Home Mechanical Keyboards What Is A Hot-Swappable Keyboard? A Quick Overview

What Is A Hot-Swappable Keyboard? A Quick Overview

by Stuart Charles Black
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Greetings mate and Welcome aboard!

Stuart Charles here, HomeStudioBasics.com helping YOU make sound decisions, so…

In the world of mechanical keyboards, a revolutionary innovation has taken center stage, offering unprecedented flexibility and customization to enthusiasts and users alike.

These keyboards have redefined the way we interact with our devices, allowing for seamless, on-the-fly adjustments that cater to individual preferences.

They’ve become a staple for gamers, typists, and hobbyists alike, offering a level of versatility and convenience previously unseen in the keyboard market.

What Is A Hot-Swappable Keyboard?

Epomaker RT100 Review

A hot-swappable keyboard is a type of mechanical keyboard that allows you to easily replace or exchange the individual key switches without having to desolder or disassemble the unit.

Traditional mechanical keyboards require soldering to attach the key switches to the circuit board, making it difficult to replace switches or customize the keyboard’s typing experience.

Hot-swappable keyboards, on the other hand, feature sockets or connectors for each key switch, making it possible to swap out switches with minimal effort.

In addition to that, the keycaps themselves can be replaced which adds another level of neat customization to the experience.

Epomaker Shadow-X Review

Key Benefits

Customization

Users can experiment with different types of mechanical key switches (e.g., Cherry MX, Gateron, Kailh) to find the ones that suit their preferences for typing or gaming.

This allows for a tailored typing experience and some added flair.

Easy maintenance and repair

If a switch becomes faulty or a keycap is damaged, you can replace the individual components without having to replace the entire keyboard.

Simplified modding

Hot-swappable keyboards make it easier for enthusiasts to modify their keyboards by installing custom key switches, lubing switches, or adding dampeners for sound dampening.

Reduced downtime

The hot-swappable design eliminates the need for soldering or complex disassembly, making switch replacement quick and hassle-free.

Keep in mind that not all mechanical keyboards are hot-swappable, and the specific hot-swap mechanism may vary between models.

When considering a hot-swappable keyboard, it’s essential to check the compatibility of switches and ensure they are compatible with your preferred keycap set, as some switches may have slightly different dimensions or stems that could affect keycap compatibility.

Epomaker Shadow-X Review

Percentages

When you see a hot-swappable keyboard labeled as 65% (as in the case of Epomaker’s EK68), 75% (TH80), 70% (Shadow-X), 95% (RT100), etc. it typically refers to the keyboard’s form factor or layout, not the hot-swappability of the switches.

These percentages are used to describe the size and layout of the keyboard.

The percentages indicate the approximate size of the keyboard in relation to a full-sized keyboard, which is also known as a “100%” keyboard.

Here’s what some common percentages signify:

65%

A 65% hot-swappable keyboard is compact and minimalistic with a reduced layout.

It typically omits the numeric keypad, function row, and some other keys to save space. This layout is often favored by users who prefer a smaller and more portable keyboard.

70%

A 70% hot-swappable keyboard falls somewhere between 65% and 75% in terms of size and key layout.

It may vary slightly in design, but it typically aims to provide a balance between compactness and functionality.

75%

A 75% hot-swappable keyboard is slightly larger than 65% but still eliminates the numeric keypad and some function keys.

It retains most of the essential keys while maintaining a compact design.

95%

A 95% hot-swappable keyboard retains nearly all the keys of a full-sized keyboard but in a more compact form, making it an excellent choice for those who prefer a standard layout without sacrificing key count.

These percentages are handy for those looking for keyboards that suit their specific needs, whether it’s for portability, desk space, or personal preference.

The hot-swappability of the switches is a separate feature that allows you to change the keyboard’s key switches easily and is not directly related to these percentages.

What Is A 5-Pin Hot-Swappable Keyboard?

A 5-Pin Hot-Swappable Keyboard, such as the keyboards mentioned in this article, refers to a type of mechanical keyboard that uses a particular connector for its key switches.

The “5-pin” refers to the number of electrical contacts or pins on each key switch, which are used to connect the switch to the keyboard’s PCB (Printed Circuit Board).

These pins serve various functions, such as transmitting electrical signals for keypresses and, in some cases, enabling RGB lighting control.

The 5-pin design is often associated with more versatile and modern mechanical key switches.

To understand how 5-pin connectors differ from other pins, it’s essential to know about the two primary types of connectors commonly used in mechanical keyboards:

3-Pin

This older and less versatile type of connector has only three electrical pins on each key switch.

These pins typically handle the essential functions of registering keypresses and releasing them, but they may not support additional features like RGB lighting control.

5-Pin

The 5-pin design is more modern and versatile.

In addition to the standard keypress functions, it often includes extra pins for features like RGB lighting; a feature found in the RT100, Shadow-X, TH80 Pro, and EK68.

These additional pins allow for more advanced lighting effects and customization options, making them popular among enthusiasts who want to personalize their keyboard’s aesthetics.

So, the main difference between 5-pin and 3-pin connectors is the number of pins on the key switches and the added capabilities that come with the extra pins, primarily related to RGB lighting control.

A 5-pin hot-swappable keyboard allows you to replace key switches easily while supporting these additional features, giving you greater flexibility and customization options for your mechanical keyboard.

Closing Thoughts

Epomaker RT100 Review

If you’re on the hunt for a budget-friendly hot-swappable wired/wireless keyboard that combines seamless Bluetooth functionality with quality craftsmanship, look no further than Epomaker.

Their products are known for striking the perfect balance between affordability and high-quality performance, making them a top choice for those seeking a reliable and customizable keyboard experience without breaking the bank.

Epomaker’s offerings are a testament to their commitment to providing accessible yet top-tier solutions for keyboard enthusiasts.

I got a chance to try out 4 of them and while I prefer some over others, they’re all tailored to specific needs.

If I had to recommend one, I would absolutely, without a doubt go with the 95% Retro RT100.

Not only is absolutely gorgeous looking, but it’s compact while still mostly functioning as a full-sized keyboard.

In addition, the LCD display screen is super fun to use with GIFs and it’s an absolute dream to type on.

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Well, that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you enjoyed this What is A Hot-Swappable Keyboard? Discussion and came away with some valuable insight.

Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please leave a comment below or contact me! I would be happy to help in any way…

Do you have a better understanding of Hot-Swappable keyboards? I would love to hear from you. Until next time…

All the best and God bless,

 

 

-Stu

[Xtr@Ba$eHitZ]

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