Mechanical Keyboard FAQs Frequently asked questions about mechanical keyboards.
Plate Mounted vs. PCB Mounted Switches
Cherry MX switches are mounted to the keyboard via two popular methods: plate mounted and Printed Circuit Board (PCB) mounted.
- Switch is mounted to a metal plate with the PCB under the plate.
- Switch does not have additional guide pins as the plate secures and aligns the switches.
- Plate provides a more robust keyboard, but increases production costs.
- Switch is mounted directly to PCB.
- Switch has additional guide pins to help align switch on PCB.
- PCB mounted keyboards are cheaper to produce, but are not as robust as plate mounted keyboards.
The most common method for mounting Cherry MX switches to a keyboard is Plate Mounted. This method allows the housing of the switch to grasp a metal or plastic plate providing a very secure mount, then the switch is soldered into the PCB below the plate. PCB mounted switches have a different molded housing with two prongs that allow it to pass through the PCB before being soldered, these prongs aid in stability when the switch is mounted directly to the PCB.
The two switch mounting types are virtually identical with the exception of the two molded prongs in the PCB mounted housing. It is noted that you can easily modify a PCB mounted switch to fit on a plate mounted keyboard by removing these prongs cleanly with pliers, or a sharp razor. You cannot however put a plate mounted switch on a PCB mounted keyboard, as these prongs are missing and integral in providing a secure mount to the PCB.