Alps Appreciation

ntv242

22 Dec 2019, 11:11

I generally just love something that looks classic and unique so that clicks with me instantly. Luckily xmas has taken away all my money so I have not made any purchase yet. How do you know that is not alps? Because of the letters on the housing?

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ppCircle

22 Dec 2019, 17:42

ntv242 wrote:
22 Dec 2019, 11:11
I generally just love something that looks classic and unique so that clicks with me instantly. Luckily xmas has taken away all my money so I have not made any purchase yet. How do you know that is not alps? Because of the letters on the housing?
Markings and slider color wiki/Xiang_Min_KSB_series

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E3E

22 Dec 2019, 18:39

ntv242 wrote:
22 Dec 2019, 11:11
I generally just love something that looks classic and unique so that clicks with me instantly. Luckily xmas has taken away all my money so I have not made any purchase yet. How do you know that is not alps? Because of the letters on the housing?
The most obvious give-away is the four tabs on the switch housings. Genuine alps only has two tabs total, one long tab on each side.

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yuchipashe

23 Dec 2019, 16:56

I'm too lazy to recreate the post with proper image ordering and select the correct images so ill just dump all photos in a spoiler tab, got an nginx error when submitting the post.

Finally got my Omnikey gold badge from the post, just a week after I decided to quit this hobby. Might as well post info since I got it.
It came with the serial key sticker with the date. Inside the keyboard there is a blue sticker stating "QUALITY CERTIFICATION BY F.E.". There is also a date on the PCB cut, PCB traces, and plastic. This is probably the manufacturing timeline of the keyboard

PCB cut => Feb 4, 1988 (19980204)
PCB traced/assembled => April 27, 1988 (19980427)
Plastic Case moulded => June 13, 1988 (13-6-88)
Keyboard is assembled => June 29, 1988 (06-29-1988)

Serial: 109976 (9976th Omnikey?)

The blue hue of the slider looks more brighter/vibrant than the Leading Edge DC2014 and OEMAX ones that I've seen personally, got 2 blue sliders from the OEMAX board to confirm that the switch seems bluer than it really is. Also the switches are clean, and it's satisfying to type on, but for some reason it's still not as perfect as the DC2014 one (then again the DC2014 board was close to NOS and was barely used).

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fohat
Elder Messenger

23 Dec 2019, 17:21

yuchipashe wrote:
23 Dec 2019, 16:56

The blue hue of the slider looks more brighter/vibrant than the Leading Edge DC2014 and OEMAX ones that I've seen personally,
The only blue Alps that I have ever had were LE 2014s and those colors were always wildly inconsistent. Perhaps it was getting toward the end of the run and they were running low on blue dye?
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Polecat

24 Dec 2019, 05:32

yuchipashe wrote:
23 Dec 2019, 16:56
I'm too lazy to recreate the post with proper image ordering and select the correct images so ill just dump all photos in a spoiler tab, got an nginx error when submitting the post.

Finally got my Omnikey gold badge from the post, just a week after I decided to quit this hobby. Might as well post info since I got it.
It came with the serial key sticker with the date. Inside the keyboard there is a blue sticker stating "QUALITY CERTIFICATION BY F.E.". There is also a date on the PCB cut, PCB traces, and plastic. This is probably the manufacturing timeline of the keyboard

PCB cut => Feb 4, 1988 (19980204)
PCB traced/assembled => April 27, 1988 (19980427)
Plastic Case moulded => June 13, 1988 (13-6-88)
Keyboard is assembled => June 29, 1988 (06-29-1988)

Serial: 109976 (9976th Omnikey?)

