Alps & Alps clone switch talk


#62

LOL, sorry bud been looking for one of these at a reasonable price for way too long to do that. Seriously though there is another one on r/mechmarket for $235 right now that looks very clean also.

Edit: https://www.reddit.com/r/mechmarket/comments/aq2crj/usil_h_vintage_keyboards_ibm_m_f122_alps_skcm/


#63

oh, i’ve been eyeing that one. Have to convince myself to spend money on it though. He says he’ll convert it to USB for $20 too. Seems like a nice board. I’ve never tried browns. I’ve only had white, black, salmon, dampened cream, green, orange and yellow. My favorite are the whites because I got some NoS and they feel amazing. I’ve heard great things about browns though.


#64

Yeah, it is a pretty penny even if it is a good deal. Clean Browns are something else though, they have a super unique feel due to the plastic dummy plate they use for their tactile leaf. I did a build for a friend with them a few months back & have been on the search ever since. Unfortuantely Browns command a crazy price loose or in board so when I saw the one I grabbed for $215 I just couldn’t pass it.


#65

I’m typing on some skcm browns right now and can attest that they are worth the pretty penny. They sound and feel glorious.


#66

So the ALPS rabbit hole sucked more money (that I really don’t have, LOL! :disappointed:) out of my wallet. Hasu finally restocked on ALPS64 PCBs & AEK plates made from FR4 (here’s the link if anyone is interested) so I went in on a set to make sure I can put together a build when I get my ADK64 case.

Now I got some decisions to make though. I got a XD60 ver.3 PCB that supports ALPS I was planning on using for this build, but finding a plate to use with it is proving tough since it does not support the AEK layout. Which I’m cool with since I’d like to do a regular ANSI layout with split backspace, although having a plate custom cut is the only option there & I don’t have the proper caps for that. Then I also gotta decide if I want to harvest the SKCM browns from the Videowriter I just got (I’d really prefer to just convert that to USB) or use the loose batch of SKCM oranges I got. :thinking: I could sure think of worse problems to have though, LOL! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


#67

are there any alps switches with pcb mounting pins? designing a plateless board and would love to support alps


#68

Unfortunately no, I’m 99% sure all ALPS switches & clones are plate mount with only two pins for the contacts. I guess it would still be technically doable if you were very careful of the placement when soldering the switches in, but I honestly wouldn’t trust the metal pins of the contact leaves to hold up to rigorous use.


#69

was worried thatd be the case. i gave some serious thought to trying to use alps without them but man, as soon as i pull a cap i know im losing a switch. i guess smk is the closest you can get to an alps with mounting pins, so ill stick with those


#70

Yeah, removing the caps & just the movement of the switches while typing if you were to run ALPS switches plateless would be more than enough to make pins break IMO too. IME with them the pins are pretty fragile compared to most MX switches. I’ve had ones snap off on me when just trying to bend them back into place! SMK would be the way to go with this project if they do have plastic mounting pins.


#71

How do you go about cleaning SKCM White Alps? I bought some, but they are dirty and need cleaning, and I have never cleaned alps before. After they are cleaned, I want to lube them with PTFE powder.


#72

So there are a couple of ways to clean alps switches. I use 3, depending on how many I need to clean. The first is ultrasonic cleaning, which isn’t too hard, and it can be pretty quick. You just have to wait a day or so for the water to evaporate out of the top housings. Don’t do the entire switch, just the stem and the top housing. Something else you can do is use denture tabs on the stems and tops, that does a good job too. The next is pretty hands on, and it takes a while, but it’s faster for doing just a couple of switches: manually cleaning it out with a q tip soaked in Isopropyl alcohol.

For lubing them with powder, it’s generally best practice to put the powder in a medium that evaporates quickly, like high percentages of IPA. Then you dunk the stems, or apply it with a brush or a q tip.


#73

I need to clean about 70 loose switches. Which way do you think would be best?

Isopropyl alcohol?


#74

Yup, IPA is isopropyl alcohol.

For 70 switches, I dunno! I think if you have an ultrasonic, go with that.


#75

I’ll go with the ultrasonic. What parts of the switch should I lube with PTFE powder? I’m thinking I’ll use 99% Isopropyl alcohol as the medium for the PTFE powder.


#76

Lube the stem and / or the top housing.


#77

I dream of a day where brown alps pricing will fall


#78

Should I also ultrasonic clean the springs and click leaves?


#79

Agreed, but given the small number of boards they came in & the fact more than a few of them go with vintage computers I don’t see it happening anytime soon. :anguished: One can wish though, I sometimes wonder what type of ALPS goodies are out there buried in the back of some warehouse somewhere. :thinking:


#80

I ended up lubing the stems with a teflon dry lube spray. There is a slight ping to the springs, should I have lubed those? I cleaned them with canned air.


#81

I took a bit of a dive into Alps recently and built my first board with them!

Amber Alps salvaged from a IIc keyboard, built in a polycarbonate Sirius prototype with a custom designed plate, Waldo PCB, and finished with the keycaps and stabalizer parts from a Northgate Omnikey. I ended up liking it very much.