Hot-swappable mechanical keyboards allow you to replace switches and LEDs on-the-go without soldering or even powering off the keyboard. None of the ANAVI Macro Pad 8 kits support hot-swapping of switches out of the box, however this can be achieved with an upgrade of the maker kit. Keep in mind that this procedure requires additional components, tools, skills and time.
Recently I published a short video tutorial explaining how to make any printed circuit board for a mechanical keyboard hot-swappable with footprints for Cherry MX plate switches. There are other brands such as Gateron and Kaihl which are compatible with the Cherry MX switches so this solution is universal.
ANAVI Macro Pad 8 has been designed with the free and open source electronic design automation suite KiCad. It uses footprints for Cherry MX plate switches. The developer kit will come fully soldered with Gateron red mechanical switches.
The following hardware and tools are required to upgrade ANAVI Macro Pad 8 Maker kit to hot-swappable:
Follow the steps below to perform the hot-swap upgrade:
Using the tweezers place the holtite sockets into the PCB. The sockets are small so be careful not to lose any of them. Turn on the soldering iron. Heat each socket and gently push it. We are using a soldering iron, but in this case not for soldering. We are just mounting the sockets using its heat.
Next step is optional and specific to ANAVI Macro Pad 8. The maker kit includes a WS2812B addressable LED strip which should be soldered on the back of side of the keyboard. Please note the arrows that indicate the direction of the LED strip and make sure you are placing it properly as shown in the video.
Cut the legs of the 3mm LEDs to make sure they will fit well in the hot-swappable holtite sockets that we have already mounted.
Assemble the switches, LEDs and key caps. Once you are done with step 1 this is easy because you already have a hot-swappable printed circuit board for your mechanical keyboard.
Note: Mounting the holtite sockets looks easier than it is. It took me some time to do it for each switch and LED. Each key has 2 holes for the switch and 2 holes for the LED, so basically you need 4 sockets with the appropriate sizes for each key.
Huge thanks to Iain Shigeoka who proposed the idea of supporting hot-swapping of the mechanical switches shortly after the start of the crowdfunding campaign.
The hot-swap feature is fun. If you need it and have the skills for this upgrade order the ANAVI Macro Pad 8 Maker Kit. Alternatively, if you are just looking for an easy solution that works out of the box and you can assemble it with your bare hands order the ANAVI Macro Pad 8 Developer Kit, which comes fully soldered.
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