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What is a Keyboard PC Board

What is a Keyboard PC Board?


As all other things are the same, a plate-assembled keyboard is more robust than a PCB assembled keyboard and has a stronger feeling. The overall quality of the keyboard and its case play, too, although it differs from a plate of aluminum or steel between the typing of a laminate sheet (PCB). (It’s possible, but very rare, to have a plastic plate on a mechanical keyboard.) In contrast, the PCB-mounted keyboards usually have a bouncer key feel and a more flexible case and creakiness. It is safe to say that plate-mounted keys are generally more high-quality than PCB-mounted keyboards, although not all of them like to feel. Some people like to give extra in PCB-mounted keyboards.

pc board
pc board

Kinds of mounting styles

There are two kinds of mounting styles when purchasing switches for your mechanical keyboard: PCB mounted and plate mounted. It may be difficult to determine the distinctions, so let’s clarify what they imply. PCB-assembled switches have five pins, whereas plate-assembled switches have three pins. By cutting off the extra pins at the bottom of the switch, you may convert the PCB mount switch to fit a plate mount.

What is a PCB-mounted switch?

Since there are a total of 5 components to the bottom of them, PCB-mounted switches are 5-pin. Look closely at the base of the PCB-mounted switches, and you will discover a total of 5-pin switches. The five pins consist of 2 plastic pins on the edges, which provide the switch rigidity, two metal pins, and a “pin” in the middle, which appears more like a circular or big handle. The switches, as illustrated below, may be soldered to the PCB and installed easily.

By using two metal pins on the sides and two plastic pins, the switch operates, thus giving stability, and one center “pin” appears more like a big round button. To assist the Printed Circuit Board in attaching, the switches additionally include guide pins. In this kind of installation, the keys tend to bounce a little more as well as often have a lighter feel. As they are less flexible and need less structure to stay together, the PCB mounting method is utilized with smaller keyboards in general. However, having a plate is quite prevalent in contemporary boards. Besides soldering quality determines the stability of the switches, you may opt to construct a keyboard without a plate.

Pcb mounted switch
Pcb mounted switch

As far as PCB-mounted switches are concerned, there are guide pins that assist install the switch on the PCB. The keys may jump back a little more, and this kind of assembly usually has a lighter atmosphere. This amount is mostly used in a tiny keyboard since it requires less structure and less flexibility. Nevertheless, a plate is very common in the present board. Soldering quality determines the stability of the switch, without a plate you can easily build a keyboard.

Plate-mounted switch

They are called Plate-assembled switches as they need a plate. At the base, it contains just three pins, the two metal pins, and the center circular pin. They do not have stable pins. This is where the plate enters. The plate stabilizes every switch and reduces swaying side-by-side when the key is pushed. It is constructed with a plate since the stabilizing pins are not available.

Plate-mounted switch
Plate-mounted switch

Plate-Mounting VS PCB-mounting

When the key is pressed down (as shown below), after placing the switches on the metal plate, they are soldered to the PCB. The plate enables the keyboard to seem stronger and sturdier with a heavier sensation.

Plate Pcb
Plate Pcb

The switches must be installed on a metal plate that is placed on the PCB with regard to plate installation at the time of PCB Assembly. Following installation in the metal plate, the switches were soldered to the PCB. In order to become stronger and sturdier with a harder feel, the plate enables the keyboard. In order to provide additional support, these are used frequently in a larger keyboard since the keyboard is bigger and more flexible. To preserve things better, the plate also provides more solidity to the keyboard.

A key difference among plate-mounted PCB-type switches is that as they are mounted on the plate instead of the PCB, they do not need additional guiding pins. Just note, when the switches are soldered, the plate will be hard to pull off. You should remove it and solder it back to your PCB. It should be removed. This will probably not be beneficial if you wish to make adjustments and modifications.

While noticing the number of pins on the bottom to examine the major differences between a plate-mounted and PCB-mounted switch. There will be five pins on the PCB-mounted switch, whereas three on the plate-mounted switch.

