Author Topic: Switch orientation  (Read 3874 times)

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Offline peterstock

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Switch orientation
« on: Sat, 08 February 2014, 14:55:43 »
I'm building a keyboard. It seems that all pictures I see show people mounting their Cherry MX switches with the 2 terminals towards the top, so the long side of the stem is horizontal. Mine's going to be hand-wired (no PCB), with staggered columns, so it's easier to put the diodes on the columns than the rows.

So my question is this - is there any reason why the switches couldn't be mounted rotated 90 degrees, so the long side of the stem is vertical? It would make the pin location much more convenient for placing the diodes in my design.

Offline Photekq

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Re: Switch orientation
« Reply #1 on: Sat, 08 February 2014, 15:02:52 »
It would make it harder to put on/remove keycaps, since the horizontal legs of the stem are thicker than the vertical ones. It would still work fine, but it's best if you can have it oriented like this or this

Offline peterstock

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Re: Switch orientation
« Reply #2 on: Sat, 08 February 2014, 15:15:03 »
Oh, thanks - I hadn't noticed that and just assumed the stems were symmetrical. I'll orient them the right way then, it's not too hard to make the diodes fit.

Thanks again! :)

Online Findecanor

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Re: Switch orientation
« Reply #3 on: Sun, 09 February 2014, 02:02:25 »
The keycap holes are perfectly symmetrical, so orientation does not matter for fitting a MX switch stem.

The switch orientation matters when you use Costar-style stabilisers. The diode hole has to be on the same side as the stabiliser wire. If the switch is oriented the other way then the wire would hit the switch housing. The stabiliser wire is kinked so that it goes around and over a part of the switch housing when the switch gets pressed. Some people have made it work on the other side, but they had to make their own stabiliser wire.
« Last Edit: Sun, 09 February 2014, 02:12:55 by Findecanor »
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Offline peterstock

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Re: Switch orientation
« Reply #4 on: Sun, 09 February 2014, 04:17:11 »
Ok, then I'll mount the switches rotated 90 degrees then. I see the switch stems are slightly different horizontally and vertically, but if the keycaps are the same then like you say that won't matter. I haven't got my keycaps delivered yet so I'll wait for them and check they go on ok either way before I solder the switches.

There aren't any stabilisers in my design, it's all 1x1 and 1x1.5 keycaps, which makes it nice and easy :)

Thanks for your help!

Offline TheSoulhunter

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Re: Switch orientation
« Reply #5 on: Sun, 09 February 2014, 04:47:11 »
The keycap holes are perfectly symmetrical...

Nope, there are keycaps with non "symmetrical" holes...
I have a lot of em, it's visible by bare eyes, I can post images if needed.
Especially on Clears it's hard to get em on 90 deg rotated, and pulling em off might rip the stem out of the switch!
« Last Edit: Sun, 09 February 2014, 04:49:45 by TheSoulhunter »

Offline peterstock

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Re: Switch orientation
« Reply #6 on: Tue, 18 February 2014, 15:14:33 »
I checked my keycaps when I got them and they seemed to fit the same, whichever way they were oriented. Thought I'd post about this in case this was useful to someone else. My keycaps are Signature Plastics DSA profile. I'll make a new post about my keyboard build - it's all done and it works! :D

Offline TheSoulhunter

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Re: Switch orientation
« Reply #7 on: Tue, 18 February 2014, 22:19:56 »
Yes, SP caps shouldn't be a problem, all their mounts are symmetrical...

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Offline Melvang

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Re: Switch orientation
« Reply #8 on: Tue, 18 February 2014, 22:23:35 »
It has already been confirmed that for most caps they go on and come off of clear switches the hardest for yet unconfirmed reasons.
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Online Findecanor

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Re: Switch orientation
« Reply #9 on: Wed, 19 February 2014, 01:26:41 »
Nope, there are keycaps with non "symmetrical" holes...
Now I am curious... Which keycaps have nonsymmetrical holes?

It has already been confirmed that for most caps they go on and come off of clear switches the hardest for yet unconfirmed reasons.
Yes, and some keycaps are harder than others. I was thinking of  using "DSA" profile in PBT on a keyboard with Clear switches and with direct wiring instead of PCB. Bad idea.
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Offline TheSoulhunter

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Re: Switch orientation
« Reply #10 on: Wed, 19 February 2014, 07:58:35 »
Now I am curious... Which keycaps have nonsymmetrical holes?

For example these...



The cruciform measures 1.15 x 1.30 (averaged from multiple samples & rounded)

Btw, I also did measurements on the switch stem cruciforms...
To my findings Clears have the same dimensions as the other variants, perhaps the problem is that thier plastic is less flexible/compressible?

Offline peterstock

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Re: Switch orientation
« Reply #11 on: Wed, 19 February 2014, 15:43:54 »
Yes, and some keycaps are harder than others. I was thinking of  using "DSA" profile in PBT on a keyboard with Clear switches and with direct wiring instead of PCB. Bad idea.

I used ABS DSA keycaps with Clear plate-mounted switches and manually-soldered wiring. I switched a couple of the keycaps round and pulling them off (carefully) was fine. Maybe ABS is softer than PBT so is less of a tight fit?

Offline dorkvader

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Re: Switch orientation
« Reply #12 on: Wed, 19 February 2014, 23:07:45 »
Yes, and some keycaps are harder than others. I was thinking of  using "DSA" profile in PBT on a keyboard with Clear switches and with direct wiring instead of PCB. Bad idea.

I used ABS DSA keycaps with Clear plate-mounted switches and manually-soldered wiring. I switched a couple of the keycaps round and pulling them off (carefully) was fine. Maybe ABS is softer than PBT so is less of a tight fit?

SP has two different stems for their DSA. About half of mine were easy, the rest very difficult to swap.