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Aristotle Yellow refers to a rare Cherry MX clone keyboard switch sourced from Aristotle. It was previously referred to as Cherry MX Yellow due to being Cherry-branded, but Cherry Germany deny knowledge of such a switch, and Chicony have cited Aristotle as the manufacturer. It is not a single switch, but rather the switches are assembled from a variety of genuine and replica parts.
The first confirmed record of such a switch is one found in yab8433408's collection. The source of this example is not known, and no detailed photographs are known to exist of this switch.
Since then, confirmed production variants have come to light, sighted in what appears to be a Chicony KB-5191 from 1992 (the placement of resistors and capacitors is an exact match). This keyboard is already known to have used Aristotle switches.
Cherry purchased one lot of switches from AliExpress for examination, and concluded that the shells are genuine Cherry parts. No images exist of a whole switch that they received, but the slider appears to be a "Type B" slider. A picture provided by the supplier of an unknown variant does show an authentic-looking shell, while the "Type B" switch pictured below has what appears to be a replica shell: the triangle of diode symbol does not have a line through it, and the mould numbering typeface is smaller. These different switches are all sourced from a single Chicony keyboard.
Initially there appeared to be two types, A and B, but on further examination of the small photograph used as a reference, it appears that are multiple combinations of parts. For the moment, "A" and "B" are used for convenience to refer to two specific combinations of parts.
A medium yellow slider, with a dimple in the centre. The shell moulding appears to be a replica, because the Cherry logo is poorly reproduced, and there is a matte, recessed area around the slider aperture. All exterior components appear to replicas; the internals are not documented.
The "Type A" example is reported to be a medium-stiff switch that seems to be between a Cherry MX Red and Cherry MX Black.
Cherry report that these switches use real Cherry shells, but did not suggest the origin of these parts. Upon inspection, the mould numbering on the base is significantly smaller than on other Cherry switches, and the diode symbols lacks its through bar, but otherwise there is nothing to suggest that they are not authentic.
The switch contacts appear to be a perfect match for other Cherry MX switches (including the small dimple on the stationary contact found in many but not all Cherry MX switches). One distinguishing characteristic between confirmed genuine Cherry parts and the parts used in Aristotle, is that the reflection inside the fold of the movable contact shines bright orange in Cherry MX switches, while it appears only as a shadow in Aristotle switches. This is clearly visible in the photos below. The explanation for this is not known, but it may be due to the smoothness of the metal. This does suggest that the movable contact may indeed be a replica.
The slider is a replica. The slider is visually authentic, except for a small mould number on the slider-facing side. However, in the batch received, it is extremely scratchy. Exchanging the slider with a Cherry MX Linear Grey switch purchased from the Keyboard Company causes the severe scratchiness to transfer to the grey switch, indicating that the switch shell and spring are not the cause. Many sliders bear marks resembling dry lubricant on the ramps. The switches are also quite dirty, so this may account for the marks or for the condition of the sliders.
Measurements of three return springs show lengths between 13.6 and 13.9 mm, and 0.23 mm wire gauge. This is directly in line with Cherry MX Black: a single such switch shows a 13.8 mm spring also of 0.23 mm gauge. The Aristotle Yellow springs are silver-coloured steel, while the Cherry spring is gold-coloured steel (both types of spring can be picked up using a magnet). Both spring types have eight active turns. The switch feels slightly heavier than Cherry MX Black.
- Chicony KB-5191, 1992 (unconfirmed)
- Correspondence with Cherry Germany
- Correspondence with Chicony, 2016-08-09
- Deskthority — yab8433408's Cherry Switches
- AliExpress — Aliexpress.com : Buy 10pcs/lot new stocK yellow shaft …
- Deskthority — Blaise170's Switch Collection
- Correspondence with Cherry Germany, 2016-08-10