Alps Appreciation

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Polecat

23 Feb 2021, 05:39

doomsday_device wrote:
22 Feb 2021, 21:24
black fk3002 (also calculator is working but not pictured)
Wow, very nice! Is Escom a European brand name? Love the badge, sure would like to have one for my black FK-2001, but I've never seen an Escom-branded Focus in person, only in photos.

Jan Pospisil

23 Feb 2021, 09:12

I think Escom was German. We still get a lot of their branded boards here too.

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Muirium
µ

23 Feb 2021, 09:18

Aye, they were German, and expanded much too quickly in the mid 1990s, flew too close to the sun and you know how it goes…

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escom_(computer_company)

They had a very posh store here in Edinburgh for a brief while, right at the peak of their powers. Think it was by Charlotte Square, mingling with high end restaurants. I went in as a kid, and was wowed by their mouse collection. Nerrrrrd! But they were gone so soon I never did have a chance to set aside the pennies and return for something. Bet they had some good boards in there back then… grr!

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NeK

23 Feb 2021, 11:56

I just got this pretty baby :D

NTC 5163EA White APS
NTC 5163EA White APS
NTC-6153EA-White-ALPS.jpg (964.29 KiB) Viewed 1562 times

What a marvelous board! Very heavy, big, sturdy and just beautiful. It is feels like REAL keyboard!

I think that I have fallen in love guys... :P

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ddrfraser1

23 Feb 2021, 15:16

NeK wrote:
23 Feb 2021, 11:56

I think that I have fallen in love guys... :P
It's a good feeling.

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Polecat

23 Feb 2021, 17:47

Muirium wrote:
23 Feb 2021, 09:18
Aye, they were German, and expanded much too quickly in the mid 1990s, flew too close to the sun and you know how it goes…

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escom_(computer_company)

They had a very posh store here in Edinburgh for a brief while, right at the peak of their powers. Think it was by Charlotte Square, mingling with high end restaurants. I went in as a kid, and was wowed by their mouse collection. Nerrrrrd! But they were gone so soon I never did have a chance to set aside the pennies and return for something. Bet they had some good boards in there back then… grr!
Thanks, guys, for the info on Escom. Muirium, glad to see you posting again, hope all's well. I actually tried looking in the wiki, but I missed that article somehow. That was a volatile time in the world of computers, I remember it well. I bought my black FK-2002 at a computer show here in the bay area. Hundreds of vendors at every show, and a new one happening almost every weekend. People were building their own computers, and you could find just aboit any kind of program as shareware, downloaded from a bulletin board for nothing, or bought on floppy disc for a dollar or two. Or just plain stolen from someone else. Prior to that very few of us could afford a computer, or the software to run one. I guess I can live with my custom badge for now.
Attachments
initial custom badge
initial custom badge
DSCN0762.JPG (2.42 MiB) Viewed 1504 times

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TNT

23 Feb 2021, 17:59

That is a very sexy badge

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Chyros

23 Feb 2021, 19:00

That's... awesome. Ideas flying through my head now xD .

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Polecat

24 Feb 2021, 05:48

Chyros wrote:
23 Feb 2021, 19:00
That's... awesome. Ideas flying through my head now xD .
Thank you, it was almost an afterthought at the very end of my black Focus project. The "Enhanced Keyboard" badge that came there was just too generic, and I didn't have a black 2001 emblem, or any other black one for that matter. I dug out a scrap of rosewood from my guitar building days, bought some shiny stick-on JBL letters (my initials, conveniently) from an ebay seller in eastern Europe, cut the wood to fit, stuck on the letters, gave it a quick coat of clear urethane paint, and that was that. I'd happily trade it for a black Escom badge, but I realize that's not likely to happen.

