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A hot-swap component (usually a key switch) inside a keyboard can be replaced without requiring de/soldering, or even disconnecting.

Individual metal contact switches require special sockets, whereas switches with contact-less keystroke sensing don't.

Hot-swap switches

Flaretech switch: The sensor is contact-less, on the PCB and not inside the switch module

:See: Category:Hot-swap switches

The optoelectronic Adomax Flaretech and the hall-effect Input Club Silo each has its active sensing mechanism on the PCB rather than in the switch module - with no contact between them.

Hot-swap pins

The Outemu ICE Cherry MX clone switch comes instead with a socket attached to each pin leg. These sockets are only compatible with these switches, and by chance a few other switches that share the same pin dimensions.

Some Invyr switches also have a type of hot-swap pins.

Hot-swap switch sockets


The sockets are surface-mounted on the _bottom_ of circuit boards, specifically designed to have sockets. Unlike Holtite or Mill-Max sockets they can not be retro-fitted onto PCBs made for soldering switches.

Kailh makes sockets for Cherry MX and Kailh Choc (fit also the Kailh Choc V2). The former had originally been developed together with Input Club for the K-Type.

When inserting a switch, it is important the switch's pins are straight and that the switch is inserted straight. If not, the pins don't go in right and can bend, which damages the pins.

Because sockets are surface-mounted on the bottom of PCBs, a common source of damage is also that a solder-pad has been pulled off from wrong pressure from above. Some keyboards counter this by having a supporting piece of plastic under the socket, but that is still unusual.


Clone of Kailh sockets for Cherry MX.[Citation needed]


Similar to Gateron and Kailh sockets.[Citation needed]

Pin sockets


Holtite sockets are small sockets that fit inside existing solder-holes in a PCB.

However, the sockets don't fit all PCBs (or even the all switch positions on some PCBs). On some PCBs the holes are too tight, and on other they are too wide. See the main article for a list of compatible PCBs.

The sockets are also not as durable as Kailh-sockets (and clones).

Available in a size for Cherry MX switches and in a size for 2-pin 3mm LEDs. Can be gold-plated or tinned.

Mill-Max 0305

Single sockets for mounting in PCB holes for Cherry MX switiches.

Similar to Holtite sockets but with a flanged top that prevents them from falling out when mounting but which raises the switch 0.64 mm over the PCB.

Mill-Max 7305

Like Mill-Max 0305 but the flange is thinner, which raises the switch slightly less.