Xerox with Tactile Green Alps

nubbinator

23 Jul 2014, 07:05

This is a first for me. I bought the keyboard on the off chance that it might be Brown Alps, but was surprised when I saw green sliders. At first I was disappointed, then looked again and noticed the lack of an LED cutout. I also noticed the word Alps on it, which was odd. Then, when pressing it, I noticed it was slightly tactile. So I opened it up and found a switch with a tactile leaf in it as well as a different spring than in my linear Green Alps. I did a poor job of accurately capturing the color due to lack of a proper lightbox and willingness to spend ages white balancing, but the color is almost neon green as opposed to the almost seafoam color in the pics.

If anyone has any more info on these, I'd love to hear more. Last I saw, the wiki said that they were only rumored switches and not confirmed to exist.

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Daniel Beardsmore

23 Jul 2014, 09:34

Wow.

Firstly, how do they feel? The force curve for those is really weird, more like rubber dome (I'll dig out the graph later). The tactile leaf has an interesting shape, I can see.

Secondly, the colour is what I was expecting — I've seen photos of these before but I was never able to prove that they were real or that they really were what I thought they were. It's the Alps Casio Illuminator switch — Matias should really, really have gone for this colour for the quiet click switch instead of grey :) That would have been so awesome.

It would be interesting to get a date off that keyboard. I'm going to say 1988 or later as that's when we think yellow Alps came out.

nubbinator

23 Jul 2014, 16:09

They have a pretty significant bump pretty much right at the beginning, almost like an MX Clear in the size of the bump. The tactile bump is really smooth, but they're not as smooth after that. Not bad, but not super smooth feeling like linear Green Alps.

The color is actually almost closer to neon green than the seafoamish color in the pics. It's hard to accurately capture with the setup I had going last night. They are a very bright color.

I'll open it up later and see if I can find a date, but the earliest I see the board being made is 1990 since it was a Docutech 135 board. The Xerox Docutech came out in 1990 and the Docutech 135 came out in 1991. If the rear label is logical, then based on the manufacture date on the back, it was made in June 1995, but that could be wrong.

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Daniel Beardsmore

23 Jul 2014, 22:45

SKCLAR (Alps SKCL Yellow) is currently given the range 1988–1998.
SKCMAT (Alps SKCM Green) is confirmed as available for sale in 1994.
I don't know if the "half Alps" switches were on sale in 1994 — I don't recall if Sandy ever said.

Sandy doesn't have a scanner, so all I have of the 1994 Alps catalogue are the following photos he took in January to illustrate the unusual characteristics of SKCMAT. The switches were never rumoured, but they were never confirmed as being seen in any keyboard to date. We were both wondering what would have to be inside the switch to give it such distinct characteristics.

Your description is a perfect match for the published force curve.
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I assume that the switchplate must also be different to give it the reduced pretravel of 0.5 mm instead of 1.5 mm.

terrycherry

22 Jan 2016, 19:09

This the 1985made Xerox 6085 keyboard when I was finding the Ampex 210 advert.
See this advert on page160
https://books.google.com.hk/books?id=Zn ... &q&f=false

piemancoder

22 Jan 2016, 22:45

Do you know how they compare to Matias Quiet Clicks? Also, it may just be me but they look like a lighter shade of the green on MX green switches.

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Redmaus
Gotta start somewhere

23 Jan 2016, 00:56

Is the caps lock switch just a regular linear alps yellow?

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Chyros

23 Jan 2016, 01:39

piemancoder wrote: Do you know how they compare to Matias Quiet Clicks? Also, it may just be me but they look like a lighter shade of the green on MX green switches.
I only have loose switches of each, but judging by those SKCM Neon Green feel way nicer and smoother, and the tactility is very pleasant, not as balky, and doesn't have that second tactile bump that plagues Matias switches.

Loose switches never tell the full story though, so take it with a fair dose of salt ;) .

And yes, they're a very different shade of green. I keep calling them neon green because some people mistakenly refer to SKCL green as SKCM green (an easy mistake to make) and because they look so different, but the colour isn't quite neon green, nor is it thecolour that's show in pictures (cameras don't capture it well, it seems), neon green just seems like a fitting name. Closest I can find is malachite: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shades_of_green#Malachite

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ohaimark
Kingpin

23 Jan 2016, 01:47

I'd like to request a sample in a couple weeks so I can measure its force curve.