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amigastar23

03 Mar 2021, 23:24

Hey guys,

i have an opportunity to buy what is supposedly a White Alps keyboard.
Can someone maybe tell me if this is a real White Alps keyboard or just a clones one?
Image
Image
Image
Image

ntv242ver2

04 Mar 2021, 16:50

amigastar23 wrote:
03 Mar 2021, 23:24
Hey guys,

i have an opportunity to buy what is supposedly a White Alps keyboard.
Can someone maybe tell me if this is a real White Alps keyboard or just a clones one?
Dear friend, i really think that this one is four tab clone

User avatar
amigastar23

04 Mar 2021, 17:14

ntv242ver2 wrote:
04 Mar 2021, 16:50
amigastar23 wrote:
03 Mar 2021, 23:24
Hey guys,

i have an opportunity to buy what is supposedly a White Alps keyboard.
Can someone maybe tell me if this is a real White Alps keyboard or just a clones one?
Dear friend, i really think that this one is four tab clone
Really? Thank you for clarifying.

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Spockmaster

06 Mar 2021, 06:11

This seems like a good thread to ask in. If I had a chance to get a new-in-box Acer 6011 with blue Alps for $150 + shipping, is that a good deal? I have no idea, really. I really want a blue Alps board but that's also a lot of money.

Jacobalbertus1

06 Mar 2021, 06:19

Spockmaster wrote:
06 Mar 2021, 06:11
This seems like a good thread to ask in. If I had a chance to get a new-in-box Acer 6011 with blue Alps for $150 + shipping, is that a good deal? I have no idea, really. I really want a blue Alps board but that's also a lot of money.
um NOS blue alps 150 UMMM YESS POUNCE and take that

ntv242ver2

06 Mar 2021, 15:42

Spockmaster wrote:
06 Mar 2021, 06:11
This seems like a good thread to ask in. If I had a chance to get a new-in-box Acer 6011 with blue Alps for $150 + shipping, is that a good deal? I have no idea, really. I really want a blue Alps board but that's also a lot of money.
yes to both. That is a lot of money, and also a great deal for blue alps. They are just expensive in today market.

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Spockmaster

06 Mar 2021, 21:28

Thanks! I think I'll get it if the chance comes up.

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TNT

10 Mar 2021, 15:44

I just finished my M0110A (Mitsumi Version). The case needed a little retrobrighting, two broken stems, but everything else was good. Plate was in excellent condition on this one, my cleanest "ALPS" board so far.

I'm not sure about the weighting yet, maybe a little bit too heavy for longer sessions, but I have another set of internals that I can modify with lighter springs from white ALPS and use as a swap-out unit.
IMG_20210310_133245.jpg
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IMG_20210308_202443.jpg (1014.29 KiB) Viewed 887 times

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Bjerrk

10 Mar 2021, 15:47

TNT wrote:
10 Mar 2021, 15:44
I just finished my M0110A (Mitsumi Version). The case needed a little retrobrighting, two broken stems, but everything else was good. Plate was in excellent condition on this one, my cleanest "ALPS" board so far.
Looks reeeeal nice!
Do you use the original controller?

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TNT

10 Mar 2021, 15:57

Yeah, still waiting for the cable and converter to arrive so I actually couldn't test it yet. I like what jsheradin did to his M0110.
I don't mind cables but this thing is basically begging to be turned into a wireless board :)

Like I said, the plate and internals on this one were pristine and I'm always hesitant about tinkering around too much with well preserved vintage gear. Maybe I will mod my second set of internals (that one is not that clean and could even use a plate repaint), but for now, I'm good.
Last edited by TNT on 10 Mar 2021, 22:18, edited 1 time in total.

kshopper2084

10 Mar 2021, 21:16

TNT wrote:
10 Mar 2021, 15:44
I just finished my M0110A (Mitsumi Version). The case needed a little retrobrighting, two broken stems, but everything else was good. Plate was in excellent condition on this one, my cleanest "ALPS" board so far.
It's a real beaut! Nicely done.

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NeK

11 Mar 2021, 03:46

sweet!

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Polecat

11 Mar 2021, 04:07

TNT wrote:
10 Mar 2021, 15:44
I just finished my M0110A (Mitsumi Version). The case needed a little retrobrighting, two broken stems, but everything else was good. Plate was in excellent condition on this one, my cleanest "ALPS" board so far.

