How long will your mechanical keyboard switch survive, and should you be worried about it? Check out what it looks like to activate 50,000,000 switches.
Several of my frequently asked questions started to focus on “drill-in” switches throughout the past switch review year. Several people have pondered whether they might utilize a motor-powered automatic push-button machine to assist with introducing DIY break-in devices, which is scheduled to start in 2023. While these machines are not the simplest to own and sometimes require a long time to turn on, remove friction switches before usage. The challenge of weighing the benefits and expenses of press time is one that many currently face. To identify the end, there were hundreds or even thousands of switches before they were set on the board. Most individuals do not consider this downtime part of a switch’s service life. That will take longer than you anticipate, just as I promised.
It’s difficult to say whether I’m feeling a ritual placebo effect from machine downtime, but perhaps I am, along with others in the community. Nonetheless, people are prepared to pay for it since it appears to be durable enough. Consider how Matchmaker and other selling platforms have reflected these phenomena. Nevertheless, I only recall noticing that the most severely injured switches received roughly 1,000,000 actions. However, I’m sure I missed a few Novellike Cream or Cherry MX Black switches that were bitten more than that. Thus, at least 80–90% of real “lives” are switches for someone who engages in this habit. The likelihood that a single switch push can result in up to 50,000,000 keystrokes cannot be accurately predicted from the device’s use alone. That cherry existed is undoubtedly a historical rarity, and it almost certainly wouldn’t have occurred without some initiative.
By the conclusion of this narrative, I don’t want you to have a sense of crushing dread. Yet I’m obliged to relate the most private story about someone who has experienced the worst of Her life. I’ve been acquainted with a person who has put in a lot of effort all of his life—through school, job, and ever after—since I was in fourth grade. He can still play his games for 3–4 hours every night once he gets home. Furthermore, it has been doing so nonstop for about ten years. According to this guy, he has been using the same Cherry MX Black gamer board for around ten years.
1.7 actuation counts result from operating at 100 beats per minute for four hours daily for ten years. Add up to 50,000,000 times for each switch’s lifespan. For some switch brands, it is not far from the highest limit of 100,000,000 times the level. But I can attest that I have personally tested it and found that its WASD keys weigh far less than the less-frequented function keys (by a few grams). The only evidence I have, however, is the horrifying images below. Naturally, all of the glitters are handmade.
So many of us who read articles like this one because we are so engrossed in our hobbies probably have many keyboards. These boards don’t seem to have a set shelf life, would you? as with any reliable machinery and equipment. That will eventually happen to every keyboard. These will fit precisely on your keycaps. After several gaming sessions, they add gasket aids to keep it out of the way. Even the leaves in the switch might shatter and come off occasionally when handled roughly. Yet people are interested in the switches since they are the only portion of the mechanical keyboard that can be used and worn.
The wear caused by contact between the shank and the housing decreases with continued switch activation. Perhaps the factory lubricant moved and reached its ultimate resting position. Modern MX-style switches are frequently stated to be rated between 50,000,000 and 100,000,000 changes before becoming dangerous when discussing the maximum number of changes that one switch can tolerate. In the case of Cherry, in particular, their 50,000,000 activation life guidelines are evaluated based on the brand you select. You can see the tools needed to reach it at 4:00 minutes into the video of Linus Tech Tips’ factory tour of Cherry MX.
Then again, how many keystrokes are in 50,000,000? My monkey-type record could be better with a large quantity. As a result, timing the duration of several keystrokes takes a lot of work. On whichever side of the paper does the document appear? Words that are 5 characters long can be typed at a speed of around 80 words per minute if you type regularly, which the typical keyboard enthusiast can do. That will take 125,000 minutes, or four if you don’t want it to appear like this. Once this number was attained, it was constantly typed for 86 days.
In comparison, a person would labor for 52 weeks at an 8-hour-per-day, five-day-per-week job for this many days in darshan. Even if typing a phrase takes more than one key, 50,000,000 keystrokes are still challenging! To give you an idea of how long this would have been in terms of text, Henry Williamson’s “A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight” is one of the longest-published books in history, covering 15 volumes, over 6,000 pages, and only 2,436,924 words.
I am bringing up the subject of machine downtime once more. You may wonder what the issue is with such figures from my pathetic home computer, which only switches 17,000 times daily. With Cherry’s validators, I mean at that pace, there is no way to equal the effectiveness or speed. Transitioning to 1/50 of the minimal lifespan took me 2.4 days in a row.
Nevertheless, this could reduce these devices’ efficacy in the medium run, even if it could be less than before, even though everyone in the community believed the changeover would have an impact. During the last ten years, I have conducted my testing, demonstrating that switch features, including smoothness, sound profile, and wobbling, may all vary dramatically after 50,000 operations. I can now distinguish them even when I close my eyes. No one who has pressed the switch fewer than one million times feels the same.