NeXT Non-ADB keyboard

User avatar
snuci
Vintage computer guy

05 Dec 2015, 17:11

Below are some pictures of the NeXT Non-ADB keyboard. There is also a post for the NeXT ADB keyboard that was a different internal set up. The NeXT non-ADB keyboard needed either a proper NeXT monitor or a "soundbox" that this keyboard connected to that then connected to the NeXT Cube or NeXTStation.

You will notice two varieties. What I believe to be the first generation of non-ADB keyboards had black Alps key switches. The second generation has white Alps. I don't have enough keyboards to see if the labelling follows the key switches used (AAE = white, ABP = black) but pics are here for both. Note: I didn't take a picture of both keyboard tops because they are identical.

Common NeXT Non-ADB keyboard Pics:
NeXT AAE and ABP - keyboard top.jpg
NeXT AAE and ABP - keyboard top
NeXT AAE and ABP - keyboard top.jpg (210.36 KiB) Viewed 3936 times
NeXT ABP - top case removed.jpg
NeXT AAE and ABP - top case removed
NeXT ABP - top case removed.jpg (230.13 KiB) Viewed 3936 times
NeXT ABP - back case opened.jpg
NeXT AAE and ABP - back case opened
NeXT ABP - back case opened.jpg (317.82 KiB) Viewed 3936 times
NeXT AAE keyboard:
NeXT AAE - keyboard case back.jpg
NeXT AAE - keyboard case back
NeXT AAE - keyboard case back.jpg (194.41 KiB) Viewed 3936 times
NeXT AAE - circuit board markings.jpg
NeXT AAE - circuit board markings
NeXT AAE - circuit board markings.jpg (438.81 KiB) Viewed 3936 times
NeXT AAE - key caps and switches.jpg
NeXT AAE - key caps and switches
NeXT AAE - key caps and switches.jpg (342.58 KiB) Viewed 3936 times
NeXT ABP keyboard:
NeXT ABP - keyboard case back.jpg
NeXT ABP - keyboard case back
NeXT ABP - keyboard case back.jpg (193.31 KiB) Viewed 3936 times
NeXT ABP - circuit board markings.jpg
NeXT ABP - circuit board markings
NeXT ABP - circuit board markings.jpg (436.44 KiB) Viewed 3936 times
NeXT ABP - key caps and switches.jpg
NeXT ABP - key caps and switches
NeXT ABP - key caps and switches.jpg (300.38 KiB) Viewed 3936 times

User avatar
scottc

05 Dec 2015, 18:21

Beautiful board. Very exciting. I can't wait to get mine! I'm hoping mine has white Alps too, that would be a nice surprise.

User avatar
XMIT
[ XMIT ]

05 Dec 2015, 19:20

White Alps - that's news to me. Are they clicky or tactile? Are they damped? Very interesting.

User avatar
snuci
Vintage computer guy

06 Dec 2015, 02:05

XMIT wrote: White Alps - that's news to me. Are they clicky or tactile? Are they damped? Very interesting.
I'm not really a good judge of "clickiness" because I can't really tell the difference between the black or white. I also don't know what damped feels like. Sorry.

User avatar
XMIT
[ XMIT ]

06 Dec 2015, 04:30

Fascinating. I'd love to see some more photos of the white switches. It could be any of these:

http://deskthority.net/wiki/Alps_SKCM_Cream
http://deskthority.net/wiki/Alps_SKCM_Cream_Damped
http://deskthority.net/wiki/Alps_SKCM_White
http://deskthority.net/wiki/Alps_SKCM_White_Damped

I only thought NeXT keyboards came with Alps Black switches:
http://deskthority.net/wiki/Alps_SKCM_Black

User avatar
Mattr567

06 Dec 2015, 08:39

XMIT wrote: Fascinating. I'd love to see some more photos of the white switches. It could be any of these:

http://deskthority.net/wiki/Alps_SKCM_Cream
http://deskthority.net/wiki/Alps_SKCM_Cream_Damped
http://deskthority.net/wiki/Alps_SKCM_White
http://deskthority.net/wiki/Alps_SKCM_White_Damped

I only thought NeXT keyboards came with Alps Black switches:
http://deskthority.net/wiki/Alps_SKCM_Black
Same here. I once saw a board come with Salmons as well. BTW those arent White, they are Cream, likely dampened.

User avatar
Muirium
µ

06 Dec 2015, 12:52

I'd be amazed if they were clicky Alps. So not Steve Jobs! I expect tactile, with a similar feel to the usual black Alps. But since the keyboard may have different labelling depending on the switch type, I suppose there is scope for a surprise!

