Blue Alps Destructive Testing

User avatar
SneakyRobb
THINK

07 Jun 2019, 19:46

Hi, I am taking some blue alps sliders to the Chemistry lab here to see what kind of Lubricant is on the switch and if the plastic has impregnated lubricant. Mostly for my curiosity and fun.

ZedTheMan pointed this out but I wonder now if there may be a difference between early and late blue alps switches.

I have a Leading Edge DC-2014, but it may have been made in 1988 or 1989. As well as some Orihalcon loose switches. I am not sure if these switches are an earlier or later variant.

The wiki for skcm blue identifies variants of switch plate:

"Black long No logo"
"Grey Long No logo"
"White Long No logo"
"White Long with logo"
"White short with logo"

Does anyone know what Blue alps are the earliest ones and how to identify them? Or are they all the same, individual board condition aside.

What keyboard they are on etc. If the switches on the DC-2014 are sufficient I will use them as the board had very little use. I would obviously prefer to destroy the loose Orihalcon switch for this test vs removing a slider from the DC-2014.

User avatar
SneakyRobb
THINK

07 Jun 2019, 19:51

Also I asked ALPS about the lubricant.

"Hi,Mr.Robb.
The reason why I am writing this email to you is I'd like to thank you and answer your questions.

Thank you for using our products for a long time.
We will answer your questions about products "SKCMAG" series.

As you know, this product series was a product sold as a switch for mechanical keyboards.
However, I am sorry, but now it has been discontinued and not sale.
In addition, there is no product that is compatible with this product, so we cannot introduce
alternative products.
We apologize for not meeting your expectations.
We hope our relationship may long continue.

Thank You and Best Regards.
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Yuga sampei
Alps company Product Information Center

ALPS COMPANY
ALPS ALPINE CO., LTD.
Address : 1-7, Yukigaya-otsukamachi, Ota-ku, Tokyo, 145-8501, Japan
We have changed our company name from ALPS ELECTRIC CO., LTD. to ALPS ALPINE CO., LTD. from Jan 1st, 2019.
"


1 more time I asked about the Lubricant.

"The content of the question is confidential.
So, I’m sorry but, we can not answer the lubricants used in our products."

Which I've read is what they have said to others here.

User avatar
Chyros

10 Jun 2019, 11:37

There are differences between blue Alps, however I'm not sure that this extended to differences in lubricant in plastic yet. I have tried out different generations and they do feel different. Yours will be older blue Alps, at least 2nd gen.

A former Alps employee couldn't guide me further than that it was "JIS spec, probably silicone based". Due to the way it coats the slider, I'm guessing it was spray-coated. Unlike what virtually everyone seems to think, I don't think it was originally dry lubricant, it just dried up over the years. I have toyed with the idea of testing the lubricant, but I don't have the equipment I'd want to use, and the lubricant attracts dust which can interfere with properties.

What tests did you have in mind?

User avatar
snacksthecat
✶✶✶✶

10 Jun 2019, 23:48

I feel like there are some Alps experts here who could answer your question(s).

Lure them in with more promises of science!

“It’s like 23andMe for keyboards”

User avatar
SneakyRobb
THINK

11 Jun 2019, 00:27

Chyros wrote:
10 Jun 2019, 11:37
There are differences between blue Alps, however I'm not sure that this extended to differences in lubricant in plastic yet. I have tried out different generations and they do feel different. Yours will be older blue Alps, at least 2nd gen.

A former Alps employee couldn't guide me further than that it was "JIS spec, probably silicone based". Due to the way it coats the slider, I'm guessing it was spray-coated. Unlike what virtually everyone seems to think, I don't think it was originally dry lubricant, it just dried up over the years. I have toyed with the idea of testing the lubricant, but I don't have the equipment I'd want to use, and the lubricant attracts dust which can interfere with properties.

What tests did you have in mind?
Hi, I have been in contact with the manager of this facility. He said that FTIR spectroscopy was something to consider. The cost would be $40 so I will proceed with it.

https://sites.chem.utoronto.ca/analest/

Your theory about dried lubricant is interesting. I will discuss this with him further. I will likely have to destroy multiple switches for these tests.

User avatar
SneakyRobb
THINK

13 Jun 2019, 14:09

Chyros wrote:
10 Jun 2019, 11:37
There are differences between blue Alps, however I'm not sure that this extended to differences in lubricant in plastic yet. I have tried out different generations and they do feel different. Yours will be older blue Alps, at least 2nd gen.

A former Alps employee couldn't guide me further than that it was "JIS spec, probably silicone based". Due to the way it coats the slider, I'm guessing it was spray-coated. Unlike what virtually everyone seems to think, I don't think it was originally dry lubricant, it just dried up over the years. I have toyed with the idea of testing the lubricant, but I don't have the equipment I'd want to use, and the lubricant attracts dust which can interfere with properties.

What tests did you have in mind?
I don't know if this has been linked before but I did find this patent

https://patents.google.com/patent/JPH06 ... se%2c+1992

This website has some additional information. It can make your browser crash for some reason

https://globaldossier.uspto.gov/#/detai ... 92/A/89119

The patent is from 1992 and it seems to link back to earlier alps lubricant patents that are not digitized yet. It mentions a silicone lubricant on switches and helping with sliders. It is mixed with some thickening agents. I have found later alps patents from the 2000s where they say that the time for silicone lubricants is over and that other oils must now be tried.

As well, I have also seen numerous times on various alps switch spec sheets that unless your switch is classified as "dust proof," it is not dust proof. So the Alps keyboard switches might be vulnerable to dust because they simply were not designed to be dustproof.

User avatar
snacksthecat
✶✶✶✶

14 Jun 2019, 23:03

SneakyRobb wrote:
13 Jun 2019, 14:09
I don't know if this has been linked before but I did find this patent

https://patents.google.com/patent/JPH06 ... se%2c+1992

This website has some additional information. It can make your browser crash for some reason

https://globaldossier.uspto.gov/#/detai ... 92/A/89119

The patent is from 1992 and it seems to link back to earlier alps lubricant patents that are not digitized yet. It mentions a silicone lubricant on switches and helping with sliders. It is mixed with some thickening agents. I have found later alps patents from the 2000s where they say that the time for silicone lubricants is over and that other oils must now be tried.

As well, I have also seen numerous times on various alps switch spec sheets that unless your switch is classified as "dust proof," it is not dust proof. So the Alps keyboard switches might be vulnerable to dust because they simply were not designed to be dustproof.
Really interesting stuff. I hope that you keep digging and maybe even solve this age old mystery.
Chyros wrote:
10 Jun 2019, 11:37
There are differences between blue Alps, however I'm not sure that this extended to differences in lubricant in plastic yet. I have tried out different generations and they do feel different. Yours will be older blue Alps, at least 2nd gen.

A former Alps employee couldn't guide me further than that it was "JIS spec, probably silicone based". Due to the way it coats the slider, I'm guessing it was spray-coated. Unlike what virtually everyone seems to think, I don't think it was originally dry lubricant, it just dried up over the years. I have toyed with the idea of testing the lubricant, but I don't have the equipment I'd want to use, and the lubricant attracts dust which can interfere with properties.

What tests did you have in mind?
I think a wet lube would serve Alps much better than dry. Alps always have that "shhhhk" feeling. Some people like this but I don't really care for it.

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