Author Topic: got my SMK-85 from EBAY today  (Read 15520 times)

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Offline elmomax

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got my SMK-85 from EBAY today
« on: Fri, 30 November 2007, 19:08:16 »
As some of you know, I have a SMK-85 with black ALPS switches.  I recently ordered from DSI on EBAY a SMK-85 which apparently had white ALPS switches.  I am so not happy. It feels and sounds different.  The touch is stiffer and the sound is less clicky.  I now have two of these white alps keyboards.   It is also the same keypad color combo as my beloved keyboard, but the case is this ichy almost spray paint looking silver finish.  I will hook one of these up and try it out for a few days and I hope it will break in and become like my familiar old black ALPS -- but I am not optimistic.  What other keyboards have black ALPS switches == I know I may not find another compact keyboard, so I think I may need to compromise.  Had I known I would have bought five of these two or three years ago.
I popped the key off the new keyboard and it is white....

I am so sad.

 :cry:

Offline iMav

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got my SMK-85 from EBAY today
« Reply #1 on: Fri, 30 November 2007, 20:29:27 »
Sorry about your disappointment.  Definitely give it a try for a couple of days and let us know your impressions.

(some pics would be nice too!)

Offline elmomax

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got my SMK-85 from EBAY today
« Reply #2 on: Fri, 30 November 2007, 21:02:00 »
Will do iMAV.   I will have my sweetie take some pix of the silver wonder -- it is really odd coloring, but I can get beyond that if the feel and click are good.  
I am by no means an expert reviewer, but I will do my best given that my only comparison is the ichy membrame keyboard I have at work and my SMK 85 with black ALPS.

I am also not the most proficient soul at popping keys off to see sliders -- mangled the plastic a bit with my two steak knives LOL  The switch on this SMK-85 is labelled differently than my beloved black ALPS keyboard which distinctly says ALPS.  Peering through my magnifying glass, this switch says  IAI  --   a capital A framed on each side by a straight line.  Is there a recommended way to pop keys off without making a mess?  WIth this logo, are these ALPS switches?

Also some of the keys on my SMK-85 with black ALPS are feeling stiffer than others -- can one do anything to clean or remedy the situation.  I am so hesitant to touch that keyboard in anyway. Need to stop drinking coffee and eating dinner while I type.  Crumbs and keyboards do not mix.

Offline xsphat

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got my SMK-85 from EBAY today
« Reply #3 on: Fri, 30 November 2007, 21:36:56 »
Hook a couple paper clips on opposing corners and you should be able to pop it right off. I made a key puller out of 2 paper clips and some tape that words good enough.

Offline mr_sf_applet

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got my SMK-85 from EBAY today
« Reply #4 on: Fri, 30 November 2007, 21:54:57 »
I use the key puller that came with the Avant Stellar. It looks like this.

For the IBM Model M's with two-part keys (not all the buckling spring keyboards have two-part keys; I think it's mostly the early models, and most of the 84-key space savers have one-part keys, I believe), I use this. You turn it one way, and it removes just the key cap. You turn it 180 degrees and it removes the key stem.

Offline fkeidjn

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got my SMK-85 from EBAY today
« Reply #5 on: Fri, 30 November 2007, 23:48:18 »
So far, I know that this keyboard uses black Alps, since I have one.  Some cheap ones pop up on ebay often.

But if you don't trust ebay, http://northgate-keyboard-repair.com/ has some for sale.
Kinesis Keypad - Filco FKBN104M/EB - Unitek space-saver - Acer 6511-TW - Apple Extended II (M3501) - Scorpius M10 - Cherry G80-1800, AT - SGI Granite - vintage Fujitsu - IBM Model M, 101 and mini - Model F, 84-key AT - Dell AT101W - Northgate 101

Offline elmomax

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got my SMK-85 from EBAY today
« Reply #6 on: Sat, 01 December 2007, 08:32:02 »
The keyboard I bought on EBAY was from DSI not an unknown seller.  I went to the link provided by fkeidjn = the keyboard shown is similar but not the SMK-85.  If it uses black ALPS and it has full size keys and spacing,  I will buy it.  This keyoboard has APS, but they are white.