This week I'll get my hands on 5 of them and see if I can confirm this.

User avatar
XMIT
[ XMIT ]

06 Dec 2015, 14:19

Hmm. I can't see the ALPS logo text on the white switches. From the Wiki:

"SKCM Cream switches lack the Alps logo on the top, while SKCM Cream Damped switches all appear to have the Alps logo"

I'd be surprised to see one of these with a Salmon switch too.

Both of mine have the black switch.

User avatar
snuci
Vintage computer guy

06 Dec 2015, 15:11

Okay, I have some more pics and I popped my "cherry" on opening an Alps switch thanks to you guys (keyboard pun intended). I also took a few extra pics that a friend of mine asked for as it is confusing with two distinct boards. You can see from the IC date codes that the AAE is earlier and the ABP is later.

Sorry for the lighting but I still don't know if the key switches on the AAE keyboard are white or cream. I'm guessing this isn't damped from what I saw in the Wiki. I'll check the Wiki to see if I have white and/or cream in Apple keyboards or something and take side-by-side pics if nobody can tell right off from the pics.

AAE Key switch:
NeXT Non-ADB - AAE Alps key switch markings.jpg
NeXT Non-ADB - AAE Alps key switch markings "B" and "4C". Zooming in on high-rez original, the dot to the left of the "4C" is nothing.
NeXT Non-ADB - AAE Alps key switch markings.jpg (227.62 KiB) Viewed 3803 times
NeXT Non-ADB - AAE Alps key switch bottom.jpg
NeXT Non-ADB - AAE Alps key switch bottom with Alps logo
NeXT Non-ADB - AAE Alps key switch bottom.jpg (204.7 KiB) Viewed 3803 times
NeXT Non-ADB - AAE Alps key switch.jpg
NeXT Non-ADB - AAE Alps key switch with no damping rubber? on sides.
NeXT Non-ADB - AAE Alps key switch.jpg (270.96 KiB) Viewed 3803 times
NeXT Non-ADB - AAE Alps key switch 2.jpg
NeXT Non-ADB - AAE Alps key switch. Slightly different angle.
NeXT Non-ADB - AAE Alps key switch 2.jpg (344.6 KiB) Viewed 3803 times
ABP Key switch:
NeXT Non-ADB - ABP Alps key switch markings.jpg
NeXT Non-ADB - ABP Alps key switch markings. As pictured, bottom right - "8", bottom left "25Q", top right - "1", top left - blank. Top center - "ALPS" written in letters.
NeXT Non-ADB - ABP Alps key switch markings.jpg (399.24 KiB) Viewed 3797 times
Clarifying pics for the AAE:
NeXT Non-ADB - AAE Label.jpg
NeXT Non-ADB - AAE Label Close Up
NeXT Non-ADB - AAE Label.jpg (274.17 KiB) Viewed 3803 times
NeXT Non-ADB - AAE IC.jpg
NeXT Non-ADB - AAE specific IC/board picture (Date code 8850)
NeXT Non-ADB - AAE IC.jpg (263.79 KiB) Viewed 3803 times
Clarifying pics for the ABP:
NeXT Non-ADB - ABP Label.jpg
NeXT Non-ADB - ABP Label Close Up
NeXT Non-ADB - ABP Label.jpg (259.03 KiB) Viewed 3803 times
NeXT Non-ADB - ABP IC.jpg
NeXT Non-ADB - ABP IC/board picture (Date code 9113)
NeXT Non-ADB - ABP IC.jpg (253.39 KiB) Viewed 3803 times
I mentioned in my original post that I didn't have enough keyboards to be conclusive but here is my sample size. You can see the ABP's on the left and AAE's on the right.
NeXT Non-ADB - Sample Size.jpg
NeXT Non-ADB - Sample Size
NeXT Non-ADB - Sample Size.jpg (269.51 KiB) Viewed 3803 times
Hope this helps a little more.

User avatar
XMIT
[ XMIT ]

06 Dec 2015, 16:11

Great photos, thanks. It looks like the white switch in the photo has a tactile and not clicky leaf spring. If so I believe you've found the elusive cream undamped switch!

