Author Topic: Best ergo clear style switch?  (Read 11368 times)

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Offline Leinad3

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Best ergo clear style switch?
« on: Wed, 20 October 2021, 11:58:27 »
Hi!

I just discovered the ergo clear switch so I bought some. I love them so I wanna know more switches of this type as I don't know so many and gonna build a keyboard with them.

Thanks

Offline Sifo

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Re: Best ergo clear style switch?
« Reply #1 on: Wed, 20 October 2021, 13:39:49 »
None of the clone switches feel quite the same. If you like clear you're best off sticking to clear, you can experiment with different lubes and spring weight to find your desired combo.

Some of the tactile options come close but they always add some unnecessary changes whether it's to the tactility profile or the actuation point or whatever. Zeal v1 is probably the best alternative.
I love Elzy

Offline uncleaner

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Re: Best ergo clear style switch?
« Reply #2 on: Wed, 20 October 2021, 16:29:48 »
I moved to durock medium tactile/rara v2 and never looked back, they're smoother, less wobbly, better sounding and don't have the ergo clear death grip on your caps. They're in between ergo clears and T1s in tactility, but they feel pretty close to ergos if you lube the tactile legs. It also helps with the noisy tactile leaves, which is the downside vs ergo clears, but depending on the factory lube they might be fine out of the box.

Offline HungerMechanic

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Re: Best ergo clear style switch?
« Reply #3 on: Wed, 20 October 2021, 16:57:42 »
Hi!

I just discovered the ergo clear switch so I bought some. I love them so I wanna know more switches of this type as I don't know so many and gonna build a keyboard with them.

Thanks

Well, this is your lucky day, because what used to be considered the premium Ergo Clear alternative is making a comeback:

https://zealpc.net/products/zealio_v1_redux?variant=39352365449280

I have no idea if it is a good idea to buy them. The quality of the Zealio V1 redux is unknown, as there have been none reaching our shores and none reviewed yet. But it's cheaper to buy at this 'group buy' price.

Anyway, what are the alternatives to Ergo Clear? Generally these are:

1. Zealio V1

This was the first major alternative. They wanted a bump more distinct / prominent than MX Brown, but without the scratch and sandiness of Cherry tactiles like MX Clear and Brown.

Generally, the Zealio V1 are understood to be possibly less-tactile than MX Clear [should be more tactile than MX Brown], but definitely smoother.

Smoothness is their primary attribute, along with the 'bump' being more crisp or definite than the 'nebulous,' indistinct bump of Cherry tactiles.

Zealio V1 had issues with wobble, though. They were as wobbly as Cherry switches. Maybe it's being addressed now.

Also, stock sound wasn't great. It was insectile, unless you lubed it. The springs were noisy, too.

2. OUTEMU Sky / Silent Sky

The original OUTEMU Sky [pre-2.2] was modeled after the MX Clear stem. It was placed in a highly-tactile housing, with a 62 or 68 G spring.

It had a good tactility to it, and the weight was right, so it was a fair Ergo Clear approximation.

But the housing was noisy like crazy, as was the spring. And the housing was oversize. So this switch was scratchy and needed a lot of lube.

Later versions of the stem moved away from MX Clear and became its own thing. But still about as intense as an Ergo Clear. Personally, I feel that the later stems were too wobble, and with a strange actuation point.

The Silent Sky was just a Silent Sky stem inside that same housing. Good stem, bad housing. You can make a true Ergo Clear Silent Sky by putting the stem in something like a Huano Banana housing with stock or 55 G L spring.

So forget about these outdated switches, unless you need a Silent Ergo Clear, as the silent stems are really good.

3. RARA / Durock Medium Tactile

JWK was making tactiles like the T1, but wanted something less extreme. So they developed the 'RARA' stem which was later used in 'Durock Medium Tactile' and all subsequent recolours.

The RARA is kind of like a smaller T1 - the tactility is at the top, but it tapers off.

It's about as intense as an Ergo Clear, and may have been inspired by Zealio V1.

