Author Topic: Captain BadAss' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX  (Read 13167 times)

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Offline CPTBadAss

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Captain BadAss' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX
« on: Sun, 06 July 2014, 15:20:48 »
I’m actually not sure where this should go so I’m going to put it in reviews for now. My other Mr. Interface Switch Try Bag review went here so I suppose this can go there as well.



I’ve had quite a few conversations about this topic lately and I thought it might be fun to share some of my thoughts on it. This write up is probably going to be way less objective than most of my other reviews. Although now that I think about it, I think all my reviews are probably very opinionated; that’s why they’re my reviews. Anyways there are some stipulations to this:

  • I’ve always maintained that trying to compare Alps to MX is like comparing Topre to Buckling Spring. Sure they’re keyboard switches but they feel different enough that it’s hard to say X feels like Y. Please keep that in mind when you’re reading this.
  • My older reviews covering Alps don’t seem to match up with how I see them now. I think I’ve got more experience with Alps now.
  • I’m having trouble differentiating Salmon and Orange Alps in my head. I really can’t remember how the two feel individually. In my memory, they feel the same and I don’t think that’s the case.
  • I’m biased towards clicky switches and complicated/SKCL/SKCM Alps switches.
  • Alps don’t age as well as other switches so they need to be cleaned up in order to feel “proper”.  I haven’t cleaned out my switches or boards and my memory of how the boards felt may be changed because of this.
  • When I type, I *always* bottom out.

Alps switches were made from the Alps Electric Corporation.  Complicated Alps switches were made for about ten years from 1983 until 1995. Alps Electric also had a long venture with Forward Electronics in Taiwan, from about 1970 until 2000. Forward Electronics was known for making the simplified Alps switch series.

If you don’t know a lot about Alps switches or want a refresher, check out these lovely links and read up:

So in general, I think that there is a much larger range in how Alps switches feel. I think they have a lot more subtleties versus the MX range. That could also be due to the fact that there are more switches to pick from. Also keep in mind that the actuation point is much higher than in MX and that Alps have a shorter travel distance. MX switches have a travel distance of 4mm while Alps have a travel distance of 3.5mm. Alps switches also have much more wobble versus MX switches. I actually don’t mind it since I think it’s part of the appeal of Alps and you can hit switches off-centered much more easily. Finally, I don’t really know the numbers off the top of my head for actuation force. Silencium and the Deskthority wiki should have the numbers if you’re so inclined. I’m not going to focus on that.

Alps switches that I have tried and remember (I will be calling switches “complicated” or “simplified” just because I’m accustomed to using colloquialisms.):

Linear
Clicky
Tactile

Comparisons

Linear:
1)   Complicated Green Alps – These feel like extremely smooth MX blacks or maybe Nixdorfs. Definitely smoother than my lubed 65g MX Blacks. They feel a touch lighter than Blacks. These are my new favorite linear switches. I plan on swapping my Epsilon to different switches.

2)   Alps Low Profile – About as heavy as MX Blacks. However the bottom out was….cushioned, even though I know there isn’t any cushioning in these switches. It felt like someone put a bit of rubber in the landing. I didn’t like the feeling. These switches are a bit harder to find though. I had them in a Dauphin DCK-84 which I sold because I didn’t like the feeling overall.

Clicky:
1)   Complicated Blue Alps – These feel like 65g Blues….if blues were smooth. The stems clicking are fairly apparent when I type on MX Blues. Even though the click is provided by a secondary leaf spring in these switches, I find them to be very smooth. It almost feels like the switch is equal parts tactile and clicky. Deskthority wiki says that the switches may have dry film lube. I wouldn’t be surprised if they do.

2)   Matias Click Alps clones – These switches feel less smooth than the complicated Blues. The actuation force feels about the same; they remind me of 65g Blues. The click is far more apparent than the complicated Blue Alps.

3)   Complicated White Alps – I think the closest comparison would be to MX Greens. They’re very clicky and heavy; I think they feel a bit heavier than Greens because I can daily on Greens but I can’t type on the complicated Whites for too long. Actually, they’re a bit too heavy from me. The bottom out force starts to fatigue and hurt my hands after about an hour or two.

4)   Simplified Grey Alps -  These feel *exactly* like the Matias click switches. So see my thoughts above about the Matias click switches.

5)   Monterey Blue “Alps” – Of all the Alps and Alps mount clicky switches that are I’ve tried, I these are probably the closest to stock MX Blues. They even sound a bit like MX Blues with the pitch. However, they are smoother than MX Blues.

