Author Topic: Gateron Teardown  (Read 53690 times)

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Offline hwood34

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Gateron Teardown
« on: Mon, 26 January 2015, 19:06:04 »
Check out the Gateron IC

I purchased 15 Gateron Blues and 10 Gateron Blacks from Taobao recently to do some Cherry comparisons. If you want any other pictures or info, just ask!



First off, everything about the smoothness was absolutely true. The blacks felt great, and the blues were soft. One thing to note though, as Zeal mentioned in his Gateron build thread, these are somewhat difficult to fit into the PCB, the problem seems to arise from the PCB mounting stabs being either too thick or too far apart, which can be solved by sanding them slightly. The plastic used in the housing seems to be more flexible than that used for Cherry switches; the clips on the tops were much easier to pry apart. Keycaps also fit very tightly to the Gateron stems, comparable to Alps switches.
Can you put gateron stem in MX housing?
Yep

So would you say they're a good alternative?
Depends on your preferences, but they certainly could be, and I'd say pretty much across the board yes for linears.

I'm curious how these stand against heavy use.  Is the leaf the same durability as cherry MX?  Does it feature that cherry crosspoint tech?
since these are relatively new, no one really has any information on the long term durability of them, though most people seem to be wondering about the softer stem plastic. Gateron claims there switches are rated for 50m presses, like Cherry

Are these easy to buy or do you have to snag em when you see these things?
It seems that each seller (on Taobao) seems to keep a max of 200 switches in stock at any time, so you have to get them when you can find them.

The Blues:



The top is branded Gateron in place of Cherry, inscribed into the housing, the opposite of Cherry. Instead of an "A" next to the LED hole, there seems to be arbitrary (I'm not sure of the significance at the moment) letters on the left including "B,C,K,F,I, and A" and an "O" on the right.



Use: The first thing one notices is the higher actuation point. The Gateron actuates almost a mm higher than the MX blue. The hysteresis is also worse, the stem needs to almost fully return to register again. The click is also more pronounced in the Gaterons.



There are a few slight differences in the leaf, mostly in the shape.


(Gateron left, MX right)

(Gateron left, MX right)

Again, there are a few differences in the shape of the stem, but for the most part they are the same. The clicking mechanism is shaped slightly differently. The Gateron stem also has a nib that fits into the clicking mechanism.



Weight=60g

Blues final verdict: The higher actuation point is certainly interesting, mostly opinion though as to if it's better or not. Same goes for the more pronounced click. The smooth stem is certainly a plus and acts to replace the smaller amount of lube.

Blacks:




(MX left, Gateron right)

One thing I noticed about both the switches is that the little indent on the stem is on the opposite side, facing the top of the switch instead of the bottom. The Gateron stem extends slightly farther out than its MX counterpart. The smooth stem is most notable with the linear switch, stock Gaterons are comparable to lubed or vintage MX blacks.


(MX left, Gateron right)

The Gateron switch is slightly longer and seems to be made of a slightly different material or mix than the MX spring.



Weight=60g

Final verdict: Gateron blacks feel incredibly smooth compared to MX, and slightly lighter.
« Last Edit: Sun, 01 February 2015, 10:44:03 by hwood34 »
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Offline SpAmRaY

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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #1 on: Mon, 26 January 2015, 19:13:37 »
Can you put gateron stem in MX housing?

Offline hwood34

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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #2 on: Mon, 26 January 2015, 19:16:31 »
Can you put gateron stem in MX housing?
Yep
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Offline snipars

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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #3 on: Mon, 26 January 2015, 19:16:46 »
So would you say they're a good alternative?
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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #4 on: Mon, 26 January 2015, 19:23:34 »
Sooooo.... we definitely know the Cherry leaf is of higher quality..  But I mean.. only in the sense that it's got gold plated.. but, then again, the gold probably wears through pretty quickly on the 2 side nubs part.. so... there wouldn't be any mechanical advantage.. (smoothness)

wait is the cherry leaf gold plated? or is it only the contact portion.


Offline hwood34

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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #5 on: Mon, 26 January 2015, 19:25:41 »
So would you say they're a good alternative?
Depends on your preferences, but they certainly could be, and I'd say pretty much across the board yes for linears.

Sooooo.... we definitely know the Cherry leaf is of higher quality..  But I mean.. only in the sense that it's got gold plated.. but, then again, the gold probably wears through pretty quickly on the 2 side nubs part.. so... there wouldn't be any mechanical advantage.. (smoothness)

wait is the cherry leaf gold plated? or is it only the contact portion.
Moslty just the contact portion, it doesn't extend all the way down the pin
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Offline Novus

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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #6 on: Mon, 26 January 2015, 19:26:48 »
Are these easy to buy or do you have to snag em when you see these things?

