Post your Alps questions, Alps boards and projects using Alps switches here… all things Alps or Alps clones in this thread.
What are Alps switches?
Alps Electric Co. is a Japanese company that is known in the keyboard community primarily for the Alps SKCL/SKCM series of mechanical keyswitches. This switch has not been in production for a long time though, but Alps clone switches are still manufactured.
So to get your hands on original Alps switches can be either nearly impossible or expensive.
What are Alps clone switches then?
Alps clone refers to a keyboard switch, not made by Alps Electric, that is interchangeable with Alps SKCL/SKCM series and SKBL/SKBM series switches. Such switches must match Alps’s switches as follows:
- Pin layout — switch can be soldered onto an Alps PCB
- Dimensions of housing — switch should snap into an Alps mounting plate and switch should accept the same distance between the PCB and plate
- Alps mount slider — switch should take keycaps from Alps switches
So if you decide to go the cheaper route for Alps board, your best bet is to buy Matias switches.
Matias switches are based heavily on the simplified Alps design. The shell is completely transparent, allowing for LEDs to be mounted directly underneath the switch.
Unlike typical Alps clone switches, Matias switches are externally an exact replica of Alps switches including the four wing-shaped plate retention clips.
It’s hard to get a Alps keyboard because of the limited availability of PCBs, cases and original Alps switches that go together. Even when you get Matias switches, you still need to find a PCB and a case for them.