6)   Simplified White Alps – After further examination, I think that my Filco Zero has simplified White Alps. I’ll have to verify this when I desolder the board.  These feel like a “crunchier” or snappier version of the Matias click switches. They feel to be about the same weight though. So maybe they’re like smoother 67g or 68g MX Blues.

7)   XM KSB-C White Slider aka Ducky 1087XM “White Alps” – These switches came with my Ducky 1087XM. I remember them feeling like a flimsy version of the simplified white Alps. Extremely cheap and the click felt like more like MX Blues with the two bit slider. I’m not sure I’ve ever tried an XM switch I liked.

Tactile
1)   Matias Quiet Click Alps clones – A while back there was a thread about adding silicone balls to the MX switch housings. I think that this switch might feel like a heavier MX Brown with one of those balls inside. When you press down, the switch feels sort of like the Matias Click. When you bottom out, it’s cushiony. Then on the rebound, the switch also has a bit of dampening so the top out feels cushiony, but not as much as the bottom out. It’s definitely a very unique typing experience.

2)   Complicated Black Alps – These are probably close to Panda Clears or 65g Clears but they’re crunchy. They’re not smooth like the other Alps switches I’ve talked about previously. They’re also a bit clicky. Another switch that is pretty unique.

3)   Complicated Dampened Cream Alps – The actuation down feels a bit like my Complicated Blues but there is the cushioned bottom out like the Quiet click. And no cushioned top out. So think of 65g or 67g MX Clears with a cushiony bottom out.

4)   Complicated Salmon Alps – These felt very similar to MX Browns to me. Unfortunately, I really don’t like MX Browns so I sold the M0116 that had these switches.

5)   XM KSB-C Green Slider aka Ducky 1087XM “Green Alps” – These are some my least favorite switches. They’re too light. They’re like 45g MX Blues if they were always clicky and not sticky. The bottom out is horribly crunchy and it feels like there’s rocks or particles inside the switch. I imagine the switch could be replicated by dragging some 45g MX Blues through a beach then typing on them.

Favorites
I really love Complicated Blue Alps, Complicated Green Alps, and Matias Clicky switches. I’m in the process of getting all three of these into keyboards.

I also like Monterey Blue Alps. If you can get a hold of a Siig Minitouch or a similar board with these switches, it’s a great choice for a 75% or small layout Alps keyboard.

Post Keycon Update
I made an update after going to Keycon with my experience with Orange vs Salmon and Brown Alps. The link can be found here.
« Last Edit: Sat, 19 July 2014, 00:36:21 by CPTBadAss »
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Offline fohat.digs

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Re: CaptainBadass' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX
« Reply #1 on: Sun, 06 July 2014, 17:27:02 »
I am inclined to agree with most of this.

However, I do think that Cherry-vs-Alps comparisons are in order, because these 2 families are the most similar.

The high actuation point of the Alps is of greatest interest to me. That really speeds up the typing experience, and I might be willing to bet on the Alps user in an all-out speed typing contest.

I wish that there was something comparable to O-rings for Alps, although the ideal component, in my opinion, under almost any circumstances, would be springs that were graduated to rapidly increase in force after actuation.

Blue Alps (and blue Montereys, which feel similar regardless of internal differences) are by far the best of the lot, for people who like clicky switches. While complicated white may be similar in theory, in my real-life experience there is no comparison with blues being much lighter and more delicate.

In the tactile switches, I prefer the orange/salmon/pink style and have never found a satisfactory difference. These switches are decades old and have aged and deteriorated differently, such that I have found greater variation in identical color than between colors, in some circumstances.

I have not used the linear types, and probably will not unless I stumble across an old Zenith or something similar. If I did, I might transplant them into a Dell AT101 or some other realistic modern keyboard, so that I could give them a clean fair run.
« Last Edit: Sun, 06 July 2014, 18:17:21 by fohat.digs »
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Offline Daniel Beardsmore

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Re: CaptainBadass' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX
« Reply #2 on: Sun, 06 July 2014, 19:27:54 »
The tactile colours are brown, cream, orange, salmon (AKA pink), black, cream (damped), white (damped) and green. Green is extremely rare, although one or two photos of them may exist; green has some weird force curve that begs you to see what's inside.

Orange, salmon and black were sold at the same time as each other, but no-one is clear on their official differences. Year charts for many colours here (bottom of the page):

http://www7.ocn.ne.jp/~hisao/alpsk.htm
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Offline Defect

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Re: CaptainBadass' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX
« Reply #3 on: Sun, 06 July 2014, 19:40:01 »
You finally wrote it!  And just in time, loving my SKCM White Alps.

