Alps Appreciation

User avatar
bsdice

04 Jul 2020, 10:28

Two further notes concerning my attempts at switch repair:

1) Left cursor key was pinging like crazy. Sounded like "pliiing" after every up stroke. Removed top housing, put tiniest bit of "GPL-205 G0" on bottom and top of spring with brush, also put tiniest bit of same on tactile leaf /backside/ (facing away from slider), finally added piece of paper between tactile leaf and upper housing. Reassembled, pinging gone, only slightest of click remaining on up stroke.

2) I think I also fixed the one dead Orange switch. Disassembled switch fully, i.e. took contact assembly out of casing (needs pretty much solder-free pins). Removed contact spring and where that was I put the tip of a toothpick between layers on top side really carefully, just enough to open the contact sheets up a tiny bit. Held it with tweezers and flooded it with "Kontakt LR" over trash bin. LR is German Leiterplattenreiniger, PCB cleaner. Contains 2-propanol, ethanol, volatile hydrocarbons and some other stuff I can't make out from the security data sheet. Then dried it with canned air, and presto, only small force again necessary to activate switch. Put back together.

I also took the opportunity to closer inspect the tiny details in the plastic of the bottom and top housing. Really great japanese engineering from the 1980s, very admirable. Among the world's best, even 30 years later.

mode1ace

05 Jul 2020, 12:52

Image

I tried mounting a hybrid set of ANSI and ISO-DE keycaps on my ISO granite and It looks alright!

Now I have a kinda weird looking ANSI qwertz set and board, which leaves me wondering if there are any qwertz ansi fans out there who this'd be just the thing for?

kshopper2084

06 Jul 2020, 21:17

bsdice wrote:
04 Jul 2020, 08:22
Yesterday I finalized my AT102DW with all SKCM Orange, my daily driver now. 210 solder spots to remove, 105 switches to remove, 210 solder spots to reapply. Ouch. It paid off to invest in a TS100 soldering iron (temp control, big ass tip from a 9-tip set), a Soldapullt desolder pump and braided wick to remove all solder relatively cleanly. And get all those bent pins ready for extraction (thanks, Dell!).

All in all I am satisfied. The board has a satisfying sonorous "thock" sound when keys bottom out, because of the combination of ABS caps, Orange switches, PS plastic case, steel plate, PCB. Key feel is alot better than stock, "cleaner" and much lighter than with SKCM Blacks. I skipped the SKCL Greens for modifiers, couldn't make up my mind. Not enough and clear precedent or success stories to warrant this complication. Also wanted to finish the project without waiting another few weeks for more switches to arrive. Maybe on my next keyboard.

The Oranges do ping more than Blacks, but that's what you get when you solder 30yr+ old switches into a 22yr old new old stock keyboard.

Out of 120 switches, 2 were bad. One I could fix using Chyros' YT guide by bending the contact spring legs a bit outward. No idea how long that would be good. The other requires a ridiculous force on the contact leaf to register at all. Tried canned air from all sides. Guess it is gone for good. Using it to test Ballistol Teflon Spray with PTFE on effect of dry lubing scratchy Oranges. It's wet at first but dries within seconds, leaving only a thin PTFE film. Working good and smoothed up the dead switch alot. No idea for how long.

One bonus for me is the repairability of this board.

And on a personal note, I started using the Internet back in 1991 when there wasn't even WWW yet, only FTP and Gopher. Gets me sentimental thinking that back then the switches I am using today already existed, somewhere.
Congrats! It's pretty special to be using these fantastic vintage switches as your daily driver after all this time. Love it myself. :)

mode1ace

12 Jul 2020, 18:24

I took advantage of some nice weather this weekend to wire brush and paint my SGI granite plate. Just gotta finish cleaning up switches for it, but I'm over half way there :)

Image

kelvinhall05

12 Jul 2020, 20:00

mode1ace wrote:
12 Jul 2020, 18:24
I took advantage of some nice weather this weekend to wire brush and paint my SGI granite plate. Just gotta finish cleaning up switches for it, but I'm over half way there :)

Image
Looks really nice. Good job :D

mode1ace

18 Jul 2020, 13:56

Got my wife to finish soldering the amber granite up today and the results are to say the least, extremely excellent.

This is my new favourite clicky board, and it may be my favourite overall! just a few finishing touches and I’ll post pics and video of some typing.