I'm not sure about the weighting yet, maybe a little bit too heavy for longer sessions, but I have another set of internals that I can modify with lighter springs from white ALPS and use as a swap-out unit.
Very nice. The M0110A is a lovely keyboard, to me at least. I used one on a Mac Plus back in the day, and those are very good memories. I think mine was the Alps version, as I seem to remember the switches having cream colored stems. Thanks for sharing!

thefarside

15 Mar 2021, 03:20

I thought I’d share a new addition. An AZTECH branded Focus FK-555 keyboard with blue Alps. Physically it’s in good condition but it’s very dirty. It seems like it’s hasn’t been used much so I’m hoping a clean will bring it back to good working condition.
Attachments
Very dirty switch
Very dirty switch
89D20B39-498F-478B-8E5F-B820A78EA66F.jpeg (1.95 MiB) Viewed 666 times
Old and dirty but I still love it :)
Old and dirty but I still love it :)
5C55EEBD-F58B-4747-A270-0C9FDF33934D.jpeg (2.59 MiB) Viewed 666 times

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amigastar23

17 Mar 2021, 18:16

Hey there,

just wanted to ask if these so called "Bamboo White Alps Switches" are recommendable or should i try to find "Pine White Alps"?
Is there a big difference in quality?
thank you

ntv242ver2

17 Mar 2021, 18:56

Always strive for pine if you could

motoko

17 Mar 2021, 22:38

It's a very peculiar thing; Pine is nicer than Bamboo, but it's not a massive difference.

Rather, it seems to be the accumulation of small deltas. I've tried to isolate what explains it by swapping out and comparing springs/leaves/sliders/housings in isolation. No single piece is decisive, but when taken altogether, there is a difference. Hard to quantify, but generally Pine feels smoother and cleaner. If I was to put them in order I'd say the leaf and spring make the most difference. Then the housing, and lastly the slider. Still unclear about what's going on, ultimately.

Another random thing I did was to use a White click leaf but swap everything else for an Orange and a Salmon. The Orange mutant was amazingly nice! The Salmon sounded bassier than the White, but felt a bit stiffer. It was quite interesting, but also baffling. I wonder if there's a way to make a "very, very close to Blue" on the cheap, somehow.

And yes, the earlier poster should absolutely go for that 6011, it's a really nice keyboard. I picked up the ANSI layout, K case version with Whites and love it. It's compact, looks cute, and the switches sound great in it. Mine also came with dye-sub PBT caps! I prefer it to the Dell AT101W by a lot. With Blues, it should be fantastic.
Last edited by motoko on 17 Mar 2021, 23:00, edited 3 times in total.

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amigastar23

17 Mar 2021, 22:51

Thanks guys. If someone wanna chime in, do it please.

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hellothere

17 Mar 2021, 23:07

Take with a grain of salt, as I haven't looked at this extensively ...

I know of at least three white pine variants, all with differently stamped top and bottom housings, and at least two different kinds of coiled springs.

Based on the blue Alps switches in the keyboard I'm currently typing on, white Alps with no logo on the top housing and silver-colored springs is closest to blue Alps. Date-wise, at least. I've had at least one other person confirm this. Good news: these whites can be found in the humble NTC (Nan Tan Computer) and Champ King keyboards. Bad news: NTC keyboards feature a zillion different switches, including blue Alps, so you can't tell what kind of switch just by a model number or serial number. They also can have a black plastic key mounting plate.

I've yet to try a keyboard with bamboo white Alps.

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Chyros

18 Mar 2021, 01:41

Get pines, and get them clean. You won't regret it if you do it right the first time ;D .

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Polecat

18 Mar 2021, 05:00

You're getting good advice from the guys who know best. Earlier is definitely better (in most folks' opinion at least), for sound, feel, and reliability, but condition matters too. Heat and or/moisture and/or dust can be a deal killer.

Datacomp and others used white "Alps" switches in 1992-1993 that sound and feel like early white pine switches. Nothing like Alps-branded switches from the same period. Those have no Alps branding, top or bottom. Nobody seems to know for sure who made those, but one theory is that "someone" bought the older Alps tooling and made SKCM switches for a year or two. Not exactly easy to identify, even in person, much less in a crappy photo, but the unbranded upper housings and full side tabs (not 4 tabs like the clones) in a 1992-93 keyboard is a good clue, especially if there's a 1x mold number on the NE corner of the switches.

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