Maybe worth noting: MX emulates a click by slapping two parts of a plastic slider while Alps has a metal leaf that slaps the side of the housing unit.  This produces a very different sound and feel, and the collapse of the metal leaf has an interesting interaction with the force graph.

I MUCH prefer alps click to MX.  Both in tactility and sound.

Nice review!  Linear alps are in my future.

Not pictured: KeyCool 84 [MX Red] | Focus 2001 [Complicated White Alps]
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Offline jacobolus

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Re: CaptainBadass' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX
« Reply #4 on: Sun, 06 July 2014, 19:50:14 »
I’m going to try to bring some kind of Alps switch tester type thingy to KeyCon.

Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: CaptainBadass' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX
« Reply #5 on: Sun, 06 July 2014, 22:39:17 »
The tactile colours are brown, cream, orange, salmon (AKA pink), black, cream (damped), white (damped) and green. Green is extremely rare, although one or two photos of them may exist; green has some weird force curve that begs you to see what's inside.

Orange, salmon and black were sold at the same time as each other, but no-one is clear on their official differences. Year charts for many colours here (bottom of the page):

http://www7.ocn.ne.jp/~hisao/alpsk.htm

Just for my own understanding, what are you referring to in your post? I'm a little lost as to what you're addressing. Not that I don't appreciate the info, just curious :).

I’m going to try to bring some kind of Alps switch tester type thingy to KeyCon.

I plan on converting my Ducky 1087XM to an Alps switch tester and touring it eventually. Would love to see something at Keycon too though.
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Offline dorkvader

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Re: CaptainBadass' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX
« Reply #6 on: Sun, 06 July 2014, 22:51:42 »
How to Tee mount alps fit in here? They are the only alps switches I've used, so I'd like to see how they stack up to alps more modern efforts.

Offline terrpn

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Re: CaptainBadass' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX
« Reply #7 on: Sun, 06 July 2014, 23:30:54 »
oranges vs pinks

at least to me i like oranges just a hair better-- kind of hard to tell apart from salmons (or pinks)?

my pinks are just barely mushier with the oranges being a tad more bouncy?

i'm in agreement with everybody here.............greens are definitely the bomb!

yellows are linear as well, but not as nice as the greens

hoping to get my blue alps here shortly

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Offline jacobolus

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Re: CaptainBadass' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX
« Reply #8 on: Sun, 06 July 2014, 23:48:35 »
I think orange vs salmon depends mostly on the condition of the switches (once dust/grit gets in, they get scratchy, and when used a bunch or stored improperly the tactile leaves start to wear out). They’re otherwise extremely similar feeling, and I suspect in a blind test almost no one could tell which one they were pressing (it might be possible if practiced and then compared the two side-by-side).

I need to try to find the best condition orange Alps switch I have, and compare it to the best-condition salmon switch. Maybe measure the two on HaaTa’s force gauge.

Offline jacobolus

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Re: CaptainBadass' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX
« Reply #9 on: Sun, 06 July 2014, 23:51:13 »
How to Tee mount alps fit in here? They are the only alps switches I've used, so I'd like to see how they stack up to alps more modern efforts.
The tee-mount switches are a bit less wobbly (though SKCL switches aren’t *too* wobbly), and have a shorter travel distance. I think they’re otherwise pretty similar feeling to green SKCL switches, though I’ve never tried both back-to-back. I think there might be a few types of tee-mount switches, some stiffer than others. But I’ve only tried one type.

Offline jacobolus

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Re: CaptainBadass' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX
« Reply #10 on: Sun, 06 July 2014, 23:58:11 »
Orange, salmon and black were sold at the same time as each other, but no-one is clear on their official differences. Year charts for many colours here (bottom of the page):
It seems pretty clear that the order went ivory -> orange -> salmon -> black, but it’s not clear to me if black was supposed to be a cheaper alternative to the salmon switches with both produced at the same time, or a replacement. I suspect most of the overlap in timeline is just finishing off old stock and/or spinning up new factories without ending existing production lines right away.

I’m also not quite sure how the brown switches fit in. The Deskthority wiki page seems to suggest that they came first, were used for the IBM PC Convertible 5140 and a few other places, and then abandoned for the folded-leaf design seen in the rest of the SKCM switches. This seems pretty plausible: brown switches are too stiff to be pleasant for most people to type on, and from looking around at early reviews, the IBM 5140 keyboard got quite a bit of criticism.