Stock, their sound is a little scratchy or squishy, but they are meant to be lubed. If lubed, they can become loud and clacky, if that's what you're looking for. Clean-sounding too. I have some professionally-lubed RARA V2 switches, and they sound much cleaner than any Cherry-derived switch.

Very affordable, if you know where to look. Because there is bound to be a deal on the RARA recolours: RARA V2, Mode Signal, Penguin, Taro Ball, Shogoki, and others.

4. Super-Browns (Really, intermediate light tactiles)

There are a number of switches that are either supposed to be more intense Browns, or some form of Ergo Clears. These are:

Everglide Jade Green - 58.5 G is brown-weight, but these are shaped differently, more like a Zealio V1. Tactile event is towards the top, and not much more intense than Brown. Some would say that they benefit from slightly heavier springs for more cushion, like 60 G TX 14mm or even 62 G Spirit. That would make them true Ergo Clears.

They sound scratchy in stock form. But lubed generously with 3204 and filmed, on a polycarb plate, they can sound quite pleasant.

TTC Gold Brown V2 - I think this was an attempt at an Ergo Clear. It's about 5 G heavier than MX Brown, and slightly more tactile. But all it does is end up feeling like a heavier Brown. So avoid this except as a base for Silent Sky stems. TTC Watermelon V2 seems similar.

Huano Banana - this is one of the 'fruit-themed' switches, and I swear this is an honest-to-god Ergo Clear imitator or 'super-Brown.' It's definitely snappier than MX Brown, very snappy, almost clicky tactility. And a little heavier than Browns. Snappiness is so great that it doesn't feel like MX Brown territory anymore.

AKKO CS Ocean Blue - this seems to be a scaled-down Holy-Panda type switch. Definitely less intense than the Pandas, it's a kind of 'lesser-panda.' The size of the tactile bump places it more in Ergo Clear range, although it's shaped more like Pandas and other heavy tactiles instead of a Cherry tactile.

Kailh Pro Purple - one of the classic 'super-Browns,' or light Ergo Clears. It has a spring in the 65 - 70 G range, and a tactility at the top, like many others in the Kailh custom range. Kind of a scaled-down Halo True. It has about the intensity of an Ergo Clear, and is frequently compared with them. Can be very good to type on, a fast switch. But it is lube-starved and very scratchy in stock form.

You can replace the spring with a 63.5 Spirit and get something very much with a proper Ergo-Clear weight and feel.

5. Halo / HAKO Violet

The BOX-derived switches from Kailh have at least one Ergo Clear variant.

The "Violet" switch seems to provide the tactile intensity of an MX Clear with a weight closer to MX Brown.

I have compared them side-by-side with BOX Browns, and the HAKO Violet switches are a little more intense, sharp, and snappy.




Ergo Clears themselves

Why look for clones in the first place? Ergo Clears can be made many different ways, from really punchy MX-black-weight and heavy lube [an extremely clacky switch] all the way down to 63.5 Progressive Spirit springs, which is a richer MX Brown. 65 G TX 14mm seems to be a good weight for many people.

You can even lube with 205g0 for a thockier sound, and for use on a metal plate. Just lube carefully to preserve the tactility, and you have something more sophisticated than an MX Brown.

Offline Sifo

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Re: Best ergo clear style switch?
« Reply #4 on: Wed, 20 October 2021, 18:59:52 »
Hi!

I just discovered the ergo clear switch so I bought some. I love them so I wanna know more switches of this type as I don't know so many and gonna build a keyboard with them.

Thanks

snip


yeah this is the best answer, well done.
« Last Edit: Wed, 20 October 2021, 19:05:21 by Sifo »
I love Elzy

Offline Leinad3

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Re: Best ergo clear style switch?
« Reply #5 on: Thu, 21 October 2021, 02:46:41 »
Hi!

I just discovered the ergo clear switch so I bought some. I love them so I wanna know more switches of this type as I don't know so many and gonna build a keyboard with them.

Thanks

...


Awesome info man! Now I know where to start for look into more info, thanks a lot!

