If you enjoy using mechanical keyboards, you may have come across the phrase “PCB” before. But what is a keyboard PCB exactly, and how does it operate? We’ll give you a brief introduction to keyboard PCB and how they work along with a comparison of Mechanical and Normal PCB. And you’ll know why ELE PCB is the best hot swappable PCB maker.
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What is Keyboard PCB?
Let’s first define what a PCB is. Printed circuit boards, or PCBs, are boards that link the electronic parts of a device together. For mechanical keyboards, the PCB is in charge of attaching the switches, LEDs, and other parts to the controller, which then communicates information to your computer.
The switches are the most crucial part of a mechanical keyboard because they determine how each keystroke feels. Each switch is connected correctly and transmits the right signal to the controller when pressed thanks to the PCB. On the other side, the keyboard’s backlighting is provided by the LEDs, which are likewise attached to the PCB.
A swappable keyboard you easily swap the keyboard switches to create your very own personalized keyboard. A hot-swappable keyboard allows you to change the switches by only using a switch puller, so you literally just pull out the switches and plug in other ones; that’s easy. We provide hot swap kbd circuit board manufacturing and assembly, get a quote today!
So how does the PCB function in reality? It’s a stacked board with printed electrical pathways, after all. The controller sends signals back and forth using these channels, which link the various parts of the board. The keyboard could not operate correctly without the PCB.
Many enthusiasts decided to create their own PCBs when creating unique mechanical keyboards. This enables them to alter the design and features of their keyboard, as well as the switches and other components. Some people even create PCBs from scratch on their own!
A keyboard PCB is a crucial part of every mechanical keyboard, to sum up. It links the controller to the switches, LEDs, and other parts, enabling precise and dependable keystrokes. Building your own PCB can provide an entirely new level of customization to your setup for people who are serious about personalizing their keyboards.
Different Types of Keyboard PCBs: Flexible, Rigid, and Semi-Flexible
The Printed Circuit Board (PCB) is a crucial element that ties everything together when creating a bespoke keyboard. Keyboard PCBs come in three different categories:
Flexible PCBs: They are constructed from a thin, flexible material, typically plastic. Since they can be bent and folded to fit into any shape or layout, these PCBs are the most adaptable. Flexible PCBs are suitable for small and portable keyboards too. However, their durability might be compromised, as they aren’t as strong as rigid alternatives.
Rigid PCBs: Rigid PCBs, made from durable materials like fiberglass, are commonly found in keyboards and various devices. They’re an excellent choice for frequently used keyboards due to their impressive strength and resilience. However, they might be more challenging to handle and offer less flexibility compared to their flexible PCB counterparts.
Semi-Flexible PCBs: They are a combination of the two forms. They are constructed from flexible material with an additional hard layer for stability. This kind of PCB still delivers a high level of durability while being more adaptable than rigid PCBs.
Thus, the type of keyboard PCB you choose ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences. Consider factors such as layout customization, durability, and ease of use when selecting the type of PCB for your custom keyboard. Whether you opt for a flexible, rigid, or semi-flexible PCB, each type has its own advantages and disadvantages. Choose wisely to ensure that your custom keyboard functions optimally and lasts for years to come.
Components of a Keyboard PCB
A computer keyboard PCB consists of three critical components: the processor, the scan circuit, and the matrix. Each component works together to translate user input into action on a computer or mobile device.
The processor, which is also known as a microprocessor, is an electronic chip located on the PCB inside the keyboard. Its primary function is to receive input from the computer and send it to the scan circuit for processing.
The scan circuit comprises interconnected transistors that receive signals from data lines running along with each key of a keyboard. When one of these lines is activated, it sends an electrical signal to transistors inside the scan circuit. These transistors, in turn, activate switches on each key of the keyboard and send information to the processor.
Similarly, the matrix also consists of interconnected transistors that receive signals from rows and columns in which each key sits on a keyboard. When one or more keys are pressed simultaneously, they send signals through their respective rows and columns to four additional transistors in the matrix.
These additional transistors then send signals back through different paths to activate switches on each key of the keyboard and pass information back to the processor. This information is then translated into actions by software on a computer or mobile device.
Difference between Mechanical and Membrane Keyboards
|Feature||Mechanical Keyboard||Membrane Keyboard|
|Key Type||Mechanical Switches||Membrane or Rubber Dome Switches|
|Feedback||Tactile, Audible Click||Less Tactile, Quieter Feedback|
|Key Travel||Long, Deep Travel||Short, Shallow Travel|
|Durability||More Durable, Longer Lifespan||Less Durable, Shorter Lifespan|
|Typing Experience||More Comfortable and Accurate||Less Comfortable and Accurate|
|Customization||Highly Customizable, Swappable Keycaps||Limited Customization, Non-Swappable Keys|
|Price||More Expensive||Less Expensive|
Mechanical keyboards offer tactile feedback that makes typing more satisfying and precise, but they tend to be louder and more expensive than membrane keyboards. They also have a longer key lifespan and offer more customization options. On the other hand, membrane keyboards don’t have tactile feedback and tend to be quieter and less expensive. They have a shorter key lifespan compared to mechanical keyboards.
Factors to Consider while Buying a Keyboard PCB
When selecting a keyboard PCB that meets your requirements, it’s essential to consider several factors. Keep these important details in mind:
Compatibility. Ensuring the keyboard PCB is compatible with your desired layout and switches are crucial. Confirm that the PCB matches the intended size, shape, and switch arrangement of your keyboard.