I’d speculatively put the SKCM timeline something like:
Brown
Ivory / Blue
Orange / Blue ( / Amber?)
Salmon / (dampened tactile) Cream / White
"Pine" Black / White
"Bamboo" Black / White

One thing I’m still curious about: the brown and ivory switches I’ve seen use a top housing which is symmetrical inside, while all of the orange and blue switches I’ve seen (as well as other later switches) use a top housing which is asymmetrical inside. I wonder whether the earliest blue switches also had a symmetrical top housing (i.e. whether there are two subtly different types of blue switches), or whether they were asymmetrical right from the start.
« Last Edit: Mon, 07 July 2014, 02:05:55 by jacobolus »

Offline jacobolus

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Re: CaptainBadass' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX
« Reply #11 on: Mon, 07 July 2014, 00:01:25 »
I wish that there was something comparable to O-rings for Alps, although the ideal component, in my opinion, under almost any circumstances, would be springs that were graduated to rapidly increase in force after actuation.

Blue Alps (and blue Montereys, which feel similar regardless of internal differences) are by far the best of the lot, for people who like clicky switches. While complicated white may be similar in theory, in my real-life experience there is no comparison with blues being much lighter and more delicate.
Have you tried Alps plate spring switches? They have a bit of the bounce at the bottom that you seem to be looking for.

Offline jacobolus

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Re: CaptainBadass' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX
« Reply #12 on: Mon, 07 July 2014, 00:05:08 »
I plan on converting my Ducky 1087XM to an Alps switch tester and touring it eventually. Would love to see something at Keycon too though.
Well, I definitely want to tour some kind of Alps-mount switch tester with Alps switches and whatever clones I can find, and also Omrons, SMK alps-mount switches, various PCB-mount Alps switches, maybe alps-mount mechanical Mitsumis, if I can find one an alps-mount MX switch, etc. I don’t have lots of these, so I’d probably try to get a handful of geekhackers to donate a switch or two. I’m not sure what the fairest way to build it is: it might require more than one plate as well as some parts that are straight PCB-mounted. Or alternately I could try to wedge all the switches into a CNC’d hardwood case/plate, which would put them all on a completely even footing but might be a bit misleading about the feel “in the wild”.
« Last Edit: Mon, 07 July 2014, 00:07:36 by jacobolus »

Offline rowdy

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Re: CaptainBadass' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX
« Reply #13 on: Mon, 07 July 2014, 00:08:44 »
^ Quintuple post!  Only seen this once before :eek:
"Because keyboards are accessories to PC makers, they focus on minimizing the manufacturing costs. But that’s incorrect. It’s in HHKB’s slogan, but when America’s cowboys were in the middle of a trip and their horse died, they would leave the horse there. But even if they were in the middle of a desert, they would take their saddle with them. The horse was a consumable good, but the saddle was an interface that their bodies had gotten used to. In the same vein, PCs are consumable goods, while keyboards are important interfaces." - Eiiti Wada

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Offline Daniel Beardsmore

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Re: CaptainBadass' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX
« Reply #14 on: Mon, 07 July 2014, 02:30:11 »
Just for my own understanding, what are you referring to in your post? I'm a little lost as to what you're addressing. Not that I don't appreciate the info, just curious :).

fohat.digs was implying that he considered pink and salmon to be different switches. They're the same switch.

It seems pretty clear that the order went ivory -> orange -> salmon -> black, but it’s not clear to me if black was supposed to be a cheaper alternative to the salmon switches with both produced at the same time, or a replacement. I suspect most of the overlap in timeline is just finishing off old stock and/or spinning up new factories without ending existing production lines right away.

The overlap was four years for orange, salmon and black, according to MouseFan's chart. That would be a lot of old stock.

What I don't have, however, is a list of all the keyboards that went into making up that timeline, with photos and evidence for dates.
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Offline jacobolus

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Re: CaptainBadass' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX
« Reply #15 on: Mon, 07 July 2014, 03:01:38 »
It seems pretty clear that the order went ivory -> orange -> salmon -> black, but it’s not clear to me if black was supposed to be a cheaper alternative to the salmon switches with both produced at the same time, or a replacement. I suspect most of the overlap in timeline is just finishing off old stock and/or spinning up new factories without ending existing production lines right away.
The overlap was four years for orange, salmon and black, according to MouseFan's chart. That would be a lot of old stock.
Well, note:

brown switches: symmetric top housing, heavier spring, heavier tactile leaf, tall gray switchplate, no top logo
ivory switches: symmetric top housing, lighter spring, lighter tactile leaf, tall gray switchplate, no top logo
orange switches: asymmetric top housing, tall gray switchplate then later tall white switchplate (the change also corresponds to a slight logo change on the switch bottom (neither with a logo on top though), and then later a version with a logo on the top of the switch as well)
salmon switches: short white switchplate, logo on top
black switches: short white switchplate, logo on top

Several types of keyboards seem to use both orange and salmon or both salmon and black switches, with apparent transition over time from orange->salmon and salmon->black.

