Generally, a keyboard repair shop will solder the switches for less money. Particularly if you have a relatively common model How To Solder Keyboard Switches, they will just reuse your original solder from before that broke or came loose. In general, it’s recommended to pull the old switches first and, then test each one as indicated below, and finally clean the wires with rubbing alcohol.
This process is done after removing the old malfunctioning switch (read more). Preserving them can be risky if there is already corrosion on the wires; If attempting at home, bleach could help remove any remaining germs before installing new keyboards onto them with fresh wire ends that go into circuit board pieces like plugging an outside cord into your wall plug.
How To Solder Keyboard Switches
You can also save any old switches that are still working; That way you don’t end up buying the same switch type twice (unless it is hard to find, like the Alps). If you do this, make sure your soldering iron is clean and no
t plugged in or turned on. You will have to re-solder them at the new keyboard. Also, you need to un-solder the common ground wire (shown in red) between switches if it is still there; If there are two sets of pins for one switch, then you don’t have to do anything.
You can test them with a multimeter to be extra safe that they work before putting them into your good keyboard. There is a risk of frying them the wrong way, so I recommend taking out one pin at a time and testing it before trying to un-solder all of them. If you don’t want to take any chances with your originals, just buy new switches for your favorite working keyboard.
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What Tools And Parts Do You Need To Solder A Mechanical Keyboard?
To solder a mechanical keyboard you’ll need the following parts and tools:
You can start with a small soldering iron, they will often come with various tips for soldering different shapes of equipment. As your skill progresses you would want to invest in a high-quality variable wattage iron with temperatures from 100-800 degrees Celsius.
Cotton Junior Roll American Cotton Tip Solder
If it’s not readily available there are many substitutes that will work as well or better.
Is this for insulation? Tape is really only used to hold the wire in place while working on larger wires, but still, if it helps use it. Don’t use any type of tape that has glue on it, it will leave a residue.
A wire cutter is used to cut the wire during insulated parts of the procedure. They come in all sorts of sizes and shapes so use whatever you feel most comfortable with. Just be cautious not to damage any components during the cutting process.
You can use almost any type of wire but the most common is 26 AWG Gauge Speaker Wire.
Is used in removing excess solder from components. Solder wick has a high heat capacity and does not damage sensitive components if it’s heated to temperatures required for soldering metal.
If you have nothing else a standard metal razor blade will work in a pinch, just be careful not to damage any components or cut yourself.
Used in removing the part that holds the wire in place inside of a solderless connector.
This is used to strip wire for insulation and wires for soldering together. They come in all shapes and sizes so use whatever you feel most comfortable with.
How to Solder Switches to Your Mechanical Keyboard?
Preparing the Soldering Iron
- Get a traditional non-temperature controlled soldering iron or just get an 80-100W adjustable solder station, they’re pretty much the same thing (the temperature will generally stay at one level unless it’s broken but make sure to take precautions like clamping the cord somewhere if you go with an adjustable model). Don’t use any water-based flux; it likely contains lead. Too much lead is not good for your health and too much degrades your circuit boards (used to be standard practice in electronics production). Do use rosin cored solder which has no lead in it; there are many brands. Prepare the soldering iron by plugging it in and allowing it to heat up for 5 minutes or so.
- Get a damp sponge, a few alcohol wipes, a metallic scouring pad (the greenish ones), and some cleaning agent like rubbing alcohol or acetone. If you have the disposable paper towels that go with them they’re even better. These aren’t essential but they sure help with scouring off the old solder so it doesn’t get everywhere and make a mess, not to mention letting you use a less cleaning agent. They also prevent your metal tools from rusting.
- Get a 3-in-1 tool or other Philips screwdriver.
- Get a pair of tweezers or needle-nose pliers.
- Get one of those alligator clips that you can attach to your work area for holding things, but make sure you have something metal underneath or it won’t hold itself up. A baking tray will do the trick if you don’t have anything handy.
- Get a pair of wire cutters
- Finally, you can get some solder wick or other desoldering tools if you have the money to spare but it isn’t necessary for general soldering work.
How To Solder Switches Keyboard?
To solder a switch, you will need to flip it over and remove the leads from the bottom side of the board. The leads should be soldered to your circuit board.
To solder a switch to a circuit board, add flux by swiping your needle’s tip across the pad that you will be attaching the solder joint to, then wetting it with some more glue.
Now heat up your metal or use an electric power soldering iron for help in applying both leaded flux and molten metal together onto a component’s terminal until they form a physical bond – a chemical one as well as an electrical one. Don’t put too much solder so that there won’t be any cold-soldering problems later on. Clean up any excess solder, and you should be good to go!
How To Solder Red Switches Onto Blackwidow Keyboard?
Regarding the keyboard, you will need to remove all of the black keys including the ones on both side edges next to the red switch. Flip over your keyboard and take out any screws for each row. Slip off each row carefully but be careful not to bend them as you are now dismantling your keyboard for future purposes.
Now take a hot needle or lighter to heat up one lead of a resistor then dab it onto the bottom solder point that is taped off if that’s what you are using or just hot glue the resistor at this location. do this also with all other leads packed tightly together so they feed through one hole. Now take an eyedropper containing molten solder and feed small amounts into each hole where there is a resistor.
