[HOW TO] DIY KEYBOARD – PART 4: CHERRY MX SPECIAL OVERVIEW

With the Special switches, CHERRY MX offers unique solutions for DIY enthusiasts to build their custom keyboards: MX GREEN, MX GREY and MX CLEAR are designed for special purposes and are therefore rarely found in keyboards. In this article we will introduce these special MX switches and other rare models. These include switches that are no longer manufactured and can only be obtained indirectly.

There are three versions of the current CHERRY MX Specials, which, just like the standard versions, have their own unique triggering characteristics. All three switches are tactile, which means they have a noticeable and audible actuation point.

CHERRY MX GREEN (tactile, audible, 80 cN)

CHERRY MX GREEN is a slightly modified version of the MX BLUE switch and features the same operating characteristics with a tactile and audible click. The only difference is the actuation force, which is higher at 80 centinewtons. This makes CHERRY MX GREEN the perfect switch for the space bar on a keyboard with MX BLUE switches. The actuation point of the switch is reached after 2.2 millimeters.

CHERRY MX GREY (tactile, 80 cN)

CHERRY MX GREY also requires an actuating force of 80 centinewtons. Unlike MX GREEN, however, it does not have an audible click, and with its 2.0 millimeter pre-travel it also triggers somewhat faster. This makes it a useful addition to keyboards with MX BROWN switches, for example.

CHERRY MX CLEAR (tactile, 65 cN)

A tactile switch with no click or acoustic feedback, CHERRY MX CLEAR is a sister model of MX BROWN. With an actuating force of 65 centinewtons, the force required is slightly higher. CHERRY MX CLEAR is generally used for the space bar of keyboards with MX BROWN switches and has a pre-travel of 2 millimeters.

CHERRY MX WHITE (tactile, 80 cN, lubricated)

CHERRY MX WHITE has the same switching characteristics as CHERRY MX GREEN. However, the slider on the MX WHITE is lubricated, so there is no audible click.

SWITCH HARVESTING

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, there are many other MX switches, but they are no longer officially available. That doesn't keep die-hard fans from obtaining these rare switches for themselves via so-called "harvesting": the necessary MX switches are soldered out of older keyboards and used in new DIY projects. Some examples of rare MX switches are briefly presented here: 

CHERRY MX DARK BLUE (tactile, audible, 50 cN)

MX DARK BLUE is a rare CHERRY MX variant with a dark, almost navy blue stem. It has a tactile switching characteristic with an audible click, similar to MX GREEN. The actuating force is somewhat lower at 50 centinewtons.

CHERRY MX LOCK (linear, Lock function)

As the name suggests, CHERRY MX LOCK has a Lock function: when the switch is pressed, it locks in the lower position and remains closed. When it is pressed a second time, the lock is released.

CHERRY MX BLACK - NIXIE (linear, 60 cN)

"NIXIE" refers to an unusual and extremely rare MX BLACK variant known only from Nixdorf keyboards, such as the Nixdorf CT06-CT07/2 M Softkeys. The upper part of the switch housing is transparent instead of black.

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