Alps Appreciation

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?

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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swampangel

13 Jan 2020, 22:45

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?
Keyboards are meant to be used; don't hold back :) There's no way the wear and tear I put on my keyboards even comes close to what happens in a data entry or educational setting, and boards last for decades in those environments.

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abrahamstechnology

13 Jan 2020, 23:30

I game and do homework on my Yellow Alps 60% keyboard. It goes in my backpack everywhere.
Some of the slits have broken off from multiple falls, I use it pretty heavily but it works.

anmq91

14 Jan 2020, 12:12

Oh that's cool to hear. I always wrapped up and packed away my alps board the second that i stopped using them in the fear that a single spec of dust was all that was needed to kill them! XD I guess i'll start using them a little more heavily now :mrgreen:

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ppCircle

14 Jan 2020, 15:29

anmq91 wrote:
14 Jan 2020, 12:12
Oh that's cool to hear. I always wrapped up and packed away my alps board the second that i stopped using them in the fear that a single spec of dust was all that was needed to kill them! XD I guess i'll start using them a little more heavily now :mrgreen:
I play a lot on my Blue and Brown alps keyboards and i didn't notice any damage, change in feel and sound. ;)

andrewjoy

14 Jan 2020, 17:17

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?
It will be fine! IMO alps are not fragile , they just wear super fast if used dirty.

And anyway, keyboards are built to be used, dont be like them car collectors who wrap there cars in plastic in a heated storeroom. Get them things out on track, make some noise and turn some tyres into smoke!

There is nothing worse than a keyboard in a box or a car locked away.

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abrahamstechnology

14 Jan 2020, 19:28

Does anyone know, if Brown ALPS tactile leaves fit in other ALPS housings?

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zrrion

14 Jan 2020, 19:39

I don't believe so, I think they are slightly too thick. I can check later today though.

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abrahamstechnology

14 Jan 2020, 20:03

Theoretically, could they fit if you cut down/made a smaller plastic piece?

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E3E

14 Jan 2020, 20:24

abrahamstechnology wrote:
14 Jan 2020, 19:28
Does anyone know, if Brown ALPS tactile leaves fit in other ALPS housings?
They do not, and if you shave the standard top housing to accommodate, or shave the dummy switchplate down, it's likely going to be inconsistent and not worth the trouble.

You'd need a jig for it to be repeatable, and even then, I think it'd be a hassle.

SKCM Green leaves can fit standard housings, but those aren't plentiful. There isn't much reason to swap them anyway.

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Blaise170
ALPS キーボード

14 Jan 2020, 20:25

4 years later and this thread is still going strong - awesome. :)

NeK

15 Jan 2020, 02:24

I have a silly idea. I think an important thing that is missing is to construct a standard evaluation guide/instructions on how to determine the condition of various ALPS switches in a rough way. I know it would be hard but I am sure it is not impossible.

This would certainly help many people by providing a standard way to classify the switches so if someone says it is a 5/10 we all have a general idea what that means. And also would give the opportunity for those that only have one ALPS board to find out how good it is without needing a comparison keyboard.

We can define objective tests like for instance, if the keys are binding would place them at 4/10 or if they are scratchy a 5/10. Lower scores would mean that they have functioning flaws: chattering, ghosting and up to not working at all (that would probably land it at 1/10)

Anyone has any ideas how this could be done?

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Polecat

15 Jan 2020, 07:01

NeK wrote:
15 Jan 2020, 02:24
I have a silly idea. I think an important thing that is missing is to construct a standard evaluation guide/instructions on how to determine the condition of various ALPS switches in a rough way. I know it would be hard but I am sure it is not impossible.

This would certainly help many people by providing a standard way to classify the switches so if someone says it is a 5/10 we all have a general idea what that means. And also would give the opportunity for those that only have one ALPS board to find out how good it is without needing a comparison keyboard.

We can define objective tests like for instance, if the keys are binding would place them at 4/10 or if they are scratchy a 5/10. Lower scores would mean that they have functioning flaws: chattering, ghosting and up to not working at all (that would probably land it at 1/10)

Anyone has any ideas how this could be done?
That would be difficult even if all Alps switches were created equal, which they definitely were not. I'm not trying to be negative, but it seems to me this would always be a subjective thing.

NeK

15 Jan 2020, 16:06

Polecat wrote:
15 Jan 2020, 07:01
That would be difficult even if all Alps switches were created equal, which they definitely were not. I'm not trying to be negative, but it seems to me this would always be a subjective thing.
I was talking about finding some objective measures and avoiding the subjectives one. For instance, key binding is an objective measurement because if you press it off center it gets stuck, there's no subjectivity here. Also objective is the fact that a key-switch either works, or has issues like chattering, registers only sometimes or flat out does not register at all. I have no doubt that these are objective facts and they do not have any room for subjectivity, don't you agree?

Then we can easily create a rank based on those. As an example, lets say that a board with NOS switches in pristine condition would get a Grade A+. Grade A would be a board that all its keys work well, has no binding in any key and it is very clean from dust and dirt inside out (including the switches). If however a board has one or a few keys that are binding lightly, then it will fall into the Grade B. If it has many (more than say 5) switches which bind horribly, then it would be a Grade C. And finally if a board has a key that is not working at all or has chatter, or register problems or other functioning issues then it would make it a Grade D.

I feel that we can do that and maybe, just maybe, find other objective measures for the smoothness too.

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JP!

18 Jan 2020, 19:36

We need some more SKCC love in here.

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