Alps restoration guide

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Chyros

09 Oct 2019, 12:55

Over the course of the previous weeks I've released a series of videos on how to restore Alps switches, including an experimental lube guide; be sure to check it out if you haven't yet: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... BSWbSz25vI

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Obscure

09 Oct 2019, 15:21

Brilliant and satisfactorily exhaustive as always, especially the click on release fix was very helpful - thank you so much.

I'm just wondering why you did not mention the possibility to clean the contacts directly when the switch does not register any more, not just with compressed air but e.g. moving a piece of paper between the contacts - or did I miss something?
I agree on it's easier to desolder and swap with a working one. But I wanted to keep my board as original as possible, thus I did not want to solder. So I gave it a try. To be honest, on one switch I had to do it for three times and I don't know if I rubbed off the gold plating and shortened the switches TLL massively - but it was not working anyhow.

In this business you always have to consider the risks. You clearly boil it down to the sentence: If it isn't broken, don't attempt to fix it".
But if it is broken yet the strategy should be the logic conclusion of "rule No. 1". To go from soft to invasive. I would consider pulling a piece of paper between the contacts a soft method, but breaking the housing when opening the switch for the third time will tell you took the wrong decision (mine didn't, luckily). Keeping in mind to rethink strategies from time to time.

For lubing I used Dry lube chain spray with PTFE as seen with others - at least it did not make it worse.

cheers
Last edited by Obscure on 09 Oct 2019, 16:09, edited 2 times in total.

daguil68367

09 Oct 2019, 16:03

Does anyone know if you would be able to use the IPA suspension method with the tungsten disulfide powder, like how it was done with the PTFE powder?

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SneakyRobb
THINK

09 Oct 2019, 16:59

I liked this, but part 4 is incomplete without mayonnaise and toothpaste test data. No internet test is complete without these 2 essential materials.

*Obviously good job and very informative otherwise

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Polecat

09 Oct 2019, 17:30

SneakyRobb wrote:
09 Oct 2019, 16:59
I liked this, but part 4 is incomplete without mayonnaise and toothpaste test data. No internet test is complete without these 2 essential materials.
As contaminants, or as lube?

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CountNoctua

09 Oct 2019, 22:50

SneakyRobb wrote:
09 Oct 2019, 16:59
I liked this, but part 4 is incomplete without mayonnaise and toothpaste test data. No internet test is complete without these 2 essential materials.
You're thinking of thermal paste testing.

Image

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Obscure

10 Oct 2019, 10:15

Bacteriostatic lube minimizes the risk of bacterial infections and fungus in the slw̶itch.

andrewjoy

10 Oct 2019, 15:09

CountNoctua wrote:
09 Oct 2019, 22:50

Image
I have done that with IPA a few times before installing the CPU .

You would be surprised how may so called "dead" boards come to life after that.

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SneakyRobb
THINK

10 Oct 2019, 17:15

CountNoctua wrote:
09 Oct 2019, 22:50
SneakyRobb wrote:
09 Oct 2019, 16:59
I liked this, but part 4 is incomplete without mayonnaise and toothpaste test data. No internet test is complete without these 2 essential materials.
You're thinking of thermal paste testing.

Exactly! What if mayo really does work for Alps?

Or toothpaste, it could also work to keep it clean.
Just like thermal paste tests
QCqH3va.gif
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andrewjoy

10 Oct 2019, 18:27

Not surprised a rosewill product is worse than toohpaste.

Myself i use thermal grizzly ( the paste not the liquid metal) for my high end stuff, and GD-900 from china for lower end stuff/ work, that stuff is as good as MX-4 but you can get about half a ton of it for the price of a tube of MX-4

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CountNoctua

10 Oct 2019, 23:13

I use Noctua NT-H1 and NT-H2. It's one the best overall in terms of ease of application, no burn-in required, and performance. Thermal Grizzly is better but not as easy to apply, plus Noctua includes the paste with their coolers, so I usually have at least one tube on hand. (speaking of which, my new blacked out U12S just came in 8-) ).

andrewjoy

11 Oct 2019, 10:49

CountNoctua wrote:
10 Oct 2019, 23:13
my new blacked out U12S just came in 8-) ).
Stay true to the beige and brown! I love noctua and how they do business. They refused flat out to do blacked out coolers until they could work out a way to not loose performance from raw nickle plated copper.

NeK

21 Mar 2020, 14:21

I just want to share my own experience and results with lubing, and to also hope that someone can help me out.

Here it goes, I have 3 blue ALPS boards, 2 with great/excellent condition switches and 1 that has at best mediocre. I try to restore them to a better condition, so I followed the lubrication guide you made Chyros, and tried on some of its Blue ALPS switches the following:

1. Tungsten Disulfide: http://wolfbloodracing.com/ (http://wolfbloodracing.com/wp-content/u ... 68x446.jpg)
2. Silverhook SGPT90 Silicon grease: https://silverhook.co.uk/grease/Grease- ... 80-ml-80ml
3. GearAid Silicon grease: https://www.gearaid.com/products/lubric ... one-grease
4. And a Silicone Spray: a random silicone spray that I bought 2 years ago (Svitol Silikon Spray). I didn't use it as is, but instead sprayed some in a small cup, and let it dry, and then applied that with my small brush. Here is a picture of it:

svitol-silikon-spray.jpg
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After a thorough cleaning with denture tabs the top housings and sliders (thus removing any factory lubricant) I applied them on several switches with various ways and here are the (surprising!) results that I got while comparing them to the other original switches:

