Alps Lubricant FOUND!

Jan Pospisil

25 Jan 2021, 09:58

How are larger keys? I assume stabilized ones are ok, but what about capslocks etc., is there no binding on edge/corner presses?

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Lynx_Carpathica

25 Jan 2021, 10:08

Hi there
How well does the OKS477 work by itself?

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NeK

25 Jan 2021, 10:23

Jan Pospisil wrote:
25 Jan 2021, 09:58
How are larger keys? I assume stabilized ones are ok, but what about capslocks etc., is there no binding on edge/corner presses?
It does the same for them too, makes them just as smooth with no binding at all.
Lynx_Carpathica wrote:
25 Jan 2021, 10:08
Hi there
How well does the OKS477 work by itself?
It does make the switch smoother, but just not as much as it is required.

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NeK

26 Jan 2021, 01:41

Hanslau wrote:
22 Jan 2021, 11:28
Before this I remember you said you tried using sandpaper to smooth out scratched alps housings. What grit of sandpaper did you use? Sanding, in combination with good lubricant might be able to save many alps switches
I tried sanding. Tried many grits, in many ways but it sucked in the end. Also the newer material on white stems responds differently when you sand it in comparison with the blue/orange stem material. Neither got better after sanding. Worst of all are the housings, they are notoriously difficult to sand/polish, but it can be done. However the whole sanding thing is a mess.

You know what does work well for polishing? A dremel using a felt tip (without any compound, just the felt tip). It polishes the rough parts pretty well. I plan to write about this, in detail, in my dedicated thread about restoring ALPS switches.
I am pretty busy right now though, so I only focus on finding the proper lube for now. In the end, I will have a complete guide, on how to properly restore the switches in every aspect, to an almost new condition. However this takes much more time than I anticipated.

So in other words, yes, you are right, polishing and lubing together will indeed save many switches. It will in fact make them as good as new!

kshopper2084

26 Jan 2021, 14:34

NeK wrote:
26 Jan 2021, 01:41
You know what does work well for polishing? A dremel using a felt tip (without any compound, just the felt tip). It polishes the rough parts pretty well. I plan to write about this, in detail, in my dedicated thread about restoring ALPS switches.
I suspect that it would heat the plastic enough to melt it and smooth things right out. 8-)

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Lynx_Carpathica

02 Feb 2021, 23:10

NeK wrote:
31 Dec 2020, 20:50
Removing the factory lubricant from SKCM switches immediately makes them awful. The lube is there for a reason.
Except of course, if you are suggesting that the brilliant ALPS engineers, after they have designed one of the best switches of all time, were incompetent and stupid enough to pay more and have to lube them, for no reason, when they could instead just... NOT lube them and leave them completely clean and save money and then the switches would be even better? Well, I dont think so.
I'm now positive that on certian switches, it might be true. However, I have found lube on SKCM Salmon (just as expected since my Ivories were lubed as wel), as well as Ivory switches wich work just as well if you brush off the old lube, or wipe it off with your fingers.
Even better: wiping it with my hand made my 6/10 salmons 6,5(mostly)-7/10, because the lube either collected dirt/dust, or it was just not distrubuted evenly.

Having that said, I was like... Ok. Let's see what happens: All in: I washed the slider with dishwashing soap, thoroughly, and rinced it withwater, then denatured alcohol. Wiped with my tshirt. Top housing to the same treatment. Now that switch went form a 6-7,5, which was binding before. It feels exactly (very very suspicious) the same as my very early white alps, wich raises the question: Could they have been lubed from the factory? They are not scratchy... just bind slightly on off centre keypresses and feel like it has a lot of stick fricion compared to newer ones. and the top housings are fine.

Theese have: short white switchplates, alps branding on top housing.

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NeK

03 Feb 2021, 02:36

It is possible that they have the same newer stem material of the white skcm stems, but are still lubed with the same lube as the blue and orange ones. The difference here is that the lube was intended and made for the older stems, because without it, those older stems have higher static friction and when they do start sliding, they exhibit stick-slip behaviour. Think of the shoes of basketball players making that screeching sound, as they slide on the basketball floor, that is "stick-slip". The combination of high static friction, binding and stick slip makes them pretty awful compared to the velvet feeling all-around smooth sliding without any resistance, of a 10/10 lubed switch.

