Plate Mount vs Pcb Mount Switches | What’s The Difference

  • Post published:December 18, 2022
  • Post category:Switches
  • Post author:
  • Reading time:22 mins read

Plate Mount vs Pcb Mount Switches are often left unexplained, but when you understanding the different mounting costs and benefits, helps you make an informed decision on which type of switch to choose for Your Keyboard.

Switches can be mounted in two different ways on a control panel – plate mount and PCB mount. Knowing how these are different can help you pick the correct one to find the best fit for your application.

Let’s Start!

Here is the compression Table for Plate Mount Vs PCB Mount Switches, so that you can Quickly Understand the Difference Between them.

SpecificationPlate Mount SwitchesPCB Mount Switches
Pins3 Pin Switches5 Pin Switches
Mounted StyleMounted on Metal PlateDirectly Mounted on PCB
FlexibilityYou can not Use them On a PCB mountIt can Use on Plate Mount
Keyboard QualityProvides More robust KeyboardsNot As Robust as Plate Mounted
Build QualityHigh Build QualityLow Build Quality
PriceExpensive SwitchesNot Much Expensive
Usage In Different KeyboardUsed In Large KeyboardsUse in Smart Keyboards
ModificationHard to ModifyEasy to Modify them
Plate Mount vs Pcb Mount Switches | What’s The Difference

Now We Move to Each One and Get further full Depth of Detail about them.

What is a Plate in keyboard mounting?

A plate mount switch is a type of keyboard mounting where the switch housing rests on a flat, rectangular plate.

This type of mount is popular because it is easy to make and there is limited space between the switch and the keyboard. PCB mount switches, on the other hand, require a separate piece of hardware to attach to the keyboard and are more difficult to make.


What are the Different Materials Use in Plate and PCB?

Plate Mount vs Pcb Mount Switches What's The Difference 2

Basically, every Switched has its own characteristic and build Quality. So they are designed with different materials. Let’s Talk about PCB Materials and Plate Mounting Materials.

PCB Materials:

PCB material is the most common material that keyboards use. It is a plastic that is flexible and can be shaped to hold the switches in place.

This makes it the best material for keyboards because it is affordable and easy to produce. It also doesn’t require any special manufacturing techniques which is great for small companies.

Plate Material:

The different plates that are used in keyboards are made out of different materials. The most common materials are aluminum and brass.

Aluminum is a light weight metal that is easy to work with. Brass is a heavier metal that has a higher resistance to corrosion.

What are Holypanda Switches?


What is a Plate Mounted Switch?

Plate mount switches are a type of switch that is mounted on a plate, which is typically made of metal. This type of switch is often Expensive and more durably built than PCB mount switches. Plate mount switches tend to have a wider range of motion than PCB mount switches, making them better suited for use in keyboards with extensive travel.

Pros:

  • For one, they’re easier to install because there’s less hardware involved.
  • They also offer better performance because the contacts are closer to the source of power.
  • they’re more reliable because there’s less chance of damage from moisture or other elements.
  • Easier to install
  • Better performance
  • More reliable

Cons:

Plate Mount switches major cons are that they are more expensive Than PCB mounted Switches.


Compatible Keyboards with Plate Mounted Switches

 Compatible Keyboards with Plate Mounted Switches:

There are a few keyboards that are compatible with plate mounted switches. These keyboards have a connector that attaches to the PCB, rather than the switch itself. This allows for more flexibility in layout and customizability. The following are some of the compatible keyboards.

1. Razer Black Widow Chroma V2 Keyboard: This keyboard has a connector that attaches to the PCB, making it compatible with plate mounted switches. The keys have a nice feel and respond well to Cherry MX switches.

2. Corsair K70 RGB Mechanical Keyboard: This keyboard also has a connector that attaches to the PCB, making it compatible with plate mounted switches. It comes with both Cherry MX Brown and Cherry MX Blue switches, which give you plenty of customization options.

3. Gateron Black Switch Gaming Keyboard: This keyboard also has a connector that attaches to the PCB, making it compatible with plate mounted switches. It comes with both Gateron Red and Gateron Green switches, giving you even more customization options.


