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Cleaning ALPS switches with Dent tabs vs ultrasonic?

Posted: 15 Jan 2020, 14:01
by NeK
Everyone and their dog recommend an ultrasonic cleaner for cleaning the top housings and the sliders of ALPS switches. However I had great results cleaning SMK and MX switches using just Denture Tablets in a bowl of water for 30+ minutes. They work wonders, even for stubborn lubricants that don't want to come off they eventually do after 2-3 treatments.

So my question is: is it really necessary to clean a so-so board with ALPS switches using ultrasonic or I can get away with a thorough 2-3 treatments using denture tabs. Is there that big of a difference? Or maybe dent tabs are doing some kind of a harm that I am not aware of?

If you say yes to ultrasonic, then can anyone point me out to a nice not-very-expensive device just for this kind of cleaning? It seems that ultrasonic is a big subject with many, many different devices in the market and I have no idea what to buy.

Re: Cleaning ALPS switches with Dent tabs vs ultrasonic?

Posted: 15 Jan 2020, 21:19
by CL4P-TP
I've cleaned 2 keyboards with Alps White and Black with denture tabs and warm water and it worked without any problem. I've been using my Focus FK-2000 for two months now and the switches feel great after lubing with dry PTFE

Re: Cleaning ALPS switches with Dent tabs vs ultrasonic?

Posted: 16 Jan 2020, 01:05
by Findecanor
Denture tabs are mildly abrasive, contain some H₂O₂ and are mint-scented, so they are not 100.00% safe, no.

Re: Cleaning ALPS switches with Dent tabs vs ultrasonic?

Posted: 16 Jan 2020, 02:14
by Elrick
Findecanor wrote:
16 Jan 2020, 01:05
Denture tabs are mildly abrasive, contain some H₂O₂ and are mint-scented, so they are not 100.00% safe, no.
Every cleanser has a chemical that might affect certain plastics, otherwise with no chemical cleanser, nothing is washed at all by only using plain H₂O.

You have to use something to remove any greasy, oily dirt that accumulates over the years.

Re: Cleaning ALPS switches with Dent tabs vs ultrasonic?

Posted: 16 Jan 2020, 03:44
by XMIT
I do denture tabs in about 50C water and an ultrasonic cleaner. There are cheap 60W ultrasonic cleaners made in China that work well.

Re: Cleaning ALPS switches with Dent tabs vs ultrasonic?

Posted: 16 Jan 2020, 09:44
by NeK
can you recommend a specific cleaner that you know works well? I don't want to experiment, i'll probably "lose" :D

Re: Cleaning ALPS switches with Dent tabs vs ultrasonic?

Posted: 16 Jan 2020, 21:07
by abrahamstechnology
I soak my top housings in hot water and dishwasher detergent, run them through the dishwasher itself with heater turned off, rinse them with water and do a final rinse with isopropyl alcohol. The bottom housings and switchplates get soaked in isopropyl alcohol for several hours.
When the top parts are dry I spray them down with several coats of WD-40 Specialist dry lubricant with PTFE. It seems to make them smoother than Dupond dry lubricant. It ends up with some residue visible on the outside but it's faster than using a paintbrush and doesn't affect switch operation anyway.

Re: Cleaning ALPS switches with Dent tabs vs ultrasonic?

Posted: 16 Jan 2020, 22:49
by XMIT
NeK wrote:
16 Jan 2020, 09:44
can you recommend a specific cleaner that you know works well? I don't want to experiment, i'll probably "lose" :D
What I use looks identical to this:

https://www.harborfreight.com/25-liter- ... 63256.html

Again, someone in China makes these, Harbor Freight is just one US importer. Maybe look on eBay for similar looking things?

Re: Cleaning ALPS switches with Dent tabs vs ultrasonic?

Posted: 20 Mar 2020, 10:19
by TheBarista
Im just done with a restoration of a AEK, cream dampened alps. I completly disassembled the switches and kept the top housings and slider in lukewarm water and a industrial presoaking (?) shaking it every so often. This did the trick as i flushed the parts and let them to dry after a day with perfect results!