High static friction is responsible for the binding on off-center presses and the higher resistance (that needs more force to overcome) before they start sliding. "Stick-slip" is responsible for the awkward micro vibrations as they slide. And finally, if the plastic has heavily been corroded, then that corrosion is responsible for the harsh "rubbing" or "scratchy" feeling during the slide.

The newer stem material, is more slippery by itself so it exhibits far less static friction and stick-slip. However, having no lube to keep the surfaces separated, they wear off faster and they can wear so much that they bind more easily on off-center presses and also have more scratchy or rubbing feeling as they slide.

The lube not only lubricates (makes them smooth) but it also protects against the this wearing off. So it does make sense to lube even the newer material stems. However, IMO, ALPS must have decide at some point to drop the lube alltogether, solely for cost cutting reasons.

Just a note: Switchplates do not affect in any way the sliding.

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shallot

08 Feb 2021, 14:28

Finally, my OKS 477 has shipped - will report back on its effect on my greens once it arrives tomorrow.

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TNT

08 Feb 2021, 16:34

shallot wrote:
08 Feb 2021, 14:28
Finally, my OKS 477 has shipped - will report back on its effect on my greens once it arrives tomorrow.
Sorry, totally forgot to get back to that. I lubed my greens that had slight binding issues and they feel brandnew now. Great stuff, I love it!

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Scarpia

08 Feb 2021, 20:15

My OKS 477 arrived today! I’m going to try it out on some old switches when I can find the time (I have small children, so free time is at a premium right now)

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shallot

09 Feb 2021, 14:25

preliminary testing on non-bindy but scratchy sounding greens (all parts ultrasoniced upwards of 25min) - doesn't seem to eliminate the scratchy sound. can anyone else corroborate? think it could possibly be my technique, was doing it fairly casually on my break

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Scarpia

10 Feb 2021, 13:48

I tried the OKS 477 on an old AEKII (cream damped). Ran a dozen sliders and top housings theough an ultrasonic cleaner (10 minutes) and rinsed in demineralized water. When reassembling, I left three of the cleaned switches unlubed and lubed the remaining 10 with a thin coat of OKS 477 using Chyros’ technique.

These switches were originally maybe a 5-6 out of 10, noticeably scratchy in sound and feel, terrible on off-center keypresses.

Ultrasonic only: definitely improved, less scratchy feel and sound, but still scratchy. Maybe 6.5-7 out of 10, and more consistent than the non-cleaned ones.

Ultrasonic + lube: noticeably less scratchy in both sound and keyfeel. Off center presses much better as well with zero binding now, but definitely not a perfect as-new restoration. A noticeable scratchy sound remains, and corner keypresses feel scratchy like I didn’t use enough lube. I would give them an 7.5-8.5 out of 10, with a full points variation in keyfeel from one switch to the next. TBH I was hoping for more, but further experimentation is required.

Note: the above observations are immediately after lubing and reassembly; I will test them again in a couple of weeks and see how the lube job performs then.

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NeK

10 Feb 2021, 18:26

OKS 477 can only do as much. As I said for getting to 9/10 or even 10/10, a 50-50 mix of NyoGel 767A and OKS 477 will do it. Check out my previous posts back.

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ZedTheMan

10 Feb 2021, 19:58

What I want is a good place to obtain the OKS 477 stateside. I've got a few alps restoration projects in my backlog and if this mix does as well as you say I need to acquire it somehow... And I can't find any sellers lol.

headphone_jack

11 Feb 2021, 05:36

ZedTheMan wrote:
10 Feb 2021, 19:58
What I want is a good place to obtain the OKS 477 stateside. I've got a few alps restoration projects in my backlog and if this mix does as well as you say I need to acquire it somehow... And I can't find any sellers lol.
I too would like to know this. I have a fat load of alps projects to get to, and having this new lube would really speed things up.

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Scarpia

11 Feb 2021, 09:20

After trying out the OKS 477 lube on my cream damped Alps, I lubed a few using the Neogel 760g that others mentioned earlier in the thread, since I had ordered some before NeK did his research.

