For some reason, you want to remove and replace your mechanical keyboard switches. For a hot-swappable mechanical keyboard, this is a no-brainer, but for a non-hot-swap keyboard, it’s going to be complicated. This article will explain how these hot-plug and non-hot-plug keyboards work and how they switch switches.

  • non-hot-swappable keyboard

Before we start to introduce keyboard hot-plug and non-hot-plug keyboards, we need to understand the triggering method of the axis. There are two pointed pins under each shaft body of the mechanical keyboard connected to the corresponding holes on the keyboard PCB board, and the connection and disconnection of the shaft body are transmitted to the keyboard through the pins. The general mechanical keyboard PCB board and the shaft are connected by solder, and the mechanical switch cannot be removed without de-soldering and other operations. This is a non-hot-swappable mechanical keyboard. The advantage of this method is that it is stable, but the disadvantage is that it is more troublesome to replace the shaft, and tools such as an electric soldering iron are needed, and the internal circuit board of the keyboard needs to be detined and soldered. too friendly.

  • hot-swappable keyboard

The hot-swappable keyboard uses a hot-swappable PCB board that is easier to eject and replace. The hot-swappable PCB has a fixed conductive medium between the shaft body and the hole connected to the keyboard, so it can achieve the effect of conducting electrical information without soldering. Since there is no solder, the mechanical switch can be easily and directly removed from the keyboard without complicated operations such as dismantling and removing tin, and no soldering is required after replacement, which is very convenient for users to replace the shaft body.

Hot-swappable keyboard change switches

It is very simple to change the switch on a hot-swappable keyboard. Prepare two tools, the keycap puller and the switch puller, and the shaft to be replaced, and you can start. It is divided into the following 4 steps:

1. Use the key cap puller to pull out the key cap of the key you want to replace the shaft body

2. Use the switch puller to pull out the shaft you want to replace (this step does not require much effort, if the switch cannot be pulled out, then please consider a non-hot-swap keyboard)

3. Press the new shaft body corresponding to the PCB hole position and install it into the keyboard
4. Press the keycap into the keyboard according to the corresponding position and hole position

Tips: Please consider the compatibility of the switch and the PCB board when purchasing the switch. If the switch is also pulled out when the key cap is pulled out in the first step, you only need to separate the key cap and the switch, and then put in a new switch and install it. Good keycaps.

Non-hot-swappable keyboard change switches

Replacement switches for non-hot-swappable keyboards are more responsible, and you need to prepare the following tools: tweezers, soldering iron, solder, desoldering iron (or solder remover), keycap puller, screwdriver. Then you can start to remove the tin and solder the shaft and so on:

1. Take a photo to record the keycap position and remove all keycaps

2. Use a screwdriver to remove the keyboard case screws, disassemble the keyboard case until you see the PCB board,
3. Use a soldering iron or desoldering iron to heat the solder joints on the PCB
4. Remove the solder with a solder remover or a desoldering iron

5. Take out the original mechanical switch
6. Put in a new mechanical switch, and use a soldering iron and solder to solder the metal feet of the switch to the PCB board. Unlike the keycap, the switch does not need to consider its position, because there is only one type of switch, and the switch on each seat is Are the same. Except if you want to put different switches for certain keys.
7. Install the keyboard cover and tighten the screws
8. Install the keycaps on the new switch

For users with no experience in soldering, both removing and re-soldering can be a tedious process, and there is a risk of being burned, so if you want to DIY keyboard switches, it is recommended to buy a hot-swap keyboard.


How do I remove a keyboard switch without the tool?

If your keyboard is hot-swappable, it is indeed possible to remove the keyboard switches without additional tools. Use your thumb and forefinger to hold both sides of the keycap and pull up to remove the keycap; then use your thumb and forefinger to hold the gaps on both sides of the switch (usually at the top and bottom), and then use a little upward force to remove the switch. Removing keyboard switches without tools is recommended when there are fewer switches to replace, and if more switches need to be replaced, it is recommended to buy keycaps and switch pullers, otherwise your fingers will be injured.

If you have a non-hot-swappable keyboard, then you can’t remove the keyboard switches without using tools, because the switches are soldered to the PCB, which will be very solid, and you must use a soldering iron and a solder remover to remove the solder before removing the switches.

What is the easiest way to remove switches?

The easiest way to remove a switch is to use a switch puller, which can be easily removed by simply aligning the puller with the hole in the switch. If you only need to replace 1 or 2 switches, you may be able to solve it with your fingers, but if you have to replace more switches, then you need a switch puller, which will reduce the burden on your fingers.

Are all switches hot-swappable?

To be precise, it is not the switches that decide whether it is hot-plugging or not. Hot-plugging is decided by the PCB board. The ordinary PCB version needs to solder the switch to the PCB board, so users call this part of the switch as a non-hot-swap switch. If there is a shaft seat installed on the PCB, it is a hot-swap PCB, and the switches do not need to be soldered to the PCB. People call these switches hot-swap switches.

How do I know if my keyboard is Hot swappable?

Using the stick puller, pull your switch a little harder, if your switch leaves the keyboard with ease, then your keyboard is Hot swappable. If your switches show no signs of leaving, then your keyboard is not hot-swappable.

How many times can you hot swap a keyboard?

Hot-swappable keyboards typically survive 100 or so hot-swap cycles, and they can also last about 8 years if you change the switches once a month. If you don’t change switches frequently, a hot-swappable keyboard has the same lifespan as a non-hot-swap keyboard, usually 10+ years.


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