Optical Switch PCB resources

Hello all,

I’m new to KeebTalk and the custom mechanical keyboard community, so pardon the expected n00b-ness.

I am convinced opto-mechanical switch design is superior to the traditional mechanical one, so I am thinking about designing my own optical mechanical keyboard PCBs (to be releases as open hardware).

I’ve done a bit of research, but so far my Google-fu is not surfacing much in terms of existing PCB design or component BOM (especially the IR components). Does anyone have good resources to recommend?

Thanks in advance,

ceoloide

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I think the first thing you need to do is decide on which switches exactly you want to use, and then you can find the footprint for them in their datasheet. You can then create a custom footprint in your PCB CAD program of choice.

There might be some ready footprints or even whole PCBs out there, but they will be for a particular switch type.

Welcome mate!
Perhaps you could message with this guy: https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=97014 (this is his post). He had the idea 2 years ago. However, as you can see, it didn’t get as many interests back then.

I would love this. I agree that this is the future. The omnipoint switch from steelseries is another one that is great but obviously you can’t put it in a regular pcb. Good luck.

Reporting back with some great finds.

Swishy @ GeekHack is working on something related / similar: https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=106648.0

If you join the (aptly named) Optical Future Discord server you’ll find interesting finds, including Gateron Optical datasheet!

I won’t repost links to encourage people to check it out, but you’ll find:

  • Photo sensor datasheet
  • IR Emitter datasheet
  • Optical Switch datasheet

This is a great starting point. I will post again in the future as I gather more information.

That was the first post I was trying to find! I showed interest in the project around May, so I’m glad Swishy is still working on it. Hopefully next year there will be some awesome prototypes he can show off, also hotswap would be great feature too. It’s already planned to be QMK compatible, so its looking good so far :+1:

Hotswap comes natural to optical switches, since they don’t require any soldering nor electrical connection to the PCB!

I will toy around a little, but with COVID-19 difficulties for childcare it will take long to produce anything concrete. The least I can do is collect information for others to find, since this is still a niche topic, but ripe for popular adoption!

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