What the heck. Leaky switches?

So I took apart a hotswap board today to try out some new switches as well as the new Novelkeys stabilizers.


What the heck?! Where did this oil come from? Notice how it’s mostly around the edges? Here’s the thing, lately I’ve been testing new switches on just the alphas. But you know what’s been on the num row and modifies for months?.. bobas.

Are bobas leaking oil???

I’ve never seen anything like this. I don’t use oil lube and it’s not dielectric.

Before the bobas I had gateron caps switches in it. Someone’s leaky


The answer is gateron cap switches; they got da hole


True, but that would be under the pcb. This was on the top

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Capillary action? Leading for the LED slot? Leaking from the sides of the switch if loose? :thinking:


Never ever, ever never seen this before. There’s definitely a concerning amount of leakage. It’s almost like the switches got real hot, to the point it increased the lubes viscosity allowing it to actually “slosh” around the switch housing. So bizarre!


Yeah tbh I haven’t seen this either; kinda wild. Clean it with distilled water and or isopropyl alchohol (should be okay I think?) and then make one side with gat caps and the other side with bobas.

While you’ll drive yourself crazy using bobas on one side and caps on the other, it’ll let us get to the bottom of this :mag:


Ha. Good idea.

Interesting. I can definitely confirm that Caps leak oil, at very least faster than Bobas. I haven’t seen it at all with my Bobas yet but that doesn’t mean they don’t do it - I’ll take a close look at the containers I have them stored in when I get home - I think I have 4 separate batches in three containers so it might be a decent sample size, ha.


Happy to report it all cleaned up well with Isopropyl. I’m currently testing some other switches and stabilizers, but I’ll try to investigate this sometime down the road. I’m thinking the caps switches are a bit sus, but who knows :man_shrugging:t3:


Manufacturer: How much lube do you want in the switch?
Keyboard enthusiast: Yes


The subtle difference between lubrication and dampening is not well understood.

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Can a PCB handle this kind of leakage?

I am seriously considering a build of [lubed] Gateron CAP Golden Brown V2 on an NCR-80. This would be a PCB-mount keyboard, so direct to PCB.

Other than aesthetics, and the NCR-80 is kind of a ‘work-board’ not a show-board anyway, is this prohibitive?

[Also, Gateron CAP Brown is said to wobble more than normal on a PCB-mount, but still works.]

I still never figured out what happened here. I will say I think it’s related to lube and using a 5mm thick plate. If any lube spills out from a switch (still not sure how it would), it gets pressed under the plate and can spread all over the pcb in time.

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To my eye the switch areas are the cleanest spots on the pcb. The oil has gotta be from the stab lube, or a spill/something in the air accumulating there like kitchen grease.


I’m [super] late for this post but encountered it while researching on golden CAP switches.

A word about your theory, it can’t be the hole at the bottom of the switch as it’s not resting on the PCB but rather through it, if any lube leaks out it will drop under the PCB into the case.
I did had instances where there was some oil left on the plate after removing switches, mainly happened with BOX switches, but even then it was pretty miniscule.
I’m not sure if it can even leak from the intersection between the housing parts, if it does, how much oil it has to begin with to leak that much?

Edit: I’ve seen the photos in the container but it still weird, did you notice oil leaking out of that hole at the bottom? or any other place it might leak out of?

Never figured it out. Still perplexed to this day. Maybe stabilizer grease separated and ran all over the pcb??

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I wonder if oily kings will have the same problem

Who knows, but this seems the most plausible / least complicated of an answer. I’ve had switches deposit the tiniest amount of lube here and there (usually on the plate) but never anything like that. I have had leaky, very over-lubed factory stabs that were a great deal messier than any switches - I guess I could see a mess like that happening if all that grease turned into runny oil and clumps.

I can’t imagine it would be the culprit for as much lube as is pictured above, but some factory-lubed switches end up with drops on the edge of the top or bottom housing before they’re closed, and that can seep out and flow down - but even a whole board full of factory over-lubed switches would just be leaving little dots where the tiny feet are in terms of the PCB.

Sorry for reviving this topic so late but I’ve been using Gateron Yellow Cap v2 switches for a while and thought I’d share my experience with them.

In short, I experienced no leakage so far.

I received a free pack that took several months to arrive by mail, when inspecting the packaging there was no leakage.

Several months later I purchased another one and both the first and the second still didn’t have any.

Same after building it and using it for several weeks, no leakage on the PCB or in the case.

I did experience leakage with other switch brands (U4T/Kailh BOX):

After removing some U4Ts (a pack from late 2020-early 2021) they had oil residue on the top housing part that sits on the plate, and under it on the plate itself.

Which was very weird because the switches are supposed to be bone dry, and when inspecting individual ones when initially purchasing, the seemed dry aside for the leaf.

After some time I removed them and found some switches had oil build up in the stem pole well (making it sound and feel mushy) despite never adding oil/grease.

Kailh BOX pinks and Jades has some oil residue on the plate as well.

It’s possible that your pack was actually leaking and it got revisioned to avoid it, who knows.

Did you experience more leakage as time progressed?


I did put them back in another board but I haven’t checked to see if they are leaking there. need to look