Offline hwood34

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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #7 on: Mon, 26 January 2015, 19:29:14 »
Are these easy to buy or do you have to snag em when you see these things?
It seems that each seller (on Taobao) seems to keep a max of 200 switches in stock at any time, so you have to get them when you can find them. I put an order in for some of the super heavy (like super blacks) yellow Gaterons, but they went out of stock before the proxy could put the order in.
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Offline Defect

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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #8 on: Mon, 26 January 2015, 19:42:22 »
I'm curious how these stand against heavy use.  Is the leaf the same durability as cherry MX?  Does it feature that cherry crosspoint tech?

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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #9 on: Mon, 26 January 2015, 19:43:59 »
Very interesting post, thanks for sharing! I think someone should put together a group buy for these, I would definitely buy a couple bags worth.  :)

Is there a Gateron equivalent of Cherry Clears?

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Offline hwood34

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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #10 on: Mon, 26 January 2015, 19:43:59 »
Very interesting post, thanks for sharing! I think someone should put together a group buy for these, I would definitely buy a couple bags worth.  :)

Is there a Gateron equivalent of Cherry Clears?
I can't think of one off the top off my head. The gateron clears are like lighter reds

I'm curious how these stand against heavy use.  Is the leaf the same durability as cherry MX?  Does it feature that cherry crosspoint tech?
since these are relatively new, no one really has any information on the long term durability of them, though most people seem to be wondering about the softer stem plastic. Gateron claims there switches are rated for 50m presses, like Cherry
« Last Edit: Mon, 26 January 2015, 19:48:06 by hwood34 »
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Offline Evo_Spec

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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #11 on: Mon, 26 January 2015, 19:56:48 »
Nice write up! hope to see these become more widely available
                     
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Offline hwood34

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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #12 on: Mon, 26 January 2015, 20:09:32 »
Nice write up! hope to see these become more widely available
Just wait ;)
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Offline billnye

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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #13 on: Mon, 26 January 2015, 20:26:25 »
Very nice write up!

Gaterons for the Corsa it is :p
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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #14 on: Mon, 26 January 2015, 20:26:33 »
I'm curious how these stand against heavy use.  Is the leaf the same durability as cherry MX?  Does it feature that cherry crosspoint tech?

oh come on.. this is a leaf spring and a plastic slider.. it's not like they just produced some quantum annealing machine..

Offline hwood34

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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #15 on: Mon, 26 January 2015, 20:29:31 »
Very nice write up!

Gaterons for the Corsa it is :p
damn straight yo
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Offline Zeal

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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #16 on: Mon, 26 January 2015, 21:38:48 »
Very nice write up!

Gaterons for the Corsa it is :p
damn straight yo

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« Last Edit: Mon, 26 January 2015, 21:40:19 by Zeal »
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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #17 on: Mon, 26 January 2015, 21:44:21 »
What would a Gateron blue with a jailhouse mod in a cherry bottom housing and Gateron translucent top housing approximately feel like?

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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #18 on: Mon, 26 January 2015, 22:05:36 »
What would a Gateron blue with a jailhouse mod in a cherry bottom housing and Gateron translucent top housing approximately feel like?
Well, since the Gateron blues already activate really high, it might be an uncomfortably high actuation point. The cherry bottom wouldn't really make a difference, structurally they're the same, just with slightly different pegs on the bottom
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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #19 on: Mon, 26 January 2015, 22:10:03 »
What would thin lube on a black gateron feel like?

What would a Gateron blue with a jailhouse mod in a cherry bottom housing and Gateron translucent top housing approximately feel like?
Well, since the Gateron blues already activate really high, it might be an uncomfortably high actuation point. The cherry bottom wouldn't really make a difference, structurally they're the same, just with slightly different pegs on the bottom
Guess no Gateron blues for me.

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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #20 on: Mon, 26 January 2015, 22:14:51 »
What would thin lube on a black gateron feel like?
They're already so smooth, but pretty much sex on fingers. Thick would be better though
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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #21 on: Mon, 26 January 2015, 22:22:36 »
Would you say it is worth it to buy the switches for the clear tops and then put them on MX switches? Or are they too opaque to be a benefit for the cost.

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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #22 on: Mon, 26 January 2015, 22:25:09 »
Would you say it is worth it to buy the switches for the clear tops and then put them on MX switches? Or are they too opaque to be a benefit for the cost.

