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user73
340
Feb 20, 2018
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I just got my coppers a few days ago and noticed something.
While I was waiting to get them I picked up a test pack of 27 different Kailh switches from Novel Keys. These speed switches weren't included, and the pins on the bottom of the switches from Novel Keys are of different thickness; one pin is very slightly thicker than the other on all 27 different switches. But on the Massdrop switches, the pins are the same thickness (they are both "narrow").
Can anyone shed some light on this?
Feb 20, 2018
dpmc
29
Feb 20, 2018
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I have some Speed Copper switches from Novel Keys (purchased earlier this month), and some from Massdrop (came in a K-Type keyboard). Comparing them here in front of me, I do not see any difference in the pins on the bottom of the switches.
There is one difference however. The Massdrop switches have a light pipe, and the Novel Keys do not. This means that the clear plastic top part of the switch has an plastic extension that goes all the way down to the bottom of the switch, whereas the Novel Keys switch has an empty space. The Novel Keys switch also has two small slots in the top, that I'd guess are for the leads on non-surface mount LEDs.
I think that there are actually two different kinds of switches here, one that supports surface mount LEDs, and one that supports non-surface mount LEDs. The ones I got from Massdrop are the surface mount kind, and the ones I got from Novel Keys are the non-surface mount kind.
I have both kinds of switch plugged into the K-Type I'm typing this on, and I can see a noticeable but not large difference in brightness between the two kinds, but only in the light spilling out from under the key cap, the tops of the key caps appear equally bright. The K-Type has surface mount LEDs, so as you'd expect the switch with the light pipe is the brighter one.
My understanding is that if my keyboard doesn't have LED lighting, then both kinds of switch would work. If my keyboard has surface mount LEDs, both kinds of switch would work fine, but the Massdrop type switches will be slightly brighter. And if my keyboard only supports non-surface mount LEDs, then the Novel Keys switches are the only kind that will work.
Feb 20, 2018
user73
340
Feb 20, 2018
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Hey @dpmc thanks a lot for your detailed response. Would you mind swapping some photos with me? I think this would be an informative post for others if we include some images. I'll jump on that when I get out of the office. I'm trying to following your light pipe description, but I can't visualize it.
You mentioned the K-Type: I bought a K-Type and loved the Halo True switches, but had to return it. I went with the Copper switches on this drop because they appeared to be most similar to the Halo Trues. Would you say that was an accurate assessment?
Finally, - regarding the width of the pins on switches with different widths - do you know if there is any downside to grinding / filing down the pin width? I'm trying to use these (coppers) in a switch-swappable board.
Feb 20, 2018
dpmc
29
Feb 20, 2018
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OK, here are some images...
This is two switches with the light pipe (above) and two without (below). If you zoom in you should be able to see the difference on the backs of the switches.
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This is a different angle of the same shot...
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This is a K-Type keyboard (uses SMD LEDs) with the original key caps it came with, with both kinds of switch installed. The down and right arrow keys have switchs without a light pipe, the up and left have switches with a light pipe. The difference in brightness seems more extreme in the photo than I see in person, but all of the difference is in the light leaking out from under the key caps.
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Same thing from above. I don't see a difference in brightness in what shines through the key caps.
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From above with the keyboard lights off, and key caps removed. You can see the slots that I think a non-SMD LED would go through on its way to the PCB below.
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Finally, I took apart one of each kind of switch. The bits are arranged identically for both switches, the light pipe should be clearly visible in the top switch. Note also, I don't see any difference in the connector pins on the bottom of the switches.
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Feb 20, 2018
dpmc
29
Feb 20, 2018
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Re: Comparing Halo Trues to Speed Copper. I've never tried Halo Trues so I am only able to guess. I have tried Halo Clears and preferred the Speed Copper. The Copper had a higher actuation point, which I prefer because I like shorter travel in the key stroke, and a lighter spring, which I also prefer.
Re: Grinding / filing down pin width. Ugh, that sounds like an exercise in frustration. I would not attempt because (a) huge amount of time to do enough for a full keyboard, (b) I'd be sure to destroy many switches in the process. I would (carefully) try the switches as is in the removable keyboard, because I don't believe that there will be more than one specification for lead thickness anyway - there's already enough variation in the stuff that matters in switches, why would a manufacturer modify something like this that doesn't matter.
