How Keyboard PCBs Work (Printed Circuit Boards) – An Expert Guide

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t think much about keyboard PCBs. After all, they’re just small, rectangular pieces of plastic that get plugged into the keyboards we use every day. But keyboard PCBs are actually quite important – they’re responsible for everything from the keys themselves to the ports that let you plug in your devices. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what keyboard PCBs are and how they work. We’ll also highlight some of the key challenges that designers face when creating them, and offer some tips on how to overcome them.

How Keyboard PCBs Work (Printed Circuit Boards)?

What is a keyboard PCB?

A printed circuit board (PCB) is basically any flat piece of material that has electrical traces on it. The terms “chassis” and “motherboard” refer to the actual housing used for electronic devices, whereas PCBs are components specific to electronic equipment like keyboards or mobile phones. Traditionally, PCs were housed inside fabric-padded enclosures which had card slots at the front allowing the use of external expansion cards. These days, most PCBs are built into the chassis itself and all you see is a collection of ports, power connectors, and other features that let you connect various devices to your computer.

A keyboard PCB design is a small, rectangular piece of plastic that plugs into the back of your keyboard. It contains all the components necessary to operate your keyboard – from the switches that make up the keys themselves to the ports that allow you to plug-in devices like mice and keyboards.
The following figure illustrates how a typical keyboard PCB functions. It highlights some of the main components, as well as their connections to both internal and external systems:

Keyboard (Printed circuit board) PCBs are typically 3″ x 5.” (75x125mm) or similar in size, although they can vary greatly based on layouts – such as different connectors used for USB ports and mouses with varying shapes. The nice thing is that even if your own keyboard cables measure differently than we’ve illustrated, you can often maximize your space by reusing old cables or rolling a cable out to fit.
Every keyboard PCB is little more than a collection of parts assembled together into one piece of plastic – usually most efficiently via automated machines. That’s why they’re so inexpensive: You’re buying the complete board assembly in low-cost packaging rather than individual components that must be ordered and paid for individually. Keyboard manufacturers use these boards to customize keyboards for every possible feature and configuration. One manufacturer, Tai Sam Set Design (TSSD), is known particularly for adding in all sorts of extra keys, from arrow keys or the aforementioned media controls to buttons that trigger macros using your PC’s clipboard.

While keyboard PCBs aren’t designed only for customizing keyboards – the first type we covered way back on day one was a control panel – they can have special uses as well. One very clever use is to dispense with the typical channeled keyboard layout in favor of an all “Asian” mode, centered around directional arrow keys customized for proper Chinese/Japanese control. That’s actually a brilliant idea if you think about it.

While these “special” setups from TSSD are typically not made available via keycaps patterned after whatever language was being represented on the board itself, there’s no reason why any sort of custom keycap set couldn’t be made for these modes.

What do keyboard PCBs do?

Keyboard PCBs have a range of important functions – from the keys themselves to the ports that allow you to connect keyboards, mice, and other peripherals. The main job of a keyboard PCB is to provide power to the keys and other components, while also providing a means of connecting these components to the computer. In addition, keyboard PCBs are responsible for controlling the overall behavior of the keys – from how they respond to keypresses to how they emit light.

Why are they important?

The key functions of a Keyboard PCB include: Creating the key contacts that make up the keys themselves. Providing power to the switches and other components on the board. Make sure all of the ports on your keyboard are accessible – including those that allow you to plug-in devices like mice and keyboards. Typing on a keyboard is really about clicking these key contacts together, so it’s important that everything on your PCB works correctly in order for this to happen smoothly. If there’s any kind of problem with your PCB, it’ll likely affect the typing performance of your keyboard.

Where to Buy Custom Keyboard PCB

If you’re looking to buy a PCB for a Mechanical Keyboard, be sure to look for one that is made by an experienced manufacturer. There are many places on the internet where you can purchase PCBs, but it’s important to make sure that you choose a provider who has experience with building Mechanical Keyboards.

Some popular places where people buy PCBs include eBay and Amazon.

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What is a PCB in Mechanical Keyboards?

A PCB in a Mechanical Keyboard is very similar to a PCB found in an ordinary keyboard. The main difference is that, instead of containing the electrical wiring for switches and other key components, Mechanical Keyboards’ PCBs contain microswitches and sensors which send signals to your computer when you hit a key.

How do they work?

Your Computer reads the switch from the board and sends this information along with any other relevant data (like the key you hit) to the Keyboard software. This software then translates this information into a digital code that can be used by your computer to control what Keys on your keyboard are lit up.

What are the Features of a PCB?

Some of the features that a PCB in a Mechanical Keyboard may have include:

1: Microswitches and sensors which send signals to your computer when you hit a key.
2: Creating the key contacts that make up the keys themselves.
3: Providing power to the switches and other components on the board.
4: Providing space for all of the necessary electronic components.
5: Having a layout that is compatible with Mechanical Keyboards.

Can You Make Your Own PCB?

Yes, you can definitely make your own PCB. However, if you’re not experienced in electronics engineering and don’t have access to the necessary equipment, it’s probably a better idea to get a professional PCB maker to do the job for you.

How to Build Your Own Keyboard PCB?

There is no one definitive way to build your own PCB, as it depends on the specific skills and equipment that you have. However, if you’re interested in trying to build your own PCB, there are a few resources available online which can help you get started.

One example of a website that offers tutorials on how to build your own PCBs is This website offers step-by-step videos which guide you through the process of creating your own PCBs from scratch.

If you’re not interested in building your own PCB, there are also many professional PCB makers who can do the job for you at a fraction of the cost. Contact them directly to find out more.


Building your own PCB is a relatively easy task that can be completed by anyone with some basic electronics engineering skills. However, it’s important to remember that if you’re not experienced in this area, it’s probably best to get a professional PCB maker to help you out.