In addition to sorting out what was bugging me with the performance of the spacebar on my Orange Alps64 board the other day, I’ve also taken the time to tinker with the linear Matias switches I have installed on the modifier keys on this board.
The board uses tactile Orange Alps for alphas, and Matias linear switches(red sliders) for modifiers. Alps switches have a relatively high actuation force, most of the vintage SKCM switches are around 70 grams. I love a heavy switch on alphas, but it’s a burden on my poor pinkies to have such heavy switches on modifiers - thus linear mods.
I love an MX mount linear; Cherry/Gateron Reds are a lovely switch. I did find that Matias’ linears, they very spongey, particularly when bottoming out. Further investigation revealed to me that Matias installs dampers. Cue the music, it was time to tweak and modify.
Conveniently, Alps mount switches are very easy to open - they can be opened and modified while still soldered to the plate. Here you can see the plastic clips that hold the bottom of the switch to the top.
Opening the switch is relatively easy. Insert some form of prying tool (in this case a driver and tweezers) between the clips and the top of the switch. Wiggle the top up slightly until the clips no longer lock back into place.
Delicately remove the top of the switch from the bottom.
Note that if your switch is soldered down, one of the leaves will of course remain in place.
Typically the spring will remain attached to the slider. Remove it, and take care not to lose it.
Next remove the slider from the topcase.
Finally, remove 2nd leaf (again, this will typically stay in the topcase when it is removed).
Now we can see the dampers. Notice that they damper protrudes significantly from the bottom of the slider. This was what was causing the terrible spongey feeling when bottoming out.
The two dampers (on either side) are easily removed with a set of tweezers.
Nice and clean - no more silly damper.
To reassemble, first insert the slider into the topcase, followed by the leaf. I would recommend placing the spring on the slider, then holding the keyboard (or switch if you haven’t soldered it down yet) upside down and carefully reattaching the topcase to the bottom (which will be attached to the board) - this will make it very easy to get the spring properly placed inside the switch.
Now I’ve got undampened linear mods, and the board feels better than ever.
Typed on Orange Alps64