Offline davkol

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Re: CaptainBadass' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX
« Reply #16 on: Mon, 07 July 2014, 03:20:13 »
I wish that there was something comparable to O-rings for Alps, although the ideal component, in my opinion, under almost any circumstances, would be springs that were graduated to rapidly increase in force after actuation.
EK's soft-landing pads. I've used the black ones with complicated white Alps.

Offline MAR82

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Re: CaptainBadass' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX
« Reply #17 on: Mon, 07 July 2014, 03:41:05 »
I was thinking of buying some Matias quiet click to  replace the switches in my Apple Extended II.
But I was also thinking of taking the sliders from the old cream Alps and using them with the black Alps that are in my Dell AT101w.
Would there be any point in doing this?
The reason I would want to do it is because I really don't like the “clack” I get when the switches bottoms out on the blacks (that I don't get with the creams, because of the rubber dampeners). Would it just turn them into cream switches? Is the only difference between complicated black Alps and Complicated Dampened Cream Alps the slider, or is there also a difference in the metal leaf?

Offline Daniel Beardsmore

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Re: CaptainBadass' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX
« Reply #18 on: Mon, 07 July 2014, 04:20:28 »
jacobolus: Sandy gets a bit cross if I doubt MouseFan — MouseFan is the God of Alps ; ) However, he's already made one major correction to his switch table, and I suspect that you're closer to the truth, but I don't personally have even close to enough data to argue either way. I don't want to drag this topic off topic though.
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Offline rowdy

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Re: CaptainBadass' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX
« Reply #19 on: Mon, 07 July 2014, 05:21:11 »
If Alps switches are so popular (amongst enthusiasts), why aren't there more (or any) Alps boards being made now?
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Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: CaptainBadass' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX
« Reply #20 on: Mon, 07 July 2014, 07:10:34 »
If Alps switches are so popular (amongst enthusiasts), why aren't there more (or any) Alps boards being made now?

I think you answered your own question. They're only popular among a subset of enthusiasts.

Or alternately I could try to wedge all the switches into a CNC’d hardwood case/plate, which would put them all on a completely even footing but might be a bit misleading about the feel “in the wild”.

I think that might be a good plan. It won't change the feel *that* much. And an introduction or taste of the switches is the goal of a tester anyways. At least imo.

I was thinking of buying some Matias quiet click to  replace the switches in my Apple Extended II.
But I was also thinking of taking the sliders from the old cream Alps and using them with the black Alps that are in my Dell AT101w.
Would there be any point in doing this?

The reason I would want to do it is because I really don't like the “clack” I get when the switches bottoms out on the blacks (that I don't get with the creams, because of the rubber dampeners). Would it just turn them into cream switches? Is the only difference between complicated black Alps and Complicated Dampened Cream Alps the slider, or is there also a difference in the metal leaf?

Picture of the Complicated Black Alps switch disassembled.

Picture of the Dampened Cream Alps switch disassembled

Point of doing it? If you want to do it, do it.

I think that the two leaf springs are different since the switches feel different to me. So if you swapped them out, I'm not sure it would feel the same. You're welcome to try and report back results though since I've never done it myself.
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Offline MAR82

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Re: CaptainBadass' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX
« Reply #21 on: Mon, 07 July 2014, 07:56:08 »
I was thinking of buying some Matias quiet click to  replace the switches in my Apple Extended II.
But I was also thinking of taking the sliders from the old cream Alps and using them with the black Alps that are in my Dell AT101w.
Would there be any point in doing this?

The reason I would want to do it is because I really don't like the “clack” I get when the switches bottoms out on the blacks (that I don't get with the creams, because of the rubber dampeners). Would it just turn them into cream switches? Is the only difference between complicated black Alps and Complicated Dampened Cream Alps the slider, or is there also a difference in the metal leaf?


Picture of the Complicated Black Alps switch disassembled.

Picture of the Dampened Cream Alps switch disassembled

Point of doing it? If you want to do it, do it.

I think that the two leaf springs are different since the switches feel different to me. So if you swapped them out, I'm not sure it would feel the same. You're welcome to try and report back results though since I've never done it myself.