I used the same ultra thin layer method as recommended by Chyros and so far the results on the cream damped switches are very similar to the OKS 477 alone.

Note: I do not believe this conflicts with NeK’s findings; first of all, NeK did find that the best results came from mixing the OKS 477 with the other Neogel lube; second, my switches are probably the new plastic that doesn’t *require* lube but may benefit from any lube; third, I strongly suspect the OKS 477 needs a thicker application to reach its full potential, so while the Neogel 760g achieved a similar result for now, I think a second application of the OKS 477 would leave it in the dust; and finally, my findings are still very preliminary as I still need to wait a few weeks to re-check my results.

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shallot

11 Feb 2021, 15:45

I've got a gram of 767a on the way to give the mixing a test compared to the OKS alone, we'll see how that fares on greens. Left three rows on the board untouched so should be able to have a decent testbed

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NeK

11 Feb 2021, 19:37

shallot wrote:
11 Feb 2021, 15:45
I've got a gram of 767a on the way to give the mixing a test compared to the OKS alone, we'll see how that fares on greens. Left three rows on the board untouched so should be able to have a decent testbed
Take a note, that I haven't concluded on the exact mix. I am trying different dosages these days and I tend to think that depending the key, a bigger proportion of 767A is needed. Like 80% NG767A - 20% OKS477. It depends on how scratchy the switch already is. (767A will smooth out even the absolutely worst case, but it makes the switch a bit slower and heavier). So take that into consideration too

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shallot

16 Feb 2021, 00:34

NeK wrote:
11 Feb 2021, 19:37
shallot wrote:
11 Feb 2021, 15:45
I've got a gram of 767a on the way to give the mixing a test compared to the OKS alone, we'll see how that fares on greens. Left three rows on the board untouched so should be able to have a decent testbed
Take a note, that I haven't concluded on the exact mix. I am trying different dosages these days and I tend to think that depending the key, a bigger proportion of 767A is needed. Like 80% NG767A - 20% OKS477. It depends on how scratchy the switch already is. (767A will smooth out even the absolutely worst case, but it makes the switch a bit slower and heavier). So take that into consideration too
Had very good success with 50/50 mix of the two on the slider, wiped off until the slider was just a bit tacky, and 100% OKS on the housing railings. This seems to give decent sound and feel and doesn't slow the switch down too badly either. Using the 50/50 mix on the housing railings caused some pretty nasty gumming up of the switches.

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NeK

16 Feb 2021, 05:20

Great to hear that you got a good result, can you elaborate on this? I am glad that someone else has verified that it does indeed work. :)

In my experience, it seems that to get the "perfect" result, a very thin layer of 50-50 mix must be applied on the stem's sliders. I don't bother at all with the housing railings. I just make sure they are clean, by wiping them well.

Also very important is to thoroughly wipe off the stem side, where the click leaf makes contact with. It must be completely dry and unlubed, otherwise the switch gets this horrible, awful upstroke click.

NG 767A is very good at eliminating any binding, at any angle and stabilizing it - making it feel more sturdy -, however it is very "strong" and makes the switch heavier/slower and therefore it doesn't lubricate it in the *classical* sense. But OKS477 does exactly that, so mixing it in, it lubricates it, giving it that buttery smooth sliding.

Therefore It is a matter of getting the mix and the amount applied, right. I have verified, that once you accomplish that, then it is exactly the same as a 10/10 OG switch. Even better.

Hoping to hear from others too, and compare notes. I plan on making some instruction videos for this.

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NeK

16 Feb 2021, 05:32

ZedTheMan wrote:
10 Feb 2021, 19:58
What I want is a good place to obtain the OKS 477 stateside. I've got a few alps restoration projects in my backlog and if this mix does as well as you say I need to acquire it somehow... And I can't find any sellers lol.
You can always order it from ebay, there are some german sellers that ship everywhere. I sadly don't know where you can buy it in the US directly. Maybe we can ask OKS directly?