Thanks for the link fkeidjn.

Offline elmomax

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got my SMK-85 from EBAY today
« Reply #7 on: Sat, 01 December 2007, 09:18:16 »
I just heard back from Robert Tibbetts - the fellow who sells and refurbishes Northgates.  The mini shown on his website uses White ALPS switches  :cry:
Thanks again for the link fkeidjn -- I have hit another dead end on finding another mini/compact keyboard with black ALPS.   :(

Offline mr_sf_applet

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got my SMK-85 from EBAY today
« Reply #8 on: Sat, 01 December 2007, 16:09:38 »
Quote from: elmomax
The switch on this SMK-85 is labelled differently than my beloved black ALPS keyboard which distinctly says ALPS.  Peering through my magnifying glass, this switch says  IAI  --   a capital A framed on each side by a straight line.  Is there a recommended way to pop keys off without making a mess?  WIth this logo, are these ALPS switches?


No, they're not. They're Strongman switches, according to Justin at DSI:

http://geekhack.org/viewtopic.php?p=1236&sid=9664757c0fb5b99021d013b8a926e47d#1236

I also bought a couple of these from the DSI storefront at eBay. And my experience has not been a happy one either, but maybe for different reasons.


Here's the lineup:




The silver and black one on the left was bought from ergo-tech.ca a few weeks ago. The two others, with the gray and cream keys, were the ones just bought from DSI on eBay.

The silver and black one (and may I say again how ugly, annoying, and tacky the silver enclosure is):





has white Alps sliders. You can see the "ALPS" on the base:




The middle keyboard:




has white sliders, the "Alps-compatible" Strongman sliders as described by Justin at DSI.




The two shown here say "IBI9" and "IB8."


This middle keyboard is being sent back to DSI. For one thing, none of the keys click. A definite defect. What's more, closer inspection reveals that this keyboard bears definite signs of being shopworn. Look at the bottom:





The patch on the lower left is sticky, as if a gummed label has been torn off;




There's a scuff on the upper rignt hand corner:




and what the hell is this piece of Scotch tape doing here?



The third keyboard, the one on the right in the lineup, actually does click the way it's supposed to:





Like the middle keyboard it uses Strongman switches:




The characters here read "IA50" and "IA58". (By the way, can someone explain what these characters signify? Is it some  sort of numbering system? They vary from key to key. The white Alps sliders have characters on the base as well, on the opposite of the base from the "ALPS" characters.)

This was the keyboard of the two from DSI Gear that I was going to keep, and in fact I had already made arrangements to return the non-clicky one to DSI in exchange for a clicky one. But I decided to test out every key on this one, the keeper, and it turns out that the three keys on the upper right corner of the board would stick or be sluggish on the return when pressed.


Here the INSERT and DELETE keys are stuck:




Here the INSERT key has popped back up after being struck again, the DELETE key remains stuck;



So I'll be returning both of these to DSI, and am no longer interested in an exchange, but will be getting a refund on the purchase price for both keyboards (no refund on shipping, though).

On the question of white Alps sliders vs. black Alps sliders, we still don't have a direct comparsion, since these SMK-85's from the DSI store on eBay don't have real Alps sliders but Strongman switches that are Alps clones. But I do believe that these white Strongmans, when working properly and *clicking*, are almost identical in feel to the white Alps sliders on the silver and black SMK-85 and on my Avant Stellar. The click sounds slightly different in pitch, but I wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the Strongmans and the white Alps sliders in a blind test. So if elmomax doesn't like these white Strongman switches, chances are she wouldn't like the white Alps switches as well.

That being said, I'm a little puzzled by:

Quote from: elmomax
As some of you know, I have a SMK-85 with black ALPS switches.  I recently ordered from DSI on EBAY a SMK-85 which apparently had white ALPS switches.  I am so not happy. It feels and sounds different.  The touch is stiffer and the sound is less clicky.  I now have two of these white alps keyboards.


because the white Alps sliders are very clicky, and the Strongman  switches on the rightmost SMK-85 in my lineup, the one with the stuck keys, is just as clicky as the white Alps sliders. So I'm wondering if ergomax might have gotten a non-clicking lemon like I did, a keyboard that doesn't click but clacks when the keys hit bottom. If a key is depressed very slowly, there should be an audible click when the key registers. If this is missing, as is the case with the the middle SMK-85 in my lineup, the net effect is still very loud, but is more like a clackety racket than a clickety-clack racket.

