The keycaps are the most important component of a keyboard. Because they are the first thing we notice when we look at a keyboard and the first thing we push when we type, they are also the most important part of it.
In this article, we shall be discussing if all the Mechanical Keycaps on mechanical keyboards are Universal and how to better understand keyboards to be able to set them up easier. Let’s find out.
A keyboard is comprised of numerous individual parts. Keyboards are made up of many interdependent parts, including keycaps, keyboard mounts, keyboard switches, keyboard layouts, keyboard sheets, and keyboard profiles.
Keycaps are the most noticeable aspect of keyboard customization, but even they are constrained by the characteristics of the keyboard device that you are using.
While keycaps may appear simplistic at first glance, their construction involves many moving parts and they need to correspond to the exact keyboard type that you have. Keycaps are NOT universal because they will not function properly if their characteristics do not match those mentioned above of the keyboard that you want to use it on.
There is no standardization between keyboards when it comes to the keycaps. Therefore, when you purchase a keycap set, you must make sure that perhaps the keycaps are suitable for your keyboards in terms of parameters such as the stems, the profile, the layout, thickness, backlight, and spacing.
Contrary to common opinion, even if the measurements of the keycap set match the measurements of the keycaps you currently have, there is still a possibility that the keycaps may not work with your keyboard owing to variances in components such as the keycap stems.
These are the most important things that you should take into consideration when measuring and looking for keycaps that might fit the keyboard that you are using:
The key stem is the component of the keycap that locks on the keyboard cap. They are both the same form, but hollowed down, so that the two may lock into one other.
Because key switches from various manufacturers might look rather different, it’s important that keycaps designed to work with such switches have a stem that’s a good fit for it.
Consequently, you must verify that the stem of the keycap you want to purchase is compatible with the stem of the switch. Thankfully, this is one of the easiest processes, since most keycap manufacturers provide the stem type on the product page, making it simple to compare stems by just glancing at pictures.
The term “key layout” is shorthand for “keyboard layout,” which describes the spatial structure of the keys on a keyboard. These here are the most common layouts:
- ANSI – USA
- ISO – Europe
- JIS – Japan
It is crucial to make sure the layouts match since the keycap set won’t function with your keyboard if it is the incorrect layout owing to changes in keycap dimensions, forms, positions, and amounts of keys.
Most manufacturers’ product pages will provide details on the keycap set’s layout, so it’s not hard to get the layout right with just a little bit of digging information.
Space between adjacent keycaps is measured and it is called key spacing.
Because of the spaces between keys, the width and height of a standard letter key are rounded down to be just under 1 unit.
Despite the lack of a universally acknowledged definition, the length of a unit is generally agreed upon to be 19 mm (0.75 inches). There may be some noticeable variations in its length across brands.
The specs of the keycap you’re purchasing are listed on the product page, and the characteristics of your keyboard may be found with a quick Internet search. If you want to purchase replacement keycaps for your keyboard, you need first to determine the length of a unit for your current keycaps and the ones that you want to buy.
The thickness of a key determines how sturdy the keycap is.
We advise checking the thickness of the keycaps you are purchasing and comparing them to the keycaps you currently possess to prevent any unanticipated issues linked to key thickness.
Due to the fact that the keyboard frame is built to work with a specific keycap configuration, choosing the proper keycap profile is essential for a comfortable typing experience.
For instance, the keys will sink too deeply into the keyboard and the angles of the keys will become problematic if you attempt to connect plain, shorter keycaps to a keyboard designed for sculpted, high-profile keycaps.
Because the manufacturer may not make this information clear, keyboard forums are frequently the best place to learn about it.
There are components known as stabilizers that may be found below bigger keys to stop these keys from shaking.
There are Cherry and Costar types of Stabilizers that you should know of. The Cherry can be easily removed while the Costar is the one with extra stems that will provide better stability but it is harder to remove.
The difference between the new keycaps and your existing keycaps should be obvious from a photo of the keycap’s underside, making it easy to determine whether or not the new keycaps will fit your keyboard.
Follow these basic steps one by one and you shall be able to find the right keycaps for you!
- You should begin by removing a keycap from your keyboard, turning it over, and examining the key stem. Check to check whether the stem and the keycaps that you want to purchase are compatible by comparing the two.
- Get familiar with the key profiles of the keycaps you already possess as well as the keycaps you want to purchase. If you aren’t skilled, determining the profile of your keyboard only by glancing at the keycaps may be difficult. Therefore, you should make sure that you gather specific information about your keyboard by doing research online.
- Discover the key design and arrangement of the keycaps you want to purchase and see how it differs from the one on your present keyboard. You may rapidly get familiar with the key layout of your keyboard if you compare it to photographs of other popular key layouts.
- Find out the key spacing numbers of all of the keycaps you’re going to be purchasing, and then compare them to the key spacing ratios of your existing keycaps.
- Take note of the varying thicknesses of the keys. Try to find keycaps that are thicker but not too much thicker than the ones you already have even if thickness-related issues are uncommon.
- Check to ensure that the kinds of stabilizers used in the keycaps are compatible with your keyboard. You may determine the sort of stabilizer your keyboard uses by removing one of the stabilized keys (Shift button) and comparing it to the keycaps you will be purchasing.
- If you have a backlit keyboard, you need to ensure that the items you just purchased specify that they are compatible with the backlighting on the keyboard.
That’s all that you need to know about the Keycaps and their Universal status. We hope that this guide has helped you out on how to better understand them and better install some on your keyboard.