CHOC NeoKey Breakouts in action!

The only thing better than a nice mechanical key, is one that also can glow any color of the rainbow - and that's what the Adafruit NeoKey Breakouts will let you do! They make it super simple to use a mechanical keyswitch with a breadboard or perf board.

The 0.75" x 0.85" breakout can fit one Cherry MX or compatible switch.

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MX NeoKey Breakout with MX key.

The 0.75" x 0.95" breakout can fit one Kailh CHOC or compatible switch.

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CHOC NeoKey breakout with CHOC keyswitch.
The MX and CHOC breakout PCBs are not the same size! The CHOC breakout is 0.1" (one breadboard row) taller.

This breakout has a Kailh MX-compatible socket, which means you can plug in any MX-compatible switch instead of soldering it in. 

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MX NeoKey Breakout, socket-side up.
CHOC keyswitches are not compatible with MX sockets!

This breakout has a Kailh CHOC socket, which means you can plug in any CHOC-compatible switch instead of soldering it in.

adafruit_products_CHOC_top.jpg
CHOC NeoKey breakout, socket-side up.
MX keyswitches are not compatible with CHOC sockets!

You may need a little glue to keep the switch in place; hot glue or a dot of epoxy worked fine for us. We also place a 1N4148 signal diode in series with the switch, so you can create key-grid matrices without worrying about ghosted keys.

adafruit_products_CHOC_back.jpg
CHOC NeoKey breakout.

Each breakout also has a single reverse-mount NeoPixel pointing up through the spot where many switches would have an LED to shine through. The input and output of the pixel are broken out so you can 'chain' these boards together and control them as one NeoPixel strand.

adafruit_products_MX_top_angle.jpg
MX NeoKey Breakout.

There's plenty of flexibility for any kind of use; each board has the following pin out:

  • VDD (+) The power pin for the NeoPixel; provide 3 to 5VDC
  • GND (-) The ground power pin for the NeoPixel, connect to ground
  • In (I) and Out (O) The input and output to/from the NeoPixel, for chaining
  • Switch Anode (A) - The 'positive' side of the switch+diode. If you're using the switch with a pull-up resistor, connect this pin to your microcontroller. If you're using a pull-down, connect this pin to your logic level power pin.
  • Switch Cathode (C) - The 'negative' side of the switch+diode. If you're using the switch with a pull-up resistor, connect this pin to ground. If you're using a pull-down, connect this pin to your microcontroller.
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CHOC NeoKey breakout with header strip.

There're two rows of 5-pin contacts on a 0.1" grid on both sides. Solder in both sides for mechanical stability; the two sides share the same pins except for one side is NeoPixel in and the opposite side has the out pin. For side-by-side wiring, we also have the cathode pin broken out on the sides, and another set of NeoPixel In/Out pins.

Please note, each order comes with one assembled PCB and a small stick of break-off header. Soldering is required to attach the header for breadboard use. A mechanical switch and key cap are not included!

MX NeoKey Breakouts in action!

This guide was first published on Jun 13, 2023. It was last updated on Jul 24, 2024.

This page (Overview) was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

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