Stay tuned. I'll be sourcing some clear tops to try out. These v2 gaterons are more of a milky white.
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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #23 on: Mon, 26 January 2015, 22:25:16 »
Would you say it is worth it to buy the switches for the clear tops and then put them on MX switches? Or are they too opaque to be a benefit for the cost.
I mean, it's up to you whether that's worth it. The clear tops are certainly cool, better than anything else available. It would just be a little expensive to buy switches for just the tops. Though if you can speak a little chinese, they sometimes sell just the tops on Taobao but the savings aren't that great
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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #24 on: Mon, 26 January 2015, 22:26:58 »
Would you say it is worth it to buy the switches for the clear tops and then put them on MX switches? Or are they too opaque to be a benefit for the cost.

Stay tuned. I'll be sourcing some clear tops to try out. These v2 gaterons are more of a milky white.
Awesome! I will have to try some if you start to carry them.
Would you say it is worth it to buy the switches for the clear tops and then put them on MX switches? Or are they too opaque to be a benefit for the cost.
I mean, it's up to you whether that's worth it. The clear tops are certainly cool, better than anything else available. It would just be a little expensive to buy switches for just the tops. Though if you can speak a little chinese, they sometimes sell just the tops on Taobao but the savings aren't that great
I might order a couple and see what they are like with LEDs, and determine if it is worth it, they are a lot cheaper than just the clear tops that were on techkeys, but now they are sold out anyway.

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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #25 on: Mon, 26 January 2015, 22:35:43 »
Would you say it is worth it to buy the switches for the clear tops and then put them on MX switches? Or are they too opaque to be a benefit for the cost.
I mean, it's up to you whether that's worth it. The clear tops are certainly cool, better than anything else available. It would just be a little expensive to buy switches for just the tops. Though if you can speak a little chinese, they sometimes sell just the tops on Taobao but the savings aren't that great
I might order a couple and see what they are like with LEDs, and determine if it is worth it, they are a lot cheaper than just the clear tops that were on techkeys, but now they are sold out anyway.
They're also higher quality.
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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #26 on: Mon, 26 January 2015, 22:36:56 »
Would you say it is worth it to buy the switches for the clear tops and then put them on MX switches? Or are they too opaque to be a benefit for the cost.
I mean, it's up to you whether that's worth it. The clear tops are certainly cool, better than anything else available. It would just be a little expensive to buy switches for just the tops. Though if you can speak a little chinese, they sometimes sell just the tops on Taobao but the savings aren't that great
I might order a couple and see what they are like with LEDs, and determine if it is worth it, they are a lot cheaper than just the clear tops that were on techkeys, but now they are sold out anyway.
They're also higher quality.
I assume you mean the ones off of techkeys, and I assumed that, but if not, that's interesting.

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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #27 on: Mon, 26 January 2015, 22:39:19 »
Would you say it is worth it to buy the switches for the clear tops and then put them on MX switches? Or are they too opaque to be a benefit for the cost.
I mean, it's up to you whether that's worth it. The clear tops are certainly cool, better than anything else available. It would just be a little expensive to buy switches for just the tops. Though if you can speak a little chinese, they sometimes sell just the tops on Taobao but the savings aren't that great
I might order a couple and see what they are like with LEDs, and determine if it is worth it, they are a lot cheaper than just the clear tops that were on techkeys, but now they are sold out anyway.
They're also higher quality.
I assume you mean the ones off of techkeys, and I assumed that, but if not, that's interesting.
The Gateron tops are higher quality, and can actually flex without breaking
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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #28 on: Mon, 26 January 2015, 22:44:18 »
Do they make clears?

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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #29 on: Mon, 26 January 2015, 22:54:42 »
Do they make clears?
edit: whoops, though you meant another thing. and not that I know of. IIRC the only tactile switch they make is brown
« Last Edit: Mon, 26 January 2015, 23:13:54 by hwood34 »
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Offline n0rvig

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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #30 on: Mon, 26 January 2015, 23:25:23 »
Thanks for writing this up. These sound like something fun to try next.

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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #31 on: Mon, 26 January 2015, 23:29:32 »
I feel like a scrub, at first glance i was like the the blue one on the left is cherry! that weird bluish color is the gateron. I was wrong :/, i have much to learn...

Thanks for posting a break down though! What was the pricing on the switches you got?
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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #32 on: Mon, 26 January 2015, 23:32:13 »
I feel like a scrub, at first glance i was like the the blue one on the left is cherry! that weird bluish color is the gateron. I was wrong :/, i have much to learn...