From your pictures the metal leafs look the same, but I'll give it a try as soon as I have some free time and will report back

Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: CaptainBadass' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX
« Reply #22 on: Mon, 07 July 2014, 08:00:17 »
From your pictures the metal leafs look the same, but I'll give it a try as soon as I have some free time and will report back

Just because they look the same doesn't mean they are. Could have a different heat treatment or material which causes the leafs to act differently. I don't know enough about them to say that they are or aren't the same.
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Offline fohat.digs

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Re: CaptainBadass' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX
« Reply #23 on: Mon, 07 July 2014, 08:16:29 »

I plan on converting my Ducky 1087XM to an Alps switch tester and touring it eventually.


This seems like a waste of a keyboard as desirable and hard-to-find as a 1087XM. There are a lot of people who would love to have one themselves.

Why not do it in a more commonplace, but very well-built keyboard like an AT101?
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Re: CaptainBadass' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX
« Reply #24 on: Mon, 07 July 2014, 08:33:04 »
First off I messed up some of the pads and the case is messed up from me trying to mod it. Second, I think it's the worst keyboard I've ever bought but I don't want to waste it since it is a modern TKL layout.

I don't think I can sell it and I like the idea of a tour. You're welcome to do what you want with your boards. I want to turn mine into a tester.
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Offline Daniel Beardsmore

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Re: CaptainBadass' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX
« Reply #25 on: Mon, 07 July 2014, 12:31:30 »
This seems like a waste of a keyboard as desirable and hard-to-find as a 1087XM.

"Desirable" isn't a term I would readily associate with the 1087XM … ; )

You might be thinking of the Filco Zero, which actually was well-made, but mostly came with unfavourable switches. The switches were the only good thing about the 1000-series Ducky XM keyboards!
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Re: CaptainBadass' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX
« Reply #26 on: Mon, 07 July 2014, 12:33:49 »
I agree with Mr. Beardsmore. My Filco Zero is lovely and my Ducky 1087XM is...meh.
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Re: CaptainBadass' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX
« Reply #27 on: Mon, 07 July 2014, 12:35:29 »
brown switches: symmetric top housing, heavier spring, heavier tactile leaf, tall gray switchplate, no top logo


BTW, this sounds like a lot of information that is being held back from the wiki .......... If you have proof of everything you're saying, you should detail a list of every switch version and the dates found on the keyboard so that we can build up an accurate picture. I've put some here already over time: http://deskthority.net/wiki/Keyboards_and_switches_by_year
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Offline vivalarevolución

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Re: CaptainBadass' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX
« Reply #28 on: Tue, 08 July 2014, 10:12:48 »
Thanks for posting this.  This thread is a great discussion for all the different Alps switches.
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Offline fohat.digs

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Re: CaptainBadass' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX
« Reply #29 on: Tue, 08 July 2014, 10:48:15 »
"Desirable" isn't a term I would readily associate with the 1087XM

You might be thinking of the Filco Zero, which actually was well-made, but mostly came with unfavourable switches. The switches were the only good thing about the 1000-series Ducky XM keyboards!

I have the Filco and the Ducky, and the Filco is clearly superior.

However, both came to me with inferior switches. Someone had already put white simplified Alps into the Filco so I changed them for classic orange, a huge improvement. I hated the green XMs and changed them out pronto. They are in a baggie and I will sell them cheap (they are like new) if anybody wants them. The other problem with the Ducky is that the top case shell is missing.

My use of the term "desirable" referred to the difficulty of finding any Alps keyboard with a desirable layout, particularly in the "tenkeyless" realm. Since all seem to be out of production, it appears that they are becoming collectors' items.
“As psychoanalysts we understand how one of the things that makes for a certain kind of mental pathology is a hatred of reality and an attack on thought. Donald Trump hates reality .... there are so many different factors psychologically and emotionally that are involved with his behavior that to really understand Donald Trump would mean that you would understand of all of psychiatry. Trump is against any kind of rules or regulation. He sees everything as a kind of psychological straitjacket. Donald Trump probably has the lowest frustration tolerance of any president I have ever witnessed. It is very hard for most people to accept that Donald Trump is not normal, because it is such an unusual situation. He doesn’t believe in rules. Not ever - Donald Trump is like a two-year-old child.
Donald Trump actually hates loving families. He hates a deep connection between mothers and children. Donald Trump hates mothers and children. He cannot control those feelings. Therefore Trump’s goal is to separate mothers and children. He wants to punish them. Other people identify with the aggressor, the abuser. This is what Donald Trump did. He became cruel, like the parent, as a way of protecting himself from his own anxiety. Donald Trump’s father always wanted him to be a killer. So psychologically Donald Trump functions like a killer — but he doesn’t kill directly."
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Offline jacobolus

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Re: CaptainBadass' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX
« Reply #30 on: Tue, 08 July 2014, 15:57:30 »
I hated the green XMs and changed them out pronto. They are in a baggie and I will sell them cheap (they are like new) if anybody wants them.
How cheap? I want like 4–5, to play with / put in a switch tester.

