Getting Started

The TextBlade is a whole new kind of keyboard. If you are new to the TextBlade, its worth taking a little time to get to know your new friend a little bit better. This page is designed to serve as a supplement to the official Getting Started page provided by WayTools.

Assembling up the TextBlade

The TextBlade consists of three “blades” that are connected together to form a functioning keyboard:

  • LeftBlade
    The keys to be typed using the fingers of the left hand.
  • RightBlade
    The keys to be typed using the fingers of the right hand.
  • SpaceBlade
    Used for typing spaces and/or activating additional key layers. In particular the bottom center of the SpaceBlade acts as an activation key for engaging the 'Green' layer which corresponds to the green symbols shown on the key tops. The NanoCharger, used to charge the TextBlade, is located within the SpaceBlade underneath the “TextBlade” name on the upper right corner of the SpaceBlade. The SpaceBlade controls the Bluetooth connection between the TextBlade and the host system (your phone/tablet/computer) and holds the battery that is used to power the TextBlade.

The three blades connect magnetically and, when correctly aligned, will “snap” into position.

Assembling and Disassembling the TextBlade 1

Assembling and Disassembling the TextBlade 2

The TextBlade is designed to automatically turn on when the left and right blades are connected to the SpaceBlade. On start-up the SpaceBlade beeps1) and a light pattern is displayed with LEDs on the SpaceBlade. When the start-up process completes, the number of remaining illuminated LEDs indicates the current battery level. With ten LEDs, each LED represents 10% of the total charge. If no LEDs are illuminated when you assemble your TextBlade, it is likely that it needs to be charged. If you think it is charged, it is possible you had a rare occasion where the parts didn't make a good connection so you can try again by separating the blades and reassembling.

Charging the TextBlade

The TextBlade must be charged whenever the battery level gets low. The TextBlade should arrive already charged from the factory allowing you to get started right away. The “NanoCharger” and the battery that powers the TextBlade are held in the SpaceBlade.

The amount if time you can expect between having to charge the TextBlade is highly dependent on your usage pattern. Experience has shown it is something like 35 hours of normal use. If you have Flight Recorder (the logging and diagnostic features built into the firmware) active then it will be significantly less and more like 15 hours. These values can vary between TextBlade's so treat the quoted values as indicative only.

When you are ready to charge your TextBlade:

  • Disassemble the TextBlade by separating the SpaceBlade from the Key blades. You can leave the Key blades attached to each other if this is more convenient as the SpaceBlade is what is charged. You cannot charge the TextBlade while it is fully assembled.
  • Remove the NanoCharger from the SpaceBlade. It is held in the SpaceBlade at the top right. This can be done by sharply “tapping” the SpaceBlade to make it release the NanoCharger.2)
  • Plug the NanoCharger into a USB port. This can be one on a computer or any type of USB charger (as commonly used for charging tablets and phones). The NanoCharger should be inserted into the USB socket so that the two flat connectors on the bottom make contact with the USB socket pins. No harm is done if the NanoCharger is plugged into the charger upside-down, but you'll need to correct this before any charging can happen.
  • Connect the SpaceBlade to the NanoCharger using the two magnetic connectors on the right edge of the SpaceBlade. These connectors are capable of bearing the weight of the SpaceBlade so it is not unreasonable to leave the SpaceBlade dangling from the NanoCharger while it is charging.
  • Wait for the SpaceBlade to charge. While it is charging an LED pattern will indicate the current level of battery charge. The typical charging time from around 10% charge to fully charged seems to be around 60-90 minutes. If you want to use the TextBlade before the charging has completed, removing the SpaceBlade from the charger will not damage the TextBlade.
  • Once completely charged you can detach the SpaceBlade from the NanoCharger. The SpaceBlade may now be reattached to the key blades and used normally; however, we recommend that you insert the NanoCharger back into the SpaceBlade before reassembling so that you don't forget the NanoCharger plugged into the USB port.
The TextBlade is designed to pre-emptively give you an audible and visual warning as the battery starts getting low. Warnings will be issued when the battery gets to 20%, 10%, 5% and 5%
You may wonder if it is possible to simultaneously charge and use your TextBlade. This is not currently possible, and the rationale Waytools have given behind this decision is as follows:

Firmware controls charging and keyscanning, so yes, in theory, it might be possible to permit the TextBlade to do both at the same time. The reason this is not done is:
  1. The contacts mechanically move when you strike the space character. The electrical chatter and the tactile drag on the SpaceBlade would not be desirable.
  2. The USB charging source can also emit electrical noise, which can enter the system, and affect the ultra low-noise, high sensitivity multitouch sensing circuitry. So we like to keep a clean measurement baseline from an electrically isolated battery supply.

This notion is akin to the potential for leaking AC hum into an audio microphone input. It's generally true for any high-gain low-noise front end, if you can eliminate potential noise entry paths, it's a good thing.

