Alps = hipster

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ShivaYash

28 Dec 2018, 14:22

Hello chaps,

I've been off here for some time. Is it just me or has there been a sudden resurgence in Alps switches? And Cherry now do more than four different types... and what the hell is all this clone stuff?

Feeling out of the loop.

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fohat
Elder Messenger

28 Dec 2018, 15:11

The Alps love has been growing steadily for at least 5 years.

Both DT and GH have "Alps Appreciation Threads" going back years with thousands of entries in each.

They have been branching out somewhat, recently, with new clones and more exotic modifications. And the Chryos videos continue to stir up excitement.

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Inxie

28 Dec 2018, 15:12

I've honestly been using Alps for over 20 years, I only just recently click modded it because I wanted a click out of my blacks.

If that makes me a hipster for owning this Dell AT101W when it was new, I guess I'm a hipster then.

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Chyros

28 Dec 2018, 16:27

Inxie wrote: I've honestly been using Alps for over 20 years, I only just recently click modded it because I wanted a click out of my blacks.

If that makes me a hipster for owning this Dell AT101W when it was new, I guess I'm a hipster then.
Man, if there's one unassuming, non-hipster workhorse of a keyboard, it must be the AT101 xD . Such a classic without being boastful or unnecessarily hard-to-get or anything.

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Inxie

28 Dec 2018, 16:35

Chyros wrote:
Inxie wrote: I've honestly been using Alps for over 20 years, I only just recently click modded it because I wanted a click out of my blacks.

If that makes me a hipster for owning this Dell AT101W when it was new, I guess I'm a hipster then.
Man, if there's one unassuming, non-hipster workhorse of a keyboard, it must be the AT101 xD . Such a classic without being boastful or unnecessarily hard-to-get or anything.
Yea it really is. Simple, no strings attached. It's a keyboard, and it does that well. No NKRO, but I haven't really needed it that much, even though I type near to 90wpm, I don't have an issue where I usually press multiple keys at once. My only issue is I apparently type too fast that I end up resetting the PS/2 to USB adapters mid sentence, but that's not the keyboards fault at all, just the adapter itself.

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Muirium
µ

28 Dec 2018, 16:43

Image

Typing = hipster

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abrahamstechnology

28 Dec 2018, 16:47

I guess I started the recent clone hype. 1,000 brand new Hua-Jies are on their way!

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abrahamstechnology

28 Dec 2018, 17:47

Inxie wrote:
Chyros wrote:
Inxie wrote: I've honestly been using Alps for over 20 years, I only just recently click modded it because I wanted a click out of my blacks.

If that makes me a hipster for owning this Dell AT101W when it was new, I guess I'm a hipster then.
Man, if there's one unassuming, non-hipster workhorse of a keyboard, it must be the AT101 xD . Such a classic without being boastful or unnecessarily hard-to-get or anything.
Yea it really is. Simple, no strings attached. It's a keyboard, and it does that well. No NKRO, but I haven't really needed it that much, even though I type near to 90wpm, I don't have an issue where I usually press multiple keys at once. My only issue is I apparently type too fast that I end up resetting the PS/2 to USB adapters mid sentence, but that's not the keyboards fault at all, just the adapter itself.
Probably best to replace it with a proper Soarer's converter.

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Inxie

28 Dec 2018, 17:49

abrahamstechnology wrote: Probably best to replace it with a proper Soarer's converter.
I simply cannot afford it at this time. I only have $7 in my wallet, and nothing in the checking account.

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ShivaYash

28 Dec 2018, 18:18

Chyros wrote:
Inxie wrote: I've honestly been using Alps for over 20 years, I only just recently click modded it because I wanted a click out of my blacks.

If that makes me a hipster for owning this Dell AT101W when it was new, I guess I'm a hipster then.
Man, if there's one unassuming, non-hipster workhorse of a keyboard, it must be the AT101 xD . Such a classic without being boastful or unnecessarily hard-to-get or anything.
Yes - its my work board. I love it. NOS.

