How Does a Mechanical Key Switch Work?

The CHERRY MX Technology Explained

Mechanical keyboards represent the pinnacle of keyboard technology. Unlike Rubberdome or SX technology, mechanical key switches like the CHERRY MX switches are used here. We detail how mechanical switches work:

How It Works:

Keypress: When you press a key on a mechanical keyboard, the keycap moves downward along with the switch mechanism underneath.

Actuation: The switch mechanism consists of several movable parts, typically including a stem and a spring. When you press the key, the keycap hits the stem, pushing it downwards. The spring compresses upon keypress and then returns the stem to its initial position.

Contact Point: There are two contact points in the switch, usually separated. When the key is pressed, the stem connects these contact points, establishing an electrical contact. This action closes a circuit with the PCB below the switch, sending an electrical signal to the computer.

Signal Activation: Mechanical switch technology allows the signal to be triggered during key actuation, even before the key is fully pressed ("bottom out"). This enables a faster response time compared to traditional Rubberdome keyboards. The exact point of actuation is signaled in a "clicky" switch by an audible click and tactile feedback. In a tactile switch, feedback is only tactile, while a linear switch provides neither tangible nor audible feedback.

Key Reset: After pressing, the key resets by the stem and spring returning to the original position.

Advantages of Mechanical Key Technology

Mechanical technology, especially CHERRY MX, offers numerous advantages in addition to outstanding performance, making it a preferred choice for keyboard enthusiasts:

Durability and Longevity

Original CHERRY MX switches use the CHERRY Goldcrosspoint contact system. The contacts are coated with a layer of real gold. Due to high conductivity and robustness, these gold contacts offer an unbeatable lifespan of up to 100 million keypresses with consistent quality.

Precision and Speed

Mechanical MX key technology is known for its precise and fast response. Every keystroke is instantly recognized, particularly beneficial for demanding applications like gaming or productive writing.

Customizable Switches

The MX series offers various switch variants, including linear, tactile, and clicky switches in standard, low-profile, or ultra-low-profile designs. On so-called Hot Swap keyboards, standard MX switches can be replaced without soldering or technical knowledge.

Individual Feel

Depending on the preferred switch variant, the characteristic of mechanical keyboards changes. Users can choose the switch that best suits their preferences and requirements, ensuring maximum individuality.

Mechanical Construction

The individual switches of a mechanical keyboard ensure that each key operates independently. This prevents so-called "ghosting" and allows for precise detection of multiple keypresses simultaneously, crucial for gamers. Full-Key Rollover or N-Key Rollover allows all keys to be pressed simultaneously without losing input.

Versatile Applications

CHERRY MX technology is widely used not only in gaming keyboards but also in office and professional keyboards. Its versatile and reliable application makes it a preferred choice for various user groups.

Due to mechanical technology and the use of individual switches, mechanical keyboards are generally more expensive than Rubberdome or scissor keyboards. However, they offer unparalleled longevity, precise quality, and maximum individuality in return.

CHERRY MX Keyboards

The unique combination of our extensive experience in the keyboard industry and leading technology in mechanical key switches makes CHERRY mechanical keyboards the perfect choice for keyboard enthusiasts. Choose a mechanical keyboard from CHERRY for the highest quality, sharpest precision, and unrivaled longevity.

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