Author Topic: Alps PCB?  (Read 2627 times)

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Offline nubbinator

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Alps PCB?
« on: Sat, 05 April 2014, 00:15:49 »
I'm really wanting some 60% Alps loving and Sprit's Alps thinger is taking too long.  Are there any recommended resources for trying to make one?  Recommended software and tutorials for said software?  That or is anyone willing to help take existing designs and modify them into an Alps board?  There needs to be more Alps love in here, not just MX and Topre.

Offline nuclearsandwich

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Re: Alps PCB?
« Reply #1 on: Sat, 05 April 2014, 00:25:13 »
Is the GH60 PCB open source? If so it might make a good starting point given that controller and firmware already exist for it. I cannot PCB design (although I'd be very interested in learning) but I'd sure sign up to test!

Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: Alps PCB?
« Reply #2 on: Sat, 05 April 2014, 00:31:50 »
Yes the GH60 design is open source. I've been waiting for Matias' promised 60% buy for what seems like forever so I'd be interested as well. I also don't know anything about PCB design :(

Offline Melvang

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Re: Alps PCB?
« Reply #3 on: Sat, 05 April 2014, 00:37:18 »
Who says you have to wait that long?

http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=55744.0
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Offline nubbinator

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Re: Alps PCB?
« Reply #4 on: Sat, 05 April 2014, 00:40:58 »
I haven't even done direct wiring since every matrix description I've seen has confused me, but it should be pretty straight forward to modify the GH60 since you'd just be adjusting the placement of the legs for the switch.

Who says you have to wait that long?

http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=55744.0

I don't really get how that fits in with a full keyboard though.
« Last Edit: Sat, 05 April 2014, 00:42:46 by nubbinator »

Offline Melvang

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Re: Alps PCB?
« Reply #5 on: Sat, 05 April 2014, 00:48:42 »
One pcb per switch.  The wires you use between the pcb's act as the traces in your full sized PCB.  If we can get the GB to 600 units the price drops from $5 per square inch to $1 per square inch.  Granted it is much more soldering but eliminates the need for PCB design for practically any custom layout and is pretty cheap considering these are 4 switches worth for $1.  So it would only be $26 for enough to do a full 108 key layout.  And this would support in switch diode, external through hole diode, SMD diode, LED back lighting with pads for SMD resistors or you can put resistors inline, and through hole soldering for the wires for up to 19 gauge wire I believe for v2.0.
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Offline MOZ

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Re: Alps PCB?
« Reply #6 on: Sat, 05 April 2014, 05:03:27 »
I'm working on modding the GH60 into Alps+MX compatible. Just need to get the sticker GB out the way first.

Offline Hak Foo

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Re: Alps PCB?
« Reply #7 on: Sat, 05 April 2014, 12:26:06 »
I'm starting to look for a 100% or 110% ALPS PCB... if 60%'s hard, this is impossible.  The only choices seem to be to get an existing full-size board and disassemble it, or to go for a full "wire it yourself" matrix.
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Offline jacobolus

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Re: Alps PCB?
« Reply #8 on: Sat, 05 April 2014, 18:08:52 »
One pcb per switch.  The wires you use between the pcb's act as the traces in your full sized PCB.
How does this have any advantage over direct wiring?

If every PCB is separate, itís not going to provide any stability, etc.

Itís way easier to just solder through-hole diodes and wire in a matrix.

Offline jacobolus

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Re: Alps PCB?
« Reply #9 on: Sat, 05 April 2014, 18:09:33 »
I'm starting to look for a 100% or 110% ALPS PCB... if 60%'s hard, this is impossible.  The only choices seem to be to get an existing full-size board and disassemble it, or to go for a full "wire it yourself" matrix.
Or design your own PCB. Which is far from impossible, though if youíre just making one, hand wiring is probably faster/easier, and is definitely cheaper.

Offline jacobolus

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Re: Alps PCB?
« Reply #10 on: Sat, 05 April 2014, 18:10:57 »
I haven't even done direct wiring since every matrix description I've seen has confused me
Which part are you finding confusing? If you hop on IRC sometime, Iíd be happy to talk you through it.

The short explanation is: (1) For each switch, pick one lead to go with the "rows" of the matrix, and then use the other for the "columns"; (2) Solder one diode to every switch, connecting it to the same pin every time, and making sure all the diodes face the same direction; (3) Solder the other ends of the diodes together (either directly connect the diode leads, or add some wire) along the "columns" (or rows depending on which pin you chose); (4) Connect all the other switch pins together along the "rows" (or columns) with some wire; (5) run one wire from each column and one wire from each row to its own I/O pin on the microcontroller.