I'm still wondering what the difference is between the black Alps sliders on the older SMK-85's and the white Alps sliders on some of the more recent ones (and on the Avant keyboards). From elmomax's remarks, I'm guessing that the white ones require more force, and that the black ones have more of a "soft tactile" feel, while still being clicky. Maybe they're like the blue Cherry MX switches, which are clicky but have a much lighter touch than the IBM buckling springs or the white Alps sliders.

And let me say again, because it cannot be repeated too many times, that the silver casing for the SMK-85 is irredeemably tacky, an offense to taste and a crime against all that is good and moral.

Offline elmomax

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got my SMK-85 from EBAY today
« Reply #9 on: Sat, 01 December 2007, 16:30:07 »
Tacky silver is an understatement!  I only pulled off one key and saw a capital A framed by two lines - had no idea that they may have different labels on each key -- odd.  The keys on this keyboard do click but they are not like my Black ALPS.  I have not opened up the second DSI keyboard SMK-85 to check it out. Given your experience and the condition of the board you received, i need to do that - now. None of the keys stick on the keyboard I am typing on, they do click, but the feel is shallow and the sound is not as bass -- it has a decided click as a result of hitting what feels like a switch... getting accustomed to it, better than membrame mush but not perfect. Hard to describe, just feels different than the black ALPS which has a nice thud when you bottom out and a lower sounding click -- like old PJ's LOL. So you are saying that these are strongman switches.  What does that mean exactly.?  I hear the click but somehow the tactile sensation is so different.  I found myself hitting the keys harder for some reason -- maybe hoping for the feedback the ALPs provided.  I have no idea of what it is, but it is different and not good different.

Funny you should also show the silver with black keys -- I just wrote to Glenn Billard who I believe is from a canadian keyboard company -- I asked him about a keyboard that looked like my SMK-85 in beige with my familiar beige keys and L shaped enter key  -- have not heard back from him as yet to find out what kind of switches his mini keyboard has.  But the silver is hideous and it also chips easily... looks like it is painted on.  Also cannot see when the num or caps are on with the silver case as well as I can with the beige casing... minor point, but just another annoyance.

mr_sf_applet ---- have you found a SMK 85 with Black ALPS -- I am still looking, but I am losing hope. :(

Offline mr_sf_applet

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got my SMK-85 from EBAY today
« Reply #10 on: Sat, 01 December 2007, 16:43:05 »
Quote from: elmomax
mr_sf_applet ---- have you found a SMK 85 with Black ALPS -- I am still looking, but I am losing hope. :(

No, I have not. I've been looking for the past few weeks. When I ordered that silver and black SMK-85 from ergo-tech.ca, I was actually expecting black Alps sliders because I knew thatt xsphat's SMK-85 had'em. So I was surprised to get white Alps instead. I was curious about the black Alps because of xsphat's raves on this forum. And now I'm even more curious because of how much you like them as well.

But I have to say that I quite like  the white Alps sliders, after a somewhat difficult adjustment period. I want to experience the black Alps out of curiosity, not out of dissatisfaction with the white Alps sliders.

Offline elmomax

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got my SMK-85 from EBAY today
« Reply #11 on: Sat, 01 December 2007, 16:46:11 »
I am now sitting here gazing at my SMK 85 with its beloved black ALPS switches wishing I had treated it with more kindness. It probably needs cleaning as some of the keys feels stiffer than others -- too much coffee and crumbs from eating while working.

I want so much to go back to using my beloved  keyboard but the earlier one I had stopped working and I am distressed at the thought that this  keyboard may stop working as well and then where do I go?  This is nuts I know .. but I type a good deal for work reasons -- writing reports -- and a keyboard is important to me -- when I found this SMK about five years ago I fell in love immediately.... I knew I had found the perfect keyboard.  Nutty I know... but true. I do not have space for a non compact keyboard on my drop down tray and I hate reaching over the number keys to my mouse... so  finding a mini keyboard is criticial.

