Author Topic: My first Alps custom board  (Read 889 times)

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Offline winteralfs

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My first Alps custom board
« on: Mon, 27 July 2020, 14:29:21 »
I am building my first alps board. I am still learning and want to make sure I am purchasing the correct components.  I have an old Apple iiGS board with orange alp switches.  I plan on removing the switches from this old Apple board and repurpose them in a new 60% board. This is what I was going to order from Krepublilc:

 How do you feel about these parts, and I am ordering the correct things? I was also looking at the alps PCB at LFKeyboards, which is twice the price of the one at Krepublics.  Thanks for any and all advice.

I should also mention that I plan on using the original GS keycaps, the tophat ones.

Chris
« Last Edit: Mon, 27 July 2020, 14:30:58 by winteralfs »

Offline Findecanor

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Re: My first Alps custom board
« Reply #1 on: Mon, 27 July 2020, 15:11:58 »
Welcome to Geekhack! I'm afraid that plan won't work ...

The Apple Desktop Bus keyboard (M0330) from the Apple IIGS has a special layout which is actually key-unit smaller than a regular 60%. It also has a contoured curve to the keycaps that matches that case especially and the top row has the key stems (and switches) rotated 90 to other rows. The L-shaped Return key is also in a shape that is quite uncommon these days. (here's a picture of a keyboard that has been stripped.)

This means that the keycaps won't fit parts made for the regular 60% form factor. You would have to get some other keycaps to fit those parts you've been planning to buy.

There have been a couple of PCB projects that might have suited those keycaps though:
* ASK55 seems to have been available, but is no more.
* Alps64 Mini is an available PCB design (on Github, would have to be fabricated), but progress seems to have halted.
Also: The Golden Delicious is full replacement for the M0116/M0118 PCBs, but there is info on the IIgs board or smaller option though.
« Last Edit: Mon, 27 July 2020, 15:14:21 by Findecanor »
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Offline winteralfs

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Re: My first Alps custom board
« Reply #2 on: Mon, 27 July 2020, 15:35:40 »
Great info, thanks.  I appreciate the feedback. So if I settled on new keycaps, but harvested just the orange switches, would those components work? I want to make sure I am buying the right PCB, case, and plate, etc... Thanks, again. Do you have a better Alps PCB, case, plate combo you could recommend?

Chris

Offline Rob27shred

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Re: My first Alps custom board
« Reply #3 on: Mon, 27 July 2020, 15:57:18 »
Great info, thanks.  I appreciate the feedback. So if I settled on new keycaps, but harvested just the orange switches, would those components work? I want to make sure I am buying the right PCB, case, and plate, etc... Thanks, again. Do you have a better Alps PCB, case, plate combo you could recommend?

Chris

Yes if you switched up the keycaps to Tai Hao's or SP's DCS or DSA ALPS compatible caps those components would work together. Honestly that would be the best route with those parts TBH. As the plate & PCB you selected will make use of Cherry style stabilizers (which Tai Hao & SP DCS/DSA ALPS caps use). So vintage ALPS keycaps that use ALPS style stabilizers & have non standard placements/key sizes are kinda out of the question with those parts. The only thing I'd double check is what size Left Shift the plate you selected uses. In your pic it says 2u left shift & you'd need the 2.25u left shift plate to use Tai Hao or SP DCS/DSA ALPS caps with as they both use a 2.25u left shift (2.25u left shift is standard to the ANSI layout & much more common than 2u left shifts. Those became popular with the advent of the 60% with arrow cluster layout).
« Last Edit: Mon, 27 July 2020, 16:02:19 by Rob27shred »

Offline winteralfs

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Re: My first Alps custom board
« Reply #4 on: Mon, 27 July 2020, 20:16:39 »
Thank you, this is all very helpful. Another newbie question: Can any stabilizer work with any PCB, or do you have to buy the correct stabilizer kit for the PCB you have chosen? Is there an Alps PCB that you this is best?

Offline Rob27shred

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Re: My first Alps custom board
« Reply #5 on: Mon, 27 July 2020, 21:11:20 »
Thank you, this is all very helpful. Another newbie question: Can any stabilizer work with any PCB, or do you have to buy the correct stabilizer kit for the PCB you have chosen? Is there an Alps PCB that you this is best?

No problem. Also no not any stabilizer can work with any PCB. In fact stabilizers can be a complicated subject because there are a few different types for MX switches, then every other mechanical switch type has it's own proprietary stabilizer type. So it's a mix of what switches, caps, plate, & PCB are being used that determines the best type of stabilizer to use. Like in your case here, the PCB is compatible with Cherry style PCB mount stabilizers, you'll need a Cherry style stabilizer for the Tai-Hao or SP ALPS caps since they have a ALPS style switch mount but Cherry style stabilizer mount on the stabilized keys, the plate you selected does not support Cherry plate mount or Costar style stabilizers, so your only option is Cherry style PCB mount stabilizers. Of which I'd suggest getting Durock screw in stabilizers.

As far as the PCB goes I'd stick with what you got TBH. There are PCBs out there that just support ALPS switches, but they usually just support layouts from certain vintage ALPS boards. Which means sourcing a board to harvest & usually having a plate custom cut for it. Then there are a couple slightly better MX & ALPS compatible PCBs you could get instead of your chosen one, but I do not think any of them are in stock or have stated restock dates yet.

Offline winteralfs

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Re: My first Alps custom board
« Reply #6 on: Mon, 27 July 2020, 23:09:02 »
amazing, I pulled the trigger. I ordered everything but the keycaps. I got the stabs you recommended. I really appreciate it.  This will be my orange alps board, and next up, my amber alps board...