Alps Lubricant FOUND!

headphone_jack

08 May 2020, 01:18

Earlier today, on the r/mk discord, someone posted a screenshot of an email from Alps. The email response ways that the lubricant used on the SKCM/SKCL was TB2581P, made by Threebond. I confirmed this by emailing them myself. While this lubricant is not listed on Threebond's website, I have contacted them try to find out where I can get some to compare with real lubed Alps. Proof of both email's have been attached below, even though they are identical. Please message either me or the original finder on Discord for further proof, or even email Alps themselves. I am headphone_jack#0001, the original finder is Jacobalbertus1
#5416.
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Last edited by headphone_jack on 12 May 2020, 03:38, edited 4 times in total.

jsahmiens

08 May 2020, 03:08

nice! looking forward to the response from threebond, though I would be surprised if they still sold that specific lubricant, or were willing to make new samples for testing. so it'd be a big plus if they could advise whether they currently sell lubricants now with a similar formula.

Lekrafter

08 May 2020, 03:23

Simply amazing! It has been quite the mystery for many years now, can't wait to find out whether we can actually get hold of some.

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SneakyRobb
THINK

08 May 2020, 04:19

Intriguing! Let's us investigate. I wonder if this is what they think would work best though, or indeed what was used?

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SneakyRobb
THINK

08 May 2020, 04:32

Seems like in 2005 this company did have a 2500 series?

https://web.archive.org/web/20051103134 ... 0list.html

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SneakyRobb
THINK

08 May 2020, 04:54

I also found this Shin etsu/threebond patent for a curious substance
https://worldwide.espacenet.com/patent/ ... S57192462A

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TheInverseKey

08 May 2020, 05:18

Ohh boy! If I don't have to use finishline ever again I will be so down to make this a thing.

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SneakyRobb
THINK

08 May 2020, 05:18

I do wonder if this is a coincidence that this company was involved in a similar sounding substance at a similar sounding time. Even if it does seem to match, I still wonder about how we could verify

arkanoid

08 May 2020, 08:07

It's probably a non-silicone-based lubricant for plastics. Their old product pando 258a shows a somewhat similar product numbering.
https://www.threebond.co.jp/en/technica ... tech09.pdf

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shine

08 May 2020, 10:26

very nice!

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SneakyRobb
THINK

08 May 2020, 15:36

I did find almost the same product code on this pdf page 75
https://threebond.com/wp-content/upload ... -LOCAL.pdf

It has a TB2585G -Not P but, G, and the 1 replaced with the 5. Similar though.

The thing to note is that the sheet while saying its a plastic lubricant indicates its' "x" status for use as a switch lubricant. Meaning unsuitable. Perhaps the P is different from the G though?

Regardless it is a lubricant that is to be used on plastic parts with a white appearance.

Perhaps chyros has some thoughts on this?

I still cannot help but wonder if the TB2581P is merely the currently recommended "modern" lubricant by Alps, versus the actual lubricant used in the 1980s.

headphone_jack

08 May 2020, 17:07

It would be odd for Alps to recommend a lubricant that appears to no longer be made. I think it's the real deal.

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SneakyRobb
THINK

08 May 2020, 22:17

I can't seem to find it but I'm still looking to see if there is a classification system from Threebond. Are the numbers arbitrary product codes, or do they represent classifications and designations of products etc. Like the G vs P like above.

If there is perhaps something can be inferred about the mystery 2581p

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SneakyRobb
THINK

08 May 2020, 23:53

Regardless of how this turns out I am struck by some thoughts.

I notice such lubricants from threebond mention how much they dampen noise. I have a decently used Chicony blue alps board, its pretty loud. I have a Pristine NOS Leading Edge DC-2014 blue alps board and its almost quiet, tame by comparison. Almost too smooth.

Just as a random philosophical point. I wonder if we have developed a taste for spoiled milk. The earliest geekhack posts are what 2007?

Even that is well beyond how long a lubricant might have been expected to last. My DC-2014 is almost too quiet and smooth for my liking. I do not shy away from truth, but I honestly wonder what if SKCM Blue with its original lubricant in its time, was almost tame, smooth but muted. How will we feel?

Will we like the 1 year old scotch vs the 12 year old?

I am up to my neck in 1980s Japanese language periodicals. I will report anything I find of course.

Jacobalbertus1

09 May 2020, 00:23

Yeah I was the one who emailed alps on this

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webwit
Wild Duck

09 May 2020, 00:38

Jacobalbertus1 wrote:
09 May 2020, 00:23
Yeah I was the one who emailed alps on this
That would probably be discounting Beardsmore who had probably mailed to the proverbial President about some esoteric Alps detail dating back decades ago.