Where else can I look to lay my hands on a compact keyboard with Black ALPS or similar switches... I would consider soldering if I could do that... such is my level of desperation.  And from this rambling, you can probably tell I am a chick. :roll:

I believe there is a mini Northgate - would that suffice for me?

Offline mr_sf_applet

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got my SMK-85 from EBAY today
« Reply #12 on: Sat, 01 December 2007, 16:54:12 »
I don't know about any mini Northgates, but have you considered the possbility of sending your beloved black Alps SMK-85 to that site fkeidjn gave you above:

http://northgate-keyboard-repair.com/

for repairs?

Offline elmomax

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got my SMK-85 from EBAY today
« Reply #13 on: Sat, 01 December 2007, 16:55:10 »
I do not like my black ALPS keyboard -- I adore it!   I had spent countless hours searching for a new keyboard that was just like it. That is how I found this forum.

 I have had this keyboard 2 or maybe 3 years and with keys not feeling right recently, I thought it may die on me. I had no idea that it would be so hard to replace this keyboard again.  It has now become obsession LOL  I knew nothing about switches till I joined this board. I did know that the keys were mechanical and it was not until I joined this board and popped a key that I learned it was black ALPS.  I have been digging about trying to find where I bought this keyboard from -- but it is probably not available anymore....  I will pay a bounty to anyone who can find one for me again.... I am going to keep looking, but I am losing hope.  Even if I can tolerate the strongman switches, I cannot stand to look at the silver case on this keyboard... it offends me -- it is beyond ugly.... it is butt awful. What were they thinking. Silver ich with beige and grey keys. butt awful.

got my SMK-85 from EBAY today
« Reply #14 on: Sat, 01 December 2007, 16:55:43 »
Look through all the usual sites: ergocanada.com fentek-ind.com ergogeek.com ergocube.com , etc... You should be able to find one. I am not aware of any mini Northgates.

Offline elmomax

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got my SMK-85 from EBAY today
« Reply #15 on: Sat, 01 December 2007, 17:01:51 »
I actually wrote to the fellow at Northgate Repair this morning. When I was on their site I saw a mini keyboard and I wondered what sliders/switches it used.  My keyboard is still usable just odd on a few keys such as comma and period -- I need to find something to type on if I send it for repairs.  Does anyone know about the mini keyboards shown on the Northgate repair website -- he indicated he had refurbished and new mini boards.

got my SMK-85 from EBAY today
« Reply #16 on: Sat, 01 December 2007, 17:05:01 »
I think they are boards with Alps switches, but not made by Northgate.

Offline elmomax

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got my SMK-85 from EBAY today
« Reply #17 on: Sat, 01 December 2007, 17:53:36 »
Thanks Whisky -- I will let you know when I hear back from the fllow at Northgate.

White ALPS with a beige case, while not Black ALPSwith any color case,  is better than looking at this god aswful silver monster with strongman keys. So if this mystery board has whilte ALPS what will that feel like -- I seem to recall someone saying that it is likely to be similar to the strongman keys on this silver monster I am typing on now.  Is that the case.  I do not want to get too ennthused at this point.

This keyboard is growing on me... not ideal, but better than membrane crap.  How we learn to compromise in the face of defeat.

Offline elmomax

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got my SMK-85 from EBAY today
« Reply #18 on: Sat, 01 December 2007, 18:06:28 »
I am so confused... I went through my email again... the mini from northgate is allegedly with whilte ALPS in a beige case so it looks like the silver monsters from DSI but with a beige case (which is how my beloved SMK 85E looks)  Sso the ultimate question is  -

....  will the mini with white ALPS from northgate feel like the Strongman switches in this butt awful silver keyboard from DSI?
....  what is the quality of a refurbished keyboard from Northgate?  
....  for the money,, $75 plus shipping, would I be better off looking for a cherry with blue sliders or something else?.