Offline HungerMechanic

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Re: Best ergo clear style switch?
« Reply #6 on: Fri, 22 October 2021, 15:06:21 »
Thanks for the endorsement! The list is not quite definitive.

There used to be a series of switches called MOD. It was one of the first factory Ergo Clear alternatives back in the day, around 2018. You can find some info here, and elsewhere:

https://www.originativeco.com/products/mod-switch

The truth is, many [including myself] found them scratchy. I guess you could lube them. Certainly, some of this series was pretty tactile.

There was also a recent attempt at factory Ergo Clears called "Durock Cerulean." It had mixed reviews, so I didn't try it. But if built right, it resembled an Ergo Clear.

There's a less-common switch called "Twilight." It's a Durock Medium Tactile stem inside a T1 housing, which makes it pretty tactile. It's snappy and sharp. I think it's nice with ~65 G 14mm spring, if memory serves. It's definitely on the 'snappier' or 'more tactile' side of Ergo Clears.

[You can actually make all sorts of quasi-Ergo Clears by stuffing very light tactile stems inside highly-tactile housings like Boba, YOK Panda, and T1.] Some of my favourite of these quasi-Ergo Clear switches derived from heavy tactile housings are:

-"Brown Pandas" or "Dirty Pandas" which is MX Brown stem inside YOK Panda housing with 60 G stock YOK spring

-Taliaz which is Aliaz inside T1 housing with 60 L - 65 G spring

-T1ngerine which is Gateron Orange stem inside T1 housing with ~60 L - 62 L spring

-Orange Boba which is same as above in a Boba housing


These are all a little stiffer and more snappy than Ergo Clears that are derived from light-tactile housings, so I'd call it a different category.

For a lighter / less-tactile version of this, you can also exchange stems between MX Clears, Pro Purples, Penguins, etc...

You can also put heavy tactile stems into lighter-tactile housings. T1 into Tangerine, for example. 65 G spring. U4T into a Cherry housing. This is like a 'reverse Ergo Clear' because you are making a heavy tactile into a medium-tactile.

Also, it's best not to underestimate OUTEMU Silent Sky. Silent Sky stem in pre-Hyperglide MX Clear housing with 63.5 G Spirit spring is a true Ergo Clear, in my book.

Offline HungerMechanic

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Re: Best ergo clear style switch?
« Reply #7 on: Fri, 22 October 2021, 16:14:14 »
Also, here are some helpful videos:


Ceruleans




Zeal V1 vs Durock Light Tactile vs Durock Medium Tactile



Zeal V1 vs Zeal V2 vs Everglide Jade Green V2



There are many more such helpful videos on Youtube.





Offline Milkshake1

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Re: Best ergo clear style switch?
« Reply #8 on: Tue, 26 September 2023, 11:53:33 »
Well, this is your lucky day, because what used to be considered the premium Ergo Clear alternative is making a comeback:

https://zealpc.net/products/zealio_v1_redux?variant=39352365449280

I have no idea if it is a good idea to buy them. The quality of the Zealio V1 redux is unknown, as there have been none reaching our shores and none reviewed yet. But it's cheaper to buy at this 'group buy' price.

Anyway, what are the alternatives to Ergo Clear? Generally these are:
///quote shortened... ///
Really love this write up. It's detailed and suggesting switches from multiple brands. Do you happen to have a new list / overview of ergo & brown like tactile switches with pre travel?

Offline HungerMechanic

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Re: Best ergo clear style switch?
« Reply #9 on: Mon, 02 October 2023, 18:39:43 »

Really love this write up. It's detailed and suggesting switches from multiple brands. Do you happen to have a new list / overview of ergo & brown like tactile switches with pre travel?

Hi,

Ergo Clear switches have come a long way in the last few years.

Browns

Now, if we're talking about Browns, there have been some developments. But that's almost a separate category.

Browns, being a near-linear switch with pre-travel and a minimal bump, have some variation now.

The classic Cherry Browns received a minor update with a ~2017 retooling, and then the "Hyperglide" Browns. They are basically the same as always, although the Hyperglides seem to have a more noticeable or responsive bump. But they are as scratchy as always.

