Alps Appreciation

Wingklip wrote:
mike52787 wrote:Image

Got to play with this baby for a while. Thanks leon!

Are those clicky amber alps?

sure are!
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Unread post08 Aug 2017, 03:22

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I have enormous Alps appreciation for those two :)

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Unread post10 Aug 2017, 10:02

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macboarder wrote:I have enormous Alps appreciation for those two :)

Indeed, your should. Nice! :P
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Unread post10 Aug 2017, 10:14

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macboarder wrote:I have enormous Alps appreciation for those two :)


the caps look so good! I actually can't decide which look I like more (layout aside). I think the top one, actually. Both look really awesome, though!
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ALPSの日常

Unread post10 Aug 2017, 16:13

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I love the lettering on Acer caps, I wonder if they designed the font themselves or if it's something that can be obtained.
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Unread post10 Aug 2017, 16:18

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macboarder wrote:I love the lettering on Acer caps, I wonder if they designed the font themselves or if it's something that can be obtained.
I think Acer caps used Helvetica or something similar. It suits keyboards very well, regardless.

Also, really nice OmniKeys! I think you should give the cases a paint job at some point as well to complement the keysets better, there's a lot you can do with nice colour tones like those.
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Unread post10 Aug 2017, 16:52

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Chyros wrote:I think you should give the cases a paint job at some point

Indeed, they are getting painted in due time :)
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Unread post10 Aug 2017, 17:36

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macboarder wrote:
Chyros wrote:I think you should give the cases a paint job at some point

Indeed, they are getting painted in due time :)
Noice.
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Unread post10 Aug 2017, 22:24

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A question for you Alps expert! Assuming no significant wear, how do click-modded Black or Cream Damped feel compared to Whites?
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Unread post11 Aug 2017, 18:23

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click blacks feel like soft whites with a softer click , but it depends how you click mod them .

If you do what i call a stage 1 and remove just the top then they sound lighter, if you remove both top and bottom (stage2) then they are super loud but good luck getting them back in.

Click modded damped creams are..... odd , i don't like them.

You should try blacks with the click plate removed, they are no greens ( greens are so amazing and i wish i had some) but they are super light and super super smooth , they put MX red back etc to shame.

Blacks are good for modding , in original form they are pretty crap , but both the click and L mods make them feel way better than there price tag.
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Unread post14 Aug 2017, 17:08

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Swapped the Alpine Winter mods for BadWrench mods on my V60. Also replace the MX-style stab inserts (left) with whatever the ones on the right are called, from a random spare keyset I got off ebay. Massively reduced wobble, which was letting the keyboard down, much better now.

The right shift still isn't perfect as it's using a DIY stab wire, but I do plan to make another one neater and better fitting.

I love this board, the V60 might not be the best board around and the switches are Alps clones, but I've put a fair amount into this and it's just a joy to use..

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Unread post14 Aug 2017, 17:52

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Any more info on the stabilizers that came with the random keyset? Can you link the auction that they came from? Thanks!
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Unread post14 Aug 2017, 20:53

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orihalcon wrote:Any more info on the stabilizers that came with the random keyset? Can you link the auction that they came from? Thanks!

Hi, I can't get a working auction link, but I did save the photos of the keyset from the listing, which I've put on Imgur for you: http://imgur.com/a/wWTg4

I'm currently only using the alphas from that set on my Gherkin 30% board, so I was able to borrow the stab inserts for my V60. I also borrowed those angled stab wires to replace the 90 degree ones my board came with, they're the same gauge, but they seem a little bit more stable.
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Unread post14 Aug 2017, 21:12

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Got roped into helping my friend move into her PhD office, the storage closet of a closed department; property services told me any stuff we find is ours - as long as we dispose of it properly. Well worth the vacuuming and carrying a deskt two flights of stairs:

haul1.JPG


Orange SKCM Alps Standard Apple keyboard with mint switches, SKCC Tall Cream Alps IIe keyboard, 1986 Apple keyboard with SMK vintage linears, and... a working ATARI 800XL with Alps SKFL series oval slider switches. The IIe and Atari keyboards will require cleaning, but the oranges are mint. I'm super stoked, my first computer ever was a 600XL, so this is - perfect. Got a datacoder and ridiculous amounts of cables too.