Examples of Plate Mounted Switches

  • Gateron Reds, Blues and Browns
  • Kailh Switches
  • TTC Pink, TTC Silent Reds
  • TTC Blue-ish White Switches
  • PCBs for Plate-Mounted Switches

What is a PCB?

PCB stands for Printed Circuit Board. A PCB is a thin plate of fiberglass, copper, or other material onto which electronic components are mounted. The purpose of a PCB is to connect electronic components together.

What does PCB stand for in a keyboard?

PCB mount switches are newer than plate-mount switches, and they’re generally found on newer keyboards. They use a small chip instead of a metal plate, and the switch is activated by pressing down on a small component that’s located near the keycap.

This makes them much easier to use than plate-mount switches, all you need to do is press down gently on the keycap in order to activate the switch.


What are the Different Kinds of PCBs?

There are four different types of PCBs: single-sided, double-sided, multi-layer, and rigid-flex.

Single-Sided PCBs: Single-sided PCBs have components on one side of the board only. They are the simplest and most inexpensive type of PCB.

Double-Sided PCBs: Double-sided PCBs have components on both sides of the board. They are more complex than single-sided PCBs, but they are still relatively inexpensive.

Multi-Layer PCBs: Multi-layer PCBs have three or more layers of conductive material. They are more expensive than single- and double-sided PCBs, but they offer more flexibility in terms of design.

Rigid-Flex PCBs: Rigid-flex PCBs are a combination of rigid and flexible boards. They are the most expensive type of PCB, but they offer the greatest flexibility in terms of design.


What is a PCB Mounted Switch?

PCB mount switches, on the other hand, are typically found in keyboard housings that are attached to the keyboard via small printed circuit boards. This type of switch is less expensive and more compact than plate mount switches, but they may not offer as wide a range of motion as plate mount switches.

PCB mount switches are becoming increasingly popular because they offer several advantages over plate mount switches. For one, they’re cheaper to buy and install.

In addition, their contacts are farther away from the power source, so they don’t suffer from the same performance issues as plate mount switches. PCB mounts are more resistant to moisture and other elements, so they’re less likely to fail over time. Cons:

Pros:

  • PCB mount switches are more versatile and easier to use in a variety of electronic devices.
  • Easy to install and remove
  • Can be used with a variety of PCBs
  • MOS technology also allows for smaller switch footprints and lower power consumption.
  • They are directly Mounted on PCB

Cons:

  • Don’t Durable
  • Can be more difficult to troubleshoot than traditional switches

Compatible Keyboards with PCB Mounted Switches

There are several different types of keyboards that are compatible with PCB mounted switches. Some keyboards have removable panels that allow for easy access to the switches, while others have built-in mounts that fit directly on the keyboard PCB.

PCB mounted switches are typically smaller and lighter than plate mounted switches, making them easier to use and travel with.

They also have a more direct connection to the keyboard board, which means that they’re less likely to suffer from mechanical failures due to wear and tear.

One downside of PCB mounted switches is that they tend to be more expensive than plate mounted switches. This is because they require more specialized manufacturing tools and skills, which in turn drives up the cost of production.

However, if you’re looking for a high-quality keyboard that offers exceptional performance, then PCB mounted switches are definitely worth considering.


Examples of PCB Mounted Switches

These are the examples of PCB mounted Keyboard switches.

  • Cherry-MX Series
  • Aliaz Silent Switch 60g-100g.
  • Durock T1 Switch And Dolphin Switch.

Plate Mounting VS PCB Mounting Switches, Which One Is Better?

Plate Mount vs Pcb Mount Switches What's The Difference

There are two main types of switches in keyboards: plate mount and PCB mount. Plate mount switches sit on top of the keyboard’s keys, while PCB mount switches are housed within the keyboard’s PCB. Here’s a closer look at what each type of switch offers:

Plate Mount Switches:

Plate mount switches offer a more traditional keyboard layout than PCB mount switches, featuring a switch mounted on top of the key. They’re popular among users who want a familiar feel from their old keyboard, and they’re also easier to replace if they wear out. The plate mount Has 3-pin switches

PCB Mount Switches:

PCB mount switches sit inside the keyboard’s PCB, offering improved durability and overall efficiency due to their centralized location. They’re less common because they require specialized tools and knowledge to install and maintain, but they can offer more features and customizability than plate mount switches.  PCB mounts are 5-pin switches.