The blue hue of the slider looks more brighter/vibrant than the Leading Edge DC2014 and OEMAX ones that I've seen personally, got 2 blue sliders from the OEMAX board to confirm that the switch seems bluer than it really is. Also the switches are clean, and it's satisfying to type on, but for some reason it's still not as perfect as the DC2014 one (then again the DC2014 board was close to NOS and was barely used).
That's a beautiful keyboard; thanks for sharing the photos and details. My blue Alps FK-2001 from about the same time has the bright consistent blue sliders like your Northgate. Got to keep in mind *why* they were blue. It wasn't because they were trying to match the color to a Pantone chart. Presumably it was to distinguish the various Alps keyboard switches being made in the same factory. Can you imagine what they would have thought if someone had told them some keyboard collectors would be discussing these details thirty years later? Sorry to hear you're quitting the hobby. Best wishes on your future pursuits!

4sStylZ

28 Dec 2019, 23:00

Some of my recents 3d print for M0116 and M0118 Apple Standard keyboard

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More pics : https://imgur.com/a/pi0b2r3

latemodel24

29 Dec 2019, 00:11

What was it printed on

4sStylZ

29 Dec 2019, 01:39

Raw glass with hair spray, not sanded.

I am not sure to understand your question.
Also it's PLA. :)

latemodel24

29 Dec 2019, 03:21

What printer did you use?

4sStylZ

29 Dec 2019, 03:35

Oh. A very cheap FDM printer Alfawise U30…

I need a larger one for having only 1 piece.

ntv242

29 Dec 2019, 11:21

To be honest, I still like the red one better lol.
But overall, they look amazing man, I am so jealous.

ollir

09 Jan 2020, 21:34

Finally got some of these, can't wait to have them in an actual keyboard! But I didn't get to get my soldering iron out right away so I settled for taking some photos instead.

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These will probably get mounted on an Acer 6012 that originally has some white SKCMs once I get the time to get it done. The problem is I've only got 80 switches so I'll be left with some pine white Alps in the board while I get the missing blues from somewhere.

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xs_xs

10 Jan 2020, 10:27

sgi crs keyboard,i got 2 sgi keyboards from Xianyu
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ppCircle

11 Jan 2020, 17:55

I found cool NTC keyboard NTC Kb-6551 EA with Alps SKCM White switches. (pine)

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NeK

11 Jan 2020, 20:01

ppCircle wrote:
11 Jan 2020, 17:55
I found cool NTC keyboard NTC Kb-6551 EA with Alps SKCM White switches. (pine)
Nice one! :!:

h.parks

12 Jan 2020, 00:55

further down the rabbit hole we go: alps-compatible, bottom-mount dactyl plate. everything snaps in wonderfully. yes, even the alps stabilizers.

i was lucky enough to find out about my local library's 3D printers, and so here we are :).

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NeK

12 Jan 2020, 01:45

Can anyone tell from this photo if the switch is ALPS (pine?) or a clone? It's a dark photo and turning up the levels in GIMP doesn't help.

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E3E

12 Jan 2020, 01:50

NeK wrote:
12 Jan 2020, 01:45
Can anyone tell from this photo if the switch is ALPS (pine?) or a clone? It's a dark photo and turning up the levels in GIMP doesn't help.

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Bamboo SKCM White

NeK

12 Jan 2020, 03:31

Thanks. How did you spot it? :)

If they are bamboo then I guess it isn't worth 70$+.

(this is the link if anyone is interested https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/133271349437 ... 3271349437)

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E3E

12 Jan 2020, 04:29

Nah, I'd not spend that kind of money on it, for what it is.

As for how I spotted it: I guess it's mostly just a lot of experience with Alps. When you get used to the differences between the two main types of top housings, it becomes a little trivial.

Basically, the slits are fairly obvious on pine, but bamboo can be misleading sometimes, so I understand the confusion. Another big tell for bamboo, is that, by that time, Alps started using mostly opaque white sliders whereas the old sliders were a bit translucent.

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I'm sure you can easily tell which is which here.

