Rackmount keyboard with simplified Alps clones: what to do with it?

Hello everyone,
I have managed to get this keyboard for free, but I can not decide what to do with it. Does it worth any efforts? This is unbranded rackmount keyboard with touchpad. PS/2 interface. The only label on it says 'Made in Taiwan'.
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Switches are simplified Alps clones (there is no 'Alps' logo, only '5' and 'G'): white on most of the keys except Caps/Num/Scroll Locks which have green linear switches with LEDs.
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Switches feel terribly, they are very scratchy, especially when pressed off-center. I have read that simplified Alps are vulnerable to dust, but do not know if cleaning (desolderingn, full disassembly, ultrasonic bath, lube) can signinificantly improve them. So there are some variants:
  • Do nothing, offer this keyboard as giveaway.
  • Take off the keycaps for a possible future project. Nothing special here. They look like ABS with printing (not dye-subbed).
  • Make 60% keyboard out of it. I could desolder the switches, cut the steel plate and do hand-wiring. It will be relatively cheap ($20 for Teensy 2.0 and diodes, another $20 for acrilyc case — I have an access to cheap laser cutting service), but result is going to be ugly: empty space in bottom right corner if I use original plate, and shitty switches. I could replace them with Taihao APC switches, but they worth $0.42 on Aliexpress.
Any other ideas?
Quartz64
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Unread post13 Feb 2018, 08:43

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Quartz64
 
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Does it have the kit to mount it in a rack with it? If so i would be very interested in buying it.

Our KVM in work as THE WORST scissor switches you can possibly imagine and it does my head in.
andrewjoy

Unread post13 Feb 2018, 11:56

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Does it have the kit to mount it in a rack with it? If so i would be very interested in buying it.

It has a detachable tray with ball bearing rails. I could send it for the cost of shipping, but it will be $30–50 to UK. This kit is quite heavy, will post the photo of it soon. I also need to test both keyboard and touchpad.
Quartz64
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Unread post13 Feb 2018, 12:08

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Quartz64
 
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that's a great find. And it is clicky too! You are lucky. Why not use it?
green-squid
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Unread post13 Feb 2018, 13:28

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green-squid
 
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Why not use it?

Those switches feel horrible, they are scratchy as hell. Blue Gaterons and IBM/Unicomp BS are 10 times better.
P.S. It turned out that my colleague has exactly the same keyboard with 'Svec' logo on it. He use it from time to time for testing old servers.
Quartz64
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Unread post13 Feb 2018, 14:22

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Quartz64
 
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Quartz64 wrote:
Why not use it?

Those switches feel horrible, they are scratchy as hell. Blue Gaterons and IBM/Unicomp BS are 10 times better.
P.S. It turned out that my colleague has exactly the same keyboard with 'Svec' logo on it. He use it from time to time for testing old servers.

That's a shame man
green-squid
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Unread post13 Feb 2018, 14:53

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green-squid
 
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I have that same board actually. I was going to finagle one of these [1] inside the case and use it as a wireless keyboard/mouse for my livingroom Raspberry Pi hooked up to my TV. Kind of a fun novelty item that guests might get a kick out of. If only it didn't take up so much room on the coffee table...

[1] http://handheldsci.com/kb
snacksthecat
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Unread post13 Feb 2018, 16:23

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I used to have one of these. The switches were horrible so I replaced them with Matias switches. The trackpad was made by Alps and the rest of the board was made by some company named Acme. The official model number is the Acme KB-108 which can be found on the PCB. When I say the switches were horrible, what I really mean is, they are the worst switches I have EVER used. It looks like you have the newer version, so maybe an updated model number (i.e. KB-108-2 instead of KB-108-1).

Here are some photos that I have for anyone interested.

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Blaise170
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ALPS キーボード

Unread post13 Feb 2018, 16:53

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Blaise170
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I plan to put some better switches in mine, get rid of the touchpad and make a new case for it.
2ter
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Unread post15 Feb 2018, 15:20

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2ter
 
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If you are not a fan, I would certainly buy it off you for a reasonable price.
ruskie

Unread post15 Feb 2018, 18:41

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Blaise170, thanks for the information. The only place where I can buy Matias switches is their online store, but it's $50 (+shipping) for 200 pcs, I don't need that much (I could have used the excess for another DIY project, but limited choise of Alps mount keycaps repels me). Plus new case and and USB convertion. Most likely I am going to give it away.
ruskie wrote:If you are not a fan, I would certainly buy it off you for a reasonable price.

I expect that shipping cost to US from Russia will be no less than $50. That KB does not worth it, IMHO, since I am sure that much better alternative can be found locally. If you are still interested, PM me.
Quartz64
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Unread post16 Feb 2018, 09:35

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