Introduction

I recently purchased the Vortex Race3 mechanical keyboard. I really love this keyboard, it has Cherry MX brown switches with 4 layers of arbitrary key programming. I like this board because its almost as compact as a 60% keyboard but has almost the same number of keys as a ten key less (TKL) board.

In this post I am documenting the process I went through to re-map the keys in case I need to do it again, plus it might be helpful for others.

Firmware update

I wanted to swap the Fn key with the Caps Lock key and the instructions to do this where not working. I noticed that the led indicator to re-program the keys was a purple colour instead of white as shown in some of the youtube review/instruction videos. This led me to a post that suggested the firmware needed to be updated in order to re-program the Fn key. Go over to here to download and update the firmware.

Note

A Windows PC is required to update the firmware.

Re-Mapping

Switch Layers

There are 4 layers of keys, but the first is the default layer and cannot be re-programmed. Switch to a non-default layer with the Fn + R-Shift keys. This will cycle through the layers and a led under the space bar will indicate the current layer. (No light is default layer)

Re-Map Keys

  • Press the Fn + R-Ctrl keys. (Solid white led signals mapping mode active)
  • Press the target key(s) to be re-mapped. (Flashing red led signals start of mapping)
  • Press the key(s) sequence to map to the target key
  • Press the Pn key. (Solid white led signals key(s) re-mapped)
  • Repeat for additional keys
  • To end the re-mapping, press the Fn + R-Ctrl keys

Example

Map the Fn + i keys to the up arrow key.

  • Fn + R-Ctrl
  • Fn + i
  • up arrow
  • Pn
  • Fn + R-Ctrl

Re-Map Function Key

  • Press and hold the Fn + L-Alt keys for 3 seconds, then release
  • Press the key to act as the Fn key

My Setup

I found the Fn key to be in a bit of an awkward position so I remapped it to the Caps Lock key. I also mapped to Fn + i j k l keys to the arrow keys so I dont have to move my right hand to the bottom of the keyboard to work the arrows.

Re-Map Process

  • Map the R-Alt key as the Caps Lock key
  • Map the Caps Lock key as the Fn key
  • Map the Fn + i j k l keys to the up left down right arrow keys

Reset Mappings

If you make a mistake you can reset the current layer or all layers.

Current Layer

  • Press and host the Fn + r keys for 5 seconds, then release
  • The original Fn key can also be used even if it has been re-mapped

All Layers

  • Press and hold the L-Alt + R-Alt keys for 5 seconds, then release

Summary

The Vortex Race3 is a great little board, after using a TKL for years, I tried to go to a 60% but found I had to go into the Fn layers for too many keys and it gave me severe cramps in my left hand. The 75% Vortex Race3 has all the keys I need without the need to overuse the Fn layer. The ability to re-map the keys to your desired layout make this keyboard the one for me and I will be sticking with it for the foreseeable future.

non-technical mechanical-keyboards