define

Default

Description

RGBLIGHT_EFFECT_BREATHE_CENTER

Not defined

If defined, used to calculate the curve for the breathing animation. Valid values are 1.0 to 2.7

RGBLIGHT_EFFECT_BREATHE_MAX

255

The maximum brightness for the breathing mode. Valid values are 1 to 255

RGBLIGHT_EFFECT_CHRISTMAS_INTERVAL

1000

How long to wait between light changes for the "Christmas" animation, in milliseconds

RGBLIGHT_EFFECT_CHRISTMAS_STEP

2

The number of LEDs to group the red/green colors by for the "Christmas" animation

RGBLIGHT_EFFECT_KNIGHT_LED_NUM

RGBLED_NUM

The number of LEDs to have the "Knight" animation travel

RGBLIGHT_EFFECT_KNIGHT_LENGTH

3

The number of LEDs to light up for the "Knight" animation

RGBLIGHT_EFFECT_KNIGHT_OFFSET

0

The number of LEDs to start the "Knight" animation from the start of the strip by

RGBLIGHT_RAINBOW_SWIRL_RANGE

255

Range adjustment for the rainbow swirl effect to get different swirls

RGBLIGHT_EFFECT_SNAKE_LENGTH

4

The number of LEDs to light up for the "Snake" animation

Example Usage to Reduce Memory Footprint

  1. Remove RGBLIGHT_ANIMATIONS from config.h.

  2. Selectively add the animations you want to enable. The following would enable two animations and save about 4KiB:

#undef RGBLED_NUM
-#define RGBLIGHT_ANIMATIONS
+#define RGBLIGHT_EFFECT_STATIC_GRADIENT
+#define RGBLIGHT_EFFECT_RAINBOW_SWIRL
#define RGBLED_NUM 12
#define RGBLIGHT_HUE_STEP 8
#define RGBLIGHT_SAT_STEP 8

Animation Speed

You can also modify the speeds that the different modes animate at:

Here is a quick demo on Youtube (with NPKC KC60) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKrpPAHlisY).

// How long (in milliseconds) to wait between animation steps for each of the "Solid color breathing" animations
const uint8_t RGBLED_BREATHING_INTERVALS[] PROGMEM = {30, 20, 10, 5};
// How long (in milliseconds) to wait between animation steps for each of the "Cycling rainbow" animations
const uint8_t RGBLED_RAINBOW_MOOD_INTERVALS[] PROGMEM = {120, 60, 30};
// How long (in milliseconds) to wait between animation steps for each of the "Swirling rainbow" animations
const uint8_t RGBLED_RAINBOW_SWIRL_INTERVALS[] PROGMEM = {100, 50, 20};
// How long (in milliseconds) to wait between animation steps for each of the "Snake" animations
const uint8_t RGBLED_SNAKE_INTERVALS[] PROGMEM = {100, 50, 20};
// How long (in milliseconds) to wait between animation steps for each of the "Knight" animations
const uint8_t RGBLED_KNIGHT_INTERVALS[] PROGMEM = {127, 63, 31};
// These control which hues are selected for each of the "Static gradient" modes
const uint8_t RGBLED_GRADIENT_RANGES[] PROGMEM = {255, 170, 127, 85, 64};

Functions

If you need to change your RGB lighting in code, for example in a macro to change the color whenever you switch layers, QMK provides a set of functions to assist you. See rgblight.h for the full list, but the most commonly used functions include:

Utility Functions

Function

Description

sethsv(hue, sat, val, ledbuf)

Set ledbuf to the given HSV value

sethsv_raw(hue, sat, val, ledbuf)

Set ledbuf to the given HSV value without RGBLIGHT_LIMIT_VAL check

setrgb(r, g, b, ledbuf)

Set ledbuf to the given RGB value where r/g/b

Low level Functions

Function

Description

rgblight_set()

Flash out led buffers to LEDs

rgblight_set_clipping_range(pos, num)

Set clipping Range. see Clipping Range

Example:

sethsv(HSV_WHITE, (LED_TYPE *)&led[0]); // led 0
sethsv(HSV_RED, (LED_TYPE *)&led[1]); // led 1
sethsv(HSV_GREEN, (LED_TYPE *)&led[2]); // led 2
rgblight_set(); // Utility functions do not call rgblight_set() automatically, so they need to be called explicitly.

