A Kontrol S61 Mk3 and a screwdriver walk into a bar...

reffahcs Member Posts: 803 Pro
edited February 2 in Komplete Kontrol

For everyone that's been curious to know what's inside a Kontrol S61 MK3 keyboard, here's a bit of a teaser. I'm hoping to make this an ongoing thread so other people who find out more info about the MK3 can post it here.

The brains. As I've mentioned in other posts, the main microcontroller is an STM32MP157. I didn't look up the 2 nanya chips, but I'm 99% certain they're SDRAM. The Kingston chip is where the OS lives, which is a modified version of Linux.

Here's a little helper chip the ATMEL and I would assume the chip at the top is it's RAM as well. Interesting there's a rather large unpopulated board area on the left there just underneath the smaller unpopulated footprint.

And what do we have here? Engineering mode you say? (cue evil laugh) I wonder if that's enabled in the release firmware??

Time to warm up the soldering iron.

There's another core chip that deals with the mod and pitch wheels that I didn't get a picture of. I'll try and remember to grab one if I can next time I'm messing with the guts again.

If anyone else is silly enough to take their MK3 apart, please be careful! There's lots of flat flex cables and some of the connectors aren't very durable (not rated for very many insertions). Also, it's a bit of a beast just to turn upside down to access all the PCB's.

Hope you all enjoyed a look at the insides.



  • D-One
    D-One Moderator Posts: 2,753 mod


    Oh yeah, fun times! If you hack it so it can make coffee I'll pay you 6$ and a pack of gum, the good kind!

    So, you gotta short those first 2 pin pairs to get into 'Eng Mode' ? Very curious to see what you find out

  • reffahcs
    reffahcs Member Posts: 803 Pro
    edited February 2

    That's my thought but it's entirely possible that whatever features are enabled by engineering mode have been removed from the production firmware. It's very common to see that in embedded devices.

    I might have to buy one of those USB-C portable soldering irons, it's just not practical to move the entire keyboard to my electronics space where my soldering station is at.

  • reffahcs
    reffahcs Member Posts: 803 Pro

    This weekend I'll post some very high-level/generic instructions on how to update the MK3 splashscreens. I'm not going to post a step by step tutorial because you could brick your device if you don't know what you're doing, and if you don't have a solid grasp on Linux then it's probably best to phone a friend.

    Otherwise you might hope for this

    But end up with this


  • reffahcs
    reffahcs Member Posts: 803 Pro
    edited February 2

    As promised, "How to change your startup splashscreen"


    I do not work for NI, I'm not associated with NI in any way, nor is this advice endorsed or condoned by NI. Don't blame me or Native Instruments if you brick your device.


    Step 1 is to find the firmware and mount it. You know you have the firmware when you run file and it reports the file is an ext4 filesystem. It's a standard Linux ext4 filesystem so mounting it is the same as any other.

    Where's the firmware exactly? That's the question. I'll say that everyone already has the firmware, they just need to search for it.

    The splashscreens are 1280x480 BMP files. I'm pretty sure they're 256 color as well, but don't quote me on that. If you get some weird color shifting with your picture, then try dropping the colors down to 256 colors. The files are located in /boot/splashscreens

    The normal splashscreen displayed during boot is default.bmp when you place your device in firmware update mode with the power button, that file is called recovery.bmp

    Make sure the files are the proper size. I haven't done a lot of testing so the keyboard might rescale some files, but I do know that if they're over a certain size it just shows up as garbled junk.

    Once you've replaced default.bmp and/or recovery.bmp, you're good to unmount the filesystem (maybe run sync a few times first?)

    Now all that's left to do is replace the original ext4 filesystem with your modified version, place your device in recovery mode and update your firmware!

    And if you did everything correctly you now have a new splashscreen.

    If it doesn't work, the MK3 keyboard seems pretty resilient and you can simply try again. As long as you can still put it in recovery mode you can simply use the original ext4 to restore your MK3 back to the factory firmware.

    I'll end this with saying I have no idea if this voids your warranty (probably, especially if you brick it), for me I'm not too concerned. I took my keyboard to pieces, "void warranty" is pretty much my middle name.

    That being said, I'd be curious to see what other people change their splashscreen to if anyone is brave enough to post results :)


  • nightjar
    nightjar Member Posts: 1,242 Guru

    A Kontrol S61 Mk3 and a screwdriver walk into a bar...

    Bartender says to the screwdriver: "Hey buddy, your date looks a little young. Sure she's ready for a place like this?"

    Screwdriver says: "Oh she's not gonna drink. She'll just have a few chips..."

  • MorrisEd
    MorrisEd Member Posts: 31 Member

    I envision Native Instruments “engineering” mode being Lego Star Wars or one of those games where you have to match different shaped blocks with their respective holes.

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