Sorry to be making everyone nuts....  I thought keyboards were simple matters till last week when I learned otherwise.

thanks all.
e

Offline mr_sf_applet

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got my SMK-85 from EBAY today
« Reply #19 on: Sat, 01 December 2007, 19:14:12 »
Quote from: elmomax
....  will the mini with white ALPS from northgate feel like the Strongman switches in this butt awful silver keyboard from DSI?

My guess is yes, because the Strongman switches in the silver-with-beige-and-gray-keys SMK-85 that I got from DSI's eBay store (the clicking one with the stuck keys) feels jusk like the genuine white Alps sliders in the silver-with-black-keys SMK-85 that I had purchased previously.

Quote from: elmomax
I....  what is the quality of a refurbished keyboard from Northgate?

I believe you're referring to the SIIG Minitouch shown on that site, so it's not really from Northgate. Don't know about the quality.

Quote from: elmomax
....  for the money,, $75 plus shipping, would I be better off looking for a cherry with blue sliders or something else?.

Very possibly. I'm thinking you might like the blue Cherry MX's because you thought the Strongman switches were too stiff. The blue Cherry MX switches have a lighter touch than the white Strongman switches or the white Alps switches. Trouble is that we don't know of any compact keyboards with blue Cherry MX's switches. The SMK-88's from DSI, designed specifically for the Mac but workable on Windows machines as well, used to come with blue Cherry MX's but now ship with linear black Cherry MX's.

Offline iMav

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got my SMK-85 from EBAY today
« Reply #20 on: Sat, 01 December 2007, 19:21:12 »
Quote from: mr_sf_applet
Very possibly. I'm thinking you might like the blue Cherry MX's because you thought the Strongman switches were too stiff. The blue Cherry MX switches have a lighter touch than the white Strongman switches or the white Alps switches. Trouble is that we don't know of any compact keyboards with blue Cherry MX's switches. The SMK-88's from DSI, designed specifically for the Mac but workable on Windows machines as well, used to come with blue Cherry MX's but now ship with linear black Cherry MX's.

Did she say in another thread that she'd be willing to do some soldiering?  :)

Offline mr_sf_applet

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got my SMK-85 from EBAY today
« Reply #21 on: Sat, 01 December 2007, 19:32:12 »
Hahahha! You know, I've only tried soldering once myself. That was a long, long time ago. And I don't recall the results as having been very successful. But karlito here and that crazy obsessed fellow at:

http://mykeyboard.co.uk/surgery/

are downright inspiring. I might run out to Fry's tomorrow morning and pick up a soldering iron. Let's see, how about blue Cherry MX's on a Filco Majestouch?

Offline elmomax

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got my SMK-85 from EBAY today
« Reply #22 on: Sat, 01 December 2007, 20:05:16 »
Yes 'she' did say she would try soldering.... having never soldered, is this a project to take on?  It would be a crime to waste those beautiful switches.

I am trying to convince my guy friend to help, but he does not understand why anyone would spend time doing this. He also has never soldered, but admits that he watched his dad solder some forty years ago.  He says he does not understand but this is also the same man with whom I spent two plus hours in a monsoon driving around the streets of Trenton in search of a bathouse by the architect Lou Kahn.  We all have different obsessions.  He muttered something along the lines of "you are totally batty" as he wandered off to read the newspaper. I need to remind him about our time in Trenton NJ searching for the elusive bathouse.  We never found it that day, but he went back with the address in hand a few weeks later. It  took him nearly two hours to get there and another two hours to drive home to Brooklyn - and he does not understand my keyboard obsession. :roll:

Offline mr_sf_applet

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got my SMK-85 from EBAY today
« Reply #23 on: Sat, 01 December 2007, 20:23:08 »
Well, I can sure understand both obsessions. I obviously have a thing about keyboards. By training and by trade, I'm an architect, and I once drove with a former classmate all the way from the Bay Area to La Jolla to see Louis Kahn's Salk Institute. So I can sure understand driving in a monsoon looking for the Kahn bathhouse in Trenton.

got my SMK-85 from EBAY today
« Reply #24 on: Sat, 01 December 2007, 20:24:38 »
Quote from: elmomax
Thanks Whisky -- I will let you know when I hear back from the fllow at Northgate.