Thanks for posting a break down though! What was the pricing on the switches you got?
I can remember exact per switch,  i think for the 25 plus proxy fee it was like $11. International shipping wasn't cheap though
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Offline minh278

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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #33 on: Mon, 26 January 2015, 23:37:04 »
Have you tried putting an mx-stem in a gateron switch or the inverse? Would it work?
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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #34 on: Mon, 26 January 2015, 23:45:00 »
Have you tried putting an mx-stem in a gateron switch or the inverse? Would it work?
Between Zeal and hwood they have confirmed that they do work both ways.

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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #35 on: Mon, 26 January 2015, 23:52:17 »
Have you tried putting an mx-stem in a gateron switch or the inverse? Would it work?
Between Zeal and hwood they have confirmed that they do work both ways.

Thanks!
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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #36 on: Tue, 27 January 2015, 00:09:46 »
Gaterons are going to be the next big thing on GH.

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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #37 on: Tue, 27 January 2015, 00:12:23 »
how does an inswitch led look?  does the top let the light through cleanly or does it get very blocked out compared to an abostudio?
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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #38 on: Tue, 27 January 2015, 00:12:30 »
Alright, I'm going to ask the fun question! Have you tried swapping leafs from an MX switch in? (Using tweezers to pull the leafs out, then sliding in and making the contacts still work properly) I'd rather not chance it on the copper internals with the humidity level in MI during the summer.
Boards: Kingsaver Complicated Blue Alps |Sprit 60% Transparent MX Clears in Gateron housings with 62g gold Sprit springs lubed and RGB color shifting LEDs | Ducky Shine Zone MX Black with Blue LEDs | Realforce 10AE Variable Silenced

B/S/T thread: https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=55351.0

Past projects: KBT Race 2 L.E.
Past Boards: Ducky Shine 2 | KBT Pure | LZ Aluminum Skin| HHKB | Realforce 23u |

Offline pichu23

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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #39 on: Tue, 27 January 2015, 00:38:22 »
Alright, I'm going to ask the fun question! Have you tried swapping leafs from an MX switch in? (Using tweezers to pull the leafs out, then sliding in and making the contacts still work properly) I'd rather not chance it on the copper internals with the humidity level in MI during the summer.

for science !  :))
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Online exitfire401

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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #40 on: Tue, 27 January 2015, 00:39:21 »
Alright, I'm going to ask the fun question! Have you tried swapping leafs from an MX switch in? (Using tweezers to pull the leafs out, then sliding in and making the contacts still work properly) I'd rather not chance it on the copper internals with the humidity level in MI during the summer.

for science !  :))

More like for not having corroded sticky switches! Haha
Boards: Kingsaver Complicated Blue Alps |Sprit 60% Transparent MX Clears in Gateron housings with 62g gold Sprit springs lubed and RGB color shifting LEDs | Ducky Shine Zone MX Black with Blue LEDs | Realforce 10AE Variable Silenced

B/S/T thread: https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=55351.0

Past projects: KBT Race 2 L.E.
Past Boards: Ducky Shine 2 | KBT Pure | LZ Aluminum Skin| HHKB | Realforce 23u |

Offline rowdy

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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #41 on: Tue, 27 January 2015, 04:03:14 »
It would be interesting to know the consistency between the blue switches.

Quite often someone will have a board with MX blues that does not click consistently cross the board (I have one myself).

Although I understand you have too small a sample to make a reasonable assessment (unless the ones you have are so wildly different in sound and feel, but I think you would have mentioned something obvious like that).
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Offline hwood34

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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #42 on: Tue, 27 January 2015, 09:06:20 »
how does an inswitch led look?  does the top let the light through cleanly or does it get very blocked out compared to an abostudio?
You'd have to ask Zeal this question, I actually don't have any LEDs on hand to test it out.

Alright, I'm going to ask the fun question! Have you tried swapping leafs from an MX switch in? (Using tweezers to pull the leafs out, then sliding in and making the contacts still work properly) I'd rather not chance it on the copper internals with the humidity level in MI during the summer.
Yep, everything works nearly the same. I think the difference in feel comes primarily from the stem and spring because it feels nearly the same. I wouldn't recommend it though, it can be hard to removed the leaf from the MX switch without damaging it, that might just be due to there being some minuscule amount of solder left on the leaf, maybe this isn't a problem with new MX switches
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Offline Giorgio

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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #43 on: Tue, 27 January 2015, 09:52:11 »
How much did you pay?
Cost of the switches / each piece
Delivery
Taxes

From which vendor did you buy? Please add a link.