There were some irregularities with the design of the Hyperglide housing. Some people report interference with Cherry-profile keycaps.

Anyways, you can get variations on MX Browns. For example, KTT Mallo is basically an MX Brown, but made using KTT molds and materials. These are far smoother than MX Browns. This can be a good thing, but some might say that they lack character or personality. I find that these are best used in a metal plate for some extra punch, such as in the sandwitch-mount MK870.



[The 55 G Mallos are okay, but not particularly punchy. I wonder if they would do better with 58 - 62 G springs.]

Then you have SP Star's take on Browns: The SP Star Meteor Orange. These are some favoured switches. The bump seems a little bit lower-placed and more prominent than with MX Browns. So if it's pre-travel you are looking for, you may find it. [I think it is subjective, and the bump may be in a similar position as MX Brown.]

The Meteor Orange are a little bit smoother than MX Browns, but I find that the smoother and slightly-novel stems, and different spring weight to work well. They are a 'B' grade switch out-of-box, but become 'A' grade with modifications:

https://www.keebtalk.com/t/sp-star-meteor-orange/15995/2?u=hungermechanic

Meteor Orange comes in two known variants: 1.0 which has blue housings, and 1.5/2.0 which have whitish housings. Otherwise, they are supposed to be near-identical.



They benefit from moderate 3204 + films. Conversely, KTT Mallo do not need films, but the leaf area needs to be quieted with lube.

More recently, it looks like the Mallo manufacturer has produced POM Browns for AKKO. I won't go into detail on them, you can read an extensive write-up here:

https://switchbox.studio/akko-pom-browns/

They are basically a long-pole KTT Mallo. Personally, I think they are noiser than described in the above review, so you may wish to lube them if your board acoustics are sub-optimal.



Speaking of Switchbox Studio reviews, another Brown (barely) is the Huano / Ajazz Banana. Switchbox reviewed its heavier cousin, the Kiwi.

The Banana is basically a top-mounted Brown, with a larger bump but not a larger weight. Not the greatest if you are looking for pre-travel. But it seems to be lighter in force than a Brown, if you press one up against the other. You can get them in interesting 45-piece 'fruit jar' packages.



So those are some of the more interesting 'browns.' The other mainstream Brown is the Gateron Brown, which is classically smoother than the MX Brown. It is worth mentioning that the latest Gateron G Pro Brown 3.0 actually have decent factory-lube, from a functionality standpoint. You might still lube them for sound. But they are the most impressive stock Gateron Browns I have yet seen, and can sometimes be obtained for very low prices.

Classically, you could select from other clone Browns, some of which were scratchier but more tactile than Cherry. The chief example was Greetech Browns. However, these solutions are no longer common.


So the most interesting Browns, to me, are the KTT Mallo and the Meteor Orange. Especially from the standpoint of pre-travel. Although Gateron is very good in that regard, as well.

JWK / Durock manufactures a switch called "Durock Light Tactile" that is often marketed as a "better MX Brown." However, I find this misleading. The DLT stem seems to have less-pre travel, and is noticeably more resistant than any classical Brown. It feels to me like a scaled-down T1 switch, rather than an improved MX Brown.

Durock switches, in the past, had very tight housings, although their quality control seems to be slipping as of late. A good Durock batch will be very stable. However, their choice of housing materials leaves something to be desired from a sound standpoint, so you will end up lubing them. The "Cotton Candy" variant of Durock Light Tactile at least uses nylon. Probably a better choice than the "Pewter" variant, although many prefer the latter for smoothness.

Another "better MX Brown" contender/pretender are the Invokeys Blueberry Chiffon. It is an Aflion tactile. Unlike many of the latest switches, it actually has some pre-travel, if less than a Cherry Brown. However, it is a long-pole switch, which means a harsher bottom-out. It is pretty reasonable by long-pole standards, however. It is in no way an MX Brown: the stem, tactile bump, housing, and spring are all very different.