White ALPS with a beige case, while not Black ALPSwith any color case,  is better than looking at this god aswful silver monster with strongman keys. So if this mystery board has whilte ALPS what will that feel like -- I seem to recall someone saying that it is likely to be similar to the strongman keys on this silver monster I am typing on now.  Is that the case.  I do not want to get too ennthused at this point.

This keyboard is growing on me... not ideal, but better than membrane crap.  How we learn to compromise in the face of defeat.


I was always under the impression that white alps are the clickiest. I have a Northgate Evolution with white Alps and they are very clicky.

BTW, I've just taken a keycap to confirm that mine are white alps, and they are. I find that the switches without the keycaps are much softer to quiter... much more pleasant. The keycaps also have a lot of horizontal play in them, which is not bad, but not ideal either. Just for the heck of it, I've decided to take off all the alphanumeric keycaps, and try typing on the bare switches... I like it!  I'm only marginally slower. It's much much quieter. The loudest keys are those that still have the keycaps - the big ones like the space bar and the shift keys. I have no trouble remembering the keys when typing along, it's only when doing things like entering passowrds that I really slow down.

This whole post was typed without keycaps.

Offline mr_sf_applet

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got my SMK-85 from EBAY today
« Reply #25 on: Sat, 01 December 2007, 20:29:38 »
Quote from: Whiskey in the Jar-o
Quote from: elmomax
This whole post was typed without keycaps.

And I'm not wearing any pants as I type this one!






Well, not really. I just wanted to say it once.

got my SMK-85 from EBAY today
« Reply #26 on: Sat, 01 December 2007, 20:31:24 »
Quote from: mr_sf_applet
Quote from: Whiskey in the Jar-o
Quote from: elmomax
This whole post was typed without keycaps.

And I'm not wearing any pants as I type this one!






Well, not really. I just wanted to say it once.


:lol:

Offline elmomax

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got my SMK-85 from EBAY today
« Reply #27 on: Sat, 01 December 2007, 20:50:42 »
mr_sf_applet -- LOL.....   I could not get my friend's attention on a soldering project and showing him pictures of keyswitches prompted him to get up and return to watching the news.  But  he just  chimed in.... Check ebay for the Olivetti Red Typewriter....   we did, and there is one up for auction. It is a beauty, though I doubt it clicks...LOL

BTW -- my sweetie also made the pilgrimage to the Salk Insititute last summer (without me). And he was chased by dogs when he was caught lurking around a Wright house in Madison WI.  We also trespassed and lurked around the Johnson "glass house" about a year before Johnson died -- he lurked within 15 feet of the house which would have been fine, but there were people in the house at the time...  what we do for obsessions.

e

Offline mr_sf_applet

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got my SMK-85 from EBAY today
« Reply #28 on: Sat, 01 December 2007, 21:12:59 »
Quote from: elmomax
But  he just  chimed in.... Check ebay for the Olivetti Red Typewriter....   we did, and there is one up for auction. It is a beauty, though I doubt it clicks...LOL

I just checked it out, and I WANT.

There was a Sottsass retrospective exhibition at LACMA last year. It was thrilling to be within touching distance of so many of these iconic objects. I mean, design matters, which is why  -- to bring this back on topic again -- that silver of the SMK-85 offends the sensibilities so much.

Offline iMav

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got my SMK-85 from EBAY today
« Reply #29 on: Sat, 01 December 2007, 21:56:27 »
Quote from: elmomax
And he was chased by dogs when he was caught lurking around a Wright house in Madison WI.