Another option is to ask a lubricant manufacturer in the US to suggest to us an alternative to OKS 477 product that they make, by giving them its technical data sheet. I am pretty sure there's nothing special about it, as is the case with all lubes.

On the other hand, in europe we cannot get easily/cheaply NyoGel products. And those are indeed special, as they are *dampening* greases, that their primary use it to make sliding slower/heavier instead of faster/lighter as standard lubes do. And I think NyoGel 774 or 774H could be a better choice instead of 767A (which is *very* dampening aka sticky). I would love to try those out, but I am not going to pay those crazy prices that newgatesimms in the UK is asking for (80 to 100+ pounds for a tube...)

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shallot

16 Feb 2021, 14:24

NeK wrote:
16 Feb 2021, 05:20
Great to hear that you got a good result, can you elaborate on this? I am glad that someone else has verified that it does indeed work. :)

In my experience, it seems that to get the "perfect" result, a very thin layer of 50-50 mix must be applied on the stem's sliders. I don't bother at all with the housing railings. I just make sure they are clean, by wiping them well.

Also very important is to thoroughly wipe off the stem side, where the click leaf makes contact with. It must be completely dry and unlubed, otherwise the switch gets this horrible, awful upstroke click.

NG 767A is very good at eliminating any binding, at any angle and stabilizing it - making it feel more sturdy -, however it is very "strong" and makes the switch heavier/slower and therefore it doesn't lubricate it in the *classical* sense. But OKS477 does exactly that, so mixing it in, it lubricates it, giving it that buttery smooth sliding.

Therefore It is a matter of getting the mix and the amount applied, right. I have verified, that once you accomplish that, then it is exactly the same as a 10/10 OG switch. Even better.

Hoping to hear from others too, and compare notes. I plan on making some instruction videos for this.
Ah yes - I've not lubed any clicky switches with this as all almost all of my clickies are in very good condition (or so worn that they somehow became ultrasmooth).

With the greens I have, it removed all of the scratchiness at the cost of a tiny bit of additional weight to the switch, but once I'd lubed the whole board this was no longer an issue. Notably it did not work unless the entire slider was wiped almost clean - the lube was no longer obviously visible on the slider but was very obviously there when you touched it. They are definitely not "NOS" as they do feel different, but the quality of feel is 10/10, if you get my drift.

Interesting addition though - my T key was still notably bad even after lube. In an attempt to fix it, I swapped the switchplate contact leaf with a NOS one that I had lying around and the problem was entirely solved. I do wonder whether abrasion to the switchplate contact leaf metal has an impact in scratchiness, as I've also previously improved switches by ultrasonicing the contact leaves in isopropyl alcohol.

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NeK

16 Feb 2021, 14:50

Yes, the contact leaf does play a role if it is corroded and has developed microasperities, the same holds true for the stem side where the contact leaf makes contact, the surface of the stem can be corroded too. You can either use a fine cloth and rub both of them to smooth them out, and then apply a little bit of lube on the stem surface points where the contact leaf touches, and it should get pretty smooth.

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ZedTheMan

16 Feb 2021, 20:49

NeK wrote:
16 Feb 2021, 05:32
ZedTheMan wrote:
10 Feb 2021, 19:58
What I want is a good place to obtain the OKS 477 stateside. I've got a few alps restoration projects in my backlog and if this mix does as well as you say I need to acquire it somehow... And I can't find any sellers lol.
You can always order it from ebay, there are some german sellers that ship everywhere. I sadly don't know where you can buy it in the US directly. Maybe we can ask OKS directly?

Another option is to ask a lubricant manufacturer in the US to suggest to us an alternative to OKS 477 product that they make, by giving them its technical data sheet. I am pretty sure there's nothing special about it, as is the case with all lubes.

On the other hand, in europe we cannot get easily/cheaply NyoGel products. And those are indeed special, as they are *dampening* greases, that their primary use it to make sliding slower/heavier instead of faster/lighter as standard lubes do. And I think NyoGel 774 or 774H could be a better choice instead of 767A (which is *very* dampening aka sticky). I would love to try those out, but I am not going to pay those crazy prices that newgatesimms in the UK is asking for (80 to 100+ pounds for a tube...)
Mind giving a link to one of those german ebay sellers? My searches have come up blank looking for that OKS 477.