Feb 20, 2018
branded
0
Feb 20, 2018
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Thanks also for the info and detailed images, really helpful. But after reading your post I'm a bit confused, are the switches in this current group buy going to be the switch you described with the light bar that only supports SMD LED's and a white bottom casing?
Because in the images it shows a switch with a back bottom casing and and a clear top that looks like they support through-hole LED's and is written in the specs.
I just want to make sure I'm purchasing switches that are compatible with through-hole LED's and with the back bottom casing.
Can anyone confirm this? Thanks in advanced
Feb 20, 2018
dpmc
29
Feb 21, 2018
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Yeah, you're right. I was confused and assumed that this drop was the same switch as came with my K-Type, with a light pipe.
But the description is very explicit that the switches are the ones WITHOUT the light pipe. Which is good news for me, because that's the kind I wanted anyway.
Feb 21, 2018
user73
340
Feb 22, 2018
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Great post! Thank you for all that. I have the following to contribute...
Problem Inconsistencies in Kailh switch form factor.
Goals 1) Get my board up and running the way I envision. 2) Draw attention to the fact that the way we refer to switches is insufficient, if we value accuracy.
Points of Interest * Pins - All of the switches I'm working with have 2 pins. Images are taken from the same angle, so we can refer to the pins as being either left or right. * Pin contour - I've noticed two types: straight, and what I'm going to call serrated. * Pin width - This was new to me, and has proven to be the main problem with my current build. I'm going to go with thin and thicker, and very thick.
Abstract Learning in progress. I received the K-Type with Halo Trues as a gift a few months ago. Loved the switches, but not the keyboard; returned to Massdrop. In an effort to build something similar, I bought an inexpensive switch-swappable keyboard on Amazon that came with blue switches. These switches turned out to be Outemo. My plan was to swap these out with the Kailh Copper Speed Switches (available in this drop). For the hell of it, I also purchased a sample pack of 27 different Kailh switches from Novel Keys. With everything in-hand, here's what I've found:
Samples
Outemo Blue clicky, straight out of the switch-swappable keyboard Contour left - somewhat serrated Contour right - straight Width left - thin Width right - thicker
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Kailh Copper Speed tactile, straight from Massdrop (this drop) Contour left - straight Contour right - straight Width left - thin Width right - thicker
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Unspecified Kailh tactile, from Novel Keys Contour left - straight Contour right - straight Width left - thicker Width right - very thick * * *Also notice the depressed center post
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Unspecified Kailh clicky, from Novel Keys Contour left - straight Contour right - straight Width left - thicker Width right - very thick * * *This is a very, very heavy clicky switch that I wanted to use for Caps Lock, which I frequently activate on accident. I tried to file the thicker pin down, only to learn that it is hollow. More accurately, it appears to be two concave pieces laid belly-to-belly, as evidenced by the way it split down the seams on either side.
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Concluding Comments Only after all this hands-on testing did I learn that the board I bought - the one that came with Outemo blues - will only accept thin and thicker switches. Filing down the very thick pins resulted in destruction of the pin.
Clearly, there is inconsistency in the Kailh switch pins. I'm sure there's a good reason for this but I don't know why. If any of you know, please do speak up and inform those of us that aren't in the know. Because of these inconsistencies, it's difficult to communicate all the information required to do custom work with simple references like "Outemo blues" or "Kailh coppers."
For example - remember those Halo Trues that I said I like so much? I have no idea what the pins on those are like.
Or how about the other color switches in this drop. Do they have the same pins as the coppers I received? *shrug* I guess I wouldn't know unless I bought them.
What about that one board I got from that one place, and those switches I got from that drop last year - are those compatible? *shrug*
Admittedly, I still have a great deal to learn, but doing so can be expensive. And yeah, yeah - "If u sodder then you dun have to wory about pins lul" - If any of you are reading this, then this discussion clearly isn't for you.
Finally, this is my cat, Ike. He's watching me Dremel and destroy switch pins. He was just diagnosed with advanced diabetes and I've spent thousands of dollars that I don't have over the past weeks on testing and treatment. That's why I'm cheapin' out on putting together a new keyboard for him to lay on. He loves Halo Trues, too. Wish him well!
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Feb 22, 2018
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