The Vectra64

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Mattr567

03 Jul 2018, 23:32

Finally decided I needed a custom and went all Alps on it. Welcome to the Vectra zone 8-) This is why I sold my P70 1K to Erlick, as I needed the money to make this :twisted:

I've been wanting to do a Vectra Alps build for a long time, and thanks to gains, I finally got the chance. For those who don't know HP did make an Alps keyboard! Out of the Vectra Portable CS laptop, think of it as an IBM 5140 situation.

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It has SKCM Cream switches, which are the best overall Alps tactile out there. Its the ultimate child of SKCM Orange and Salmon. These rare undampened Creams are only found in some NeXT non-adbs and a few Canon typewriters.

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Whats really special about the Vectra though is its keycaps, which are Alps Electric PBT replicas of the HP rubberdome profile. Completely unique sculpt to any other Alps keycap.

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Anyway, to the build! Parts consist of:
HP Vectra Portable CS keyboard
Hasu Alps64
KBDfans 5 degree

Stock plate
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The stock PCB is NKRO which is neat fingerling :shock:
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Plate after cutting and drilling
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Sandblasted
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Painted and color matched to the legends :o
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Diodes and soldering
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Getting there :P
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Done!
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This thing is amazing and feels it! The keycap profile fits the 5 degree well and its very comfortable to type on. One other interesting part is that the blockers are OEM!! They snap into any normal Alps switch hole and fit the new enclosure like it was meant to be :)

I'll have a typing video up soon.

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Mattr567

03 Jul 2018, 23:45

Upon request, here are some more profile comparisons to normal AE PBT.

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//gainsborough
ALPSの日常

04 Jul 2018, 00:23

This thing is seriously awesome - some fine work, my dude! Vectra64 is a pretty awesome name for it as well!

Looking forward to the typing video.

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clickityClackity

04 Jul 2018, 00:27

Fuckin dope homie, well done!

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kakan

04 Jul 2018, 00:30

Wow that look seriously good! How does the keycaps feel to type on?

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ramnes
ПБТ НАВСЕГДА

04 Jul 2018, 01:28

Excellent. Especially for the blockers, I wouldn't have expected this!

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Mattr567

04 Jul 2018, 02:29

Thanks everyone! :) Here's a typing test

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHGrhW4zgE8

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depletedvespene

04 Jul 2018, 02:33

Great work!

Quick question: what's the caps+switches situation of the F row? It seems that they're a bit smaller than the rest of the keycaps, but it's not as marked a difference as in the 5140's case? (heck, could a 75% be crafted from a Vectra without too much difficulty?)

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Mattr567

04 Jul 2018, 02:37

depletedvespene wrote: Great work!

Quick question: what's the caps+switches situation of the F row? It seems that they're a bit smaller than the rest of the keycaps, but it's not as marked a difference as in the 5140's case? (heck, could a 75% be crafted from a Vectra without too much difficulty?)
Those are SKCL Compacts just like the 5140, however, I would still cut those off and keep the numpad for a unique (7x%?) layout. I only cut the numpad off in this case since I wanted the compactness of a 60% for college :)

Making an external Vectra numpad might be in the future though ;)

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//gainsborough
ALPSの日常

04 Jul 2018, 03:14

Mattr567 wrote: Thanks everyone! :) Here's a typing test

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHGrhW4zgE8
Undapamed creams, ladies and gentlemen. Truly the best tactile switch ever =)

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JP!

04 Jul 2018, 03:29

That's a really nice custom there. It would have been nice to see some Matias replacement switches put back in the laptop if it was still working but I see you used the original plate. Anyhow nice work.

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Mattr567

04 Jul 2018, 04:43

JP! wrote: That's a really nice custom there. It would have been nice to see some Matias replacement switches put back in the laptop if it was still working but I see you used the original plate. Anyhow nice work.
I got just the keyboard assembly from gains, the rest of the PC is still sitting in his garage.

I don't like it either but its all I got :twisted:

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//gainsborough
ALPSの日常

04 Jul 2018, 05:12

JP! wrote: That's a really nice custom there. It would have been nice to see some Matias replacement switches put back in the laptop if it was still working but I see you used the original plate. Anyhow nice work.
The PC was without anything I could use to test it - but you are right. Somone with a spare power cord and such probably could have done something with the PC portion of the "laptop". That one is totally on me >_< I still have it, actually. It's just sitting in my garage - obviously it's missing the keyboard unit :lol:

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green-squid

04 Jul 2018, 10:54

Faantaastic!!!!!