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SneakyRobb
THINK

09 May 2020, 01:25

Okay Ive been looking into this for way too many hours. SLEEP TIME. This is the chinese threebond site in Dec 2003

So https://web.archive.org/web/20031226013 ... 0list.html

Notably vs the threebond co jp pages. This has a use and application and properties after curing chart. Different from the japanese site.

I want to stress I am just following the lead. I have no idea if this is what skcm blue has. I just want to know. I bring information to the community as it comes up.

I think this avenue is promising, but I simply do not know

Jacobalbertus1

09 May 2020, 04:06

SneakyRobb wrote:
09 May 2020, 01:25
Okay Ive been looking into this for way too many hours. SLEEP TIME. This is the chinese threebond site in Dec 2003

So https://web.archive.org/web/20031226013 ... 0list.html

Notably vs the threebond co jp pages. This has a use and application and properties after curing chart. Different from the japanese site.

I want to stress I am just following the lead. I have no idea if this is what skcm blue has. I just want to know. I bring information to the community as it comes up.

I think this avenue is promising, but I simply do not know
this is good we are getting places, Nice work. I find it hard to do this type of stuff

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Chyros

09 May 2020, 17:50

SneakyRobb wrote:
08 May 2020, 15:36
Perhaps chyros has some thoughts on this?
The wording they use is very specific and doesn't actually say that it is that, which I find suspicious. But, who knows, this seems to be going somewhere at least. Last I enquired about it, they were deliberately vague, as it's a trade secret.

I'll share again what I've posted quite a few times now; some private correspondence between myself and a former Alps employee who worked for them for several decades, including being in charge of two full keyboard production lines during the SKCL/SKCM era.
The lubricant used was a lubricant made to JIS spec (Japanese Industrial Spec) maybe containing some silicone but its faded in my memory bank
To me, this strongly suggested a formulation similar to or based on silicone grease, which is PDMS bound with fumed silica. Because the lubricant looked very much like it was sprayed on in a thin layer, it would have been a relatively thin formulation. This is obviously nothing definitive though.

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Polecat

09 May 2020, 20:33

SneakyRobb wrote:
08 May 2020, 23:53
Regardless of how this turns out I am struck by some thoughts.

I notice such lubricants from threebond mention how much they dampen noise. I have a decently used Chicony blue alps board, its pretty loud. I have a Pristine NOS Leading Edge DC-2014 blue alps board and its almost quiet, tame by comparison. Almost too smooth.

Just as a random philosophical point. I wonder if we have developed a taste for spoiled milk. The earliest geekhack posts are what 2007?

Even that is well beyond how long a lubricant might have been expected to last. My DC-2014 is almost too quiet and smooth for my liking. I do not shy away from truth, but I honestly wonder what if SKCM Blue with its original lubricant in its time, was almost tame, smooth but muted. How will we feel?

Will we like the 1 year old scotch vs the 12 year old?

I am up to my neck in 1980s Japanese language periodicals. I will report anything I find of course.
I'm following this with great interest. Thanks for sharing your research!

My first Alps keyboard was a slightly used DC-2014 when those were nearly new, and my second was a NOS 2014 still in the box. I kept the new one as a spare, and happily used the first one until I upgraded to a 286, which needed an AT-compatible keyboard. So I've been using Alps switches for about thirty years now. My opinion, and it's only that, is that there isn't any noticeable change over time, as long as the keyboard isn't abused and doesn't see adverse conditions (dirt, and especially moisture). But "condition", which we always hear mentioned in regards to Alps, would certainly include the state of the factory lube, on switches that came with it.

It's interesting to see that the lube was there at least partly to prolong the life of the contacts. In my experience the later (white) Alps switches are much more prone to contact issues than the earlier ones (blues or early whites). And those later switches would be the ones that were allegedly not lubed. Not surprising, because they had to compete with dropping prices in the growing PC market, and with the realization that more computers were being discarded long before they stopped working as faster and more powerful ones came out.

Seeing the many, many lubricants available, and how specific their applications are, will hopefully discourage the idea of using a $1.99 spray can of snake oil from the local Home Depot. It was especially surprising to me to read that silicone can be detrimental to plastics. I always considered it inert, but perhaps it's the thinners or propellants that cause those problems?