I have a board with Blueberry Chiffon. They are pretty crisp to type on, moreso than an MX Brown. The V1 has a problem with leaf ping, which may have been solved in the latest V2. They are responsive, but they are not MX Browns. So if you are looking for a switch of that type, again I will point you to KTT Mallo and SP Star Meteor Orange.

TTC manufactures its own line of Brown-wannabees. The first good variant was TTC Golden Brown V3. With lube, it becomes a good switch, allegedly. They also had a switch called Watermelon Milkshake, which was basically a Brown. I find that TTC Browns are about 5 G heavier than a regular brown, as if they thought some added spring weight could turn them into an Ergo Clear.

Speaking of which, Gateron has another line of switches called "CAP." The Gateron CAP Milky Brown and Golden Brown V2 or 3 use a novel non-Cherry housing design. Gateron's manufacturing process allows them to produce an affordable switch with decent factory-lube. You don't need to film them, and in theory you don't need to lube them.

The Milky Brown seems to have better sound than the Golden Brown, so get those variants. It doesn't hurt to lube at least the leaf-area, to quiet any extraneous noise. They sound 'semi-lubed' in stock form. From a push-feel standpoint, they are crisper and snappier than regular Browns. So they are half-way to an Ergo Clear.



I think they are long-pole, and personally I find that to be sub-optimal for typing. But they are snappy and responsive, as I indicated. They use longer springs, I think. They are not easy to customize, but are a decent switch that you can just pop in to hotswap with no fuss. Put them in a cheap MK870 with a polycarb plate or something.

Again, regular Gateron G Pro Brown 3.0 would be better than these for pre-travel, even though CAP Browns are more tactile / snappy / responsive.

So that just about wraps up Browns. There are other long-pole options out there like Corsas, but I am not familiar with them. You just can't cheaply bring these things into Canada [same with those Geon sliders.]

Aflion Melody is said to be a light-tactile, although I doubt it is a Brown in stem shape.

Ergo Clears

Okay, let's talk about Ergo Clears.

The original Ergo Clear was of course a modified Cherry switch. Using a spring from an MX Brown, Blue, or Black. So I guess we are talking about 60 / 62 G, or something that actuates around 60 G and ends at 80.

Once custom springs became available, all sorts of weights were used. 55 G on the light end, 67 was a common weight, and 72 / 78 G springs were available. 62 G was still a more common weight, however. And 63.5 G was developed in part to allow for smooth-curved Ergo Clears. This is 15mm. There's also 14mm springs like 65 G TX, which is another favoured weight for them.

55 G Ergo Clears are pretty tactile and crunchy, but don't have as much return weight as something like 65 G. You can use light weights on most keys, but anything above 2U benefits from higher weights, and 7U spacebars should ideally be 62 - 65 G or greater.

I'm not going to go heavily into Ergo Clears, since people know what they are. It does matter what kind of lube and spring-weight you use. You can tell the difference. So experiment. I also recently found that 55 G 18mm springs are fun with these.

I have used several Ergo Clear keyboards with different springs and lubrication, and they are noticeably different.

Cherry now sells an official "Ergo Clear," which is basically an MX Clear with a 67 G or so spring. I personally find 67 G to be excessive in 1U keys. So you may wish to go for 63.5 G Spirit, which is nicer. The Cherry Ergo Clears have a little more factory lube than regular on the bottom housing, but you would want to lube them for best-results.

Clones

So Ergo Clears spawned a whole litany of clones, as customizers worked with factories to create 'factory Ergo Clears.' The first and most famous is probably the Zealio V1.

The Zealio V1 was meant to resemble the Ergo Clear. The stem shape is a bit different, being a Gateron switch. It is considerably smoother than a Cherry Clear. The spring types are different as well.



Fortunately, these are back now as Zealio V1 redux. They don't have much factory-lube, so you'll want to lube them. Be careful if using 205g0, as it will overwhelm them more quickly than with Cherry Clears. 3204 is more reasonable. You can use some aftermarket springs with them. Personally, I think 14mm TX springs are better than the stock Gateron. Gateron stock springs have been a weak point in classic designs.

If you are going to buy these, wait for a sale, as they typically go for 15 - 25% discounts.

