Author Topic: Green Alps Review  (Read 10500 times)

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Offline nubbinator

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Green Alps Review
« on: Sun, 30 March 2014, 22:29:13 »
So far my experience with Alps has been with Cream, White, and Black Alps.  The Black Alps I had were disappointing and the White Alps annoyed me.  The Cream Alps were interesting though.  So when I saw some Green Alps come up at a decent price, I decided to give them a try and see if I could finally find an Alps switch I well and truly liked.  So without further ado, my adventure into green Alps begins with a Wyse keyboard.






Exterior Build Quality

One of the nice things about every Alps board I've seen is that they have a plate.  As such, most Alps boards tend to be nice and sturdy and have a rigidity that many PCB mount boards and, sadly, even some plate mount boards are missing.  The Wyse keyboard is no different.  This thing is solid as a rock.  It has some nice heft to it, it has marginal flex, and it just feels like a solid keyboard.  It also happens to have some nice thick doubleshot Alps caps on it.

When you pop the caps off, you get to see the sexiness of the Green Alps.  In typical Alps fashion, the switches can be opened up without desoldering them.  All you need to do is pry apart the plastic tabs on the top and bottom.  Unlike most Alps, Green Alps are made with an LED cutout so, given the right board, you could easily make each key backlit.  Based on the design of the top half of the switches, you can tell that they were made sometime before 1993.  It's also difficult to see because of the dirt, but these switches are also lacking the signature Alps logo on the the top of the housing.

And yes, that spacebar is 10.5x units large...ladies






And before you say anything, yes, I know the board is absolutely filthy.  I'd debating whether I'm going to try and get a custom Alps PCB to put them on or if I'm going to Teensy mod the keyboard.  If I do the latter, it will undergo a deep cleaning.

When I got it, the spacebar was also not stabilized.  It was a PITA to get stabilized, but it dramatically improved the feel.

PCB porn and build construction

The case as a whole is nice and thick and is a very solid case.  You also can see a nice thick powder coated plate over the PCB.




Overall, the solder job on the keyboard is pretty solid too.  Personally, I like just a hair more solder than some of the joints have, but it's nothing I could complain about as none of the solder joints I saw were over soldered, I didn't spot any cold joints, and none of them had far too little solder.  There were a few joints that were almost bridged, but, fortunately, I didn't see any actual solder bridges that shouldn't have been there.








The other nice thing is that none of the legs appeared to be bent over.  Far too many Alps boards that I've disassembled have bent over legs.  It's an issue that's rather annoying.

Inside the switch

Green Alps fall under the "complicated" Alps category.  When you look inside the switch,  you see the standard switchplate, leaf, spring, and slider.  Since it's a linear switch, it doesn't matter which way you put the slider back in, both sides are the same.








Typing on Green Alps



also



But seriously, I didn't think linear switches could get any better than Ghost Blacks.  Green Alps proved that I was wrong.  Yeah, the throw of the switches is shorter than ideal for my preference, but, good god, everything else about them is pretty much perfect.  The weight of the switches could not be better.  They're heavier than Reds and Lighter than Blacks and just have a perfect force curve.  You have that initial resistance, and then it's smooth sailing all the way down.  That's not to say you don't have some resistance, since you do, but it's almost like a slide for your fingers.  You have that hesitation at the top, then you just have the perfect ride all the way to the bottom.

The switches are also ridiculously smooth.  I've played with lubed linear Cherry switches and "vintage" Blacks and those have nothing on Green Alps.  Sure, some of the switches could do with a cleaning and a lube job, but holy crap, these things just glide.  Imagine skating on freshly groomed ice with nice and sharp ice skates.  These things just glide and are a pleasure to use.  I don't care if you hate linear switches, Green Alps will make you a convert.

Lastly, these switches seem completely devoid of the dreaded Alps wobble.  For some reason, one I'm not complaining about in the least, they're nice and stable. 

I've never tried Blue Alps, so I can't speak to them, but I can say if you want to see how amazing Alps can feel, run out and get yourself a Green Alps board.  Your fingers can thank me later.

Next up for review:  Green Vintage Tee Mount Alps.  Depending on how some eBay auctions go, I may also get some SMK inverse cross mount switches and some Rafi switches to review as well.
« Last Edit: Sun, 30 March 2014, 23:21:57 by nubbinator »

Offline rowdy

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Re: Green Alps Review
« Reply #1 on: Sun, 30 March 2014, 23:14:18 »
Read with interest :)

I have an old electronic typewriter with green Alps.  It was convinced me to try MX reds, which many people said were similar.

Although I haven't really used the typewriter much, I liked the green Alps, but in the end found MX reds to be too light, preferring MX blacks.

Green Alps being between reds and blacks would go some way to explaining why.

Thanks!
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Offline nuclearsandwich

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Re: Green Alps Review
« Reply #2 on: Sun, 30 March 2014, 23:26:23 »
This encourages me extremely to clean up the Zenith I have with green Alps. If you go the custom PCB route please do share which one you go with. I'd be interested as well.