The noise it makes is just sublime.

kelvinhall05

23 Jul 2020, 14:18

The bamboo whites might not be the best Alps available, but they're still pretty damn good.
IMG_20200722_230710_NR.jpg
IMG_20200722_230710_NR.jpg (2.52 MiB) Viewed 1818 times

User avatar
Chyros

23 Jul 2020, 15:19

Very nice! :D

kelvinhall05

23 Jul 2020, 16:18

Chyros wrote:
23 Jul 2020, 15:19
Very nice! :D
Thanks. Touched it up a bit in gimp:
focusatnight.png
focusatnight.png (691.17 KiB) Viewed 1781 times

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Reimu64

23 Jul 2020, 20:00

Guess I'll post my AEK II with those funky looking editing caps.
Image
The switches are supposed to be 'dampened', but they're still quite loud imo (and some click on the upstroke, don't know why). I can always watch a resto guide though :D

kelvinhall05

23 Jul 2020, 20:07

Reimu64 wrote:
23 Jul 2020, 20:00
Guess I'll post my AEK II with those funky looking editing caps.
Image
The switches are supposed to be 'dampened', but they're still quite loud imo (and some click on the upstroke, don't know why). I can always watch a resto guide though :D
Very nice. I have seen a few floating around but unless I find some MX-mount ones or a video editing numpad, I will pass on more lol.

mode1ace

26 Jul 2020, 20:00

I went for https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Datacomp-DFK ... 2749.l2649

Will probably convert it to USB if I can with a teensy in the case, we'll see. Amazingly this is my first white clicky alps board, I've got blue, amber, salmon, orange, white damped, cream damped and green, but this'll be my first white board.

Didn't realise they could come with doubleshots, it's rare to find a board with non-terrible caps with a straight pc UK-ISO AT-102 layout.

User avatar
Polecat

26 Jul 2020, 21:23

mode1ace wrote:
26 Jul 2020, 20:00
I went for https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Datacomp-DFK ... 2749.l2649

Will probably convert it to USB if I can with a teensy in the case, we'll see. Amazingly this is my first white clicky alps board, I've got blue, amber, salmon, orange, white damped, cream damped and green, but this'll be my first white board.

Didn't realise they could come with doubleshots, it's rare to find a board with non-terrible caps with a straight pc UK-ISO AT-102 layout.
Nice find! Very clean, and from the mold numbers (5x/6x?) those look like very early white Alps switches, not long after the change from blues.

mode1ace

26 Jul 2020, 22:17

Polecat wrote:
26 Jul 2020, 21:23
Nice find! Very clean, and from the mold numbers (5x/6x?) those look like very early white Alps switches, not long after the change from blues.
I'm really curious to 1-2 test them next to my blue and amber boards, if they are to blues as salmons are to oranges I'll be quite happy with the board.

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Reimu64

28 Jul 2020, 17:52

This beauty just arrived today! It's going to be a while for another keyboard to top this.
Image
It's not a complete board; just a plate with the switches and keycaps, so it doesn't work. But hell, I love Alps now...I'm itching do an Alps build soon haha

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zrrion

28 Jul 2020, 18:06

I saw that board but they didn't ship to where i live, nice to see its in good hands!

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ddrfraser1

28 Jul 2020, 18:52

Reimu64 wrote:
28 Jul 2020, 17:52
This beauty just arrived today! It's going to be a while for another keyboard to top this.
Image
It's not a complete board; just a plate with the switches and keycaps, so it doesn't work. But hell, I love Alps now...I'm itching do an Alps build soon haha
Looking forward to seeing the final product!

User avatar
amigastar23

29 Jul 2020, 09:52

Hello there,

i just bought an ARC-Monterey-K102-K101-ISO-vintage-keyboard-SKCM-White-Alps and it has from what i know 2key rollover, does this mean only through USB or PS/2 connection also. I've thought PS/2 connection has nkeyrollover?
maybe someone can clarify this to me.
I haven't received the Keyboard yet, thats why i'm asking.
Also how close are white alps to blue alps? I would love to get a blue alps Keyboard but they are a little bit too expensive, will i be still happy with white alps?

thanks

User avatar
Chyros

29 Jul 2020, 15:33

PS/2 is not inherently NKRO, it'll be 2KRO over either connection.

