Alps Appreciation

User avatar
swampangel

13 Jan 2020, 22:45

anmq91 wrote:
13 Jan 2020, 17:34
Just out of interest, does anybody game on their Alps keyboards as well? Or would it wear out the switches way too fast?
Keyboards are meant to be used; don't hold back :) There's no way the wear and tear I put on my keyboards even comes close to what happens in a data entry or educational setting, and boards last for decades in those environments.

User avatar
abrahamstechnology

13 Jan 2020, 23:30

I game and do homework on my Yellow Alps 60% keyboard. It goes in my backpack everywhere.
Some of the slits have broken off from multiple falls, I use it pretty heavily but it works.

anmq91

14 Jan 2020, 12:12

Oh that's cool to hear. I always wrapped up and packed away my alps board the second that i stopped using them in the fear that a single spec of dust was all that was needed to kill them! XD I guess i'll start using them a little more heavily now :mrgreen:

ntv242

14 Jan 2020, 12:36

Not using the sh*t our of your keyboard is like not having sex with your girlfriend so she'll be more desirable to her next boyfriend
- Me stealing a Ferrari collector quote, 2020 -

User avatar
ppCircle

14 Jan 2020, 15:29

anmq91 wrote:
14 Jan 2020, 12:12
Oh that's cool to hear. I always wrapped up and packed away my alps board the second that i stopped using them in the fear that a single spec of dust was all that was needed to kill them! XD I guess i'll start using them a little more heavily now :mrgreen:
I play a lot on my Blue and Brown alps keyboards and i didn't notice any damage, change in feel and sound. ;)

andrewjoy

14 Jan 2020, 17:17

anmq91 wrote:
13 Jan 2020, 17:34
Just out of interest, does anybody game on their Alps keyboards as well? Or would it wear out the switches way too fast?
It will be fine! IMO alps are not fragile , they just wear super fast if used dirty.

And anyway, keyboards are built to be used, dont be like them car collectors who wrap there cars in plastic in a heated storeroom. Get them things out on track, make some noise and turn some tyres into smoke!

There is nothing worse than a keyboard in a box or a car locked away.

User avatar
abrahamstechnology

14 Jan 2020, 19:28

Does anyone know, if Brown ALPS tactile leaves fit in other ALPS housings?

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zrrion

14 Jan 2020, 19:39

I don't believe so, I think they are slightly too thick. I can check later today though.

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abrahamstechnology

14 Jan 2020, 20:03

Theoretically, could they fit if you cut down/made a smaller plastic piece?

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E3E

14 Jan 2020, 20:24

abrahamstechnology wrote:
14 Jan 2020, 19:28
Does anyone know, if Brown ALPS tactile leaves fit in other ALPS housings?
They do not, and if you shave the standard top housing to accommodate, or shave the dummy switchplate down, it's likely going to be inconsistent and not worth the trouble.

You'd need a jig for it to be repeatable, and even then, I think it'd be a hassle.

SKCM Green leaves can fit standard housings, but those aren't plentiful. There isn't much reason to swap them anyway.

User avatar
Blaise170
ALPS キーボード

14 Jan 2020, 20:25

4 years later and this thread is still going strong - awesome. :)

NeK

15 Jan 2020, 02:24

I have a silly idea. I think an important thing that is missing is to construct a standard evaluation guide/instructions on how to determine the condition of various ALPS switches in a rough way. I know it would be hard but I am sure it is not impossible.

This would certainly help many people by providing a standard way to classify the switches so if someone says it is a 5/10 we all have a general idea what that means. And also would give the opportunity for those that only have one ALPS board to find out how good it is without needing a comparison keyboard.

We can define objective tests like for instance, if the keys are binding would place them at 4/10 or if they are scratchy a 5/10. Lower scores would mean that they have functioning flaws: chattering, ghosting and up to not working at all (that would probably land it at 1/10)

Anyone has any ideas how this could be done?

User avatar
Polecat

15 Jan 2020, 07:01

NeK wrote:
15 Jan 2020, 02:24
I have a silly idea. I think an important thing that is missing is to construct a standard evaluation guide/instructions on how to determine the condition of various ALPS switches in a rough way. I know it would be hard but I am sure it is not impossible.