Offline jacobolus

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Re: Green Alps Review
« Reply #3 on: Mon, 31 March 2014, 05:50:04 »
I agree that green Alps are really nice, among linear switches. Same also goes for the old tee-mount Alps switches, though some of the ones I’ve tried have heavier springs than I’d prefer.

Both I and my girlfriend are in general not fans of linear switches (we are agreed that Model Fs and clicky Alps switches are nice, and she also thinks MX blue is alright). To vintage MX black, MX red, Hi-Tek linear switches, and those metal-lid oval-slider “SKFL” Alps switches, her response was decidedly lukewarm. To green Alps though: “Oh, these are nice!” Neither of us likes yellow Alps as much as green, but they’re not bad.

For anyone looking for green Alps for not too much, both of these keyboards should (I think!) be either green or yellow Alps.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/321221557577
http://www.ebay.com/itm/390805824898
The Zenith in particular should be pretty solid bet; looks pretty early. (The only keyboards I’ve seen with that stupid shaped enter key are other Zeniths with green Alps switches, and Leading Edge keyboards with blue Alps.)

For a bit more, there’s this one w/ confirmed green Alps (see picture) for $110 OBO
http://www.ebay.com/itm/131004828226

And then there are a couple more floating around for ~$150

Nubbinator, did you get this one? http://www.ebay.com/itm/261425440255

Offline BlueBär

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Re: Green Alps Review
« Reply #4 on: Mon, 31 March 2014, 08:07:08 »
Really nice review!
Those green Alps definately sound great! I'll send you a few blue Alps.

Offline nubbinator

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Re: Green Alps Review
« Reply #5 on: Mon, 31 March 2014, 09:15:17 »
This encourages me extremely to clean up the Zenith I have with green Alps. If you go the custom PCB route please do share which one you go with. I'd be interested as well.

Do it, you'll be happy you did.

Sadly, all the Alps compatible PCBs I've see are stupid expensive.  It would be cheaper to get a Mathias or AT101W and swap out the switches than to buy a 60% Alps board.  Hopefully sprit holds off on an R2 of his MX boards and does that Alps board he has pretty much ready to go since I'd buy at least 2.

I agree that green Alps are really nice, among linear switches. Same also goes for the old tee-mount Alps switches, though some of the ones I’ve tried have heavier springs than I’d prefer.

Nubbinator, did you get this one? http://www.ebay.com/itm/261425440255

My brief interaction with Green tee-mount Alps is meh.  I'll go into that more in my review, but the short version is they're nice and smooth, but the shortest throw switches I have ever tried and they bottom out ridiculously quickly.

And that is the one I got.  I offered a bit below the asking price and got it.  They are fantastic with their packing and ship pretty quickly.

Really nice review!
Those green Alps definately sound great! I'll send you a few blue Alps.

They are incredibly nice.  If you can find some, grab them.  That would be awesome with the Blue Alps.  That's one of the next switches I want to try.

Offline AKIMbO

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Re: Green Alps Review
« Reply #6 on: Mon, 31 March 2014, 10:29:57 »
I agree that green Alps are really nice, among linear switches. Same also goes for the old tee-mount Alps switches, though some of the ones I’ve tried have heavier springs than I’d prefer.

Both I and my girlfriend are in general not fans of linear switches (we are agreed that Model Fs and clicky Alps switches are nice, and she also thinks MX blue is alright). To vintage MX black, MX red, Hi-Tek linear switches, and those metal-lid oval-slider “SKFL” Alps switches, her response was decidedly lukewarm. To green Alps though: “Oh, these are nice!” Neither of us likes yellow Alps as much as green, but they’re not bad.

For anyone looking for green Alps for not too much, both of these keyboards should (I think!) be either green or yellow Alps.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/321221557577
http://www.ebay.com/itm/390805824898
The Zenith in particular should be pretty solid bet; looks pretty early. (The only keyboards I’ve seen with that stupid shaped enter key are other Zeniths with green Alps switches, and Leading Edge keyboards with blue Alps.)

For a bit more, there’s this one w/ confirmed green Alps (see picture) for $110 OBO
http://www.ebay.com/itm/131004828226

And then there are a couple more floating around for ~$150

Nubbinator, did you get this one? http://www.ebay.com/itm/261425440255

You've got to be careful with the Zenith ZKB2 and ZKB3's.  The ZKB3 is almost always yellow alps, which aren't even close to green alps in feel.  The ZKB2 came equally in mitsumi, yellow ALPs, and green ALPs.  My advice is don't buy the board unless you can verify the switch type via pictures. 
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Offline yicaoyimu

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Re: Green Alps Review
« Reply #7 on: Mon, 31 March 2014, 20:07:10 »
Now I really want to try some Alps!
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Offline nubbinator

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Re: Green Alps Review
« Reply #8 on: Mon, 31 March 2014, 20:28:38 »
Do it, the nice ones are awesome.

Offline klikkyklik

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Re: Green Alps Review
« Reply #9 on: Tue, 12 August 2014, 16:33:18 »
That is a neat looking board!  Any chance you could do a typing test on it and upload it to YouTube?  I'd love to hear how it sounds!