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Polecat

12 Jan 2020, 05:41

To add just a bit, the Focus FK-2001 boards went from having a plain bottom row to one with a backslash and blank "any" key at about the same time the SKCM switches went from pine to bamboo (1993 or thereabouts). Even later ones with Windows keys will almost certainly have four tab clone switches. But being Alps there are no sure things of course.

anmq91

13 Jan 2020, 17:34

Just got my first blue alps board soldered up and in use. God these things are sublime. I have an orange and brown alps board as well, but the oranges aren't in the best condition and the browns are super rounded in their tactility but they are way to heavy for me to use for longer typing sessions. These blue alps are so well balanced and the sound they make is just sublime.

Just out of interest, does anybody game on their Alps keyboards as well? Or would it wear out the switches way too fast?

ntv242

13 Jan 2020, 18:12

NeK wrote:
12 Jan 2020, 03:31
Thanks. How did you spot it? :)

If they are bamboo then I guess it isn't worth 70$+.

(this is the link if anyone is interested https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/133271349437 ... 3271349437)
Even if it is pine, the shipping will be ridiculous + it is from the us so custom charge. May 1.5 the price. I rather wait for deskthority sale, most people are from EU ;)

NeK

13 Jan 2020, 18:30

ntv242 wrote:
13 Jan 2020, 18:12
Even if it is pine, the shipping will be ridiculous + it is from the us so custom charge. May 1.5 the price. I rather wait for deskthority sale, most people are from EU ;)
That's true, my real cost would be 120$+ for that... :?

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E3E

13 Jan 2020, 18:34

anmq91 wrote:
13 Jan 2020, 17:34
Just out of interest, does anybody game on their Alps keyboards as well? Or would it wear out the switches way too fast?
You can game on Alps just fine. Though I rotate my boards, I've had many of my mainstays since 2015-2016 with nothing wearing out, per se. If the contact plates die, you can always replace those easily. In terms of any noticeable wear in relation to feel, I've not noticed anything negative.

I take care of my boards and keep them covered when not in use on my desk or boxed up otherwise, which I would recommend.

I wouldn't worry too much. Just enjoy them; blue Alps are fantastic switches.

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fohat
Elder Messenger

13 Jan 2020, 20:29

And if you wear out WASD then you can just swap them for something like little-used function switches.

anmq91

13 Jan 2020, 20:47

Thank you for the reply guys! Alright i will try using it for gaming, i think it should be quite suited for it!

@E3E, When you say replace the contacts if they stop working do you mean de-solder and re-solder a new switch plate, or is there an easier way to replace the contacts without de-soldering?

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E3E

13 Jan 2020, 20:53

Desoldering is the best option. Alternatively, you can try using compressed air or contact cleaner to see if that helps. It might be debris or corrosion that's stopping the switch from making electrical contact.

If it's worn to the point of fatigue in the contact plate, I've seen some people put something in between the plastic tab so that it applies more pressure to the plate, but honestly, I'd just swap it out at that point.

Good donors for contact/switch plates are:

Most AEK II/Some (high serial) M0116 for 2nd gen, short contact plates.

Most SKCL Compact for 1st gen, long contact plates. SKCM Oranges also have long plates, but most people wouldn't want to sacrifice them.

anmq91

13 Jan 2020, 21:01

E3E wrote:
13 Jan 2020, 20:53
Desoldering is the best option. Alternatively, you can try using compressed air or contact cleaner to see if that helps. It might be debris or corrosion that's stopping the switch from making electrical contact.

If it's worn to the point of fatigue in the contact plate, I've seen some people put something in between the plastic tab so that it applies more pressure to the plate, but honestly, I'd just swap it out at that point.

Good donors for contact/switch plates are:

Most AEK II/Some (high serial) M0116 for 2nd gen, short contact plates.

Most SKCL Compact for 1st gen, long contact plates. SKCM Oranges also have long plates, but most people wouldn't want to sacrifice them.
Alright that's awesome. I've still got a good deal of spare blues and oranges so that should be okay. I just shy away from repeatedly soldering and desoldering from the PCB - my noob soldering skills and the lack of leaded solder in Germany means that I end up burning the pcb trying to desolder too many times! XD

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