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amigastar23

29 Jul 2020, 15:42

Hey Chyros,

guess what i bought an Alps Keyboard only because your Videos introduced me to the wonderful world of good switches.
Can i use
Keyboard -> Passive AT-PS/2 adapter -> PS/2-USB adapter -> Computer
i suppose yes, right? Or is there an AT-USB adapter available also?
thx

User avatar
ddrfraser1

29 Jul 2020, 15:55

amigastar23 wrote:
29 Jul 2020, 15:42
Hey Chyros,

guess what i bought an Alps Keyboard only because your Videos introduced me to the wonderful world of good switches.
Can i use
Keyboard -> Passive AT-PS/2 adapter -> PS/2-USB adapter -> Computer
i suppose yes, right? Or is there an AT-USB adapter available also?
thx
I usually get something like this and then pair it with a ps2 to usb converter.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Din-5-Female-t ... 0005.m1851

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amigastar23

29 Jul 2020, 16:10

@ddrfraser1
yeah, thats what i been also thinking of.

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amigastar23

30 Jul 2020, 00:44

Quick question,
I've read that the ps/2 to usb adapter has to be an active converter.
Is this true and what is an active converter if it's indeed needed?

User avatar
Polecat

30 Jul 2020, 05:50

amigastar23 wrote:
30 Jul 2020, 00:44
Quick question,
I've read that the ps/2 to usb adapter has to be an active converter.
Is this true and what is an active converter if it's indeed needed?
An active converter has electronics inside. A passive one is just a pin adapter, with wires between the two connectors. You'll definitely need an active converter to run a pre-USB keyboard on a USB port. Only later model keyboards with internal USB support will run on a passive converter. USB didn't come out until 1996 or so, and a Monterey K101/102 definitely predates that.

My personal opinion, and it's only that, is that very early white Alps switches are indistinguishable from blues. I have two matching pairs of keyboards with whites and blues, and one of those just happens to be Monterey K102. (The other is gold label Northgate 102). I would challenge anyone to tell the difference between blues and whites on either of these without pulling a keycap.

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amigastar23

30 Jul 2020, 09:10

@Polecat
Interesting, thank you for the information.
Sounds good.

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hellothere

30 Jul 2020, 19:26

I have become an official Alps keyboard owner. I already have a grey 4-tab clone, a green 4-tab clone, and a Matias ergo. I'm getting a Focus 8000 with white Alps next week. I'll try to follow Chyros' video on cleaning Alps keys.

User avatar
Chyros

31 Jul 2020, 00:44

hellothere wrote:
30 Jul 2020, 19:26
I have become an official Alps keyboard owner. I already have a grey 4-tab clone, a green 4-tab clone, and a Matias ergo. I'm getting a Focus 8000 with white Alps next week. I'll try to follow Chyros' video on cleaning Alps keys.
Get one that doesn't need cleaning. My video is only intended for boards that are already dirty. Never buy Alps dirty if given a choice.

User avatar
amigastar23

31 Jul 2020, 01:16

hellothere wrote:
30 Jul 2020, 19:26
I have become an official Alps keyboard owner. I already have a grey 4-tab clone, a green 4-tab clone, and a Matias ergo. I'm getting a Focus 8000 with white Alps next week. I'll try to follow Chyros' video on cleaning Alps keys.
Anyways congrats, i'm also an official Alps owner, waiting to arrive in the mail.
White Alps are a good alternative to enter the Club.

User avatar
hellothere

31 Jul 2020, 01:42

amigastar23 wrote:
31 Jul 2020, 01:16
hellothere wrote:
30 Jul 2020, 19:26
I have become an official Alps keyboard owner. I already have a grey 4-tab clone, a green 4-tab clone, and a Matias ergo. I'm getting a Focus 8000 with white Alps next week. I'll try to follow Chyros' video on cleaning Alps keys.
I've looked up the Focus FK-8000 and it nowhere says that it has white Alps. Just curious.
wiki/Focus_FK-8000
Anyways congrats, i'm also an official Alps owner, waiting to arrive in the mail.
I did see a pic and it did look like white Alps. I definitely have been wrong before, but it was inexpensive and I think I could resell for the same amount or higher.

User avatar
amigastar23

31 Jul 2020, 01:45

hellothere wrote:
31 Jul 2020, 01:42
amigastar23 wrote:
31 Jul 2020, 01:16
hellothere wrote:
30 Jul 2020, 19:26
I have become an official Alps keyboard owner. I already have a grey 4-tab clone, a green 4-tab clone, and a Matias ergo. I'm getting a Focus 8000 with white Alps next week. I'll try to follow Chyros' video on cleaning Alps keys.
I've looked up the Focus FK-8000 and it nowhere says that it has white Alps. Just curious.
wiki/Focus_FK-8000
Anyways congrats, i'm also an official Alps owner, waiting to arrive in the mail.
I did see a pic and it did look like white Alps. I definitely have been wrong before, but it was inexpensive and I think I could resell for the same amount or higher.
Let's hope you get White Alps, was just curious.

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