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Gateron part number schema

Gateron switches use a curious part number schema, that seems to be partially redundant. The format (as used by KS-1 to KS-9) is as follows:


Although some of the information below (in particular, some of the X codes) were provided by Gateron, I do not have a complete schema. I have also only covered the switch series in my collection (along with KS-1, for which the schema is available online).

Approximate interpretations of these positions are given in the table below:

Position Code Format Meaning
1 KS “KS” Keyboard switch
2 S Numeric Series number
3 J Alpha Variant
4 C Alpha Colour
5 RR Numeric Rating
6 B Alpha Form
7 WWW Alpha Force (weight)
8 F Alpha Feature
9 P Alpha Pins
10 X Alphanumeric Design

1: Class

This is always “KS”, for keyboard switch.

2: Series number

This schema has been confirmed to apply to all of the following series:

Value Series Description
1 KS-1 The original (now discontinued) Gateron switch type; details of these are very scarce, but both black and translucent versions were made.
3 KS-3 This is the standard Gateron type; these support through-hole monochrome LEDs.
8 KS-8 This series supports through-hole RGB LEDs, using all four holes in the base (two for LED and two for jumper) to fit a four-leg LED.
9 KS-9 These switches have a recess to allow the switch to sit over an SMD LED.

3: Variant

The variant field is optional.

Value Meaning
J Silenced

4: Colour

Colour is encoded separately, which is strange, as one would have thought that—with weight given separately—you would only need to encode the slider design, and not the colour. That is, all the linear types should share the same slider. This position may simply be used to ensure that the correct pigment is selected in the factory, for visual identification.

Value Meaning
A Black
C Blue
D Green
E Brown
F Clear
H Red
Y Yellow

5: Rating

Value Meaning
10 10 mA maximum, 12 V DC maximum

6: Form

Value Meaning
B SPST-NO (single pole single throw normally open)

The choice of “B” is bizarre, because in electrical terminology SPST-NO is denoted “Form A” or (in Cherry’s nomenclature) “1A”.

7: Force

Force is given in grams force as three digits, with a leading zero as required.

The standard forces are: 035 (35 gf), 045 (45 gf), 055 (55 gf), 060 (60 gf), 070 (70 gf) and 080 (80 gf).

8: Feature

This position has the same meaning as it would in Cherry MX part numbers:

Value Meaning
N No features
G Green LED
Y Yellow LED
D Diode
J Jumper (wire bridge)

9: Pins

Value Meaning
W With fixing pins (combination plate and PCB mount)
N No fixing pins (plate mount only)

10: Design

Each switch series may have more than one design. The individual designs have their own codes independent of the series name.

Switch types with dustproof covers fitted are denoted with “Y”, and all other types with “X”.

Value Meaning Known to apply to
X Black shell KS-1, KS-3
Y Black shell, dustproof cover fitted KS-1
X1 Translucent shell KS-1, KS-3
Y1 Translucent shell, dustproof cover fitted KS-1
X5 Clear top, black base KS-8
X6 Black shell, unbranded KS-3
X14 Clear top, ivory base KS-9
X38 Clear top, translucent base KS-8