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ShivaYash

28 Dec 2018, 18:19

Muirium wrote: Image

Typing = hipster
Haha - clickbait is usually Model M related? Judging by the heated replies I've seen of late...

Nice to hear from you Sir - hope all is well.

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Sup

29 Dec 2018, 01:34

I hate it since Alps is becoming populair again. Alps prices are skyrocketing in prices. Luckily i still have my AEK II JP in pristine condition i won't let them weeb hipsters destroy such a nice board to make a 60% out of it >:(. Unless they pay me 250 Euro's cough that's a different story :^).

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abrahamstechnology

29 Dec 2018, 01:51

Sup wrote: I hate it since Alps is becoming populair again. Alps prices are skyrocketing in prices. Luckily i still have my AEK II JP in pristine condition i won't let them weeb hipsters destroy such a nice board to make a 60% out of it >:(. Unless they pay me 250 Euro's cough that's a different story :^).
Agreed. There's no reason why those hipsters can't just build an Alps 60% from the ground up. Alps60 PCB, any case they want, and they could even pay Tai-Hao to run off a few AEK-like keycap sets.

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abrahamstechnology

29 Dec 2018, 01:52

Speaking of which, Matias was rumored to have due-sublimated keycap sets in the works, but they seem to have forgotten it.

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Chyros

29 Dec 2018, 09:02

abrahamstechnology wrote: Speaking of which, Matias was rumored to have due-sublimated keycap sets in the works, but they seem to have forgotten it.
No, they're still working on it, although it's gotten delayed several times.

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Muirium
µ

29 Dec 2018, 16:21

abrahamstechnology wrote: There's no reason why those hipsters can't just build an Alps 60% from the ground up. Alps60 PCB, any case they want, and they could even pay Tai-Hao to run off a few AEK-like keycap sets.
Alps age real bad. I have an AEK I that feels like shit, and so donated its still excellent caps to my blue Alps 60% no problem. a lot cheaper than ordering new caps, and much higher quality too.

Remember kids: there’s a world of busted ass Alps out there for you. It’s what they do.

Topdiff

29 Dec 2018, 16:28

Muirium wrote:
abrahamstechnology wrote: There's no reason why those hipsters can't just build an Alps 60% from the ground up. Alps60 PCB, any case they want, and they could even pay Tai-Hao to run off a few AEK-like keycap sets.
Alps age real bad. I have an AEK I that feels like shit, and so donated its still excellent caps to my blue Alps 60% no problem. a lot cheaper than ordering new caps, and much higher quality too.

Remember kids: there’s a world of busted ass Alps out there for you. It’s what they do.
Hmm, how hard are they to clean up and restore, if at all? I have an AT102 I eventually want to turn into a DIY 75% of some sort, but it's in pretty bad shape. I was already gonna open every single switch and clean it up as best I can, but is the damage irreversible?

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abrahamstechnology

29 Dec 2018, 16:53

Topdiff wrote:
Muirium wrote:
abrahamstechnology wrote: There's no reason why those hipsters can't just build an Alps 60% from the ground up. Alps60 PCB, any case they want, and they could even pay Tai-Hao to run off a few AEK-like keycap sets.
Alps age real bad. I have an AEK I that feels like shit, and so donated its still excellent caps to my blue Alps 60% no problem. a lot cheaper than ordering new caps, and much higher quality too.

Remember kids: there’s a world of busted ass Alps out there for you. It’s what they do.
Hmm, how hard are they to clean up and restore, if at all? I have an AT102 I eventually want to turn into a DIY 75% of some sort, but it's in pretty bad shape. I was already gonna open every single switch and clean it up as best I can, but is the damage irreversible?
Dirty switches can be cleaned and re-lubed.

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zrrion

29 Dec 2018, 16:54

I've cleaned switches with old food goo in them and gotten them back to working order and it wasn't difficult, just tedious. I imagine that they could be further improved with teflon spray lube.

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fohat
Elder Messenger

29 Dec 2018, 16:54

Dirt can be washed away but wear can't be re-grown.