Anyway, this is a nice step towards understanding switch and contact lubricants, and probably a significant piece in the greater Alps puzzle.

headphone_jack

09 May 2020, 23:48

I think we may have found a variant of it still in production. Shin Etsu makes a very similar silicone based lube called G501, which is JIS spec silicone grease. I've ordered a sample, which should be here in a few days. I'll update this post when it arrives.

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Redmaus
Gotta start somewhere

10 May 2020, 00:14

Nice! Glad I've been putting off restoring my ambers :)

Jacobalbertus1

10 May 2020, 00:15

well I'm happy I could help make such a breakthrough

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abrahamstechnology

10 May 2020, 06:41

Nice! How expensive is this G501?

SalkinvonBach

10 May 2020, 10:32

This is a great day in deskthority history!

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SneakyRobb
THINK

10 May 2020, 17:48

abrahamstechnology wrote:
10 May 2020, 06:41
Nice! How expensive is this G501?
you can get it pretty inexpensively
https://focusattack.com/fa-dab-s-20-oun ... joysticks/
https://www.shinetsusilicones.com/conte ... 01&tbl=rtv

Shin Etsu is the company that was part of the patent linked above with Threebond. I think it's an interesting product to try, but there is currently no connection between it, TB2581P or Alps

Edit: Although I should connection between SKCM and Shin-Etsu. I have found patents with Shin-Etsu and alps related to grease for rotary knobs/dials. So there is a "connection" there, but not for our purposes yet.


http://www.shinetsuamerica.com/files/products/G-501.pdf
201122293552228.pdf
(26.4 KiB) Downloaded 24 times

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Polecat

10 May 2020, 18:50

SneakyRobb wrote:
10 May 2020, 17:48
abrahamstechnology wrote:
10 May 2020, 06:41
Nice! How expensive is this G501?
you can get it pretty inexpensively
https://focusattack.com/fa-dab-s-20-oun ... joysticks/
https://www.shinetsusilicones.com/conte ... 01&tbl=rtv

Shin Etsu is the company that was part of the patent linked above with Threebond. I think it's an interesting product to try, but there is currently no connection between it, TB2581P or Alps

Edit: Although I should connection between SKCM and Shin-Etsu. I have found patents with Shin-Etsu and alps related to grease for rotary knobs/dials. So there is a "connection" there, but not for our purposes yet.


http://www.shinetsuamerica.com/files/products/G-501.pdf
201122293552228.pdf
Anyone who used a piece of stereo equipment back in the '70s or '80s will remember the smooth, heavy feel of the rotary controls. The overwhelming majority of those controls were made by Alps, and it was their "trademark" to have that feel. I'm guessing that's what the G-501 grease provides, and if so it's definitely *not* what we'd want for keyboard switches.

Jacobalbertus1

10 May 2020, 20:41

Polecat wrote:
10 May 2020, 18:50
SneakyRobb wrote:
10 May 2020, 17:48
abrahamstechnology wrote:
10 May 2020, 06:41
Nice! How expensive is this G501?
you can get it pretty inexpensively
https://focusattack.com/fa-dab-s-20-oun ... joysticks/
https://www.shinetsusilicones.com/conte ... 01&tbl=rtv

Shin Etsu is the company that was part of the patent linked above with Threebond. I think it's an interesting product to try, but there is currently no connection between it, TB2581P or Alps

Edit: Although I should connection between SKCM and Shin-Etsu. I have found patents with Shin-Etsu and alps related to grease for rotary knobs/dials. So there is a "connection" there, but not for our purposes yet.


http://www.shinetsuamerica.com/files/products/G-501.pdf
201122293552228.pdf
Anyone who used a piece of stereo equipment back in the '70s or '80s will remember the smooth, heavy feel of the rotary controls. The overwhelming majority of those controls were made by Alps, and it was their "trademark" to have that feel. I'm guessing that's what the G-501 grease provides, and if so it's definitely *not* what we'd want for keyboard switches.



yeah i have a pioneer sx 1080 and the switches in it that are from alps are silky smooth same with the potentiometers and for a surprise there ate good Mitsumi's in it

headphone_jack

11 May 2020, 16:10

I have some G501 coming in the mail. I am going to have a control switch, a switch where I apply new lube, and a switch where I chemically age the lube to get it closer to what we would expect Alps to feel like today. Threebond and I are currently trying to track down the spec sheet for TB2581P so that we can learn more about it, and possibly find a lube that is chemically identical. I will update the thread when my testing is done.

forter4

12 May 2020, 00:48

NICE! I was just about to start a few alps projects...definitely excited to hear any new updates

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