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Re: CaptainBadass' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX
« Reply #31 on: Tue, 08 July 2014, 16:04:42 »
I hated the green XMs and changed them out pronto. They are in a baggie and I will sell them cheap (they are like new) if anybody wants them.
How cheap? I want like 4–5, to play with / put in a switch tester.

Guys please take it to PMs.
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Offline jacobolus

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Re: CaptainBadass' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX
« Reply #32 on: Tue, 08 July 2014, 18:06:12 »
Sorry, not trying to derail the thread.

The reason it’s sort-of on topic here is that I’m going to try sometime in the next couple months to put together an Alps-mount switch tester, with as many Alps-mount switches as I can find. I think I pretty much have one of every type of SKCL/SKCM switch now, as well as SKFL, Alps plate spring, various Alps rubber domes, 3 types of Alps-mount Omrons, some Alps-mount SMK switches, and Matias switches. I’m mainly missing KPT/Tec switches, simplified Alps switches, Alps-mount Cherry MX, and all the various clone switches. I don’t necessarily need to find one of *everything*, but when I’m a bit closer to putting the project together, I’ll make a separate thread trying to collect some.

I’d like to make a tester which can be plugged into a computer, and which types out the name of the switch whenever a key is pressed. Then send it around on tour, so people can get a better idea of what various Alps switches are like.

Hopefully I can also measure all of the switch force curves with HaaTa’s force gauge, so people can connect what they feel to some kind of empirical comparison.

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Re: CaptainBadass' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX
« Reply #33 on: Tue, 15 July 2014, 12:12:48 »
Thanks to jacobolus, I got to try Salmon and Orange Alps side by side at Keycon. I'll post my thoughts later, just posting here to remind myself. Also Brown Alps!
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Offline nubbinator

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Re: CaptainBadass' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX
« Reply #34 on: Tue, 15 July 2014, 23:06:00 »
Sorry, not trying to derail the thread.

The reason it’s sort-of on topic here is that I’m going to try sometime in the next couple months to put together an Alps-mount switch tester, with as many Alps-mount switches as I can find. I think I pretty much have one of every type of SKCL/SKCM switch now, as well as SKFL, Alps plate spring, various Alps rubber domes, 3 types of Alps-mount Omrons, some Alps-mount SMK switches, and Matias switches. I’m mainly missing KPT/Tec switches, simplified Alps switches, Alps-mount Cherry MX, and all the various clone switches. I don’t necessarily need to find one of *everything*, but when I’m a bit closer to putting the project together, I’ll make a separate thread trying to collect some.

I’d like to make a tester which can be plugged into a computer, and which types out the name of the switch whenever a key is pressed. Then send it around on tour, so people can get a better idea of what various Alps switches are like.

Hopefully I can also measure all of the switch force curves with HaaTa’s force gauge, so people can connect what they feel to some kind of empirical comparison.

I've got some PCB mount Xiang Min switches (I think) I could send you if you need some.

Offline Daniel Beardsmore

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Re: Captain BadAss' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX
« Reply #35 on: Wed, 16 July 2014, 02:35:06 »
I've got some PCB mount Xiang Min switches (I think) I could send you if you need some.

Interesting … where did you get those? From what I understand, even the ones in the Guitar Hero controllers (which may be Xiang Min — can't say for certain as I've never seen a proper set of photos of one) are plate mount (with a frame to hold them down).
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Re: Captain BadAss' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX
« Reply #36 on: Wed, 16 July 2014, 09:09:34 »
Got them off of Taobao when I was getting all kinds of other fun things.

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Re: CaptainBadass' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX
« Reply #37 on: Sat, 19 July 2014, 00:35:16 »
Thanks to jacobolus, I got to try Salmon and Orange Alps side by side at Keycon. I'll post my thoughts later, just posting here to remind myself. Also Brown Alps!

Please keep this in mind before reading this post, jacobolus said that the Orange and Salmon Alps that he brought weren't cleaned. Anyways, I tried the two side by side. As I stated before, I think Salmon Alps feel a lot like MX Browns. A weak tactile bump and a too light for my tastes. Orange Alps feel like a 62g Clear, just slightly heavier than the Salmon Alps. They've got a nice tactile bump to them and they're heavier at the actuation point versus the Salmon Alps. I'm now in the hunt for Orange Alps and I'm moving on from the Salmon Alps.


