Gateron KS-3 series

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Gateron KS-3 series
Manufacturer Gateron
Switch type Clicky; tactile; linear
Sense method Metal leaf
Rated lifetime 50 M
Keycap mount Cherry MX
Switch mount Plate and PCB mount
Website www.gateron.com/page152?product category=1

Gateron KS-3 series of keyswitches are clones of Cherry MX keyswitches.

They are available in black, red, blue, and brown variants like Cherry MX. There is also a "clear" variant that is linear with a very light 35g actuation force. A medium-weight linear switch with a yellow slider also existed, but this seems to have gone end-of-life.

Description

The housing is either black or white translucent. The top is branded "Gateron". Transparent housings have been available separately. The Gateron website currently only shows black (with a photograph of brown), clear, brown, red and blue variants, all with black shells. No series name is presently cited, and very little in way of specifications is offered; the black shell switches may not even be classified as KS-3. The black/black switch has been found with a PCB mount shell, while the translucent-shell switches obtained via group buys and on AliExpress are all PCB mount.

The outer shapes and internals are virtually identical to Cherry MX. All parts should be interchangeable except for the leaf springs that perform the electric switching. Cherry leaf springs fit inside Gateron housings but Gateron leaf springs do not fit into Cherry MX bottom housings. The copper leaf springs have gold-plated cross-points.[1] The cross-points were rotated 90° from MX internals on early revisions, but are oriented the same as Cherry MX on later revisions.

The fixing pins (for PCB-mounting) are somewhat wider than Cherry MX, giving a tighter fit.

The circle-shaped immersion that allows for LED mounting is slightly larger than compared to Cherry MX switches, which allows mounting standard 3mm LEDs without having to sand off the flange

Variants

Regular variants

Name[2] Shell colour Stem colour Actuation weight[3] Type Switch mount Cherry equivalent Notes
Gateron KS-3 Clear -- infobox.jpg "GATERON white shaft" Translucent Colourless 35 gf Linear PCB none
Gateron KS-3 Red -- infobox.jpg "GATERON red axis" Translucent Red 45 gf Linear PCB Cherry MX Red
Gateron KS-3 Black -- infobox.jpg "GATERON black shaft" Translucent Black 50 gf Linear PCB Cherry MX Black
Gateron KS-3 Blue -- infobox.jpg "GATERON blue axis" Translucent Blue 55 gf Clicky PCB Cherry MX Blue
Gateron KS-3 Brown -- infobox.jpg "GATERON tea axis" Translucent Brown 45 gf Tactile PCB Cherry MX Brown
Gateron KS-3 Yellow -- infobox.jpg Translucent Yellow 50 gf Linear PCB none Appears to be obsolete
No photograph.svg Translucent Green 80 gf Clicky PCB Cherry MX Green
No photograph.svg "GATERON white shaft" Black Colourless Linear
No photograph.svg "GATERON red axis" Black Red Linear
Gateron KS-3 Black-Black -- infobox.jpg "GATERON black shaft" Black Black Linear Plate
No photograph.svg "GATERON green axis" Black Blue
No photograph.svg "GATERON tea axis" Black Brown

Switches with white sliders are very light and linear, with no Cherry MX equivalent. Cherry's similar-looking switches are instead tactile or clicky (older type).

Project Zealio

Purplezealio.jpg

The Zealio switches is a custom switch project by Zeal PC together with Gateron. The housings are fully transparent (not translucent) and the springs are gold-plated.

The range introduced a new tactile purple slider for switches akin to a Cherry MX Ergo Clear distributed solely through Zeal PC in 62g, 65g, 67g and 78g.

Key feel

The tactile/actuation point is slightly higher up than on the corresponding Cherry MX switch. The switches have been described as having smoother action than new Cherry MX but not as smooth action as vintage/broken-in Cherry MX.

The springs are slightly lighter than the corresponding Cherry MX, especially in starting force. The tactile bump on tactile switches (brown and blue) feel slightly sharper, probably because of them being higher up in the stroke and the starting force from the springs being lighter.

Availability

Group orders for switches with white housings have been conducted on Massdrop and Geekhack. Various switches have been for sale on Asian merchant forums, such as Taobao.

Gallery

References

  1. Geekhack — Gateron Teardown. Dated 2015-01-26. Retrieved 2015-07-27
  2. Gateron — Official product page (Chinese only) Retrieved 2015-07-27.
  3. Massdrop — Gateron Switches group buy. Retrieved 2015-07-27