This would certainly help many people by providing a standard way to classify the switches so if someone says it is a 5/10 we all have a general idea what that means. And also would give the opportunity for those that only have one ALPS board to find out how good it is without needing a comparison keyboard.

We can define objective tests like for instance, if the keys are binding would place them at 4/10 or if they are scratchy a 5/10. Lower scores would mean that they have functioning flaws: chattering, ghosting and up to not working at all (that would probably land it at 1/10)

Anyone has any ideas how this could be done?
That would be difficult even if all Alps switches were created equal, which they definitely were not. I'm not trying to be negative, but it seems to me this would always be a subjective thing.

NeK

15 Jan 2020, 16:06

Polecat wrote:
15 Jan 2020, 07:01
That would be difficult even if all Alps switches were created equal, which they definitely were not. I'm not trying to be negative, but it seems to me this would always be a subjective thing.
I was talking about finding some objective measures and avoiding the subjectives one. For instance, key binding is an objective measurement because if you press it off center it gets stuck, there's no subjectivity here. Also objective is the fact that a key-switch either works, or has issues like chattering, registers only sometimes or flat out does not register at all. I have no doubt that these are objective facts and they do not have any room for subjectivity, don't you agree?

Then we can easily create a rank based on those. As an example, lets say that a board with NOS switches in pristine condition would get a Grade A+. Grade A would be a board that all its keys work well, has no binding in any key and it is very clean from dust and dirt inside out (including the switches). If however a board has one or a few keys that are binding lightly, then it will fall into the Grade B. If it has many (more than say 5) switches which bind horribly, then it would be a Grade C. And finally if a board has a key that is not working at all or has chatter, or register problems or other functioning issues then it would make it a Grade D.

I feel that we can do that and maybe, just maybe, find other objective measures for the smoothness too.

User avatar
JP!

18 Jan 2020, 19:36

We need some more SKCC love in here.

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User avatar
mcmaxmcmc

19 Jan 2020, 02:13

JP! wrote:
18 Jan 2020, 19:36
We need some more SKCC love in here.


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So YOU were the one who got that board! Very nice!

User avatar
mcmaxmcmc

19 Jan 2020, 05:32

My dream has came true, after many missed encounters and whatever how long I've been searching for this...

A C.itoh keycap set!

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I'm currently using it in my Omnikey 101, my daily driver, to test the profile of the caps -- it's pretty darn nice! Definitely worth it for the price I got it for. :D

Image

C.itoh is bae. :D
Last edited by mcmaxmcmc on 20 Jan 2020, 08:59, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
fohat
Elder Messenger

19 Jan 2020, 14:54

I nave had several Omnikey 101s, and never seen those arrow caps.

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E3E

19 Jan 2020, 15:35

fohat wrote:
19 Jan 2020, 14:54
I nave had several Omnikey 101s, and never seen those arrow caps.
If you look a bit closer, you'll see that the keycaps have been swapped in places.

They are C.Itoh spherical dyesubs.

ntv242

19 Jan 2020, 17:13

Wow, those caps are gorgeous, good one man!

4sStylZ

27 Jan 2020, 15:25

I there,

I have done some mods to test frankenstein alps recently because I have a lot of orange tactile and white dampened tactile, all of those from Apple Standard / Extended keyboards.

Those switchs was in variable bad condition and I have ultrasonic cleaned them + krytox lubed.

What I have done : 
  • Linear white dampened with 55cN springs. (Opposed leaf removed). 100% of the switch are working.
  • Linear orange (Opposed leaf removed).
  • White bottom housing + White slider + orange internals to make a sort of orange dampened.
  • Orange bottom housing + Orange slider + white internals to make a white undampened.
I get some issues : 

- I get issue with the two last one wich are tactiles : 10% of the switchs ping / click. I search tips to deal with it.
- For the orange linear : I get 10% switch who don’t actuate after lubbing them. I test them with a multimeter. Even while reinserting the leaf I don’t know why they don’t actuate. When I disassemble them, I can push the contact leaf and they actuate. But with a slider / spring : no actuation.