Part of the problem is friction, there was voodoo involved. Apparently Alps used a mysterious lube in the early days, then went to a plastic that was inherently more slippery, but nobody has successfully re-created or re-discovered them in modern days.

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flowerlandfilms

29 Dec 2018, 17:22

I'm excited about new keycap options with a resurgence in Alps popularity.
Hipsters tend not to get excited about new things.

Polecat

29 Dec 2018, 20:03

flowerlandfilms wrote: I'm excited about new keycap options with a resurgence in Alps popularity.
Hipsters tend not to get excited about new things.
...yawn...
Topdiff wrote: Hmm, how hard are they to clean up and restore, if at all? I have an AT102 I eventually want to turn into a DIY 75% of some sort, but it's in pretty bad shape. I was already gonna open every single switch and clean it up as best I can, but is the damage irreversible?
Personally I think it depends on which version of Alps switches. I've been using blues and early whites for decades, and I've never worn a set out. Obviously if you spill food or pour sand into a keyboard you'll do some major damage, but not just from typing in my experience. If typing wore out the switches I'd expect a change in feel or sound on the more used switches compared to the less used ones, and I just haven't seen that. Later Alps switches (and at least some clones) are another story, and I have had some problems with those.

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Elrick

02 Jan 2019, 02:04

Polecat wrote: Personally I think it depends on which version of Alps switches. I've been using blues and early whites for decades, and I've never worn a set out.
Never liked Blue Alps, sorry but the White Pine's hit me where it count's, straight to the heart when it comes to using them. Tried to LOVE using Blue Alps but it always fails when it comes to making certain comparisons with the White Pine's.
Polecat wrote: If typing wore out the switches I'd expect a change in feel or sound on the more used switches compared to the less used ones, and I just haven't seen that. Later Alps switches (and at least some clones) are another story, and I have had some problems with those.
Luckily I haven't got a huge collection of the later day Alps, ie only two Matias keyboards and that's about it.

Even if the current made models of switches aren't in the same league as our old White Pines, still worth acquiring and using just in making a decision that all your previously bought keyboards, appear to be far more superior ;) .

Suspect that re-soldering these NEW Alps switches being made today onto old keyboards might be a Great thing in bringing old world charm back to the end user. The old keyboards are still far superior to the current made stuff, unless you want to spend hundreds on a recreation from scratch - model.

Would of loved an LZ full size Alps keyboard, done in Aluminium and Stainless using White Pines, that would be a truly unique experience :shock: .

Polecat

02 Jan 2019, 04:22

Elrick wrote:
Never liked Blue Alps, sorry but the White Pine's hit me where it count's, straight to the heart when it comes to using them. Tried to LOVE using Blue Alps but it always fails when it comes to making certain comparisons with the White Pine's.

Luckily I haven't got a huge collection of the later day Alps, ie only two Matias keyboards and that's about it.

Even if the current made models of switches aren't in the same league as our old White Pines, still worth acquiring and using just in making a decision that all your previously bought keyboards, appear to be far more superior ;) .

Suspect that re-soldering these NEW Alps switches being made today onto old keyboards might be a Great thing in bringing old world charm back to the end user. The old keyboards are still far superior to the current made stuff, unless you want to spend hundreds on a recreation from scratch - model.
You probably wouldn't like the really early white switches either then. In fact I'd challenge anyone to tell the difference between blues and very early whites if blindfolded. And by that I mean the whites with no branding on the upper housing, and possibly very early branded ones. There's a lot more to it than pine/bamboo, for instance the change in switchplates, contact leaves, and possibly springs. In fact not all blues are the same, but feel-wise I haven't found any differences like I have with the whites. And of course there may have been more than one factory making Alps switches. I don't think anyone knows the whole story, and we may never learn all the details.

I have two Northgate 102 gold label keyboards, externally identical (except for the overlays on one having a greenish tint), that were built a few weeks apart. One has white Alps, one blue. Both are in pristine original condition, and I've owned them since they were almost new. The white switches (and the blues, of course) have unbranded upper housings. I can't tell any difference in sound or feel between the two, and I'd challenge anyone to try and tell them apart without looking inside. I also have a pair of early Monterey K104 keyboards, both with "pine" white Alps, pristine, and visually identical. One is slightly later than the other, and there's a significant difference in sound and feel between the two. The later "bamboo" switches are different yet, so it's not that. There are no differences from key to key on either board, so I really don't think it's a condition thing. More likely some internal change in the switches, which I do plan to document when I have time to tear into them.

