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

Gateron KS-3 series of keyswitches are clones of Cherry MX keyswitches. Unlike its successors: the KS-8 and KS-9 series, it supports only two-pin LEDs.

Description

The outer shapes and internals are virtually indistinguishable from Cherry MX except that the top is branded "Gateron" in an italic font. 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 are slightly thicker and 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.

KS-3 housings can be black or translucent white. The translucent shell switches are always sold as PCB mount, while the single black shell variant found to date is plate mount. 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 3 mm LEDs without having to sand off the flange

Variants

Regular variants

Part number[2] Shell colour Stem colour Actuation weight[3] Type Switch mount Cherry equivalent Notes
Gateron KS-3 Clear -- infobox.jpg Translucent Colourless 35 gf Linear PCB none
Gateron KS-3 Red -- infobox.jpg Translucent Red 45 gf Linear PCB Cherry MX Red
Gateron KS-3 Black -- infobox.jpg Translucent Black 50 gf Linear PCB Cherry MX Black
Gateron KS-3 Blue -- infobox.jpg Translucent Blue 55 gf Clicky PCB Cherry MX Blue
Gateron KS-3 Brown -- infobox.jpg Translucent Brown 45 gf Tactile PCB Cherry MX Brown
Gateron KS-3 Yellow -- infobox.jpg Translucent Yellow 50 gf Linear PCB none
No photograph.svg Translucent Green 80 gf Clicky PCB Cherry MX Green
No photograph.svg Black Colourless Linear
No photograph.svg Black Red Linear
Gateron KS-3 Black-Black -- infobox.jpg Black Black Linear Plate
No photograph.svg KS-3C10B060NN-2 Black Blue
No photograph.svg 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).

Gateron's clicky switches lack the small pin on the top of the slider beside the cruciform mount that clicky varieties of Cherry MX and many clones have. This makes clicky Gaterons fit silencing clips whereas the others do not.

Custom switches

Zealio
The Zealio switches from Zeal PC. Some tactile switches (similar in feel to Cherry MX Clear have been sold in translucent shells, but most variants have had transparent shells similar to Gateron KS-8 series. The switches have custom sliders, and use gold-plated springs and lubrication for smoothness.


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 bumps of tactile switches can feel slightly sharper, probably because of them being higher up in the stroke, the starting force from the springs being lighter and the leaf spring being slightly stiffer.

Availability

Packs of KS-3, as well as KS-8 and KS-9 are now available from multiple enthusiast stores.

Switches can come pre-installed in keyboards from:

Group orders for switches have been conducted on Massdrop and Geekhack. Various switches have also been for sale on Asian merchant forums, such as Taobao. Transparent housings have also been available separately for modding.

Gallery

References

  1. Geekhack — Gateron Teardown. Dated 2015-01-26. Retrieved 2015-07-27
  2. Specifications and other information received from Gateron, 2017-08-04
  3. Massdrop — Gateron Switches group buy. Retrieved 2015-07-27

See also