Offline hwood34

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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #44 on: Tue, 27 January 2015, 09:58:46 »
How much did you pay?
Cost of the switches / each piece
Delivery
Taxes

From which vendor did you buy? Please add a link.
I got them at ¥1.30 from loveq on Taobao. I used Taobao Focus as a proxy, international shipping was almost $20
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Offline monotagary

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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #45 on: Tue, 27 January 2015, 10:02:48 »
How much did you pay?
Cost of the switches / each piece
Delivery
Taxes

From which vendor did you buy? Please add a link.
I got them at ¥1.30 from loveq on Taobao. I used Taobao Focus as a proxy, international shipping was almost $20


Thanks for the vendor link hwood. I've been trying to track down some Gaterons as a cheaper alternative to clear switch housings from an RGB board... but I'm terrible at navigating Taobao. ;D

Offline hwood34

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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #46 on: Tue, 27 January 2015, 10:03:55 »
How much did you pay?
Cost of the switches / each piece
Delivery
Taxes

From which vendor did you buy? Please add a link.
I got them at ¥1.30 from loveq on Taobao. I used Taobao Focus as a proxy, international shipping was almost $20


Thanks for the vendor link hwood. I've been trying to track down some Gaterons as a cheaper alternative to clear switch housings from an RGB board... but I'm terrible at navigating Taobao. ;D
Luckily the biggest seller of them had part of the title in english :p. But you have to jump on them when they're in stock, they sell out pretty quickly
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Online exitfire401

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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #47 on: Tue, 27 January 2015, 10:04:31 »
how does an inswitch led look?  does the top let the light through cleanly or does it get very blocked out compared to an abostudio?
You'd have to ask Zeal this question, I actually don't have any LEDs on hand to test it out.

Alright, I'm going to ask the fun question! Have you tried swapping leafs from an MX switch in? (Using tweezers to pull the leafs out, then sliding in and making the contacts still work properly) I'd rather not chance it on the copper internals with the humidity level in MI during the summer.
Yep, everything works nearly the same. I think the difference in feel comes primarily from the stem and spring because it feels nearly the same. I wouldn't recommend it though, it can be hard to removed the leaf from the MX switch without damaging it, that might just be due to there being some minuscule amount of solder left on the leaf, maybe this isn't a problem with new MX switches

It's not a problem at all with unsoldered switches. The leaf from a damaged clear I have (switch top is messed up) came out with no problem. Went back in with no issue, and still actuates perfectly.
Boards: Kingsaver Complicated Blue Alps |Sprit 60% Transparent MX Clears in Gateron housings with 62g gold Sprit springs lubed and RGB color shifting LEDs | Ducky Shine Zone MX Black with Blue LEDs | Realforce 10AE Variable Silenced

B/S/T thread: https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=55351.0

Past projects: KBT Race 2 L.E.
Past Boards: Ducky Shine 2 | KBT Pure | LZ Aluminum Skin| HHKB | Realforce 23u |

Offline hwood34

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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #48 on: Tue, 27 January 2015, 10:05:37 »
how does an inswitch led look?  does the top let the light through cleanly or does it get very blocked out compared to an abostudio?
You'd have to ask Zeal this question, I actually don't have any LEDs on hand to test it out.

Alright, I'm going to ask the fun question! Have you tried swapping leafs from an MX switch in? (Using tweezers to pull the leafs out, then sliding in and making the contacts still work properly) I'd rather not chance it on the copper internals with the humidity level in MI during the summer.
Yep, everything works nearly the same. I think the difference in feel comes primarily from the stem and spring because it feels nearly the same. I wouldn't recommend it though, it can be hard to removed the leaf from the MX switch without damaging it, that might just be due to there being some minuscule amount of solder left on the leaf, maybe this isn't a problem with new MX switches

It's not a problem at all with unsoldered switches. The leaf from a damaged clear I have (switch top is messed up) came out with no problem. Went back in with no issue, and still actuates perfectly.
Alright, good. Still pretty tedious doing that 100 or so times :p
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Offline Giorgio

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Re: Gateron Teardown
« Reply #49 on: Tue, 27 January 2015, 10:06:00 »
Yes, 1.3 Chinese Yuan equals 0.18 Euro

Considering that a cherry switch costs about 0,55 eur, you need to buy more than 50 switches to even consider the gaterons. Plus the cost of the proxy (maybe it was included).