Effects and Animations Functions

effect range setting

Function

Description

rgblight_set_effect_range(pos, num)

Set Effects Range

direct operation

Function

Description

rgblight_setrgb_at(r, g, b, index)

Set a single LED to the given RGB value, where r/g/b are between 0 and 255 and index is between 0 and RGBLED_NUM (not written to EEPROM)

rgblight_sethsv_at(h, s, v, index)

Set a single LED to the given HSV value, where h/s/v are between 0 and 255, and index is between 0 and RGBLED_NUM (not written to EEPROM)

rgblight_setrgb_range(r, g, b, start, end)

Set a continuous range of LEDs to the given RGB value, where r/g/b are between 0 and 255 and start(included) and stop(excluded) are between 0 and RGBLED_NUM (not written to EEPROM)

rgblight_sethsv_range(h, s, v, start, end)

Set a continuous range of LEDs to the given HSV value, where h/s/v are between 0 and 255, and start(included) and stop(excluded) are between 0 and RGBLED_NUM (not written to EEPROM)

rgblight_setrgb(r, g, b)

Set effect range LEDs to the given RGB value where r/g/b are between 0 and 255 (not written to EEPROM)

rgblight_setrgb_master(r, g, b)

Set the LEDs on the master side to the given RGB value, where r/g/b are between 0 and 255 (not written to EEPROM)

rgblight_setrgb_slave(r, g, b)

Set the LEDs on the slave side to the given RGB value, where r/g/b are between 0 and 255 (not written to EEPROM)

rgblight_sethsv_master(h, s, v)

Set the LEDs on the master side to the given HSV value, where h/s/v are between 0 and 255 (not written to EEPROM)

rgblight_sethsv_slave(h, s, v)

Set the LEDs on the slave side to the given HSV value, where h/s/v are between 0 and 255 (not written to EEPROM)

Example:

rgblight_sethsv(HSV_WHITE, 0); // led 0
rgblight_sethsv(HSV_RED, 1); // led 1
rgblight_sethsv(HSV_GREEN, 2); // led 2
// The above functions automatically calls rgblight_set(), so there is no need to call it explicitly.
// Note that it is inefficient to call repeatedly.

effect mode change

Function

Description

rgblight_mode(x)

Set the mode, if RGB animations are enabled

rgblight_mode_noeeprom(x)

Set the mode, if RGB animations are enabled (not written to EEPROM)

rgblight_step()

Change the mode to the next RGB animation in the list of enabled RGB animations

rgblight_step_noeeprom()

Change the mode to the next RGB animation in the list of enabled RGB animations (not written to EEPROM)

rgblight_step_reverse()

Change the mode to the previous RGB animation in the list of enabled RGB animations

rgblight_step_reverse_noeeprom()

Change the mode to the previous RGB animation in the list of enabled RGB animations (not written to EEPROM)

effects mode disable/enable

Function

Description

rgblight_toggle()

Toggle effect range LEDs between on and off

rgblight_toggle_noeeprom()

Toggle effect range LEDs between on and off (not written to EEPROM)

rgblight_enable()

Turn effect range LEDs on, based on their previous state

rgblight_enable_noeeprom()

Turn effect range LEDs on, based on their previous state (not written to EEPROM)

rgblight_disable()

Turn effect range LEDs off

rgblight_disable_noeeprom()

Turn effect range LEDs off (not written to EEPROM)

hue, sat, val change

Function

Description

rgblight_increase_hue()

Increase the hue for effect range LEDs. This wraps around at maximum hue

rgblight_increase_hue_noeeprom()

Increase the hue for effect range LEDs. This wraps around at maximum hue (not written to EEPROM)

rgblight_decrease_hue()

Decrease the hue for effect range LEDs. This wraps around at minimum hue

rgblight_decrease_hue_noeeprom()

Decrease the hue for effect range LEDs. This wraps around at minimum hue (not written to EEPROM)

rgblight_increase_sat()

Increase the saturation for effect range LEDs. This wraps around at maximum saturation

rgblight_increase_sat_noeeprom()

Increase the saturation for effect range LEDs. This wraps around at maximum saturation (not written to EEPROM)

rgblight_decrease_sat()

Decrease the saturation for effect range LEDs. This wraps around at minimum saturation

rgblight_decrease_sat_noeeprom()

Decrease the saturation for effect range LEDs. This wraps around at minimum saturation (not written to EEPROM)

rgblight_increase_val()

Increase the value for effect range LEDs. This wraps around at maximum value

rgblight_increase_val_noeeprom()

Increase the value for effect range LEDs. This wraps around at maximum value (not written to EEPROM)

rgblight_decrease_val()

Decrease the value for effect range LEDs. This wraps around at minimum value

rgblight_decrease_val_noeeprom()

