Buckling Spring Switches

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Term Definition
Buckling Spring Switches

There were many different switch types used in the early days of computers, but buckling spring switches were very common. Buckling springs have springs which are depressed until they "buckle" and complete a circuit, this makes them loud and tactile.

There are some slight variations of how the buckling spring actually completes the circuit, for example one design has it push a foot pedal down to complete a circuit. Buckling springs are rarely used in keyboards today, with Unicorp being the only company selling new buckling spring keyboards. Buying used IBM Model M and Model F keyboards, both of which use buckling springs, is somewhat common due to the high durability of these keyboards. People generally refer to buckling springs as a mechanical switch. It should also be noted that finding replacement keycaps for buckling spring switches can be challenging.

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Author: Michael Kerns

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