Cherry MX is a type of microswitch used in computer keyboards. It is the most popular switch used in mechanical keyboards. Various types are available, each with a different key feel. They were introduced by Cherry around 1985 and were at first only available in their linear variant. It is most common to refer to the various variants of MX switches based on their stem color, though Cherry officially does not use the color for identification.
The most common variants of the Cherry MX keymodule are black and red for the linear switches and clear, brown and blue for the tactile switches along with various variants such as green and grey, which are usually only used in space bars.
Other, more rare variants of the Cherry MX switch are known to include orange stems or other obscurities such as a transparent switch housing.
Old versions of the blue switches exist. Because no dye was added to the stem's plastic, these switches are called white switches.
Table of all known variants
|Name||Product code||Key feel||Mount||Production|
|Cherry MX Black||MX1A-11xx||medium stiff (60cN), linear||Cherry MX mount||Yes|
|Cherry MX Blue||MX1A-E1xx||light (50cN), clicky||Cherry MX mount||Yes|
|Cherry MX Brown||MX1A-G1xx||light (45cN), tactile||Cherry MX mount||Yes|
|Cherry MX Clear||MX1A-C1xx||medium stiff (55cN), tactile||Cherry MX mount||Yes|
|Cherry MX Green||MX1A-F1xx||medium stiff (80cN), clicky||Cherry MX mount||Yes|
|Cherry MX Grey||MX1A-D1xx||stiff (80cN), tactile||Cherry MX mount||Yes|
|Cherry MX Dark Grey||MX1A-21xx||stiff (80cN), linear||Cherry MX mount||Yes|
|Cherry MX Lock||MX1A-31xx||stiff, linear, latching||Cherry MX mount||Yes|
|Cherry MX Red||MX1A-L1xx||light (45cN), linear||Cherry MX mount||Yes|
|Cherry MX White||MX1A-A1xx||medium stiff (50cN or 80cN), soft click||Cherry MX mount||Yes|
|Cherry MX Super Grey||?||?||Cherry MX mount||No|
|Cherry MX Super Black||MX1A-B1xx||extra stiff (150 cN), linear||Cherry MX mount||No|
|Cherry MX Orange||—||linear||Unknown||No|
|Cherry MX Translucent||—||linear||Cherry MX mount||No|
|Cherry MX Yellow||—||linear||Cherry MX mount||No|
|Cherry MX Pale Grey||—||linear||Cherry MX mount||No|
|Cherry MX Click Grey||—||clicky||Cherry MX mount||No|
|Cherry MX-M8 Adapter||—||linear||Cherry M8 mount||No|
|Cherry MX Alps Click||—||clicky||Alps mount||No|
|Cherry MX Alps Linear||—||linear||Alps mount||No|
This switch versions can be created by recombining stems and springs from existing Cherry MX switches
Features (as advertised by Cherry)
- Desktop profile, 0.60 inch (15.2mm) from PCB (no keycap)
- Choice of feel: linear, soft tactile, click tactile
- PCB or frame mount
- Long life 20 - 50 million operations (depending on switch variant)
- 4mm travel
- LED, diode or jumper option
- 12V maximum AC/DC
- Current Rating: 10mA
- Insulation Resistance: <100MΩ at 100V DC
Cherry MX switches offer additional mounting options for either a wire bridge, a LED or a diode. Cherry offers all three variants and a fourth without any special options directly on their wholesale orders. Switches are available for either PCB or plate mounting, the main difference being that switches intended for PCB mounting have two additional plastic pins that secure and stabilize them when being mounted on the PCB. Plate mounted switches do not necessarily need these extra pins, since they are already being stabilized by the metal backplate. PCB mounted switches can be easily converted for back plate mounting by simply cutting off their extra stems.
- MX1A-xyNN no diode, plate mount (no fixing pins)
- MX1A-xyDN with diode, plate mount (no fixing pins)
- MX1A-xyNW no diode, PCB mount (with fixing pins)
- MX1A-xyDW with diode, PCB mount (with fixing pins)
- MX1A-xyRx with red LED
- MX1A-xyGx with green LED
- MX1A-xyYx with yellow LED
- MX1A-xyJx with jumper wire
y is always 1 in current switches; x specifies the switch style.
Possible product numbers as regular expression:
- M: Keyswitch module
- X: Cherry MX family
- 1: material:AuAg10, 10mA, max. 12V
- 5: special
- A: SPST NO (single pole, single throw, normally open)
- C: special
- [0-9A-Z] — "Operating Characteristics, Actuating Force and Key Style"
-  — "Keystem Configuration"
- 1 "Std straight for cylin & std keycaps"
One would imagine that switches with keycap mounts other than Cherry MX mount would have a value greater than 1 for "Keystem Configuration".
- Keyboards with Cherry MX switches
- File:Keymodule MX.pdf Cherry Keymodule PDF
- File:Switch info.pdf Cherry MX Switch info
- Kaihua — 红轴将被取代 Kailh黄轴大战Cherry轴 — Detailed disassembly shots by Kaihua
- Cherry MX Series Key Switch on Cherry's home page.