The plate is typically extremely durable and of higher quality. Since it makes the key more solid and less harsh, some people like the feel of this mounting technique. Due to the additional components and assemblies, this design is typically more costly. There are two mounting styles of mechanical keyboard switches: mounted on a plate and mounted on PCB. The difference may be difficult to sort. Therefore we will explain both changes in this post more fully. The platform-mounted switches have just three pins; the platform-mounted switches have five pins. By removing extra pins on the bottom portion of the switch, you can convert PCB-mounted to fit with plate-mounted switches. In this article, we will show you to suit your board to modify the switches and explain the difference between various kinds of switches. These plates are frequently used to support bigger keyboards because the additional size makes the keyboard more flexible. The plate also provides additional stiffness to the keyboard and helps to secure everything.

3-Pin Vs 5-Pin Switches

Firstly, if you utilize switches without a plate, your switches have less bolster at that point. The keyboard seems shakier and less stable because of the lack of support. You might need to put a plate on your keyboard if you are a heavy-handed keyboard user or want to have a permanent keyboard experience.

In general, the PCB-mounted design needs no additional supporting plate. Thus the building is less expensive and simpler. They mostly carry 3-pin switches on many hot-swappable boards. It may be helpful in such a situation with 3-pin switches. If you produce a bespoke keyboard, it’s carefree because you may choose whatever PCB you are using. You have to put them in a 3-pin PCB; it is not difficult to make them appropriate whatever you buy 5-pin switches.

As we have already established, the main difference between 3 pins and five pins is that of total pins. With either a fingernail cutter, tissue cutter, a nail trimmer, or other normal equipment around the home, you may cut the two plastic pins side by side.
What is the meaning of the Keyboard Plate? The plate is utilized for extra support over the PCB, which makes the keyboard more stable and flexible. This component is usually not held by every keyboard. Thus, whether or not they have this plate, it can be known as the major difference between the two switches mounted.

Preferred Keyboard Choices

The ultimate option with your board is the keycaps. Like the switches, here you have a wide option, and whomever you are going with will ultimately be your taste for how they appear. By saying that, certain basic principles are useful to remember, notably, what type of plastic your keyboards make of and how they are printed (or “legends”).

Preferred Keyboard
Preferred Keyboard

ABS plastic and PBT plastic are your two major choices in terms of materials. PBT keycaps are usually somewhat more durable and will not wear off and shine as quickly. The disadvantage is that they are usually more costly.


In this article, we reviewed all the distinctions between PCB-mounted and plate-mounted switches. Whether they are five pins or three pins, these are primarily differentiated on the bottom of the switch by the number of pins. Since you can easily remove the additional plastic pins, the number of pins does not change too much if your PCB just installs the mounting method of three pins. We have also explained the PCB keyboards in the modern-day that helps in constructing a clavier using a plate vs a PCB mounting method, such as differing feelings, quality, and rigidity.

There are many PCB kinds, all of which provide a distinct typing experience and features that demonstrate how deep this interesting pastime is. A keyboard is connected to a PC. But both kinds of keyboards have their advantages and disadvantages. When you go to your local PC store, consider the differences between mechanical and membrane keyboards carefully.

Should you have any queries, feel free to contact us at sales@pnconline.com

Written by Sam Sangani

Sam Sangani

Sam Sangani is the President & CEO of PNC Inc., a Nutley, NJ based Printed Circuit Board manufacturer. Sam graduated from L. D. Engineering College with a BS Degree in Mechanical Engineering. He also continued his education and graduated from Steven’s Institute of Technology where he acquired a Master’s degree in Computer Science.

After completion of his BS, Sam worked as a QC Manager, for Xerox, Romania and London. He was responsible for the Quality Control of Cable and Wire Harness imports from Romania. After completing his Master’s Degree, he worked as a Senior Programmer with IBM, Tucson, Arizona. Sam was responsible for leading the Mainframe System Programming Team.

In 1997, Sam acquired PNC INC., a Nutley, NJ based PC Board fabrication Shop. From 1997-2013, Sam has made tremendous improvements and changes within PNC INC., as he added many new Products and Technologies in PNC’s portfolio. With his proven track record and leadership, PNC has never had an unprofitable year and has continued its growth yearly since 1997.

His current responsibilities are Strategic Planning, Corporate Management, New Business Ventures, Sales & Marketing, Trade Shows, Professional Services and leading productive teams to achieve peak potential. He has also utilized Lean Management techniques which have built a foundation for PNC’s high-paced growth. Sam also enjoys real-estate investing, web design & SEO, trading stocks, options, futures and Forex markets.

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