Reassemble your keyboard and if done correctly, you should have a glowing led that is brighter during gaming or other functions that require more typing. If not, troubleshoot from the beginning by looking for poorly soldered joints or incorrect resistor values
How To Solder Switches On The Mechanical Keyboard?
There are a few methods to How To Solder Keyboard Switches. One easy method is to use some solder and clean the metal pins on the PCB before taking off the existing switch with a screwdriver or tweezers. Then, in each pin by touching it with the soldering iron and apply some solder.
Let it cool and repeat for all four pins of one switch, then place this on top of the replacement switch so the solder goes through and attaches both pins and wires to each other. This is the easiest way to solder switches, but not very good for your PCB in most cases.
Another method is slightly harder and uses a swill method, where you place the switch on top of the replacement and push down so solder goes through and attaches both pins and wires to each other.
The third and hardest method requires you to take the switch apart, tin each pin by touching it with the soldering iron and applying some solder, then place this on top of the replacement switch so the solder goes through and attaches both pins and wires to each other.
How To Solder Different Switches Onto Keyboard?
if you want to solder a switch onto a keyboard, here are the steps to do it:
- Remove the keycap from the corresponding key and unscrew it with a crosshead screwdriver.
- Unsolder or clip off wires attached to an old switch terminal and align new switch on top of terminals and put the wire through the hole and use whatever method you like to secure wire so it is not loose-fitting in place (scotch tape would work).
- Tape up all sides similar to how regular keyboards have a plastic film so hot melted solder doesn’t flow over other areas. Make sure there is no excess wiring exposing parts that touch the ground such as column GND.
- Solder as you would a regular keyboard switch, make sure you do not block other switches from being soldered to their corresponding terminals, must be able to move freely once done.
- Slide heat shrink tubing over switches before screwing back on keycaps and give a squeeze with a heat gun or lighter to keep it tight against the switch housing.
- Make sure heat shrink tubing is long enough to cover the entire wire length for each terminal on both sides of each key switch and cut off extra wire ends to make it neater, heat shrink tubes are usually about 1 inch or 2.5 centimeters in length when soldered properly with just enough wire to be compact enough.
- Reattach keycaps and enjoy!
How Hard Is It To Solder Keyboard Switches?
As a practical matter, soldering the keyboard switches is not as hard as assembling the entire organ. In fact, putting together a fully-functioning keyboard from scratch is difficult and requires tinning the wires before soldering them to each other. The best advice that I can give you is to only try if you have some electronics experience or equivalent training that could help guide you through it.
If your goal is simply to assemble a fully functional keyboard from off-the-shelf components then this will be an easy task for any person with experience using a soldering iron.
You will need a soldering iron, solder, and some thermoplastic adhesive. If you’re going to use the clip-on keycaps then you’ll need a solder that melts at a low temperature (I recommend Lechler 715 or Elenco MX-116 if you can find them). The only tool necessary for assembly is a screwdriver.
What Solder Do You Need For Keyboard Switches?
Some keyboards use solder to attach the wires to the switches, but some use a push-fit. With a solder version, you will need a new stick of rosin core silver-bearing solder – make sure it’s thick enough for your application. If it uses a push-fit, you can use any type of solder that is not corrosive. Remember that all types of hardware come with instructions on what type of material is necessary for assembly and repairs. Read them before starting!
In general, good-quality machine screws are about as thick as your bootlaces (~1/4 inch), or 1mm diameter if metric sizing (#8). Have at least one sheet of 600 grit sandpaper on hand so you can make sure the screw fits nicely. If you have a metric machine, be careful if going for imperial hardware as some imperial hardware is thicker than the screws on your machine.
Can You Solder A Keyboard?
In short, yes – but it’s not as easy as you think it is.
The first step to soldering a keyboard is removing the parts from the old keyboard and taking out all of the screws. If you forgot how a keyboard is put together. Once that’s done, fill your soldering iron with solder and set up the new circuit board by arranging its pins under their proper holes in order on top of some insulation foam or thick paper you’ll use as a temporary surface for this part of the project only before moving onto removing components from the old printed circuit board (PCB) and soldering them onto the new PCB.
Once you’re done with that, it’s time to solder in the switches. The keycaps should serve as a guide in doing this; use them to match up which pins on your new keyboard go where when soldering in the switches. There are three methods of soldering switches. The “legs” can be inserted into holes on the PCB and then solder applied to the other side, which is the most preferred technique.
Another option is to place legs of a switch in a pair of pliers and carefully heat both ends until the solder melts and allows you to connect it to its designated location on the PCB. This second technique is one of the most popular ways to do this for new keyboardists.
The last way is taking a leg of the switch and working it in small circles rotating its position until it heats up enough solder to connect itself to another piece of metal. Anyways, just place your switches in their designated locations and solder them on.
The process of soldering keyboard switches is not hard and can be done in a few steps. For the best results, make sure to use lead-free solder and flux paste when you are working on your project. Keep in mind that if you don’t have an iron or heat gun, there are other ways to get the job done such as using a lighter or even boiling water with sugar (for iced tea lovers).
This article has given you a better understanding of how to solder keyboard switches and what tools are needed. Keep in mind that patience and practice are key when it comes to soldering. Hopefully, this information will help you improve your soldering skills in the future!