Material: The PCB material can impact its rigidity, durability, and resilience to elements like heat and humidity. FR4 or other high-quality materials that provide good strength and longevity, such as fiberglass, should be used to make PCBs.
Layout: Switches, diodes, and LEDs are all components that are positioned and oriented on a circuit board according to the PCB layout. When choosing a PCB, take into account the layout to make sure it suits your needs and preferences.
Programming: Many contemporary keyboard PCBs are programmable, enabling you to alter the keyboard layout and give particular keys specific functions. Think about whether you require this feature and whether the PCB you select can accommodate it.
Brand and Reputation: The brand and reputation of the manufacturer can also be an important factor when choosing a keyboard PCB. Look for brands with a good track record of producing high-quality PCBs, and read reviews and feedback from other users to get an idea of the reliability and performance of the PCB you’re considering.
Price: The cost of the PCB is also an important consideration, as prices can vary widely depending on the brand, features, and materials used. Set a budget and look for PCBs that offer good value for money without compromising on quality or features.
Troubleshooting Keyboard PCB Issues: Common Problems and Solutions
Is your keyboard malfunctioning? Do some of your keys not work properly or do they type the wrong characters? Your keyboard PCB might be giving you problems.
A keyboard PCB (Printed Circuit Board) is an essential part that enables communication between your keyboard and your computer or mobile device. When it breaks down, it can cause annoying and frequently unforeseen problems. But don’t worry, there are a number of easy fixes for PCB issues.
Here are some of the most common keyboard PCB problems and their solutions:
Unresponsive Keys: If your keyboard has unresponsive keys, check for loose connections between the keyboard and the computer. You can also try cleaning the contacts under the keys with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol.
Stuck Keys: If your keys are stuck or typing the wrong characters, it may be due to debris or dirt underneath the keys. You can try using compressed air or a keycap puller to remove the keycaps and clean the area underneath.
Ghost Typing: Ghost typing is when your keyboard types characters on its own. This can be caused by a short circuit in the PCB or interference from nearby devices. Move the keyboard away from other devices or try using a USB hub to isolate the keyboard’s signal.
Random Disconnects: If your keyboard randomly disconnects from your computer or mobile device, try replacing the USB cable or using a different port. You can also check for driver updates for your keyboard or try resetting the PCB.
Best Keyboard PCBs on the market
Are you a keyboard enthusiast looking for the best PCB (Printed Circuit Board) to build your dream keyboard? Look nowhere else! The top keyboard PCBs currently on the market have been put on a list by our team.
- DZ60RGB – This 60% PCB has a modern design with RGB lighting. It supports both plate and PCB mount switches and has customizable layouts. It also features USB-C connectivity for faster data transfer.
- KBD67MKII – This is a high-end PCB with hot-swappable sockets that allow for easy switch swapping. It also features an aluminum case for a more premium feel and customizable RGB lighting. It supports both ANSI and ISO layouts.
- Tofu65 – This is a 65% PCB with a solid aluminum case and customizable RGB lighting. It supports both plate and PCB mount switches and has a USB-C port for faster data transfer.
- Instant60 – This is a 60% PCB with hot-swappable sockets and a unique layout that places the arrow keys next to the spacebar. It also features RGB lighting and supports both ANSI and ISO layouts.
- HS60 – This is a 60% PCB with hot-swappable sockets and a compact design. It supports both plate and PCB mount switches and has customizable RGB lighting. It also has USB-C connectivity for faster data transfer.
These are just some of the best keyboard PCBs currently available on the market. Each one offers unique features and customization options to suit your specific needs. Keep in mind that building a custom keyboard requires some technical knowledge and skill, so always do your research and consult with professionals if necessary.
Choosing the Right Keyboard PCB Manufacturer
The PCB (printed circuit board) is an essential component for creating a custom mechanical keyboard. Your keyboard’s PCB serves as its base, enabling you to connect the switches and other parts and design the layout you want. However, selecting a trustworthy keyboard PCB manufacturer can be difficult. How can you be certain that the decision you’re making is the best one given the abundance of options? To solve this dilemma, here is one of the best PCB manufacturers for your keyboard PCB.
ELEPCB is dedicated to employing high-quality components in PCBs first and foremost. For PCBs, we use high-quality materials that are more robust and long-lasting, such as fiberglass or FR4. Your keyboard’s PCB will be able to withstand regular use and last for a long period as a result.
ELEPCB employs top-notch components and offers a range of PCB solutions to satisfy your needs. We provide PCBs in a number of sizes and layouts to assist you in finding the best PCB for your keyboard project. We also offer PCBs that are compatible with a number of switches, so you may choose the ones you choose without worrying about incompatibility.
ELEPCB is an excellent choice for all your keyboard PCB needs thanks to its commitment to customer satisfaction.
We offer excellent customer service and are always happy to collaborate with customers to ensure they obtain the PCB that exactly meets their needs. When you have questions about their products or need help placing an order, ELEPCB’s customer service team is always available to assist you.
ELEPCB also offers cost-effective prices without sacrificing quality. We make a concerted effort to create PCBs that are affordable without compromising quality because they are aware that designing a distinctive mechanical keyboard can be an expensive process. So, feel free to contact us at any time if you want to know about our services.