Backlit Alps TKL?


#1

So I was desoldering the switches from a KBP V80MTS when I noticed it’s got the pads and resistors for LEDs.


I had a couple of LED green Alps switches on hand to confirm the alignment of the pins. This got me thinking about the idea of a fully backlit Alps TKL. I was already using SKCL greens with the LED cutouts in the top housings for the build, so I figured I’d have a go at making my own LED switch. 2x5x7mm LEDs are readily available in a wide variety of colors now, but I bought some in red since it seemed more period appropriate. The legit LED switch is on the left and modern replica is on the right.

The top housings look the same, but the bottom housings for LED and standard switches are obviously different. To cut holes for the LED legs, I made a simple jig from square tubing to fit the bottom housing in, and then made some simple g-code to drill holes with a cheap 1mm end mill. Using this technique it would be pretty quick and easy to convert the switches for a full board.

The original LED switches have the Alps logo relocated to the side and a notch in the bottom housing where the LED legs come through.

The original LED switches also have a notch in one of the tabs to fit around the LED. It might be possible to machine in something similar, but there’s no way I’m going to try to mill something so floppy and brittle. Standard Alps bottom housings will still latch with a LED in the top housing, but they don’t engage as fully and they stick out a bit more.


Converting the switches would be easy, and based on one GH post I found, there are other PCBs out there that make this sort of thing doable, but this one might be a long shot. Despite the fact that the board even included a manual with the shortcuts to enable the LEDs, I’ve had no luck making them work. It’s not like KBP designs their boards to be modded. This part of the PCB caught my interest, but I don’t want to mess with it as I have no idea what these do.

I figured I’d throw this out here in case any of you might have some advice for me. Worst case scenario is that I end up with a TKL with god damn glorious green Alps switches so I’m OK with that but if I could turn it up to 11 with backlighting, I’d prefer to go that route obviously.