Squeaking FC980C Topre Switches after Silencing + Lubing


It’s my first time working on a mechanical keyboard. After going through my FC980C and silencing (kbdfans silence-x rings) and lubing the sliders and stabilizers, some of the keys are scratchy and some emit a high-pitched squeaking noise intermittently. They never did this before I took the board apart.

After disassembling and re-lubing the offending keys, some of them would be fixed and different keys would start doing it as well, which leads me to think I might be putting the plate on wrong/crooked, causing the dome to be slightly misaligned with the slider.

All the keys work, just some are intermittently squeaky. They’re all pretty adequately lubed, I’ve gone through and thoroughly lubed every single slider. I’ve taken the damn thing apart at least 6 times trying to track the issue down and it’s just my perfectionism causing me to go back and try to fix it. Is there a different approach I should be taking?

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Dome or spring misalignment can certainly cause some dissonant sounds but in my experience they sound like the materials themselves–not exactly squeaky. So springs that are not in their proper alignment can sound crunchy, dome alignment will likely prevent you from screwing things back together and or the keys will not actuate when you plug the keyboard in. So squeak makes me think two things–plastic on plastic or plastic on metal noise.

  • Are there any housings that aren’t fully snapped into the plate?

  • The silencing rings themselves may not be seated properly on the slider and/or the material is causing that new noise.

I have only owned stock silenced boards or used Deskeys silencing rings and those typically shouldn’t add new noise to the system.

how do you reassemble/tear down the 980C?

Thanks for the reply.

I disassemble the keyboard as anyone else would. Topre boards are only so complex. My guess is that the sound is caused by the silencing ring squeaking against the stem which can be exacerbated by slight misalignment between the slider and the rubber dome. Which seems odd but explains the intermittent nature of the sound and the fact that it seems to move around between installs.

I tore down the board again tonight, examining the squeaky keys. All of them had silencing rings that were not fitting properly to the stems or riding up due to some roughness on the stem itself. I’m not sure whether these rings are meant to be fastened to the slider via some type of adhesive but it seems like that would help in terms of preventing the rings from migrating to the point of no return. I don’t have any suitable adhesive on hand nor the patience to glue all the rings down again so I opted to just change out the rings for fresh ones.

When I re-assembled, this time I actually took the time to reinstall the plate using the “inverted method” which involves supporting the plate and dropping in the rubber domes and springs before affixing the plate. This seems to improve the alignment of everything upon install. The other thing I did was swap the offending sliders to a different position on the plate. For whatever reason the slight variances during manufacturing seems to create just enough friction in certain slider/housing combinations that can create a noise.

One would assume it would be handled by lube but apparently not. That said I’m enjoying typing on the board a lot more now, and the number of squeaks after reassembling using this method has massively decreased, although not completely eliminated, which just sucks ass after spending so much on a keyboard. I wish they made a stock silenced FC980C.

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This is the way to avoid major frustration and alignment errors—you can see the tabs on the housing to help orient the domes; check if the springs are resting loosely within, not pushed into or snapped into the dome.

Negative. even stock silenced boards do not glue the rings down. They should be able to move freely along the slider. Sometimes they do bunch up and get pinched but I experience that when I am putting them on and not paying close attention on how I snap the slider back into the housing. If I were you and you would like to try a stock silenced Topre experience, try Deskeys silencing rings #5. they seem to be pretty accepted as a replacement to OEM silencing rings found in stock silenced boards. I have used them in my unsilenced Realforces and enjoy the boards a lot better with them on.

There had been one but I know for the US, silenced 980Cs have not been in stock since the pandemic. but I am aware there is a 30g silenced.

Interesting. To me it seems like the ideal configuration for the silencers would be to affix them to the base of the stem via some type of adhesive. That would prevent any binding or wear due to sliding up and down the stem. The problem is that that configuration is fully reliant on a very smooth stem – from what I experienced the keys with the most problems had a textured stem from a bad molding that didn’t allow the silencing ring to slide freely and would catch one edge of it, then bind.

My solution to this is to swap for a different slider on a less-oft-used key. I’m not about to go in and polish my sliders. Who has time for that?

As an update, I determined that the squeaking sound I was experiencing was the stem of the switch scraping against the circular housing opening. A VERY light application of lube around the edge of the stem and the opening (applicable simply by removing the keycap) solved this issue for the offending keys.