Brown Alps:

Quote
They're so weird! You know how Clears have that weird force curve compared to all other MX? Browns have the same thing! They're tactile. At actuation they felt like Orange Alps. But they ramp up in force and then seem to even out at the bottom. Really really weird but a lot of fun.

I'm also now in the hunt for Brown Alps. They're just so goofy and a lot of fun. Pretty heavy though. On the order of MX Black heavy probably.
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Offline jacobolus

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Re: CaptainBadass' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX
« Reply #38 on: Sat, 19 July 2014, 04:02:11 »
[Orange Alps are] heavier at the actuation point versus the Salmon Alps.
I don’t think this is quite accurate, but I want to do some better testing with HaaTa’s force gauge to more precisely figure out the differences. (You might be right.) How strong or weak the tactile feel of salmon/orange Alps switches is has a lot to do with the condition of the tactile leaf: with use or improper storage it will start getting bent a bit out of shape, reducing the tactility. You might want to try swapping brand new Matias click/tactile leaves into orange/salmon Alps switches. I quite like the resulting increase in tactility (though I’ve only done this with a few switches, not a whole keyboard’s worth).

Quote
I'm now in the hunt for Orange Alps
Apple M0115, M0116. Be warned though, most of them seem to be in okay but not flawless condition. The switches are usually alright, but not as smooth as possible.

Quote
I'm also now in the hunt for Brown Alps. They're just so goofy and a lot of fun. Pretty heavy though. On the order of MX Black heavy probably.
I find brown Alps too heavy for typical keyboard switches (and most of the resistance comes from the tactile leaf, so I don’t think it can be improved too dramatically with a lighter spring), but I think they’d maybe work for thumb keys. HaaTa characterized their feel as somewhat “parabolic”, and I think that’s fair. They don’t have any sharply defined tactile point, but rather smoothly increasing and then smoothly decreasing resistance through the stroke.

The easiest source for brown Alps switches is the IBM PC Convertible 5140, one of the first laptops. There have been a few on ebay. I snagged a broken one a few months ago. Also has nice thick PBT dye-sub keycaps, and a nice compact layout.
« Last Edit: Sat, 19 July 2014, 04:11:09 by jacobolus »

Offline Daniel Beardsmore

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Re: Captain BadAss' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX
« Reply #39 on: Sat, 19 July 2014, 09:04:12 »
As I stated before, I think Salmon Alps feel a lot like MX Browns. A weak tactile bump and a too light for my tastes.

I had a salmon Alps keyboard (Apple Keyboard, M0116) in new condition, and the switches in mine didn't feel anything like MX Brown, which was the switch in my main keyboard at the time. The Alps switches seemed to be a lot heavier. I can confirm that they weren't very tactile — it wasn't a switch that I wanted to type on. (I never used the keyboard for real, though, as I didn't have an iMate at the time, and I didn't keep the keyboard.)
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Re: Captain BadAss' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX
« Reply #40 on: Sat, 19 July 2014, 10:50:31 »
I've tried salmon alps three times now and owned a m0116 with them. Everytime I have tried them, I've thought they felt a lot like MX browns. Just my own observations.


And Jacobus,  I was hoping you'd have some of those modified switches at keycon to try out :(.
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Offline lkong

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Re: Captain BadAss' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX
« Reply #41 on: Mon, 21 July 2014, 12:25:41 »
I've tried salmon alps three times now and owned a m0116 with them. Everytime I have tried them, I've thought they felt a lot like MX browns. Just my own observations.


And Jacobus,  I was hoping you'd have some of those modified switches at keycon to try out :(.
Agreed, I had M0116 with orange alps.
They do feel like brown, but with heavier springs.

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Re: Captain BadAss' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX
« Reply #42 on: Thu, 28 August 2014, 21:43:02 »
I bought a Zenith KB2 thinking it had Green Alps but instead it had Yellow Alps. They feel smooth like Green Alps but have the same actuation force as MX Reds. They're far too light for me. The board is really nice though. Metal bottom and nice doubleshot keycaps.
« Last Edit: Thu, 28 August 2014, 23:03:03 by CPTBadAss »
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Re: Captain BadAss' Thoughts on Comparing Alps to MX
« Reply #43 on: Thu, 28 August 2014, 23:13:49 »
I bought a Zenith KB2 thinking it had Green Alps but instead it had Yellow Alps. They feel smooth like Green Alps but have the same actuation force as MX Reds. They're far too light for me. The board is really nice though. Metal bottom and nice doubleshot keycaps.
Oh interesting. The yellow Alps switches I have are heavier than green ones.