Zenith Data Systems Keyboard

Alps SKCL Switches

Board Overview

I just got this Zenith Data Systems keyboard in. I’m not really sure what the model is, there are no labels or stickers on the board, so I’d need to crack it open to figure out exactly what it is.

The board has Alps SKCL green switches, a linear version of Alps’ SKCL/SKCM switches. I picked it up for a steal on eBay. As I’ve gotten more and more in depth in this hobby, I’ve come to appreciate the value of linear switches.

These SKCL Greens are sublime. They’re weighted very well, actuation feels slighly heavier than Cherry MX Black. I’ve yet to clean up the inevitably dust-filled switches, but they’re exceptionally smooth. Not the same fluid smoothness that one feels with MX Blacks, but still very smooth. They are linear, but feel very…complex, like there’s a lot going on inside the switch as it is depressed. This feel will of course be due to the SKCL’s ‘complicated’ leaf and slider design. Obviously it’s a mechanical switch, but it’s the first linear I’ve tried that truly feels mechanical. These may be the best linears I’ve used yet.

The sound of this board is very distinct. The typing sound is very low and satisfying, more thock than clack. During fast typing, there is an underlying pinging sound piercing up through the low thocks - in a way it reminds me of Alps SKCCswitches. I’m not certain if the pinging is simply coming from the springs in the switch, or from the metal plate they’re mounted to. None of my other comlicated Alps make such a pinging sound.

The board itself is lovely. It’s profoundly heavy and very very well built. It’s missing one keycap, but other than that, the board is in remarkably good condition. I haven’t yet decided if I’ll harvest these switches, or simply update the board for use with a modern computer. I’m excited for the potential here.

Zenith Logo Closeup

Typed on AEKII

Dialogue & Discussion