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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

  • Adomax Flaretech (optoelectric)
  • Input Club Silo (hall-effect)
  • Outemu ICE (metal contact): Each switch comes 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.

Hot-swap sockets


The sockets are surface-mounted on the bottom of circuit boards. Unlike Holtite or Mill-Max sockets they can not be retro-fitted onto PCBs that were not made for them.

Kailh Sockets for Cherry MX footprints had originally been developed together with Input Club for the K-Type.

Kailh also makes sockets for Kailh Choc switches.

Switch pins must be straight when inserted or they can be damaged.

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


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.

They are also not as durable as switch sockets especially designed for the purpose.

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.