User avatar
snuci
Vintage computer guy

06 Dec 2015, 16:22

Two more pics of the switch internals. It appears to have a long switch plate.
NeXT Non-ADB - AAE Alps key switch parts side A.JPG
NeXT Non-ADB - AAE Alps key switch parts side A
NeXT Non-ADB - AAE Alps key switch parts side A.JPG (173.38 KiB) Viewed 3779 times
NeXT Non-ADB - AAE Alps key switch parts side B.JPG
NeXT Non-ADB - AAE Alps key switch parts side B
NeXT Non-ADB - AAE Alps key switch parts side B.JPG (205.25 KiB) Viewed 3779 times

User avatar
snuci
Vintage computer guy

06 Dec 2015, 17:03

Last pic. I mentioned that the tops of the two keyboards were the same so I only took one picture. As was pointed out to me, they are, in fact, different. Some of the legends went from a words like Shift and Enter (AAE) to symbols (ABP), the power key symbol is different, the Enter keys are different shapes, etc. If you are looking for a cream Alps keyboard, they should be easy to spot now if, in fact, my sample is correct for the entire run. Hopefully Muriam's and Scottc's will be consistent with this.

Here is a pic (newer ABP on top, older AAE on bottom):
NeXT Non-ADB - ABP (top) and AAE (bottom) compared..jpg
NeXT Non-ADB - ABP (top) and AAE (bottom) compared
NeXT Non-ADB - ABP (top) and AAE (bottom) compared..jpg (340.72 KiB) Viewed 3764 times

User avatar
Mattr567

07 Dec 2015, 07:03

snuci wrote: Okay, I have some more pics and I popped my "cherry" on opening an Alps switch thanks to you guys (keyboard pun intended). I also took a few extra pics that a friend of mine asked for as it is confusing with two distinct boards. You can see from the IC date codes that the AAE is earlier and the ABP is later.

Sorry for the lighting but I still don't know if the key switches on the AAE keyboard are white or cream. I'm guessing this isn't damped from what I saw in the Wiki. I'll check the Wiki to see if I have white and/or cream in Apple keyboards or something and take side-by-side pics if nobody can tell right off from the pics.

AAE Key switch:
Hope this helps a little more.
Non dampened Cream! Dont see that often. One of the switches I still need for my Alps switch tester.

User avatar
Mattr567

07 Dec 2015, 07:05

XMIT wrote: Great photos, thanks. It looks like the white switch in the photo has a tactile and not clicky leaf spring. If so I believe you've found the elusive cream undamped switch!
There is also a linear Cream ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

andrewjoy

07 Dec 2015, 10:55

Once you start down the Alps rabbit hole you never know what you will find! Impressive pics!

User avatar
Muirium
µ

07 Dec 2015, 10:56

Alps must have had a guy inside who was like us. And he liked to be a devil!

User avatar
Mattr567

13 Dec 2015, 05:39

Do the switches feel different? I once owned a SKCM Black board and they were pretty bad.

User avatar
DanielT
Un petit village gaulois d'Armorique…

15 Dec 2015, 07:31

I wonder that too, but unlike you I like Black Alps, but I seem to be one of the few who does.

andrewjoy

15 Dec 2015, 10:48

They are complicated blacks , not the simplified ones from an AT101! Simplified blacks are not terrible but not amazing.

Still better than MX browns however , ewwe!

User avatar
snuci
Vintage computer guy

15 Dec 2015, 12:49

Mattr567 wrote: Do the switches feel different? I once owned a SKCM Black board and they were pretty bad.
Sorry, I am a terrible judge of key switch feel. They seem the same to me.

A friend described these mentioning that these black Alps are "pine, not bamboo like in Dell AT10* series". Maybe that's why they are pretty good?

User avatar
XMIT
[ XMIT ]

15 Dec 2015, 17:15

Yes. These keyboards with Alps Black switches feel way nicer than an AT101 with Alps Black switches.

I'll be selling one soon in the Keypocalypse store if you are interested. :evilgeek:

User avatar
Muirium
µ

19 Dec 2015, 06:50

Here's six more:
Plan.jpg
Plan.jpg (337.64 KiB) Viewed 3554 times
All spoken for in my little GB. And all quite similar, besides for the German and Spanish layout versions at the top here.
Left.jpg
Left.jpg (277.45 KiB) Viewed 3554 times
The other 4 are ANSI.
Right.jpg
Right.jpg (322.88 KiB) Viewed 3554 times
All black complicated Alps. Slim Big Ass Return.
Oblique.jpg
Oblique.jpg (187.51 KiB) Viewed 3554 times
One has this sticker on the back. Note the rubbery bumper that runs around the whole keyboard. Nice design touch. Quite effective at making sure these guys don't!
Sticker.jpg
Sticker.jpg (245.37 KiB) Viewed 3554 times
Here's the only sign of shine on the caps. None of the boards look heavily used.
Shine.jpg
Shine.jpg (148.61 KiB) Viewed 3554 times
And here's the most intriguing of the rear labels. Only 1 of the 6 is like this:
Bank Serial.jpg
Bank Serial.jpg (312.79 KiB) Viewed 3554 times
The others have various numbers:

ABW1200087 - Spanish
ABT1200006 - German
ABP6113372 - ANSI, the ABP is a separate sticker
ABP1514207 - ANSI
ABP6106515 - ANSI, the ABP is a separate sticker

The part numbers differ too.

