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White alps: dissembly and attempted silencing

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Got my macally mk96 today, and of course I promptly dissembled a switch and tried 3 mods to silence it. Results and pics are below.  

The beast:

White alps indeed:

When switch is removed (using the "insert-2-screwdrivers-and-wiggle-them-both method"), note that the contact switch on the alps is located towards the front side of the board. On my (gray) strongmans smk85, the contact switch is on the rear side of the board.

The switch deconstructs into the usual parts

This is the click leaf: note how narrow it is compared to the one on the gray strongmans. Note too the pronounced "hammer" spot on it.

Another view, side profile of the click leaf.

I found the white alps to be as "loud as **ck" as everyone here says. Also the tactile bump on it is more pronounced than the white strongman bump, IIRC.  Its a great switch but my neighbors wont handle the noise, so on a whim I tried 3 ways to tamp down the volume.

Way #1) I removed the click leaf altogether. This made the switch sound and feel like a light version of a black cherry switch. Thats the best way to describe it -- and in other words, it felt pretty cool! However since I've gotten used to some tactility, I opted not to do that for myself.

Way #2) I put a piece of electrical tape over the "hammer" on the leaf (see pic), hoping to mute it.  And mute it, it did: it basically sounded like gray or black alps at that point. The "click" part was virtually eliminated, I mean if you really held your ear against it, you could barely hear it. It retained its normal tactile feel but the audio was basically gone. (So in that case may as well get a black or gray alps board, right? So I didnt keep that either)

Way #3) I took one of the leafs, and "squished" it where it bends. The idea being to reduce the spring tension on the leaf, which would presumably simultaneously reduce both tactile bump feel as well as click "smack" noise.  And this worked as expected too-- so much so that the switch at that point felt like a brown cherry switch (ie, very light resistance and bump), with an added very light click sound (the kind of sound that is easily overpowered by bottoming and topping clacks). The click here was basically reduced to the strongman click level (it reminded me of the click on the matias tp2). So for me, the click sound level was about right now, but the feel became too light (I've found brown cherries to be too light for my taste). So again I chose not to keep it that way. A little re-bending and the leaf was back to normal.

Other notes: re-assembly is a PITA: Unlike gray strongmans (where the leaf stays in the top of the switch with friction), getting the leaf here back into the top part, and then fitting the top part back onto the baseplate socket, was a royal PITA. Unlike on the gray strongmans, the tiny leaf here refuses to stay in the top part with friction. It immediately falls out when you turn the top part right-side-up in order to place it onto the bottom part.
The solution was to literally install it upside down while holding the entire keyboard upside down.
Its not as hard as it sounds, but it took a while to figure out.
UPDATE: Bigpook successfully reinstalled these switches without the clip falling out. He says,

--- Quote ---
 "Initially it did [fall out], but I pushed it in and it clicked/stuck to the key post. I think the key post was flush with the housing when I did it. It stayed in place that way with no issue."  

--- End quote ---

So it may be possible to reinsert these without bending over backwards (literally). (I think by "key post" here, he means the slider/plunger part).
Update 2: figured it out: The following is one technique for getting the leaf to stay in when you're re-assembling the switch. Basically here's what you do: Put the white slider/plunger into the top part of the switch. Then put in the leaf. (The third part, the spring, goes onto the bump or 'nipple' in the keyboard socket). Now, before you turn the top part (containing the plunger and leaf) right-side-up, push the slider "down" just slightly. This makes it push against the tactile bumps on the leaf, thus holding it in place. At that point you can turn the top part right-side-up and the leaf wont fall out. Works reliably every time.

Conclusion: White alps are charming, but too loud for me and I'd probably like a smaller tactile bump too. I'd like to try the white strongmans again because if I'm recalling correctly, and they are a lighter, softer version of the white alps. For instance, I'm loving my (gray) strongmans in the smk85.

They are great switches though. I love the loudness and the feel is unmatched and I think a lot of that is because of the long throw.

The click leaf looks very different to the ones I have. Mine look like these in the top right:


--- Quote from: Chloe;15284 ---The click leaf looks very different to the ones I have. Mine look like these in the top right:
--- End quote ---

yours is white alps switch too? (not strongmans?) Interesting that white alps would have 2 diff leafs. Cant help but wonder how that translates to sound and feel between them. (probably not much diff tho).


--- Quote from: webwit;15286 ---Great info. Just some mindless gibberish from me... I wonder what would happen if the spaces are closed, especially the inner rectangle.
--- End quote ---

interesting idea, I suppose it would contribute a muting effect, though just how much is hard to say.

You could probably fill the inner rectangle with elmers glue and see if it makes any difference in sound.


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