Decrease the value for effect range LEDs. This wraps around at minimum value (not written to EEPROM)

rgblight_sethsv(h, s, v)

Set effect range LEDs to the given HSV value where h/s/v are between 0 and 255

rgblight_sethsv_noeeprom(h, s, v)

Set effect range LEDs to the given HSV value where h/s/v are between 0 and 255 (not written to EEPROM)

query

Function

Description

rgblight_get_mode()

Get current mode

rgblight_get_hue()

Get current hue

rgblight_get_sat()

Get current sat

rgblight_get_val()

Get current val

Colors

These are shorthands to popular colors. The RGB ones can be passed to the setrgb functions, while the HSV ones to the sethsv functions.

RGB

HSV

RGB_WHITE

HSV_WHITE

RGB_RED

HSV_RED

RGB_CORAL

HSV_CORAL

RGB_ORANGE

HSV_ORANGE

RGB_GOLDENROD

HSV_GOLDENROD

RGB_GOLD

HSV_GOLD

RGB_YELLOW

HSV_YELLOW

RGB_CHARTREUSE

HSV_CHARTREUSE

RGB_GREEN

HSV_GREEN

RGB_SPRINGGREEN

HSV_SPRINGGREEN

RGB_TURQUOISE

HSV_TURQUOISE

RGB_TEAL

HSV_TEAL

RGB_CYAN

HSV_CYAN

RGB_AZURE

HSV_AZURE

RGB_BLUE

HSV_BLUE

RGB_PURPLE

HSV_PURPLE

RGB_MAGENTA

HSV_MAGENTA

RGB_PINK

HSV_PINK

rgblight_setrgb(RGB_ORANGE);
rgblight_sethsv_noeeprom(HSV_GREEN);
rgblight_setrgb_at(RGB_GOLD, 3);
rgblight_sethsv_range(HSV_WHITE, 0, 6);

These are defined in rgblight_list.h. Feel free to add to this list!

Changing the order of the LEDs

If you want to make the logical order of LEDs different from the electrical connection order, you can do this by defining the RGBLIGHT_LED_MAP macro in your config.h.

Normally, the contents of the LED buffer are output to the LEDs in the same order. simple dicrect

By defining RGBLIGHT_LED_MAP as in the example below, you can specify the LED with addressing in reverse order of the electrical connection order.

// config.h
#define RGBLED_NUM 4
#define RGBLIGHT_LED_MAP { 3, 2, 1, 0 }
simple mapped

For keyboards that use the RGB LEDs as a backlight for each key, you can also define it as in the example below.

// config.h
#define RGBLED_NUM 30
/* RGB LED Conversion macro from physical array to electric array */
#define LED_LAYOUT( \
L00, L01, L02, L03, L04, L05, \
L10, L11, L12, L13, L14, L15, \
L20, L21, L22, L23, L24, L25, \
L30, L31, L32, L33, L34, L35, \
L40, L41, L42, L43, L44, L45 ) \
{ \
L05, L04, L03, L02, L01, L00, \
L10, L11, L12, L13, L14, L15, \
L25, L24, L23, L22, L21, L20, \
L30, L31, L32, L33, L34, L35, \
L46, L45, L44, L43, L42, L41 \
}
/* RGB LED logical order map */
/* Top->Bottom, Right->Left */
#define RGBLIGHT_LED_MAP LED_LAYOUT( \
25, 20, 15, 10, 5, 0, \
26, 21, 16, 11, 6, 1, \
27, 22, 17, 12, 7, 2, \
28, 23, 18, 13, 8, 3, \
29, 24, 19, 14, 9, 4 )

Clipping Range

Using the rgblight_set_clipping_range() function, you can prepare more buffers than the actual number of LEDs, and output some of the buffers to the LEDs. This is useful if you want the split keyboard to treat left and right LEDs as logically contiguous.

You can set the Clipping Range by executing the following code.

// some source
rgblight_set_clipping_range(3, 4);
clip direct

In addition to setting the Clipping Range, you can use RGBLIGHT_LED_MAP together.

// config.h
#define RGBLED_NUM 8
#define RGBLIGHT_LED_MAP { 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0 }
// some soruce
rgblight_set_clipping_range(3, 4);
clip mapped

Hardware Modification

If your keyboard lacks onboard underglow LEDs, you may often be able to solder on an RGB LED strip yourself. You will need to find an unused pin to wire to the data pin of your LED strip. Some keyboards may break out unused pins from the MCU to make soldering easier. The other two pins, VCC and GND, must also be connected to the appropriate power pins.