Another early factory Ergo Clear was the OUTEMU Sky. These are out-of-production. The early Sky stems resembled the MX Clear, but later variants became their own thing. Sky housings are very bad, but the stems have always been cool. Maybe you could put them in a more modern housing, like Boba linear. Or even Cherry. You can use light weights with these, like 60 G and probably 55 G.

There weren't too many Ergo Clear options. Then, Durock got things going with what eventually became known as "Durock Medium Tactile." This is a stem that probably has less pre-travel than Cherry, but it's not totally a top-mount. They are about as intense as an Ergo Clear / Zealio V1.

What's noticeable about DMT and all its variants, however, is the upstroke. Unlike MX Clear, these were designed from the outset to work with lighter spring weights and linear springs. So the stem doesn't 'catch' like an MX Clear would on the upstroke. They are arguably better for typing, as a result.

There are many variants of DMT. Among the earliest were the RARA switches. DMT itself is okay. The best variant may be Taro Ball, as they had tight housings with pretty good sound for JWK. I won't go into detail, but if you have any questions, ask away.



A heavier 'Ergo Clear' is of course the T1 switch. It is almost completely a top-mount switch, though. So it's not a Cherry-like bump and it is not great for pre-travel. It is worth mentioning, because it fulfills the role of a mid-weight or medium-heavy Ergo Clear for many people. Veterans of switch customization have said on a few occassions that T1-like switches are 'better Ergo Clears.'

One of the nicer T1-like switches is the SP Star Polaris Purple, and I think there was a Durock 65 G T1-variant called the "Lilac tactile." Anyway, both of those are pretty decent in stock form. And you can get the super-budget version of the T1 from JWICK, as the JWICK T1 V 2.0.



There's something called the SP Star Magic Girl that may be a somewhat toned-down T1, maybe it uses a medium-tactile stem. If going for this switch, get the "Dark" variant as it has better housing acoustics.

I won't get into heavier switches like Holy Pandas, Bobas, Zealio V2, and so on, as they are leaving Ergo-Clear territory, and don't have Cherry-like travel.

A more recent, deliberate attempt at a factory Ergo Clear belongs to the Naevy line of switches. The Naevy 1.5 is shaped similar to the Cherry original, but of course with far smoother housings. Even the factory lube is decent, and you can use them as-is. If you want a deeper sound, you can lube them with 3204. They are about 58 G, which puts them on the lighter end, even if they are somewhat punchy.

The Naevy 1.5 remains one of the more honest 'Ergo Clear' switches. Some people find them to be not very tactile, but I don't think they were meant to be. Supposedly, the Naevy 2.0 is more tactile. But I don't know if it still uses a Cherry-like stem.



There are numbers of other medium-tactile switches, but I wouldn't say they are Ergo Clears: AKKO V3 Cream Blue and the lavender one, TTC Bluish White, KTT Matcha, MODE Tomorrow. They are less than Zealio V2 in intensity. But the stem shape is not necessarily pre-travel > bump > post-travel. Some of them have a more D-shaped or full-travel bump, like possibly Cream Blue. And MODE Tomorrow is almost a reverse Ergo Clear, it's a gentle although strangely-shaped stem. And there's the aforementioned Huano Diced Kiwi that I don't know a lot about.

So for actual Ergo Clear like switches, some of the best choices are: Zealio V1, Naevy 1.5, Durock Medium Tactile. And of course the official Ergo Clears.

(Cherry is said to be working on new designs, so we may see something additional at some point).

I recently tried a new switch called the JWICK Molly. It seems to be a light/medium tactile, maybe with full travel and pre-travel. It may be a DLT or DMT variant, I haven't tried them much. The factory-lube is inconsistent, so you would have to re-lube them, or wait for a revised version.

There's also something called the Gateron Beer, which is said to be a light tactile with a larger bump than MX Brown. However, I don't know its characteristics.



So those are the main Brown and Ergo-Clear pattern switches, I would say. I may have missed something [I didn't mention many indistinct Brown-clones]. Since there are only a few main types of Brown or Clear-like switches, I would recommend trying those.