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Chyros

23 Jan 2016, 02:08

ohaimark wrote: I'd like to request a sample in a couple weeks so I can measure its force curve.
Not needed, this one is actually known ;) .

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ohaimark
Kingpin

23 Jan 2016, 03:55

I don't usually trust the catalogs -- manufacturer QC usually introduces variations that aren't represented by in-house measurements.

terrycherry

04 Aug 2016, 20:50

I got this Xerox 6085 keyboard recently. Just to give the info:
Mine have the Alps SKCM Green with slits and alps logo. Will desolder all switches tomorrow.
I think I have to ask Chyros which keyboard he found the Alps SKCM Green(with slits).

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emdude
Model M Apologist

04 Aug 2016, 21:16

Interesting. Thought only the Xerox Docutechs (JD-2?) had SKCM Greens. Perhaps your 6085 was produced in the 90's or serviced in that period of time.

EDIT: A quick look at Wikipedia tells me that the Xerox 6085/Daybreak workstations that these keyboards came with were marketed only up to '89, so maybe your board was one of the last produced.

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Chyros

05 Aug 2016, 00:25

terrycherry wrote: I got this Xerox 6085 keyboard recently. Just to give the info:
Mine have the Alps SKCM Green with slits and alps logo. Will desolder all switches tomorrow.
I think I have to ask Chyros which keyboard he found the Alps SKCM Green(with slits).
Mine? They're NOS, they were never put into any keyboard :) .

terrycherry

05 Aug 2016, 07:47

emdude: I found lots of detail with picture showed that (1990)Xerox DocuTech 135 computer offset, (1987)The Xerox Documenter System and (1985)Xerox 6085 Professional Computer System are having the same keyboard.(I don't know it's JD-2 or not, but their outlook are not difference)
And I believed these keyboard only had the alps variants like [(Tactile)Alps SKCM Green(slits or no slits),(Linear)Alps SKCL Compact,(Linear)Alps SKCL Yellow with LED].
Mine keyboard back case label said it's 1993.09 and the IC MFD 9324 supported that.
And I have question it is support AT or just the individual protocol?


Chyris: I see. I don't know why some guy like you can get some brand new rare switches.

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emdude
Model M Apologist

05 Aug 2016, 08:22

Yeah, I don't know too much about these Xerox keyboards, but I think all of these computer/workstations had nearly (or completely) identical-looking keyboards. AFAIK, the Docutech keyboards have the Model/Product Identifier 'JD-2.' It was thought that the keyboards for the 6085 system only had SKCM Browns because they were made in the mid-late 80s, but that may well not be the case if your board has SKCM Greens.

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Chyros

05 Aug 2016, 10:39

terrycherry wrote: Chyris: I see. I don't know why some guy like you can get some brand new rare switches.
Assertiveness? :p

Findecanor

05 Aug 2016, 17:44

terrycherry wrote: I got this Xerox 6085 keyboard recently. Just to give the info:
Mine have the Alps SKCM Green with slits and alps logo. Will desolder all switches tomorrow.
Just don't destroy the rest. These keyboards are rare, you know.

terrycherry

06 Aug 2016, 05:39

emdude: Sure, it's JD-2. Maybe it's from (1990)Xerox DocuTech 135 computer offset but never mind. They're made from Xerox.
I received the Xerox keyboard and the following day I sat near to a man on train who is the employee of Fuji Xerox. That was interesting.
The disassemble work had completed but need days to clean the switches and PCB.

Chyros: sorry to spell the wrong name lol

Findecanor: That's never can happen. I have lots of skill to dis/assemble and repair the rare keyboard and switches.
And the thing is the PCB and case have a bit destroy by the recyclers. I need to repair if it is AT protocol.

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Chyros

06 Aug 2016, 12:44

terrycherry wrote: Chyros: sorry to spell the wrong name lol
Dude, my name is spelt wrong so often (usually Chryos) I really don't care anymore xD .

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E3E

18 Aug 2016, 10:11

terrycherry wrote: I got this Xerox 6085 keyboard recently. Just to give the info:
Mine have the Alps SKCM Green with slits and alps logo. Will desolder all switches tomorrow.
I think I have to ask Chyros which keyboard he found the Alps SKCM Green(with slits).
Recently got a 6085 from 1992 from a seller on eBay for a pretty penny, but I thought it was significant. It's so weird how there are coincidences like this. When I found out the keyboard had SKCM Green, I thought it was the first, and then I read this thread and it seems someone found it at around the same exact time.