Shame about the computer though

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lucar

04 Jul 2018, 18:38

Fucking gorgeous!

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Dingster

04 Jul 2018, 22:26

holy fuck :shock:

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eekee

04 Jul 2018, 22:39

I looked at the first photo before reading anything, and thought "Vectra64" meant you were installing a recent 64-bit board and modern panel into that case. It would mean you'd use the keyboard...

and you could install a trackball into that boxy bit. :lol:

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//gainsborough
ALPSの日常

04 Jul 2018, 22:50

That first picture isn't actually the PC the board came from.

Here are pictures of the actual PC remains:

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The handle had broken off and it was in a pretty sorry state when I got it.... much like the current state of my garage >_<

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eekee

04 Jul 2018, 23:16

I like the pop-up floppy drive. :) Apart from the handle, it doesn't look in any worse state than my Toshiba T1200. I keep meaning to do something with my T1200, but it needs capacitors replacing to even turn on now, and the screen's very small.

Have fun with your keyboard! :) I'd say more, but my ISP MITMs image host sites so badly they just won't load. I need to have words with them.

Findecanor

04 Jul 2018, 23:59

Mattr567 wrote: Whats really special about the Vectra though is its keycaps, which are Alps Electric PBT replicas of the HP rubberdome profile. Completely unique sculpt to any other Alps keycap.
BTW. Similar keycaps could also have Fujitsu leaf-spring. I have seen two different types of rubber domes.
//gainsborough wrote: The handle had broken off and it was in a pretty sorry state when I got it....
Aw, so you sold him the keyboard. The PC unit is quite cool. Too bad about the handle.
You could find a few "suitcase PC" mods on PC forums. I wonder if this could have been a good base for one.

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Blaise170
ALPS キーボード

09 Jul 2018, 17:14

I keep meaning to do something with my Sharp X68000 as well but...

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consolation

12 Jul 2018, 02:51

Beautiful work OP.
Do you have the LCD screen and driver board from your donor? I've been planning to do this to mine, but just didn't have a heart to chop it up in the end... Those are such nice switches though. Anyway - I'm getting some lines on my panel, so if your screen is up for grabs? it quick detaches so you can use it as a desktop btw - I've been using it with a CGA monitor for some retro gaming, but would like to get the panel back to tip top.
TIA

PS. When you pop out the plastic fascia on the screen you can fit in a 15" macbook screen (by getting rid of floppy pouches. When I pulled mine apart I worked out I can fit a retina MBP plus Thunderbolt->PCIE adapter based (ITX sized) VGA card in the pop up disk drives slots. If you find a dead CS, and want a super cool gaming laptop - this would be a very easy to make conversion. Interestingly there is no PSU onboard, the battery contains the PSU and the plug goes through the case and into battery module (containing AC-DC converter VA plus bog standard 12V lead acid battery) - there's enough room to fit a 2u server PSU in there.

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ideus

12 Jul 2018, 16:50

Good job! Is there a typing video available?

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//gainsborough
ALPSの日常

15 Jul 2018, 22:10

ideus wrote: Good job! Is there a typing video available?
Mattr567 wrote: Thanks everyone! :) Here's a typing test

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHGrhW4zgE8

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Mattr567

31 Aug 2018, 05:51

Well as an update, the board is doing great! Its been my college keyboard for about a week now.

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However, I have picked up something this week that will accompany this board very very nicely ;)

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kokokoy

31 Aug 2018, 06:22

Missed this somehow, absolutely beautiful! Love the blocker btw.

Nice job!

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depletedvespene

01 Sep 2018, 18:14

Mattr567 wrote: However, I have picked up something this week that will accompany this board very very nicely ;)
A numpad, perhaps?

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Mattr567

05 Sep 2018, 23:14

depletedvespene wrote:
Mattr567 wrote: However, I have picked up something this week that will accompany this board very very nicely ;)
A numpad, perhaps?
You would be correct!

Picked up a Genovation 622 numpad for cheap NOS. Stock bamboo SKCM Whites were nice but had to go :lol:

PCB and soldering
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Final product :D

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