Being from the Madison area, I am well aware of Frank Lloyd Wright.  I drive by the Monona Terrace in downtime Madison every day on my way to work.  ;)

Offline Bluemercury

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got my SMK-85 from EBAY today
« Reply #30 on: Sun, 23 December 2007, 19:04:40 »
So the general consensus is that Black alps switches are better than white ones? guess i need to go for the black one too....:P
Collection:
Das Keyboard II
Model M5-2
Model M5-1(considering selling this one)
Cherry G80-3000LCMPO with black switches
Cherry G80-5000HAMPO (Brown switches)
McAlly96
HHKP2 BNx2

Offline mr_sf_applet

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got my SMK-85 from EBAY today
« Reply #31 on: Sun, 23 December 2007, 20:12:16 »
Quote from: Bluemercury;2066
So the general consensus is that Black alps switches are better than white ones? guess i need to go for the black one too....:P

No, I don't think you can really infer that. The big point, as I see it, is that we are all speaking from fragmentary experience. No one on this board has direct experience of both black and white Alps sliders. So no one has been able to directly compare the two.   And if you want to go for the black ones, feel free. But that's the other point to be made from this thread: NOBODY HAS FOUND A SOURCE FOR KEYBOARDS, WHETHER FULL SIZE OR SPACESAVER, WITH BLACK ALPS SLIDERS.*


*Except for some used Dell keyboards on eBay, and who knows whether those are the same black Alps sliders as the ones on xsphat and elmomax's SMK-85's.

Offline xsphat

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got my SMK-85 from EBAY today
« Reply #32 on: Sun, 23 December 2007, 21:40:26 »
I have a feeling they are pretty similar, but I have nothing to base that on.

Offline fkeidjn

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got my SMK-85 from EBAY today
« Reply #33 on: Mon, 24 December 2007, 02:36:30 »
Quote from: mr_sf_applet;2067
No, I don't think you can really infer that. The big point, as I see it, is that we are all speaking from fragmentary experience. No one on this board has direct experience of both black and white Alps sliders. So no one has been able to directly compare the two.   And if you want to go for the black ones, feel free. But that's the other point to be made from this thread

I've had experience with the black Alps on the Dell keyboards, and I also had experience with the White Alps on two Northgate keyboards.  The white Alps switches on the Northgate keyboards has a tactile feel and sound, but also has a click similar to the blue Cherries.  The black Alps only has the tactile feel and sound.  However, what weird is that I have an SGI keyboard with white Alps, but there is no clicky sound like the blue Cherries.  Furthermore, I had two different Northgates before I sold them (stupid me O_O) - the 101 and the 101P.  The 101P, which I'm assuming is a later model right before the cease of production, along with the Northgate white Alps sound I just described, the sound is rather hollow and echo-ish.  The 101 (I'm assuming an early model), on the other hand, has a pretty firm feel to it (no hollow sound), and the SGI keyboard I have at the moment sounds almost like the 101, but without the blue Cherry click.  If I were to choose between the two Northgates that I had, I would choose the 101, since I like a firm tactile click, not a hollow tactile click (makes the entire feel of the keyboard wishy-washy)
Kinesis Keypad - Filco FKBN104M/EB - Unitek space-saver - Acer 6511-TW - Apple Extended II (M3501) - Scorpius M10 - Cherry G80-1800, AT - SGI Granite - vintage Fujitsu - IBM Model M, 101 and mini - Model F, 84-key AT - Dell AT101W - Northgate 101

Offline xsphat

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got my SMK-85 from EBAY today
« Reply #34 on: Mon, 24 December 2007, 10:42:50 »
You can't compare older Alps sliders based on the stem color. My newer blacks are clickier than my Model M 1391401 and tactile all day, as are my orange sliders from 20 years ago. The pick sliders I have are tactile but not clicky, so who knows. I only like the clicky keyboards except in the case of the HHKB Pro2, so I feel your pain in the search.

Offline Bluemercury

  • Posts: 328
got my SMK-85 from EBAY today
« Reply #35 on: Wed, 26 December 2007, 08:50:54 »
Wonder if this version has black alps switches:

http://www.ergo-tech.ca/frame.cfm?ProductID=166&CategoryID=9
Collection:
Das Keyboard II
Model M5-2
Model M5-1(considering selling this one)
Cherry G80-3000LCMPO with black switches
Cherry G80-5000HAMPO (Brown switches)
McAlly96
HHKP2 BNx2

Offline mr_sf_applet

  • Posts: 165
got my SMK-85 from EBAY today
« Reply #36 on: Wed, 26 December 2007, 09:25:05 »
Quote from: Bluemercury;2124
Wonder if this version has black alps switches:

http://www.ergo-tech.ca/frame.cfm?ProductID=166&CategoryID=9
Bluemercury, pay attention, damn it! In this very thread, up in post #9 above, I specifically said that the silver-and-black SMK-85 on the left hand end of the row of three came from www.ergo-tech.ca, and it had *WHITE* Alps sliders.

