MX Latch Compatibility

MX Latch Compatibility

You asked for it, and you got it, please ignore the fact that it took over three months to do. After releasing the winglatch compatibility guide, this was pretty obviously the largest request and I did my best to do it justice. I have 34 different manufacturers/molds present in this list, which covers most of what I could think of/get my hands on and thought would be relevant, except for E-Switch. They were in the original pile but their latches broke the literal first time I tried opening one and I don't have enough sacrificial switches to make it worth it, and neither do you even if they were compatible with something. Other than that, in alphabetical order we have:

  • Aflion (with cherry interference cut) (Zepsody Wisteria V2)
  • Aflion (without interference cut) (Keebhut Tropical Water V1)
  • BSUN (Epomaker Peace Lily)
  • Cherry Nylon (MX Purple)
  • Cherry RGB (RGB Red)
  • EverFree (Curry)
  • Gateron (KS-3) (Swagkeys Pure Sky)
  • Grain Gold (QK-01)
  • Greetech (Unionbest Blue)
  • Haimu (JKLP Holy Panda)
  • Haimu (POM molds) (Swagkeys Deep Ruby)
  • HMX (Cloud)
  • HMX (Garnet)
  • Huano (Dareu Sky Blue V1)
  • Jerrzi (WSCX Moran)
  • Jerrzi/Huano/Feker (KiKi Meow Linear)
  • JWK SMD (Chosfox Voyager)
  • Kailh (Kailh Crystal Wine)
  • Keygeek (CBKBD Red Velvet)
  • KTT (Akko Snow Blue Grey)
  • KTT (Meow) (Meow - yeah I named the mold after the switch, idk pom mold for non-pom)
  • KTT POM (Akko POM Silver)
  • LCET (standard rail) (G.Rule Red)
  • Lichicx (Durian Ice Cream)
  • Meirun (Zepsody Wisteria V1)
  • Momoka (Frog)
  • Outemu (Mode Alexotos)
  • SP Star (JWK molds) (SP Star Meteor Grey)
  • SWK (Owlab Latte)
  • Tecsee (Ice Mint)
  • TTC (K Series Red)
  • ZDZ (Red)
  • Zorro (Red) 


Some manufacturers might have minor mold variations that I didn't expect to have an effect on compatibility, like Gateron KS-8 or KS-9 vs the KS-3s I used, although I picked up an EverFree just to pad the number of different molds I was testing and I'm glad I did because there actually were some differences there. I also didn't use things that were never going to be compatible with other stuff in the first place like Gateron CAP switches, or the LCET switches with rails extending top down instead of from the bottom housing upward. 

Similar to the winglatch compatibility guide, this took far too much of my time and gave my wife anxiety just looking at the chart over my shoulders, so I hope the community at least gets some use out of this. To everyone who has ever wanted a frankenswitch compatibility chart, this is probably the closest we'll ever have, but of course it's not perfect. Specifically, out of the gate this chart doesn't take stems into account at all because I would go from 1,156 potential combinations (34x34) to 39,304 combinations (34x34x34) and I wanted to be done sometime before I retired. 


Just like the winglatch version of this chart, this is mostly focusing on "does the switch physically latch" not "is it good", but I did add in a note for combinations that are known or highly expected to have leaf retention issues. If you didn't know, some switches have what some people call leaf retention teeth on their top housings, which hold the leaf down in place, and then some switches don't. This causes some pretty significant issues in both directions when you start frankenswitching. If you put a toothless top on a bottom housing that would normally use this leaf retention, you're probably going to have a bad time, particularly in hotswap boards, because the leaf and pins can be pushed up and cause issues making contact. Luckily this is usually fixable by soldering the switches in place so the leaf and pins can't move. And hey, if you like your frankenswitch idea so much that you're going out of your way to make something I just told you can be problematic, then you probably like it enough to solder it into a board. On the other hand, if you try putting a top with retention teeth onto a bottom housing that doesn't expect them, well it just doesn't work, at least that's simple. 

I know this chart is completely illegible, but I had to include a screenshot of the whole thing somewhere. 

It's kind of hard to write a blog about these compatibility charts, but my ego won't let me just post a link and be done with it. It took me literal months to make this stupid chart so you can just listen to my ramblings (or click this link to actually go look at it). Side note, I was over 3/4 of the way done with the compatibility chart before I realized it should be in alphabetical order, at which point I just committed and finished it as is because there was no way I was starting over. After that I found a way that I'm pretty darn confident fixed my alphabetical issues and maintained the integrity of the data thanks to some quick Googling, and I spot checked probably 50-60 combinations to make sure they matched up. 

So what were some lessons and themes from all of these colorful rectangles?

One of the first things I noticed was that I was having a common issue on some semi-new manufacturers like Haimu, SWK, and Lichicx where the LED side latches would often fit, but they wouldn't close all the way on the leaf-side of the switch, almost like trying to get a toothy top to fit on something it shouldn't. But when I go back to look I don't see anything in particular sticking out on those tops that should cause that. 

ZDZ tops barely even fit on ZDZ bottoms, those things were not designed with each other in mind at all and you have to kind of force the latches open by getting it halfway started on one side then almost stretching the top to fit the other side too. It's weird. The fun thing is that ZDZ parts fit better on stuff from some other manufacturers than they do on their own parts. 

Aflion (without the interference cut) had some of the most consistent issues latching when it seemed like it should. I would have to put a ridiculous amount of force on some of these combinations sometimes having to press the fourth corner down so hard I bent my nail back to get it to latch. Did that latch? Yes. Did I decide that counted as a validly compatible switch? No. Did I probably make some borderline judgements on compatibility for some of those examples and maybe others somewhere else in the chart? Yeah, that's why I recommend buying a sample to test fit stuff before just yolo-ing on two full sets just because my chart says it should work. I could have made a judgement call on what level of force is allowable that you don't agree with, there could be minor mold variations within the manufacturer that I didn't test, there could be variance in the parts from either manufacturer that make your set incompatible, or I could just be flat out wrong. 

Even though I wasn't testing for stem compatibility, and would either just force a top down on a stem that was binding or replace it, whatever it took to if the housings would latch, there were two very specific outliers I found. Grain Gold tops were the most likely to bind with any other manufacturer's stems. I don't think it was over 50% or anything, but it was enough that I noticed a trend, maybe 5-10 out of 34. The same thing can be said for HMX stems in other housings. Did they bind in everything? Of course not. Did they bind enough that I got annoyed with them and sometimes just kept the HMX stem with it's own top? Absolutely. Oh, also not sure if this is coincidence or a real difference but I specifically saw it with the stem from "standard" HMX molds like Clouds, not from the POM looking molds like Garnets. 

 As always, there will be switch to switch and batch to batch variances. You might have an extra stiff top housing that just won't fit over something and mine might have been a little worn in from all these tests. Or maybe I wasn't comfortable with the amount of force it took to get something latched and you don't mind hitting it with a hammer as long as it function in the end. Like I said earlier, I highly recommend buying a few samples to mess around with before you commit to a full set of a couple of switches only to find out you got unlucky with the tolerances, or even that the frankenswitch technically works but ends up too tight for the plate you wanted to use it in. I did test any I thought were questionable, but mostly in an acrylic tester so as usual, your mileage may vary. 

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