1. Tungsten Disulfide: made it way worse. The switch on off-center presses was binding like an unmovable stone and was terribly scratchy with on center presses. Awful.
2. Silverhook Silicon Grease: did absolutely nothing. It had the exact same feeling and sound and behaviour as before lubrication.
3. GearAid Silicon Grease: Also, did nothing as the Silverhook one.
4. Spray Silicone: surprisingly this one worked well. Made it very smooth, eliminated any resistance and scratchiness in the off-center presses and generally made it very smooth. BUT that lasts only for about 1-2 days of use and then slightly starts to loose its smoothness and starts to slightly bind in off-center presses and the smoothness fades away.

Other lubricants that I tried (Krytox 104, Spray with PTFE and Dry Graphite) were either not doing anything, or making them worse. Therefore all my tests were a failure and now I am left even more confused than I was. How come that the tungsten disulphide was making them much worse instead of smoother and why the only one that did work, at least for a while, was the Silicone Spray, which is rather odd and I can't explain how that one worked and why the Silicone Greases did not.

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Raumfahrer

21 Mar 2020, 14:51

I can verify that the silicon lube (and variations) does work well and for a short time period which is unfortunate

edit:
even "The Lube" had the same longevity effects

the overall conclusion for me was stripping the factory lube is a terrible idea (so ultrasonic on sliders is bad) - this assumes the sliders are in overall decent condition to begin with

also any lube placed over this will just be better overall (effects depend on taste etc...) I personally thought the Krytox or Trib stuff was ok (as long as slider was not stripped) so if you just want to lube things for the heck of it, then go ahead
Last edited by Raumfahrer on 22 Mar 2020, 00:39, edited 1 time in total.

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Chyros

21 Mar 2020, 22:09

Interesting, so both your findings are the same as mine ^^ . AND Alps', I guess! xD

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JP!

21 Mar 2020, 22:32

Does anyone have any insights into the original lubricants used by Alps?

kelvinhall05

22 Mar 2020, 02:12

JP! wrote:
21 Mar 2020, 22:32
Does anyone have any insights into the original lubricants used by Alps?
No, we need someone with $$$ to hire a lab to investigate it lol

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Chyros

22 Mar 2020, 11:46

JP! wrote:
21 Mar 2020, 22:32
Does anyone have any insights into the original lubricants used by Alps?
The only info is a quote I have from a former Alps worker at the Milton Keynes factory. He told me "The lubricant used was a lubricant made to JIS spec (Japanese Industrial Spec) maybe containing some silicone".

I'd investigate it myself but I don't have an ICP in my lab xD .

NeK

22 Mar 2020, 16:12

And lets say that we do find an ICP and we find that it has some mixture of whatever chemical. How probable is it to discern the original chemical composition that resulted into that? Or even if we be able to find any existing lube that is close to it chemically? Somehow I doubt that we can do that easily, if at all. Am I right?

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abrahamstechnology

22 Mar 2020, 17:28

I've had good luck with "WD-40 Specialist with PTFE"
It leave a slightly oily film instead of being completely dry like Dupont PTFE i've tried, it seems to work well.
I put some on the Caps Lock switch of my yellow Alps64 (mapped to fn) to stop it from binding and it hasn't lost it's smoothness.

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OldIsNew

22 Mar 2020, 18:31

abrahamstechnology wrote:
22 Mar 2020, 17:28
I've had good luck with "WD-40 Specialist with PTFE"
It leave a slightly oily film instead of being completely dry like Dupont PTFE i've tried, it seems to work well...
I second this one. I've used this on a number of different switch types with good results including complicated Alps and some crazy squeaky Datanetics DC-60s on a Fluke board. It seems to last (at least a couple months so far) and I've actually seen improvement in the switch feel over the first week or so after application. I haven't been spraying the switches directly but have been spraying it in a small cup and then applying to the switches with a cotton swab to avoid over spray. I have also been swabbing the switches with 91% IPA prior to applying the WD-40. Also, I think it is important though to be clear that it's not the regular blue can WD-40 spray, but the plastic safe silicone lube version.
WD.jpg
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Chyros

22 Mar 2020, 20:15

NeK wrote:
22 Mar 2020, 16:12
And lets say that we do find an ICP and we find that it has some mixture of whatever chemical. How probable is it to discern the original chemical composition that resulted into that? Or even if we be able to find any existing lube that is close to it chemically? Somehow I doubt that we can do that easily, if at all. Am I right?
Yes, this is true. However, elemental analysis using ICP will at least tell me if it's silicone, silicone and something else, or not silicone-based at all (in case of a mixture, I should be able to tell how much silicone is in there). It will also tell me whether it contains any PTFE or similar materials, although I highly doubt that it would. You'd need further testing, and especially quite detailed expertise, in order to tell what the exact composition is, especially if it's a mixture in which case it'd be quite difficult. Personally I reckon it's just spray-coated, matricised silicone oil (which would make it very similar to silicone grease). But until we can test it, it's impossible to say, of course :) . This is just my hunch.

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