Then just set up your firmware code to scan the matrix however you set it up. This is also pretty straight-forward, but exactly how the code should look depends on which firmware youíre using and how you wired up your matrix.
« Last Edit: Sat, 05 April 2014, 18:16:27 by jacobolus »

Offline Melvang

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Re: Alps PCB?
« Reply #11 on: Sat, 05 April 2014, 20:05:22 »
One pcb per switch.  The wires you use between the pcb's act as the traces in your full sized PCB.
How does this have any advantage over direct wiring?

If every PCB is separate, itís not going to provide any stability, etc.

Itís way easier to just solder through-hole diodes and wire in a matrix.

This will provide through holes to do LED back lighting as well.  That is more difficult to do with no pcb.  Also, the soldering is easier than a wire to the side of a pin.
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Offline jacobolus

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Re: Alps PCB?
« Reply #12 on: Sat, 05 April 2014, 23:32:32 »
One pcb per switch.  The wires you use between the pcb's act as the traces in your full sized PCB.
How does this have any advantage over direct wiring?

If every PCB is separate, itís not going to provide any stability, etc.

Itís way easier to just solder through-hole diodes and wire in a matrix.

This will provide through holes to do LED back lighting as well.  That is more difficult to do with no pcb.  Also, the soldering is easier than a wire to the side of a pin.
If youíre putting the LEDs through the switch, the way you would with an old linear Alps switch (or a Cherry MX switch, etc.), itís not really any harder. If youíre using transparent Matias switches, then maybe? But I think you could just as easily tape the LED to the bottom of the switch.

Soldering to the side of a pin is just fine. What you do is you wrap a little section of wire around the pin a couple of times. Youíre going to come out way ahead on easy and fast, compared to wiring up a separate PCB to each switch, and then wiring all those PCBs to each-other.

Have you actually tried wiring 50 separate PCBs to switches and then wiring all the PCBs to each-other? Sounds like a huge pain to me.

Offline Melvang

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Re: Alps PCB?
« Reply #13 on: Sat, 05 April 2014, 23:37:19 »
But with the project that I am working on the plate extends down past the bottom of the switch so I don't want all those exposed wires in that area.
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Offline jacobolus

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Re: Alps PCB?
« Reply #14 on: Sun, 06 April 2014, 00:18:39 »
But with the project that I am working on the plate extends down past the bottom of the switch so I don't want all those exposed wires in that area.
I donít understand what you mean. But go ahead and try your way! Please report back with how it goes. :-)

Offline MOZ

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Re: Alps PCB?
« Reply #15 on: Sun, 06 April 2014, 02:16:44 »
The advantage of the PCB is better organization, and easier flexibility for future as the diode, switch, resistor, and led are one module.

Offline Findecanor

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Re: Alps PCB?
« Reply #16 on: Sun, 06 April 2014, 04:12:31 »
... hand wiring is probably faster/easier, and is definitely cheaper.
I thought that Alps required both a plate and a solid PCB to sit sturdy enough. There are wings that would hold it to the plate, but apparently they snap off quite easily. I did not know about these wings until I read about them - whenever I have desoldered Alps switches I have lifted them out without feeling that there would be any snaps holding them the plate.

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Offline jacobolus

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Re: Alps PCB?
« Reply #17 on: Sun, 06 April 2014, 06:25:42 »
... hand wiring is probably faster/easier, and is definitely cheaper.
I thought that Alps required both a plate and a solid PCB to sit sturdy enough. There are wings that would hold it to the plate, but apparently they snap off quite easily. I did not know about these wings until I read about them - whenever I have desoldered Alps switches I have lifted them out without feeling that there would be any snaps holding them the plate.
It substantially depends on (1) whether the little plastic wings are undamaged, and (2) how tight the plate is to the shape of the switches. If the plate is very tight (and especially if itís also thicker than average), then it doesnít matter so much whether the little clips are still there, and by the same token if a switch-donor board has a tight plate, you need to be very careful when removing switches if you donít want to damage them. If the plate is looser and the clips are damaged or missing, then they can be less stable, but a board with a loose plate is ideal as a switch donor, because the switches pop out without as much risk to the plastic clips.

I found that I could fairly well prototype an alps plate + backing board with a thick card stock type material (i.e. one layer cut to hold the switches, then another layer with holes poked in it for the leads), and then direct wire from the other side. This holds the switches in quite well, and I suspect the same could be done with any arbitrary existing metal plate (i.e. add a 1-2mm layer of card stock or plastic or whatever with holes drilled in it for the leads, and then wire them from the other side), in the case that the plate alone wasnít enough to hold in switches whose plastic clips had been damaged.
« Last Edit: Sun, 06 April 2014, 06:27:15 by jacobolus »