Is there any way to completely fix the sound of clicky Alps?

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Karmel

19 Sep 2021, 01:44

I recently got a Chicony 5161 with "pine" white Alps, although despite how good of a condition the keyboard appears to be in, the switches must have had something sitting on them or they've been heavily used. A lot of the keys have a very loud double click that overpowers the rest of the sound and makes the keyboard overall sound a lot worse.

From what I can see, the reason as to why they are clicking so loud on the upstroke is because the teeth on the leafs slam back into position a little too hard when normally they just go back into position as fast as the slider goes past them. Strangely the teeth on switches that have the issue and ones that don't look exactly the same and have the same angle, and it still happens no matter what angle the leaf is at, which makes it harder to know what is causing the leaf to move forward so fast.

I've tried bending the leafs in different ways and it worked a few times but most of the time it did absolutely nothing or just made the problem worse. I could probably just mess around with the keyboard until I find a way or I could just leave it the way it is, but I wanted to know if anyone has a good method of fixing them.

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Thorogrimm

19 Sep 2021, 04:34

There is a somewhat commonly known fix amongst the community called the 'paper mod' where you cut a small square of paper, just under 1cm and insert it behind the click leaf. This seems to completely eliminate the click on the upstroke by filling that small void between the leaf and the housing.

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Karmel

19 Sep 2021, 05:00

I have that done on my m0115 but I've never tried it on clicky Alps, ig I'll see what happens.

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Karmel

19 Sep 2021, 05:09

I just tried using paper on them, even at different heights it just muffles or completely silences the click, downstroke and upstroke.

Findecanor

19 Sep 2021, 06:12

I think I have a vague recollection of it happening if the slider is in the wrong orientation, but I'm not sure.
I'm not an Alps expert.

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hellothere

20 Sep 2021, 20:38

Karmel wrote:
19 Sep 2021, 05:09
I just tried using paper on them, even at different heights it just muffles or completely silences the click, downstroke and upstroke.
That has been my experience on clicky switches, as well. Works very well on tactile -- well, on the salmon Alps switches I was testing on, at least.

Just as a suggestion, you might want to try a few switches without the click leaf and see if it's still clicking. That'd eliminate the click leaf as the culprit (although it probably is).

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Polecat

23 Sep 2021, 05:48

I bought a NeXT keyboard a few years back, and about half the black Alps switches clicked on the upstroke. Those are tactile switches, so they shouldn't click at all. I didn't bother trying to fix them, because black Alps are at the very bottom of my list, but I'm fairly certain that nobody had messed with those switches. I've had white Alps do the same thing, but again I haven't tried to fix them. Opening up Alps switches just isn't my thing. That probably isn't any help, other than to confirm any suspicions that clicky and tactile Alps switches can indeed get that way on their own.

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Muirium
µ

23 Sep 2021, 10:19

Polecat wrote:
23 Sep 2021, 05:48
…other than to confirm any suspicions that clicky and tactile Alps switches can indeed get that way on their own.
With use, I think. I’ve had my hands on 4 or 5 new old stock black Alps NeXT boards, and all of them were fine. The one still in my possession is the best feeling black Alps I’ve ever had, and easily the best looking Alps board of all time. :D

thousandperfume

23 Sep 2021, 17:26

The upstroke click on clicky alps stems from the bottom tabs of the leaf spring having too much play with the top housing. I used tape to cover ONLY the bottom side of the leaf (as not to silence the click) so that it doesn't move, and I managed to fix it. If it messes up with the sound, try repositioning the tape to have as minimal interference as possible.

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andreas

23 Sep 2021, 20:58

thousandperfume wrote:
23 Sep 2021, 17:26
The upstroke click on clicky alps stems from the bottom tabs of the leaf spring having too much play with the top housing. I used tape to cover ONLY the bottom side of the leaf (as not to silence the click) so that it doesn't move, and I managed to fix it. If it messes up with the sound, try repositioning the tape to have as minimal interference as possible.
Good insight. Do you have a photo by any chance? I'm currenlty restoring Creams from an AEKII to move to my Planck.

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Karmel

02 Oct 2021, 18:37

thousandperfume wrote:
23 Sep 2021, 17:26
The upstroke click on clicky alps stems from the bottom tabs of the leaf spring having too much play with the top housing. I used tape to cover ONLY the bottom side of the leaf (as not to silence the click) so that it doesn't move, and I managed to fix it. If it messes up with the sound, try repositioning the tape to have as minimal interference as possible.
I think I found a way similar to this just now. I don't know if it works long term but bending the tabs at the bottom of the leaf outwards can fix the upstroke click, but you have to be careful doing so.

If you bend the tabs too little the issue will not be fixed and if you bend them too much the switch will stop clicking entirely and just become tactile. But you don't really have to worry as you can always just take the switch apart again and adjust them. I experimented with a few switches on my 5161 and managed to get a few perfect.

I genuinely have no idea why this works though, as I always thought the double click was caused by the teeth on the front of the leaf slamming forward too hard on the upstroke, as that is what I could observe when looking at the bottom of some Acer switches which had the same issue. I guess click leafs are just confusing in general as to how they work, as my NEC blue oval switches all double click and consistently, but it's a good sound and not high pitched.

SK-8K

02 Oct 2021, 23:29

For tactile alps switches, what about putting grease on the back of the tactile leaf? It may be easier than the tape mod.

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Karmel

03 Oct 2021, 01:02

SK-8K wrote:
02 Oct 2021, 23:29
For tactile alps switches, what about putting grease on the back of the tactile leaf? It may be easier than the tape mod.
For me medium thick paper or tape works just fine and isn't hard at all after the first few switches you do it to. I feel like grease would eventually displace and mess with other parts of the switch, if it would even work in the first place.

thousandperfume

05 Oct 2021, 02:12

Karmel wrote:
02 Oct 2021, 18:37
thousandperfume wrote:
23 Sep 2021, 17:26
The upstroke click on clicky alps stems from the bottom tabs of the leaf spring having too much play with the top housing. I used tape to cover ONLY the bottom side of the leaf (as not to silence the click) so that it doesn't move, and I managed to fix it. If it messes up with the sound, try repositioning the tape to have as minimal interference as possible.
I think I found a way similar to this just now. I don't know if it works long term but bending the tabs at the bottom of the leaf outwards can fix the upstroke click, but you have to be careful doing so.

If you bend the tabs too little the issue will not be fixed and if you bend them too much the switch will stop clicking entirely and just become tactile. But you don't really have to worry as you can always just take the switch apart again and adjust them. I experimented with a few switches on my 5161 and managed to get a few perfect.

I genuinely have no idea why this works though, as I always thought the double click was caused by the teeth on the front of the leaf slamming forward too hard on the upstroke, as that is what I could observe when looking at the bottom of some Acer switches which had the same issue. I guess click leafs are just confusing in general as to how they work, as my NEC blue oval switches all double click and consistently, but it's a good sound and not high pitched.
If I got the idea behind what you did properly, repositioning the tabs can probably help stabilize the leaf spring bottom from not moving on the upstroke. The idea is the same with the paper/tape mod , and the softer surface adds a bit of dampening as well.

I'm (pretty sure) it's actually the flat surface behind the teeth slamming too hard on the top housing after you go up the switchplate. The teeth should help stabilize it from moving too much, but over time they probably get warped and don't do it properly. The teeth slamming forward should happen during the downstroke if my brain is imagining how the click works correctly. It would explain why putting tape on the back side of the click leaf manages to get rid of the upstroke click, it wouldn't be able to do that if it was the teeth creating the upstroke sound.

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