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Template icon--Illustration.png This article requires additional photographic illustration
RAFI RS 74 M.jpg
Manufacturer RAFI
Family RAFI Full-Travel Keyswitch
Introduced 1975[1]
Discontinued 2005
Switch type Linear or latching lock
Sense method Metal leaf
Actuation force 80 cN
Total travel 2.5 mm
Keycap mount RAFI mount
Switch mount PCB mount
Patents DE2504091A (1975)
GB1533154 (1976)
DE2914954 (1979)

RAFI RS 74 M is a low-travel switch in the RAFI Full-Travel Keyswitch family. It is the mechanical counterpart to the Hall effect RS 74 C.


RS 74 M switches share the same overall design as the 4 mm RAFI RS 76 M switch, but have a reduced travel of 2.5 mm. They are targeted at a unit of 0.75", or 19.05 mm, and the switch shells are themselves this exact width.

The switch uses a square loop of sprung metal that is kept away from a metal contact by the slider. When the slider is depressed, the metal loop lowers until it reaches the static contact. The switch has two solder points, and the slider recess appears to form the single PCB fixing pin. Actuation is at 1.5±0.5 mm; the lug on the slider which raises the loop travels further than the loop drops.

The sprung loop and the static contact both feature gold crosspoint contacts, as with most Cherry switches.

The switches are available in several forms: linear, linear (illuminated), latching, and latching (illuminated). So-called "illuminated" switches simply have room for an LED in the top-right corner; they are not intended to provide backlit keycaps.

RS 74 M was patented together with RS 74 C in German patent DE2504091A, filed in 1975.

According to RAFI, RS 74 M was discontinued in July 2005.[2]

Key feel

RS 74 M switches appear to be intended for keypads, not desktop keyboards (for which, you would use the RS 76 M or RS 76 C); they have an actuation force of 80 cN within a pretravel distance of 1.5 mm, which makes them quite stiff. Based on a 1984 keyboard, they can also suffer from binding when struck at the corner.


QWERTY keycaps are double-shot; other legended keycaps are engraved and painted; RAFI's catalogue suggests that the engraving is not performed with a laser, as the infill process is not stated as being applied to lasered keycaps, only the "labour intensive" low volume engraving process. Relegendable keycaps are also available.


Variants include:

Part Type
RAFI RS 74 M SPST uncovered.jpg SPST uncovered
RAFI RS 74 M 3.12961.001.jpg 3.12961.001? SPST covered
RAFI RS 74 M SPDT latching.jpg SPDT latching


The basic linear switch has a clear plastic top.

Linear, illuminated

The illuminated linear variant has space at the top-right for an LED, and the clear plastic top to the switch is absent. There is a recessed area at the rear of the shell which appears to be designed to support the latching mechanism in the latching variety.

The slider on the linear version has two lugs that sit above and below the sprung loop; when the switch is fully depressed, the loop is forcibly deformed, unlike the non-illuminated version where the loop is only raised by the slider on the return.

Linear, splash-proof

The splash-proof variant was introduced in 1980. Instead of the clear top, it sports a diaphragm between the switch and its cap. An insert punches through the foil and connects the keycap with the slider.[3]

Linear, splash-proof, illuminated

This one has space at the top-right of the base for the LED and a hole in the diaphragm, where the LED stands out.


Latching, illuminated


  • Gercom portable unit (illuminated switches minus the LEDs)[4]
  • Neve Necam 96 audio workstation keyboard
  • Siemens field programming unit 670 C (has the splash-proof variant)[Citation needed]
  • Thorn EMI Liberator keyboard[5]


RS 74 M switches were discontinued from production in 2005 but old stock was still available in 2013; in April 2015, RAFI confirmed that spare switches are no longer available.




  1. Engineering Materials and Design 19 (1975) p. 77: The new Rafi RS74 keyboard system from Cole Electronics consists only of key switches and a printed circuit board — a matrix frame is not needed — giving low profile with an overall height of 15 mm.
  2. Conversation with RAFI, July 2013
  3. Patent DE 2914954 . For a photo of the sealed switch, see "Rafi-System RS74, spritzwassergeschützt IP 54" in Konstruktion im Maschinen-, Apparate- und Gerätebau (1981), p. 169.
  4. Reddit — Help identify switch, old terminal keyboard *PROJECT*
  5. The Register — Liberator: the untold story of the first British laptop part 1 (page 4) Dated 2012-11-12. Retrieved 2015-08-01.