Literally an Alps time capsule from the 80s.
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Unread post15 Aug 2017, 01:14

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Ah, now that's interesting — the second example of a keyboard with tall cream Alps with one or more tall black Alps switches. There's another under Apple M0110.
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Unread post15 Aug 2017, 08:14

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Daniel Beardsmore wrote:Ah, now that's interesting — the second example of a keyboard with tall cream Alps with one or more tall black Alps switches. There's another under Apple M0110.

The M0110 consolation posted seems to have at least two though. Interesting that all those SKCC are aligned vertically. Here is mine:

Apple_M0110_Alps_SKCC.jpg
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Unread post15 Aug 2017, 09:54

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Alps SKCC Cream with short white switchplates exist.
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Unread post15 Aug 2017, 18:10

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I no longer have a place here.
Well, I can see that everyone was thrilled by that. Remind me why I am even here?

SKCCBJ0001.jpg
SKCCBJ0001
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Unread post15 Aug 2017, 22:38

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Hahaha, don't get mad sometimes people overlook posts
How does this affect the ALPS timeline?
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Unread post15 Aug 2017, 22:53

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People always see what they want to see.
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Unread post15 Aug 2017, 23:00

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I no longer have a place here.
"don't get mad" :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Unread post15 Aug 2017, 23:02

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Daniel Beardsmore wrote:Remind me why I am even here?

Because you belong here. I know you go over my head a lot of the time and I'm just not at your level. Sure, I have a few keyboards but the puzzle you are trying to put together is near impossible without the data that this community needs to provide.
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Unread post15 Aug 2017, 23:25

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snuci wrote:Because you belong here.

No.
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Unread post15 Aug 2017, 23:36

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seebart wrote:
Daniel Beardsmore wrote:Ah, now that's interesting — the second example of a keyboard with tall cream Alps with one or more tall black Alps switches. There's another under Apple M0110.

The M0110 consolation posted seems to have at least two though. Interesting that all those SKCC are aligned vertically. Here is mine:

Apple_M0110_Alps_SKCC.jpg

The vertical orientation is on keyboards from the Apple 8 bit range, I think they switched to horizontal in the OG Macintosh.

I'm going to date myself horribly here, but as far as I can remember, the random black switches have always been a thing during the SKCC era. Going back to my high school days, there was an explanation commonly accepted at the time; the black ones were put in by quality control to replace bad switches when the keyboard was tested at assembly. I have no idea where this rumour originated, it was just "known..." to geeky teens. Looking at my Apple IIe, and the spare keyboard that's in the photo; the solder on the black sliders looks a slightly different shade, so maybe there's a kernel of truth there? I'd be keen to know if it's the same on other keyboards, or if my mind is playing tricks because that was my belief at 14.

*For those of you too young to remember, a "computer room" was a place where the school's computers were kept for lessons, not to do personal work on. In 1985 my high school had about a dozen various 8bit Apples (+ couple BBCs and Acorns) for a school roll of ~1k. Once a week we got an hour of "instruction," mostly playing with LOGO and BASIC. Joining the computer club got you access at lunchtime and after school, unfortunately it was disbanded when we got caught charging younger students to play games at lunchtime; 10c for 3 lives of Karateka, Montezuma's Revenge or Lode Runner. Oh, the memories...
Last edited by consolation on 16 Aug 2017, 02:32, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post16 Aug 2017, 00:42

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Never posted this but got another PB T9102 but in pieces and rebuilt it with SKCM Orange. Used some that sublegend caps and the result is gorgeous :o
Image
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It's for sale BTW, giving Cherry another try ;)
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Unread post16 Aug 2017, 01:15

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consolation wrote:I'm going to date myself horribly here, but as far as I can remember, the random black switches have always been a thing during the SKCC era. Going back to my high school days, there was an explanation commonly accepted at the time; the black ones were put in by quality control to replace bad switches when the keyboard was tested at assembly.

That would mean a separate production line of these replacement switches, which would be strange. Surely if you were concerned about QC issues affecting certain switch positions on the keyboard, you'd fit a normal switch and mark it with a pen.

