Keyswitch swapping a Model 01 with Alps SKCMs


#1

After a lot of time spent typing on my PVT Model 01 (including replacing two switches that had too much lube), I’ve gotten to the point where I just can’t use a normal keyboard anymore. Every time I consider a new mech keyboard I realize that the layout will never be as good as what Jesse and Kaia came up with.

But I still don’t love the simplified Alps clones. I do love complicated Alps though, and have a lot of old ADB keyboards, so I harvested some Oranges from an AEK:

And transplanted them into my Model 01:

It feels amazing. I even took the locking switch from caps lock and installed it under the num key to act as a numpad lock. The only downside is that the black shells block the LEDs.


I have a single dead-ish key
(Tom) #2

Neat! What was it like to swap the switches? I’ve come to realize I don’t like the switches either.


#3

I have a desoldering gun with a built in vacuum pump so removing the switches from the Model 01 was a breeze, but a lot of the switches in my AEK had bent leads which made things more difficult.

My wife enjoys soldering, so I only had to do the harvesting. All told it took two evenings.


(ScottB) #4

Interesting! I’ve cannibalized one of my old Kinesis Evolutions to make a chair mount for a Model 01, so I guess I could harvest the ALPS switches from it as well. I don’t know at the moment whether I want to do this, though — I’m actually halfway through a Matias Quiet Linear conversion, and I think I’m going to like the result better. I do love the switches on the Evolution, though. Nice to know I could do this if I wanted. Thanks for posting!


(Tony) #5

Hey, could you please elaborate on which soldering gun you have? I have a Hakko FX-888D and tried to desolder my M01’s switches but found the PCB’s holes to be too small to work with. I have a bunch of NOS yellow Alps that I would love to swap my Matias linear switches for. :slight_smile:


(Jesse) #6

My Hakko came with maybe 5 different sizes tips…


#7

The FX-888D is a great iron, but to desolder with it you’ll at least want a vacuum pump. Using a wick for something like this is a huge pain.

My desoldering gun is the FR-300. It combines the iron and an electric pump into one package. It’s super effective, but probably not worth the money over an iron & pump unless you’re planning on using it again after this project.


(Tony) #8

Hello Jesse, I am cautious of damaging the lining inside of the solder joints. I suppose the experience that sparked my precautions was once when I tried an orange alps keyboard 3 times and ended up throwing out three PCBs. Later on I realized that the majority of my orange alps switches were actually defective but I still feel a bit uneasy. I will do the switch swap this week.


(Tony) #9

Hello numist, thank you for your recommendation. I thought you were using some kind of expensive hot air rework station or something but now I see that I should be able to tackle this job with what I have (I own both wick and a vacuum pump).


(Tony) #10

Hello everyone! I have desoldered all of my Matias Linear switches and soldered NOS yellow SKCL Alps switches in their place. It took many hours but when I did the key tests before putting the case back together, all the switches registered.

Overall, I am happy I made the switch. I really prefer the feel and sound of these switches. Probably the most dubious change is that there are no longer rubber dampeners preventing me from bottoming out. I may lube these switches or add some form of dampening in the future.

A 30s video of testing the switches with one hand:

A 60s typing audio recording:
Model 01 Yellow Alps SKCL typing test https://imgur.com/a/OzdokcK


#11

Yeah I’ve been having the same experience wrt damping. Lubing won’t help, but I experimented with swapping in damped white sliders from an AEK II that I have lying around and it worked pretty well.

I guess next month’s project is to top-mod all my orange switches with damped cream sliders (bought on mechmarket so I don’t have to cannibalize yet another vintage board).

I’ve seen people call this mod “creamsicle alps”, which makes me love it even more.