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Scarpia

16 Feb 2021, 21:21

OKS 477 from German eBay seller: https://www.ebay.com/itm/223126794930

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ZedTheMan

16 Feb 2021, 22:44

Scarpia wrote:
16 Feb 2021, 21:21
OKS 477 from German eBay seller: https://www.ebay.com/itm/223126794930
Thank you! Ebay wants me to update my shipping address for that item when it is in my cart, however.
Does that seller offer international shipping or only within Germany/EU?

My apologies, I have not been able to put the page through a translator to figure this out yet.

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NeK

17 Feb 2021, 03:11

Scarpia wrote:
10 Feb 2021, 13:48
I tried the OKS 477 on an old AEKII (cream damped). Ran a dozen sliders and top housings theough an ultrasonic cleaner (10 minutes) and rinsed in demineralized water. When reassembling, I left three of the cleaned switches unlubed and lubed the remaining 10 with a thin coat of OKS 477 using Chyros’ technique.

These switches were originally maybe a 5-6 out of 10, noticeably scratchy in sound and feel, terrible on off-center keypresses.

Ultrasonic only: definitely improved, less scratchy feel and sound, but still scratchy. Maybe 6.5-7 out of 10, and more consistent than the non-cleaned ones.

Ultrasonic + lube: noticeably less scratchy in both sound and keyfeel. Off center presses much better as well with zero binding now, but definitely not a perfect as-new restoration. A noticeable scratchy sound remains, and corner keypresses feel scratchy like I didn’t use enough lube. I would give them an 7.5-8.5 out of 10, with a full points variation in keyfeel from one switch to the next. TBH I was hoping for more, but further experimentation is required.

Note: the above observations are immediately after lubing and reassembly; I will test them again in a couple of weeks and see how the lube job performs then.
Did you also applied lube on the two points on the stem where the contact leaf nails makes contact? That surface usually contributes a lot to the scratchiness. Also check if the contact leaf is corroded, i.e. it is harsh and use a microfiber cloth to wipe the leaf to try and make it smooth(er).

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NeK

17 Feb 2021, 03:14

ZedTheMan wrote:
16 Feb 2021, 22:44
Scarpia wrote:
16 Feb 2021, 21:21
OKS 477 from German eBay seller: https://www.ebay.com/itm/223126794930
Thank you! Ebay wants me to update my shipping address for that item when it is in my cart, however.
Does that seller offer international shipping or only within Germany/EU?

My apologies, I have not been able to put the page through a translator to figure this out yet.
It seems that the seller does not ship to the US. Contact them and ask if they can ship it to you.
Also, I guess that if we contact OKS they will tell us where you can find it in the states. And if all else fails, we will find a similar grease. No worries. Can you contact OKS?

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lispnick

21 Feb 2021, 17:38

Hi guys! I have finished building a custom keyboard with NeKtar-lubed green alps. The result is very satisfying! I did not want to lube the switches first because they seemed to be fine but I changed my mind after mounting the keycaps—the switches were not binding but definitely scratchy. Compared to what I have tried before, this is really a huge improvement, smooth travel, no scratchiness. If anyone is interested, here is a typing demo:
The mix I have used was about 60% NyoGel / 40% OKS measured by weight.

I have one set of salmons in a junk condition. I hope to get to them soon to see the result.

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NeK

21 Feb 2021, 19:09

lispnick wrote:
21 Feb 2021, 17:38
Hi guys! I have finished building a custom keyboard with NeKtar-lubed green alps. The result is very satisfying! I did not want to lube the switches first because they seemed to be fine but I changed my mind after mounting the keycaps—the switches were not binding but definitely scratchy. Compared to what I have tried before, this is really a huge improvement, smooth travel, no scratchiness. If anyone is interested, here is a typing demo:
The mix I have used was about 60% NyoGel / 40% OKS measured by weight.

I have one set of salmons in a junk condition. I hope to get to them soon to see the result.
:o :o :o :o :o :shock: :shock: :shock: what a great board!! and sounds very good too. congrats. I am glad you find the lube satisfying. :)

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