I restored it with retrobrighting, cleaning, etc. I think I want to apply a dry lube (molybdenum disulfide powder) to the switches though. There was no dirt at all, but I think the newer switches combined with the constant friction against the tactile leaf causes more bind than usual.

These and the DocuTechs are essentially the same exact keyboards minus labels and decals.

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PCB and Chips are practically identical to early DocuTech PCBs

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pine switches

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6085 from 1992 alongside DocuTech from 1990

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Chyros

18 Aug 2016, 12:03

Why are you wearing nitriles? xD

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Khers

18 Aug 2016, 12:13

Anonymity?

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Wodan
ISO Advocate

18 Aug 2016, 12:13

Chyros wrote:
terrycherry wrote: Chyros: sorry to spell the wrong name lol
Dude, my name is spelt wrong so often (usually Chryos) I really don't care anymore xD .
I just think of Gyros when I have to spell your nick. mhm ... Gyros!

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E3E

18 Aug 2016, 12:18

mimizuGK. The man. The gloves. The legend. How could I not follow in his footsteps?

In all seriousness, stab lube.

Also, now I too want a Gyro. A proper sandwich.

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chiptea

18 Aug 2016, 15:34

Wait, you found another one? :shock:

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E3E

18 Aug 2016, 16:48

chiptea wrote: Wait, you found another one? :shock:
Well, I certainly didn't plan on buying another one; there was someone on GeekHack who found 3 DocuTechs and I didn't at all care to buy any from him, since I really do have my fill with the four I have.

However, there was an auction that had a keyboard from 1992 that piqued my curiosity.

Being that this was a 6085 system and keyboard and not a DocuTech, I was one, surprised to see a 6085 keyboard dated 1992 for a system whose production I thought ended in 1989, and two, surprised that the seller was friendly and actually popped off a key cap for me after I clarified.

After that, I geeked out about keyboards to the guy and we started having exchanges over email and we talked a little about the Xerox PARC stuff. He had come into a ton of old internal Xerox stuff from his brother who worked there, and he even had a NIB Xerox 6085 keyboard from October 1985, which really tempted me.

http://imgur.com/a/aSyi8

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He really appreciated some of the insight I gave him on keyboards and all that and it made me happy that he was actually interested and not a curmudgeonly guy, unlike the guy who sold some 6085 stuff before him on eBay.

I was honest with him about the significance of the 6085 with SKCM Green and we worked out a deal and I ended up buying it after his original listing for the entire system didn't sell and he parted it out for me (since he had a spare model from 1988). I paid $300. Yeah, ouch.

I spent $100 on four DocuTechs. I figured this was worth it since it's quite a bit more rare and significant in that it's pretty much THE example we needed to bridge the gap in the question of whether or not SKCM Green was the successor of SKCM Brown, which all 6085 keyboards have until 1990.

From what I gather, these are far more unlikely to be found because Xerox stopped marketing the 6085 in 1989, so any boards from the '90s are either replacements for supported customers' systems, or internal Xerox equipment (my theory anyway), which this one was. This came from PARC itself.

So yeah, a huge dent in my wallet, but in the end, I felt like it was really worth it.

The model had some yellowing and like the DocuTechs, its rubber feet all but deteriorated, but the switches and board itself was clean and undamaged.

I want to disassemble the switches and use some molybdenum disulfide to lubricate the slider, tactile leaf, and housing, because, while rare, these switches have binding issues.

There's no dirt I can see in the housings, so I imagine that it has to be the lack of lubricant on the sliders. Once I lubed one up, it was just fine.

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chiptea

18 Aug 2016, 16:57

Wow, amazing. Goes to show how far being knowledgable and friendly goes! :lol:
Still, considering how rare these things are, $300 isn't too bad at all. I'd love to get more info on that NIB 6085 though ;)

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seebart
Offtopicthority Instigator

18 Aug 2016, 17:01

Impressive, of course something like this doesn't even show up over here.

terrycherry

19 Aug 2016, 10:34

Great experience sharing. I love this kind of response.
What a surprised. We can see the brand new 6085 with box. Is it SKCM brown?
So the 65DB is not having the SKCM brown keyboard only.
When you got this from 90s it has the SKCM Green inside.

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