It is also possible to charge a TextBlade from a portable devices (e.g. phone/tablet) as long as you have access to a USB port. An example for iOS devices would be the Camera adapters that provide a full size USB port. Such devices normally have a much larger battery capacity than the TextBlade and can thus fully charge a TextBlade without significantly depleting their own charge.

Consider an additional NanoCharger

You may consider purchasing an additional NanoCharger so that you can leave it plugged into a used commonly charging station. That way you can leave the original NanoCharger plugged into the SpaceBlade for when you need to charge while on the go.

Pairing the TextBlade

A TextBlade is designed to connect wirelessly to a phone/tablet/computer using the “Bluetooth” protocol.

Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE 4.0)

The TextBlade makes use of the “Bluetooth Low Energy”3) variant of this protocol and will not work with older versions.4) If your hardware (or Operating System) does not support the BLE variant then you may need to use an additional dongle to get the connection to work - for more information on dongles refer to the Dongles section of this wiki.

Making a Bluetooth connection between the TextBlade and a device involves:

  • Out of the box the TextBlade is ready to be paired with a single device on Jump Slot 1.5).
If you have also been provided a Bluetooth dongle with your TextBlade then it will have been set up already paired to Jump Slot 6 so do not attempt to use Jump Slot 6 for pairing the TextBlade to another device.
  • Follow the process that is defined for connecting a Bluetooth device to your host (phone/tablet/computer). The details of this depend on the type of phone/tablet/computer (iOS, Android, Win7 and 8, and Win10, and OS X/macOS) but typically involve something along the lines of:
    • Select the option for adding new Bluetooth devices.
    • Select the TextBlade from the list of devices shown. It is often shown simply as 'accessory' at this stage. Alternatively it may show up with a name of the form TextBlade x-yy where x is the Jump Slot number and yy is a random number that changes if you ever erase the settings for the Jump Slot.
    • Select the Option to “pair” the TextBlade.
    • You should then be asked to type in a PIN number on the TextBlade to confirm that this is the device to be paired.
A problem with Windows is every time it sees a Bluetooth device it seems to add it to the list of nearby devices to pair with. This may include other Jump slots. When you attempt to pair, you may be trying to pair with a slot that isn’t active or a slot that isn’t looking for a new connection.

Windows users who have trouble pairing have found it helps to add a couple of steps when attempting to pair.
1. Make sure the TextBlade is powered down, (i.e. do not assemble TextBlade)
2. ‘Forget’ or ‘Remove' all prior TextBlade entries on the Windows Bluetooth screen
3. Power down Windows Bluetooth
4. Assemble TextBlade
5. Get the ‘landing lights’ (as above) for your chosen jump slot
6. Turn on Windows Bluetooth
7. Pair as normal

It is possible these additional steps can also help with other OS which behave in a similar way.
During the pairing process the TextBlade 'green' layer is automatically activated so you are not required to hold down the SpaceBlade in order to type the required digits. In addition (starting with firmware 8098) the right Blade acts as though it was in Numeric mode which means you can treat it as a keypad for entering the PIN.

If all the above steps are successful, you should now find that typing on the TextBlade results in characters appearing on the host system just as they would for any other keyboard.

The mapping of the keys on the TextBlade is controlled by the “map” that is loaded for that host. The map that comes pre-loaded will normally be the one specified as part of your order (although all TREG units have been supplied with the U.S. QWERTY map as the one pre-loaded).

Clearing an Existing Pairing

You can clear an existing Bluetooth pairing on the TextBlade by holding down the relevant jump chord for 10 seconds. The LED display will show the jump display and then start flashing the slot location LED progressively faster until at about the 10 second mark the whole display will turn on and off. At this point the pairing details for the jump slot have been erased and the slot is ready to paired with a new host.

Waking the TextBlade

If the TextBlade is assembled, but not used for a length of time the device will conserve battery power by switching to sleep mode. The default setting is 30 minutes, but can be extended to 60 minutes in the TextBlade app Settings. To wake the TextBlade from sleep, either tap sharply on the lower left of the SpaceBlade or disassemble and re-assemble the TextBlade.

1) The beep sound can be turned off in the settings menu of the TextBlade app.
2) There are actually two positions - a partially released position and a fully released position.
3) Also known as Bluetooth 4.0 LE
4) Supported devices include these and newer models: iPad 3, iPad Mini, iPhone 4S, most Android (2013+), Samsung S4, Samsung Note, Microsoft Surface, Windows Phone 2014+), MacBook Air (2011+), MacBook Pro (2012+), Mac Pro (2014+), iMac, and Mac Mini (2012+)
5) The TextBlade is capable of being paired to multiple host simultaneously by using jump slots. For more information on how to configure and select multiple devices, refer to the jumps section.