Alps SKCL/SKCM series

Alps SKCL/SKCM Series: A Keyboard Collector’s Guide

Are you a mechanical keyboard enthusiast? Have you ever wondered about the fascinating world of Alps key switches? If so, get ready to dive into the rich history and exceptional design of the Alps SKCL/SKCM series. These vintage switches have captured the hearts of collectors and are sought after for their unique features and timeless appeal.

Alps Electric, a renowned name in the keyboard industry, introduced the Alps SKCL/SKCM series in 1980 or earlier. With their distinct switchplate design, tee mount pins, and cruciform slot keycaps, these switches are unlike any other. But what sets them apart, and why are they so highly regarded in the mechanical keyboard community?

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the nomenclature, description, evolution, disassembly, and variants of the Alps SKCL/SKCM series. From understanding the switch orientation to uncovering the hidden treasures inside these switches, you will gain valuable insights into their history and construction.

Key Takeaways:

  • Alps SKCL/SKCM switches are a cherished collection among mechanical keyboard enthusiasts.
  • They feature a unique switchplate design and tee mount pins.
  • These switches have a rich history dating back to at least 1980.
  • Disassembling and understanding the variants of the switches require careful attention.
  • Various keyboard models have featured Alps SKCL/SKCM switches over the years.

Nomenclature and Description of Alps SKCL/SKCM Switches

When it comes to the Alps SKCL/SKCM series switches, the nomenclature can be a bit confusing. While they are commonly referred to as “SKCC” switches based on keyboard codes, consistent naming by Alps Electric remains unclear. Interestingly, the Apple III service manual lists them as “KCC”. Regardless, these switches are an integral part of the iconic Alps SKCL/SKCM series, known for their exceptional quality and unique features.

One distinguishing characteristic of these switches is their switchplate design. They feature tee mount pins and cruciform slot keycaps, which contribute to their remarkable tactile feel and smooth keystrokes. While the majority of switches in this series have side-mounted pins, certain keyboards incorporate switches that are rotated by 90° for specific layout requirements. There is even one keyboard that utilizes mixed orientations of these switches.

It’s important to note that the Alps SKCL/SKCM switches are not rotationally symmetrical. They have small nubs on the sliders which need to align with indentations in the keycap mount for proper operation. Additionally, the plate mounting holes for these switches measure 14 mm square.

The Alps SKCL/SKCM series switches date back to at least 1979 and have been found in various keyboard models over the years. Their durable construction and exceptional performance have made them a favorite among mechanical keyboard enthusiasts and collectors alike.

Continue reading to explore the evolution of the Alps SKCL/SKCM series switches and learn about their disassembly and variants.

Evolution of the Alps SKCL/SKCM Series

The design of the Alps SKCL/SKCM series switches has undergone several evolutions, resulting in different variations and features. These switches were produced alongside the SKCC series, and both series were found with switchplates in black, grey, tall white, and short white.

Throughout their production, the Alps SKCL/SKCM series switches underwent various design changes. One notable change was the addition of chamfers to the bottom of the switches, which helped improve the overall design and functionality. Additionally, alterations were made to the shape of the exterior recess in the base, further enhancing the switch’s durability and performance.

In some batches, terminal sealant was used, providing additional protection and stability to the switches. Furthermore, a ridge was introduced in the base to securely hold the switchplate in place, preventing any unwanted movements or misalignments.

The production of the Alps SKCL/SKCM series switches continued until at least 1989. However, the exact timeline of these design changes and the full extent of their variations are not currently clear. Further exploration and research are needed to uncover more comprehensive information about the evolution of these switches.

Alps SKCL/SKCM series evolution

Key Design Features of the Alps SKCL/SKCM Series:

  • Chamfers added to the bottom of the switches
  • Changes in the shape of the exterior recess in the base
  • Use of terminal sealant in some batches
  • Introduction of a ridge in the base to hold the switchplate

Disassembly and Variants of the Alps SKCL/SKCM Series

Disassembling the Alps SKCL/SKCM series switches requires some caution, as the side tabs are thinner and more fragile than those of the SKCL/SKCM series. To prevent damage to the switches, proper techniques and additional tools may be necessary.

The variants of the Alps SKCL/SKCM series include different part numbers and specifications. These switches are known for their tall momentary switches, believed to be part of the subseries “A,” and the standard height momentary switches, regarded as part of the subseries “B.” However, more data is needed to confirm this theory. The switch variants also differ in color, weight, slider height, and keystem height.

  • Switch disassembly requires caution due to thinner and fragile side tabs
  • Proper techniques and additional tools may be needed to prevent damage
  • Variants include different part numbers and specifications
  • Tall momentary switches believed to be part of subseries “A”
  • Standard height momentary switches considered part of subseries “B”
  • Confirmation of subseries classification requires more data
  • Switch variants differ in color, weight, slider height, and keystem height

Explore the disassembly process and discover the unique variants of the Alps SKCL/SKCM series switches. With proper care and attention, you can safely inspect these switches and gain a deeper understanding of their design and functionality.

Keyboards and Keypads Featuring Alps SKCL/SKCM Switches

The iconic Alps SKCL/SKCM series switches have found their way into various keyboards and keypads throughout their history. One notable keyboard that utilized these switches is the Dell AT101, which was manufactured by Alps USA and Silitek. These keyboards feature the reliable and tactile Alps key switches, providing users with a satisfying typing experience.

Another keyboard that made use of the Alps SKCL/SKCM switches is the custom-designed AppleDesign keyboard by Alps. This keyboard showcases the exceptional craftsmanship and engineering prowess of Alps Electric. The Alps SKCL/SKCM series switches are renowned for their durability and smooth actuation, making them a favorite among keyboard enthusiasts.

The SMK second generation platform also incorporated the Alps SKCL/SKCM switches, further bolstering the reputation of these mechanical keyboard switches. With their unique switchplate design and tee mount pins, the Alps SKCL/SKCM series switches are distinguishable and highly sought after by keyboard collectors and enthusiasts alike.

In addition to the aforementioned keyboards, the Alps SKCL/SKCM switches have been featured in other models as well, including various keyboards manufactured by Silitek. It’s worth noting that the availability and distribution of these switches can vary between manufacturers and models, and different kinds of switches may be used by different manufacturers.

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