The difference between the two Monterey boards is quite obvious, but no matter how hard I try I can't tell the two Northgates apart. That's hardly a definitive proof, but I have dozens of Alps keyboards here, most of which I've owned for decades, and I'm familiar with how they sound and feel. I'm also hoping to find a time correlation to the mold numbering on the housings, with later switches having a higher "generation number" on the upper right corner, and to tie that to internal changes that affect the sound and feel. But it's probably not that simple, especially if more than one factory was making those switches.

For sure I'm excited to try the new switches, but I'm really not expecting any miracles. My biggest worry is that they won't hold up over time, which was also a problem with the later white Alps and some of the clones. Still, it's like the old fishing thing. The worst day typing on Alps switches is still better than the best day typing on foam over foil.

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Elrick

02 Jan 2019, 08:38

Polecat wrote: The worst day typing on Alps switches is still better than the best day typing on foam over foil.
Please, let me expand your statement even further.

"The Worst Day typing on Alps Switches is still Far Better than the Best day typing on any Cherry Switches".


There, made it far more relevant to all the ignorant Cherry Felcher's out there, enjoy :lol:.

Polecat

03 Jan 2019, 04:08

Elrick wrote:
Polecat wrote: The worst day typing on Alps switches is still better than the best day typing on foam over foil.
Please, let me expand your statement even further.

"The Worst Day typing on Alps Switches is still Far Better than the Best day typing on any Cherry Switches".


There, made it far more relevant to all the ignorant Cherry Felcher's out there, enjoy :lol:.
I was actually tempted to expand that to "...anything else", but some folks have no sense of humor about these things. I have dozens of Alps keyboards, but only one Cherry, and I got the Cherry for free and quite unintentionally. ;)

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ShivaYash

03 Jan 2019, 09:16

I like the Dell AT101W I got recently, it was brand new old stock and is very nice, but this doesn't mean my single Cherry board is sidelined. I have a MX Green board (FC660C) and it is very nice, the key presses are crisp. But my daily boards vary from IBM SSK and HHKB - when I get board (pardon the pun) I switch (pardon the pun) them out.

Happy January chaps. And yes, I want to try more Alps switches this year.

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abrahamstechnology

04 Jan 2019, 18:55

ShivaYash wrote: I like the Dell AT101W I got recently, it was brand new old stock and is very nice, but this doesn't mean my single Cherry board is sidelined. I have a MX Green board (FC660C) and it is very nice, the key presses are crisp. But my daily boards vary from IBM SSK and HHKB - when I get board (pardon the pun) I switch (pardon the pun) them out.

Happy January chaps. And yes, I want to try more Alps switches this year.
If you like MX Green you may like AK-CN2...

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Hypersphere

04 Jan 2019, 21:05

@Polecat: I agree with your assessment of white Alps evolution and comparisons with blue Alps.

Like you, I have several Northgates that cover a range of early pine, later pine, bamboo, and blue Alps. Added to this are various Alps boards that I've top-modded with parts from pine white Alps, orange Alps, and blue Alps.

I'm typing this on a Zenith ZFA-138-42 with green Alps modified with blue tops, springs, click leaves, and sliders. It sounds and feels a lot like a Leading Edge DC-2014 with blue Alps. However, I have a Zenith Z-150 originally with green Alps that I've modded with innards from bamboo whites, and I prefer the sound and feel of the Z-150.

This preference might very well be due to another very important factor -- the case. Different case designs and materials affect sound and feel through various properties of resilience, conduction, and resonance.

There is a lot of love for the looks and heft of solid metal cases, but this combination of design and material often results in a lack of a sounding board and resonating chamber, producing a relatively puny high-pitched sound and an unyielding feel.

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