Also I am searching some feedback about the clicky mod vs original Blue Alps. I have done this mode on Dampened white just to test but I would know if someone have compared Orange clicky mod (with the modified opposite leaf) vs origimal blue. Is the clicky blue better ?

That’s something that I cannot test myself since folding the leaf break them sometimes, so it cannot be reversed, also I don’t have blue to compare.

orihalcon

27 Jan 2020, 17:55

Those C. Itoh caps are beautiful! Though I somehow expected them to look "more?" spherical. They look almost flat? I'm sure it's something that needs to be experienced in person regardless. Would love a set for myself someday :D

treeleaf64

27 Jan 2020, 20:29

orihalcon wrote:
27 Jan 2020, 17:55
Those C. Itoh caps are beautiful! Though I somehow expected them to look "more?" spherical. They look almost flat? I'm sure it's something that needs to be experienced in person regardless. Would love a set for myself someday :D
Wow, the legend himself appears. Never seen a comment by you before, it is very exciting.
I love those keycaps, they remind me of TaiHao cubic profile, but a little different as well.

User avatar
E3E

27 Jan 2020, 20:50

orihalcon wrote:
27 Jan 2020, 17:55
Those C. Itoh caps are beautiful! Though I somehow expected them to look "more?" spherical. They look almost flat? I'm sure it's something that needs to be experienced in person regardless. Would love a set for myself someday :D
They are very subtle, a bit like SA in terms of top scooping, but a bit nicer for sure. There is definitely a scoop though, thankfully. They aren't totally flat like MSX profile caps.



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User avatar
abrahamstechnology

28 Jan 2020, 17:33

4sStylZ wrote:
27 Jan 2020, 15:25
I there,

I have done some mods to test frankenstein alps recently because I have a lot of orange tactile and white dampened tactile, all of those from Apple Standard / Extended keyboards.

Those switchs was in variable bad condition and I have ultrasonic cleaned them + krytox lubed.

What I have done : 
  • Linear white dampened with 55cN springs. (Opposed leaf removed). 100% of the switch are working.
  • Linear orange (Opposed leaf removed).
  • White bottom housing + White slider + orange internals to make a sort of orange dampened.
  • Orange bottom housing + Orange slider + white internals to make a white undampened.
I get some issues : 

- I get issue with the two last one wich are tactiles : 10% of the switchs ping / click. I search tips to deal with it.
- For the orange linear : I get 10% switch who don’t actuate after lubbing them. I test them with a multimeter. Even while reinserting the leaf I don’t know why they don’t actuate. When I disassemble them, I can push the contact leaf and they actuate. But with a slider / spring : no actuation.

Also I am searching some feedback about the clicky mod vs original Blue Alps. I have done this mode on Dampened white just to test but I would know if someone have compared Orange clicky mod (with the modified opposite leaf) vs origimal blue. Is the clicky blue better ?

That’s something that I cannot test myself since folding the leaf break them sometimes, so it cannot be reversed, also I don’t have blue to compare.
Clicky Alps have an additional embossed area that hits the housing before the rest of the leaf, so they don't sound the same.

User avatar
E3E

28 Jan 2020, 22:29

I remembered that XMIT did an excellent comparison of spherical profile scooping depths in the past, so I had to dig that post up:

viewtopic.php?f=7&t=10805&p=339104&hili ... al#p339104
So, I got out my calipers, and measured a bunch of spherical key caps to see how deep they are in the middle, with a subjective comment:

IBM Selectric (love) - 1.15 mm
Micro Switch Hall Effect (love) - 1.21mm
[C.Itoh] Alps PBT Spherical Dyesub (rather like) - 0.83mm
[C.Itoh] Alps PBT Spherical Dyesub Homing (rather like) - 1.25mm
Xerox 820 (like, very similar to SA) - 0.93mm
Signature Plastics DSA (like) - 0.90mm
Signature Plastics DSA Homing (like) - 1.10mm
Signature Plastics SA (don't like - too shallow) - 0.84mm
Signature Plastics SA Homing (don't like - too aggressive) - 1.61mm
Topre Realforce HiPro (don't like - good depth but odd indentation profile) - 1.08mm
Topre Realforce HiPro Homing (don't like - too deep and odd indentation profile) - 1.62mm
Going by this post, I think he'd probably love the IBM Multistation doubleshot spherical profile Alps caps. They're somewhat close to beamspring, but have a wider top area.

