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Key chattering or simply chattering, is an undesirable phenomenon that can affect certain types of keyboard switches. The effect of this problem is that a single press of the key results in multiple registered inputs. As an example, typing the word 'Deskthority' on a keyboard with a defective 'K' key suffering from chatter may yield the result 'Deskkthority'.
Contact bounce is a normal operating behaviour for metal contact switches: the movable switch contact will bounce repeatedly after the impact of closing, before settling into the closed position. Switch manufacturers specify the maximum bounce time for switch series, which is typically ≤ 5 ms for keyboard switches. The keyboard controller must implement de-bouncing: once a keypress has been detected, further changes been the closed and open states within the bounce threshold must be ignored.
Chattering occurs when the amount of switch bounce exceeds the threshold set by the keyboard controller, and multiple keystrokes are registered. This is a failure state of mechanical switches which can occur spontaneously in a previously known good switch.
There are suggested methods for remedying key chatter in defective switches, including the use of compressed air, although they are not universally recommended. Elitekeyboards.com strongly advises against this practice in the Support section of their website; however, they currently do not supply any information about what might happen to the keyboard if such actions are attempted, nor a preferred alternative.
- Elitekeyboards.com - Support page with key chattering/bouncing description