Cherry turns to black to revive the Nixie switch

A new edition of the Nixie switch, first produced in the 1980s by Nixdorf Computer, has been announced by Cherry MX. The MX Black Clear-Top is available in two  variants, one with high performance lubricant and one without pre-lubrication.

The original Nixie was a variant of the classic MX Black switch which had an opaque upper part housing, an actuating force from 60 to 63.5 centinewtons and a diode integrated into the switch for n-key rollover (NKRO). The switch was used in keyboards on minicomputers, servers or terminals. The MX Black Clear-Top, is a relaunch of the switch design which still has its characteristic “milky” top housing, a black bottom housing and a black stem. The linear switching characteristic features an actuation force of 63.5 centinewtons, a pre-travel of 2mm and a total travel of 4mm. It also has a gold coloured, stainless steel spring.

The MX Black Clear-Top is suitable for retro fans, frequent typists, gamers, and users who value a linear, direct switching characteristic paired with decent acoustics, said Cherry MX.

It is offered as a five-pin version with fixing pins for the PCB. The version with lubricant at selected points which is applied with precision using an automated process, ensures even lower-friction actuation with optimised acoustics without negatively affecting the typing feel or lifetime of the switch, assured Cherry MX. The lubricant corresponds to Krytox GPL 205 Grade 0, which is claimed to guarantee reliable long term lubrication.

The Cherry MX Black Clear-Top version without factory-applied lubricant is intended to give enthusiasts maximum freedom in customisation and the opportunity to modify the switches according to preferences

The Cherry MX Black Clear-Top also features the Gold Crosspoint contact system for reliable, precise key inputs. As a result, the maximum number of actuations for the MX Black Clear-Top is guaranteed to be well over 50 million – without any loss of input quality. The Gold Crosspoint system is characterised by a thick gold layer on the two contacts, which are robustly and securely connected to the carrier plates by a high-precision welding process. With the particular bending radii, a bounce time of typically less than one millisecond is also guaranteed, resulting in the fastest response times.

The Cherry MX Black Clear-Top is expected to be available from all official distributors worldwide from the beginning of 2023.

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