Offline ashort

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got my SMK-85 from EBAY today
« Reply #37 on: Wed, 26 December 2007, 10:25:08 »
Your answer to bluemercury then, is "No, it has white Alps sliders".   Would that be an accurate summary of your comment?  I'm asking because I didn't read post #9 either.
Andrew
{ KBC Poker - brown | Filco Majestouch - brown | Dell AT101W | Cherry G84-4100 }

Offline elmomax

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 42
strongman sliders I think
« Reply #38 on: Wed, 26 December 2007, 11:45:47 »
The DSI smk85 that I bought had strongman, not alps white sliders.  Not sure these would have ALps in them either.

Offline mr_sf_applet

  • Posts: 165
got my SMK-85 from EBAY today
« Reply #39 on: Wed, 26 December 2007, 12:46:22 »
Quote from: ashort;2128
Your answer to bluemercury then, is "No, it has white Alps sliders".   Would that be an accurate summary of your comment?  I'm asking because I didn't read post #9 either.

Yes. Pictures in post #9 of the very SMK-85 I bought from www.ergo-tech.ca. Pictures of WHITE ALPS sliders.

Offline Bluemercury

  • Posts: 328
got my SMK-85 from EBAY today
« Reply #40 on: Wed, 26 December 2007, 13:36:46 »
Quote from: mr_sf_applet;2132
Yes. Pictures in post #9 of the very SMK-85 I bought from www.ergo-tech.ca. Pictures of WHITE ALPS sliders.


Ok, so it seems the alps in there are random, sometimes black sometimes white correct?
Collection:
Das Keyboard II
Model M5-2
Model M5-1(considering selling this one)
Cherry G80-3000LCMPO with black switches
Cherry G80-5000HAMPO (Brown switches)
McAlly96
HHKP2 BNx2

Offline xsphat

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got my SMK-85 from EBAY today
« Reply #41 on: Wed, 26 December 2007, 13:48:04 »
Quote from: mr_sf_applet;2125
Bluemercury, pay attention, damn it! In this very thread, up in post #9 above, I specifically said that the silver-and-black SMK-85 on the left hand end of the row of three came from www.ergo-tech.ca, and it had *WHITE* Alps sliders.


Who peed in your Cheerios, applet? Bad week for you or something?

Offline mr_sf_applet

  • Posts: 165
got my SMK-85 from EBAY today
« Reply #42 on: Wed, 26 December 2007, 14:41:47 »
Quote from: Bluemercury;2133
Ok, so it seems the alps in there are random, sometimes black sometimes white correct?

Uh, no. I don't believe that is the appropriate conclusion to draw.

Offline Bluemercury

  • Posts: 328
got my SMK-85 from EBAY today
« Reply #43 on: Wed, 26 December 2007, 16:59:53 »
Quote from: mr_sf_applet;2135
Uh, no. I don't believe that is the appropriate conclusion to draw.


So what conclusion can you take when the same model called SMK-85 gets different ALPS switches???

Anyway i tried to contact DSI but they're probably closed till a few more days i guess.
Collection:
Das Keyboard II
Model M5-2
Model M5-1(considering selling this one)
Cherry G80-3000LCMPO with black switches
Cherry G80-5000HAMPO (Brown switches)
McAlly96
HHKP2 BNx2

Offline iMav

  • geekhack creator/founder
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got my SMK-85 from EBAY today
« Reply #44 on: Wed, 26 December 2007, 18:43:08 »
Quote from: Bluemercury;2139
So what conclusion can you take when the same model called SMK-85 gets different ALPS switches???
Much like it seems it is no longer possible to purchase a SMK-88 with blue Cherry's, the SMK-85 seems to be no longer available with the black Alps sliders.  

In both cases, you'll need to find old stock to get the "good" ones (or, at least, the ones that most members here desire).