Which One Should Choose?

If you’re looking for a keyboard with a traditional layout, plate mount switches are the best option. If you’re looking for a more advanced and customizable design, PCB mount switches are the way to go.


5-pin vs. 3-pin switches: Which One is Best?

A 5-pin keyboard switch is a type of keyboard switch that uses five pins to operate. This type of switch is generally seen as being more durable than a 3-pin switch, and it is also less likely to experience issues due to overheating.

On the other hand, a 3-pin keyboard switch uses three pins to operate. This type of switch is generally seen as being less durable than a 5-pin switch, and it is also more likely to experience issues due to overheating.

It should be noted that some keyboards may use both types of switches – for example, a laptop might have a 5-pin keyboard switch and a 3-pin mouse/keyboard connector.

It’s your choice and also depends on your usage, that is what kind of keyboard you want. And also which switch is suitable for you.


Can you put a 3-pin switch into a 5-pin PCB?

You can use a 3-pin switch on the keyboard to replace a 5-pin PCB switch. The advantage of using a 3-pin switch is that it occupies less space on the PCB and it is easier to connect.

However, there are some disadvantages to using a 3-pin switch over a 5-pin PCB switch. One disadvantage is that the lifespan of the 3-pin switch may be shorter than that of a 5-pin PCB switch.

Another disadvantage is that if you need to change the wiring of the 3-pin switch, you will have to remove the entire switch from the PCB and replace it with a new one.


How to convert 5-pin switches into 3-pin switches?

You can convert 5-pin switches into 3-pin switches easily. As you know that in 5-pin switches 2 pins are built with Plastic and the remaining pin are mettle. So you can remove the two plastic pins with a nail clipper or with the blade. And that’s it your 5-pin Switch convert into 3 pin switch.


How do you know if your keyboard is 3-pin or 5-pin?

First of all, Pull one switch from your keyboard, and identify the number of pins behind the switch. And also don’t forget to check the wholes of pins on the keyboard too. Where you can easily judge how many pins wholes are there and also a number of pins on switches too.

If your keyboard has a 3-pin connector, it is usually plate-mounted. If your keyboard has a 5-pin connector, it is usually PCB mounted. There are some exceptions to this rule, but for the most part, these are the two types of connectors.

Conclusion:

So, what’s the difference between plate mount and PCB mount switches? In short, plate mount switches are more durable and stable, while PCB mount switches are less expensive.

Ultimately, the decision of which type of switch to use comes down to personal preference and what you’ll be using your keyboard for.

Do you need a keyboard that can withstand a lot of abuse? Then go with plate mount switches. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, then PCB mount switches are the way to go.

FAQs:

If I need to replace a PCB mounted switch, can I do it myself?

Most PCB mounted switches are self-contained and can be replaced by removing the front panel and the PCB. Some exceptions may exist, such as some Apple keyboards that use a ribbon cable to attach the switch. In these cases, the entire keyboard may need to be replaced.

Can I use a switch from another keyboard on my current one?

It depends on the type of switch. Some switches are interchangeable, while others are specific to a particular keyboard model.

If in doubt, consult the manufacturer’s documentation or contact customer service for the specific keyboard model you are using.

What's the difference between a PCB mounted switch and a membrane switch?

The main difference between a PCB mounted switch and a membrane switch is that a PCB mounted switch is typically more durable. Membrane switches are susceptible to damage if they are dropped or if they experience strong electrical current.

Raisaleem

I am Rai Saleem (MSc. Computer Science). Worked with Different Tech StartUps. I have 4+ Years of Working Experience in the Computer Industry. On This platform, I share My Experience and Providing Solutions for Computer problems.

I Started This Journey From 2G internet with 30KB downloading Speed to This modern 5G World. Now Sharing My IT Experience With loving People Like You. I am addicted to This Drug of Computer Science since My Childhood When I Got my first core 2 duo Pc.