What is a mechanical keyboard switch?
A mechanical keyboard is a computer keyboard that uses individual switches for each key instead of a single sheet of rubber-dome membrane. It is a device that detects and responds to the presence or absence of mechanical pressure, which can be used for input in a computer.
Mechanical keyboards come in a variety of types and switch types such as touch-sensor switches, pushbuttons, and clicky buttons. They all function basically the same way with only minor differences depending on their operating principle. The most common mechanical switches are Cherry MX which can be found on the Corsair K70 and Razer Blackwidow keyboards.
Keyboard switches are the primary component in a mechanical keyboard that you interact with when using it. They can also be considered to be one of the most important aspects of any mechanical keyboard.
If you have a mechanical keyboard, there is only one thing worse than hearing that clickity-clack of its keys: the sound of that switch failing. The sound of a worn-out key on your favorite mechanical keyboard is an ominous one indeed. That is why the question inevitably arises, how to replace a mechanical keyboard switch. If your keyboard has a defective switch, or if you’re looking to remove switches from the keyboard and replace it with a different type, this guide will show you how can you replace the switch.
The Cherry MX switch is the most popular keyboard switch in the world, used by many different brands of mechanical keyboards. While they are rated to last up to 50 million keystrokes, they do eventually wear out. Switches can wear down due to repeated use over time, or through physical trauma such as dropping your keyboard. It is possible that the switches of your favorite gaming keyboard may need to be replaced at some point.
Why do you need to replace a mechanical keyboard switch?
Mechanical keyboards are one of the best inventions in the past 20 years. We use them every day for gaming, typing, and other uses. They’re durable, sturdy, and have a lot of features that make everything easier. You can instantly replace a switch, or even replace the whole keyboard. But why would you need to replace these? There are several reasons for this, such as:
- The color has worn off and it looks ugly.
- You spilled something on your keyboard and there is permanent damage done to it.
- The switch is broken because you accidentally pressed it hard.
- if you’d like to try something new, you can replace your mechanical keyboard.
- A mechanical keyboard with clicky switches produces a lot of noise. So, in order to replace this with some silent switches.
- The switches may stick, or start making weird clicking noises when you type.
Methods to replace a mechanical keyboard switch
If your Mechanical Keyboard isn’t a hot-swappable keyboard. And, you want to replace them, you need to desolder and then resolder the switches. Switching out a mechanical keyboard switch is actually a simple process if you are prepared for it and know what to do. You might find that replacing the switches on your keyboard does not take too much time. The first thing you will need to do is remove all of the keys from the keyboard.
To replace a switch, you will need the following tools:
- You can use a keycap puller or even carefully pry them off with a flat head screwdriver.
- T10 and T15 screwdrivers, or Torx screwdrivers if you have that instead of Phillips’s head.
- Soldering iron with a very small tip on it. The tip should be no wider than 1mm in diameter. The smaller the better! It will make your life much easier.
- You can use tweezers.
How to Replace Mechanical Keyboard Switch
This process consists of two phases. You should first learn how to remove switches from the mechanical keyboard and then how to replace a switch on a mechanical keyboard. Let’s start with phase 1.
Phase 1: Remove switch from the keyboard
Step 1: Take apart the keypad case
To examine the PCB of your keyboard, disconnect the keyboard from your PC and remove the outer cover. Some keyboards are simple and require only the removal of the keycaps to reach the PCB. To remove the switch from a complex keyboard, such as a Razer keyboard, you may need to employ specialized processes and technologies. Simply, disassemble everything to access the PCB’s opposite side, where soldered wiring can be seen.
Step 2: Disconnect the wires from the switch (Desoldering)
Apply the soldering gun’s hot tip to the corresponding connector. Heat the old solder until it melts and becomes liquid. Push it to release the switch for the PCB as soon as the switch tips are liquefied.
Step 3: Pull out the Switch
With your fingers and a pair of pliers, you should be able to remove the switch after step 2. If the switch is difficult to remove, perform the desoldering procedure again to remove any leftover solder.
Phase 2: Replace a switch on a mechanical keyboard
Step 4: Insert the New Switch
Now place your new switch and inspect all the pins to be operated properly. Check it with other switches to see if it’s appropriately aligned. After this, you can solder your new switch.
Step 5: Connect the New Switch by Soldering
Now, the next step is to solder the new switch by using the soldering gun. For this, you have to heat up your soldering gun and then solder the pins to close the electrical circuit.
Step 6: Testing Phase
Ensure that the switch is functioning correctly before reattaching the case as well as other parts of the keyboard. Simply connect everything and get your keyboard back in working order.
Mechanical keyboards can be some of the most valuable tools in your arsenal when it comes to gaming. However, they can also be some of the most expensive pieces of equipment in your arsenal. With proper care and maintenance, your mechanical keyboard can last you a long time, but that means that you need to know how to properly care for your mechanical keyboard. There are many methods discussed; how to replace mechanical switches if you spilled something over them or they are just worn out.
Let us know if you found this article helpful and also give a read to our latest articles on the best keyboard for typing fast and laptops with the best keyboards.