SMK Alps mount

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SMK Alps mount
SMK Alps mount clicky -- recognition.jpg
Manufacturer SMK
Family SMK second generation
Introduced 1986 or earlier
Switch type Clicky; tactile; latching lock
Sense method Metal leaf
Peak force 60 cN
Total travel 3.6 mm
Keycap mount Alps mount
Switch mount Plate mount
Monterey switches and keycap

SMK Alps mount switch is a provisional name for the Alps mount variant of the SMK second generation family. The most common variety is the clicky variant with the blue slider, widely referred to as a Monterey switch. The tactile variety was used in the Apple Desktop Bus Keyboard, suggesting an introduction date of 1986 or earlier.


The keycaps are compatible with Alps SKCL/SKCM series switches, but the switch has a different mounting hole and pin layout. A coiled spring provides most of the resistance, and there are two leaf springs for contact and click/tactility respectively.

This is the only SMK second generation switch to lack fixing pins, making it plate mount only.

The switch's feel has made it well regarded among keyboard enthusiasts.


Unlike other switches in this family, the base of the switch is not SMK branded; this has led many people to believe the switch to be a copy. The popular moniker "Monterey" name comes from the fact that the switch was first reported being found in a Monterey K104 keyboard; Japanese keyboard collector MouseFan is alleged to have chosen the name "Monterey switch".[1]

There is substantial evidence to support genuine SMK manufacture. Both Monterey and Chicony have confirmed purchasing the switch from SMK. SMK are now confirmed as a manufacturer of the Apple Keyboard II, which contains the latching action variant. The PCB inscriptions on the unbranded "white Monterey" Apple Desktop Bus Keyboard are a match for (and only) the SMK-made version of the Apple M0110A, strengthening the evidence for genuine SMK manufacture.[2]

No reason for the lack of branding is known, although another difference with this variant is the lack of PCB fixing pins. A diode symbol on the base of the branded Cherry MX mount variant (which lacks support for diodes) indicates that design errors did occur when retooling.

Key feel

The switch has a tactile bump just before actuation where it also clicks. It actuates near 2 mm into the stroke and bottoms out at 3.6 mm. It feels a lot like a Cherry MX Blue switch but with sharper tactility. Unlike the Cherry MX Blue, it does not have hysteresis.

It has less friction than many other switches with Alps mount, such as Alps SKCL/SKCM series, especially on off-centre key presses, but it is not as smooth as e.g. Cherry MX.


SMK Alps mount clicky -- recognition.jpg "Monterey", clicky switch
SMK Alps mount tactile -- recognition.jpg Tactile switch
SMK Alps mount lock (AKB II) -- top.jpg SMK Alps mount lock



Comparison with inverse cross mount

The inverse cross and Alps mount variants are broadly similar. Aside from the obvious and mandatory differences, the contact leaf shape is subtly different, and the static contact uses thinner wire.

External links


  1. MouseFan — Monterey のキーボードスイッチ (Japanese) Dated 2004-02-02. Retrieved 2015-08-01.
  2. Deskthority — Apple Desktop Bus Keyboards (or Apple IIGS) (post 13) Dated 2013-08-25. Retrieved 2015-08-01.