I'd also expect to see these stray black switches in other brands' keyboards, such as in an IBM Pingmaster. They can't be hugely common as they've only been seen here twice so far.

What it does seem to suggest is that these are not older switches being used up. We already know that there were dark grey and/or black short switches around 1979 (found in a single Monroe calculator), but we don't know if cream and green replaced them or whether the grey/black switches were a different specification. For example it would not be implausible to have blue and white Alps in the same keyboard as they're specified identically.

It's possible that the replacements were fitted after the keyboards were received from the factory from spares of an older type more readily available.

Having date codes for all these keyboards would be a start — are they all early or late production runs, or a mixture of dates?
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Unread post16 Aug 2017, 08:29

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Daniel, was ALPS an OEM that delivered the keyboard as finished units, or did they deliver just the switches? I think the idea at the time was that Apple got the keyboards built from the manufacturer, and had to replace switches that weren't working for one reason or another. I'm not even slightly defending this theory, I honestly have no idea how it started, could be just something that we believed as teens for absolutely no reason.

Another ALPS time capsule arrived at my door today. I'm not sure if this was posted here before, if not - I will add links to the relevant wiki pages next week sometime. But, for now, I give you my future retro gaming ms-dos box the...

A 1987 Hewlett-Packard Vectra CS Portable. https://is.gd/ev87SC

VectraCSP.JPG


The hole by the floppy drives is where the battery pack goes; I'm trying to revive it atm. You can charge the battery separately as all the power management is in the module. You can also easily unclip the screen to plug it into an external monitor for EGA graphics - cool. The drawers by the screen are for storing the 3.5" diskettes.

It also comes with a combination of tactile complicated (SKCM) creams that are incredibly smooth and similar to orange alps I have; little bit more tactile, with a sharper feel. I'll look more into them when I get some free time. The function keys are linear green SKCL compacts that are ~50g. Spacebar is rather heavy, and might be a heavy cream - needs checking out.

cream and green.JPG


The keycaps are really nice with crisp maroon dye sub lettering, probably PBT, with a very unusual horizontal cylindrical profile. The front of the keys is strongly sloped, would be perfect for an ergodox. I tried to capture the profile below, I'll add a better photo later as it's rather unique.

KeysVectra.JPG


I got this for essentially the cost of shipping as it was meant to have serious display issues, so this computer was going to be a keycap and switch donor, those are mint, it must have got hardly any use before being put away for a looong time. Amazing how smooth the complicated creams are, I'm going to compare them to the 1986 oranges more closely as soon as I get some free time. However, it turns out that some connections just needed to be cleaned of oxidation and chips re-seated, for it to work flawlessly. With its cool orange plasma graphics, it deserves a better fate then being a donor: so- looks like I'm going to restore it to it's full glory for retro gaming.

PS. That weird profile keyboard is actually rather nice to type on, weird, but nice...
Last edited by consolation on 17 Aug 2017, 21:43, edited 2 times in total.
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Unread post17 Aug 2017, 03:37

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Just to offer a quick response: Alps clearly did produce full keyboards from case to caps to plates, PCBs and switches. They did work for a lot of companies. I kind of consider them the "mercenary" keyboard company for that reason. They've copied cap profiles, legends, and were very good about fine details on boards. The one you've posted exemplifies that.

I never would have expected that to have been an Alps profile, but they copied that HP profile to a tee. They've also copied ITW magnetic valve key caps as well as the profile from NEC LK201 keyboards.
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Unread post17 Aug 2017, 03:43

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consolation wrote:I think the idea at the time was that Apple got the keyboards built from the manufacturer, and had to replace switches that weren't working for one reason or another.

Would Alps make a different colour switch for sale as a replacement part?

Apple built their own keyboards in the early 80s, in the Accessory Products Division that was a buyout of [wiki]The Keyboard Company (manufacturer)[/wiki]. In 1985, Alps took over, and this became Alps Electric USA. Knowing the keyboard date, and seeing any internal labels and markings might offer a clue here. The PCBs themselves came from a third party so far as I can tell, the same PCB manufacturer that Hi-Tek used.
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Unread post17 Aug 2017, 08:16

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Do we know if they always outsourced for PCBs or is this specifically for their Apple keyboards?
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Unread post17 Aug 2017, 08:52

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