User avatar
Nuum

19 Dec 2015, 13:20

The German layout one is actually Swiss layout!

User avatar
Muirium
µ

19 Dec 2015, 16:10

Ah! Right, I shrugged off the weirdness as a NeXT thing. (I'm used to Apple's oddball take on the ISO-UK layout for instance, which is actually a hybrid ANSI-US and I assumed where there was a Steve…) Seebart had better like it!

I'll try cleaning up the dusty one when I have the time. I think all 6 should be just as good with a bit of care.

User avatar
Muirium
µ

30 Dec 2015, 23:16

Someone knows a good source for these sockets, as I recall:

Image

Now would be a great time to know! I have the dirty board opened up for cleaning. So far, so good.

mr_a500

30 Dec 2015, 23:23

snuci wrote: Two more pics of the switch internals. It appears to have a long switch plate.
NeXT Non-ADB - AAE Alps key switch parts side A.JPG
NeXT Non-ADB - AAE Alps key switch parts side B.JPG
I had no idea there was a white Alps version. (...not that there's much difference from black)

I have a NeXTstation. It seems to like to eat hard drives. I had three hard drive failures in 2 years. I don't understand all the hype over NeXT. In reality, it's a pain in the ass to use. Amiga is much more fun.

User avatar
Muirium
µ

31 Dec 2015, 01:39

NeXT lives on in its direct ancestors (everything Apple makes) while Amiga… not so much.

Plus these boards are pretty badass. Complicated Alps, good white on black doubleshots, and a function row-less form factor that's much better looking than regular full size. Quite looking forward to getting them hooked up with a modern machine. Hasu's TMK is the way. But first I have some soldering to do, and gear to get for it!

User avatar
DanielT
Un petit village gaulois d'Armorique…

05 Jan 2016, 18:31

Muirium wrote: Someone knows a good source for these sockets, as I recall:

Image

Now would be a great time to know! I have the dirty board opened up for cleaning. So far, so good.
I have 3 such sockets but it won't help you much shipping to US would take forever.

User avatar
Muirium
µ

05 Jan 2016, 22:59

Scotland would be good too. Can take a month if necessary!

jacobolus

12 May 2016, 07:48

There’s some misleading information in some posts upthread.

The ivory/cream/whatever (definitely not "white") tactile Alps switches are from the *first* generation of NeXT keyboards, the type with the straight (not L-shaped) enter keys. They have tall white switchplates, and are concurrent with late batches of orange/blue Alps SKCM switches (note the lack of Alps logo on top). The later generation of NeXT keyboards (with L-shaped enter) have “pine” black Alps switches, with short switchplates (but still with the "slits"). The slider color on these “cream” switches is somewhere in between the color of white and damped cream sliders, but very slightly different than the slider color on earlier “ivory” tactile switches found in mid-80s Canon typewriters (those have a slightly different top housing shape, and are slightly stiffer, though not as stiff as black Alps).

Dell AT101W keyboards used “complicated Alps” SKCM switches, not “simplified” SKBM switches (as suggested upthread), but they were the later “bamboo” type of SKCM switches, without the top housing “slits”.

Among tactile “pine” SKCM Alps switches, the weighting is roughly:
orange < cream (the ones in the NeXT board) ~= salmon < ivory (canon typewriters) < black

The cream switches are very similar in stiffness to salmon switches, maybe a tiny bit bit softer, while orange switches are noticeably lighter and black switches are noticeably stiffer.

My speculation is that the historical progression of several specific switch lines transitioned at the same time (~1989) like:
orange -> salmon
cream -> black
blue -> white
green -> yellow

In each case, the later short-switchplate switch got a bit stiffer than the earlier tall-switchplate version.

If anyone really likes the smoothness of orange Alps, but wishes they were a bit stiffer, the switches in the earliest NeXT boards are a great choice.

Also, the “pine” black Alps switches found in NeXT boards with L-shaped enter keys are really nice. Very similar to salmon switches, just with a stiffer spring (I haven’t inspected the tactile leaves closely, they might not be identical). Much nicer feeling than the later “bamboo” black Alps switches in Dell AT101Ws, though still too stiff for my taste.

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