Customizing a Durgod Keyboard for macOS

I recently bought my first mechanical keyboard. The COVID-19 pandemic means I’m switching between my Macbook and a Windows machine throughout the week at the same desk, and while I was comfortable typing on the Macbook, this HP Spectre keyboard and I do not get along. The differences in shortcuts for copy and paste alone were causing me to make enough mistakes to know it was time to invest in a peripheral keyboard.

Alas, I’ve made the leap to a mechanical keyboard, a Durgod K320 in space grey with Cherry Silent Red switches (120$ shipped). Typically, I’m the kind of guy who buys whatever Wirecutter recommends, but their suggestions for mechanical keyboards are bad ones.

Features you Should Demand of a Mechanical Keyboard

  • the ability to remap any key
  • multiple profiles of key mappings

Wirecutter recommends the Varmilo VA87M and the Leopold FC750R. I couldn’t determine if these keyboards include software that makes it easy to remap keys while shopping. The Leopold’s keycaps don’t have legends for the multimedia controls of the function keys, so users will have to memorize the alternate roles of F5 through F12, print their own legend, or change the keycaps. I can’t support these accessibility shortcomings.

Durgod Zeus Engine Only Runs on Windows

The keyboard I bought has companion software to customize the key map and save multiple profiles. That software is called Durgod Zeus Engine, and it only runs on Windows. That might be a showstopper for some, but not I.

The changes I’ve made to make this keyboard macOS friendly are as follows:

  1. Swap Left Ctrl and Left Windows keys (macOS’ command defaults to the Left Windows key instead of Alt, which is weird and why freedom to customize is important.)
  2. Map Home to Left Windows + Right Arrow
  3. Map End to Left Windows + Left Arrow
  4. Map PgUp to Left Ctrl + Up Arrow
  5. Map PgDn to Left Ctrl + Down Arrow

How to Swap Two Keys in Durgod Zeus Engine

It was not immediately obvious to me how to swap two keys in Zeus Engine, because the moment you remap a key, you can’t press it to indicate it’s previous meaning anymore.

To swap Left Ctrl and Left Windows, I would change the Ctrl key and then lose the ability to map any key to Left Ctrl, because it now means Left Windows.

The trick is to map a third key like PgUp to Left Ctrl, map Left Ctrl to Left Windows, and map Left Windows to Left Ctrl by pressing PgUp where that value is stored.

Save Profiles to the Keyboard

In order to preserve your custom key maps and profiles when switching between computers, you need to download the profiles to the keyboard. This feature is slightly hidden in the screen where you can rename a profile.

Click Profiles, highlight one, and click the button with the pen icon to bring up the profile properties like name. A button DOWNLOAD PROFILE TO KEYBOARD appears, and that’s a button you should click on each profile before leaving the Zeus Engine software.

How to Switch Between Profiles

Hold Fn and press F12. The M light will illuminate to confirm the alternate profile activation.

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Categorized as How to

11 comments

  1. What you really want to look into is an open source board running QMK. You can get one with hotswap sockets do you don’t have to solder anything.

    For ease of use you’d want to look into one that supports VIA on top of qmk.

    Since I’ve gone down the rabbit hole I’ve moved to exclusively boards that run qmk. It allows me to program the board to do whatever I want from any os and the settings are saved in the firmware of the keyboard between flashings.

    Personally I made the change to a split ortholinear keyboard with thumb clusters. (An RGBKB Sol2) but you can get the boards in just about any form factor you can imagine.

  2. Thanks, Tom. I’m glad to be done shopping, but I love to support open source. Are there ready-made keyboards that ship with that software today? I learned that a lot of enthusiasts support preorders and ephemeral sales like mass drops.

  3. for an ergonomic board you can order from ergodox-ez.com. You can get more traditional boards from drop.com. (The ctrl and the alt are always in stock) I THINK you can get a Planck or Preonic ready made as well with relatively quick shipping.

    For true ergonomics though you could get a board custom built from someplace like ohkeycaps.com where they build them to order. They are not FAST to ship but you get a custom board you don’t have to build yourself. (Warning: they are EXPENSIVE)

    If you want something with a little more work involved there are places you can order parts to ship right away and build your own but that’s not for everybody.

  4. Hi L, I didn’t. I configured the keyboard while connected to a Windows machine. The keyboard itself has memory so the changes persist.

  5. I’ve done similar with the k320 and Zeus Engine 1.0.22 but the ui is not very intuitive and I’m not sure I’m saving the profiles correctly. It’s working on windows while I configure it, but not when I plug it into the Mac. It doesn’t persist.

  6. Hi Justin, when I plug the keyboard into my mac, I have to hold the Fn key and press F12 to turn on the [M] light before the profile I created for my mac is activated.

  7. Hey Corey, I found this article in a google search and I just wanted to say thanks for the “ Save Profiles to the Keyboard” section. I’ve owned the Durgod Hades for a year now and while it’s an amazing keyboard, I’ve always thought mine was defective because I could never get the profiles to store on the board when I switched my KVM from my Windows machine over to my MacBook Pro. Turns out I’ve just been doing it wrong this whole time. Appreciate the tip!

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