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Notable switches

Overview

While it is not possible to rank switches in any kind of order, or assign any kind of absolute quality value to them, there are designs that stand out as a result of having characteristics that set them above many other comparable designs. Sadly many of these switches are so close to being extinct as to be impossible for any more than one person to acquire sufficient parts to make a keyboard, if even that many exist.

Notable types

Omron B2H-F7W

B2H-F7W is a highly unusual design. It is a Hall effect switch with a magnetic click mechanism. The friction-free clicker makes it exceptionally smooth, and the long tactile lead-in makes it easier to press than other tactile designs. A diode is fitted as standard. Centre illumination with an LED is accommodated by the design, but requires different internal parts.

No Omron B2H or B2C switches have ever been observed in any equipment, and there are not enough spare B2H-F7W switches left to make a single reasonably-sized keyboard.

ITT ETL18

ITT ETL18 is to tactile switches what B2H-F7W is to clicky switches. It is again exceptionally smooth. Unlike B2H-F7W there is no tactile lead-in. However, the negative force curve “pulls in” the switch, giving it a very bouncy feel, a switch that is both tactile and nearly effortless. Tactile switches have a tendency to feel like you are fighting against them to register keystrokes, while ETL18 feels like it is working with you.

These have been found in a rare version of the Interact Model One computer. They are also available for sale, but the only company who has them who will sell to the public only has in the region of 100, and they are exensive, at $14.50 each.