The small top area of beamspring caps (and Alps SKCC spherical caps) is something that is a negative for me, which is why they're not favorites of mine.

I also don't believe that sphericals necessarily be stupid tall to be nice either. SA and Topre HiPro are ridiculous there. I believe some SKCC profiles are a little crazy too.

User avatar
XMIT
[ XMIT ]

29 Jan 2020, 02:24

E3E wrote:
28 Jan 2020, 22:29
Going by this post, I think he'd probably love the IBM Multistation doubleshot spherical profile Alps caps. They're somewhat close to beamspring, but have a wider top area.
I bet I would! Do you have some to send to me? I've not had any luck finding these. :evilgeek:

I really like DSS.

Signature Plastics DSS 'E' (like) - 0.66mm
Signature Plastics DSS Homing 'F' (like) - 1.30mm

The key tops are decidedly NOT flat, I measured across a diagonal.

NeK

29 Jan 2020, 07:48

I have a question that's being bugging me for a good while now and I can't find a clear answer anywhere that I looked. How are NOS early (pine) ALPS switches supposed to feel like? Blue, White pines, Orange/Salmon etc. Can you describe them please?

Up until now, I happen to have 2 ALPS boards, one with Blue and one with White pine switches and they have some friction in their travel, besides the tactility of the click leaf that you can feel while pressing them off-centre and it feels somewhat viscous.

Take note that I am only talking about off-center presses. The on-center presses are smooth and I will just ignore them for this post.

I'll try to describe what I mean by viscous: think of how it feels when you slide something on a piece of gum. It will be smooth (no scratchiness) but it will be "sticky" (of course it is nowhere near as strong as a gum's, so please don't hang on to this metaphor). The feel of the friction is like that, except that is just a tiny little bit.

For comparison I have a Matias Tactile Pro 4 that has new Matias Clicky switches and besides the click tactility they have no other friction that I can feel. I can describe them as having a gradual "strong" resistance up until the click and after that they are suddenly buttery smooth and very light until the bottom. I can't feel any scratchiness or any other kind of friction at that point on. Furthermore I have a Matias switch tester and it is the same for their 'Quiet click' and 'Linear' switches too. Also the same goes for MX switches, which are common and familiar to most, besides their click/tactile bump they otherwise have extremely smooth travel until bottom, no matter what angle or position you push them at (off-centre).

So is this "stick" friction normal for ALPS? Is this how ALPS are designed to feel? Is this due to their factory lubrication gone bad after all those years and has become somewhat sticky? Or are they designed to have no friction just like the new Matias switches and/or MX (and clones)?

I can make a video to demonstrate this as much as possible if you think it would help.

Update: clarification for off centre presses
Last edited by NeK on 29 Jan 2020, 09:00, edited 1 time in total.

ollir

29 Jan 2020, 08:54

NeK wrote:
29 Jan 2020, 07:48
I have a question that's being bugging me for a good while now and I can't find a clear answer
That doesn't sound like what they're supposed to feel like. I've couple of boards with pine whites in good condition, and they are quite smooth.

Have you tried cleaning any of the switches?

NeK

29 Jan 2020, 09:05

ollir wrote:
29 Jan 2020, 08:54
NeK wrote:
29 Jan 2020, 07:48
I have a question that's being bugging me for a good while now and I can't find a clear answer
That doesn't sound like what they're supposed to feel like. I've couple of boards with pine whites in good condition, and they are quite smooth.

Have you tried cleaning any of the switches?
Just a clarification: I was only talking about off-center presses.

I did clean the white pine switches because they were in bad condition and i did experiments with them. I have managed to find a way to make them smooth (again for the off centre presses), but it involves rubbing and scratching the surface of the sliders and the top housing's sliding points. I don't know if what I did is closer to the real feel or not and that is why I ask here how they are supposed to feel.

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