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Factual nuggets



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CVT Avant Stellar LED switches

The CVT Avant Stellar keyboard has an LED inside the up arrow key. As this was another modern keyboard with simplified Alps switches (SKBM White) I was curious to find out what CVT were using for the LED switches.

I was able to obtain some photos of these LED switches from the late Bob Tibbetts:

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According to Bob, the switch with a yellow slider is the original type found in keyboards, and the switch with a green slider is a replacement from a CVT distributor. The critical identification details aren’t visible or shown in the photographs, but a yellow slider matches Himake/Hua-Jie catalogue specifications. Additionally, Xiang Min have never been known to use yellow sliders, but they use green sliders extensively, so the replacement switches are likely to be Xiang Min.

I have yet to obtain any photographs of these switches in a keyboard (alongside the simplified Alps switches used for the other keys) so for now I’m placing this information here as a reference.

The suggestion however is that Alps SKBL series never included an LED switch. The only known SKBL datasheet shows a switch without the characteristic LED slot (a switch thus far not seen in a keyboard), so it appears that either Forward or Alps no longer considered this feature to be necessary. Keyboard manufacturers disagreed, and therefore had to obtain this type of switch from other switch manufacturers. Yet, the Wayback Machine indicates that SKBL/SKBM did offer an LED option in 2004.

Himake AK-LK

It appears that the Focus FK-9000 contains the elusive Himake AK-LK alternate action switch (for the keyboard/calculator toggle key), which appears to be a copy of Alps SKCL Lock:

The slider is white (well, colourless), as described by the Himake catalogue.

Monterey K7S keycaps

The keyboard shown here on Imgur (with what are assumed to be Mitsumi KCT or KCM switches) has rather curious keycaps, with very steep sides. The double-shot moulding and internal structure is identical to SMK’s later keycaps, as seen in a SMK-made Tulip keyboards.

The same steep-sided design was however used by a confirmed Mitsumi keyboard. That keyboard has very different keycaps, with eight-way diagonal bracing and surface-ink legends. Sadly, despite having a Mitsumi PCB, there is no model number present, so we cannot determine the switch type or gain any further switch type confirmation. It, too, seems to be KCT or KCM series, but with the standard design instead of the unusual design found in the K7S.

Although the switches in the K7S cannot be proved to be real Mitsumi (as no switches were ever inspected by the keyboard’s owner), it is interesting that the unusual keycap shape matches that of a confirmed Mitsumi keyboard.


A throwaway remark in the Deskthority topic Unitech K-973 IBM I aint battle ship keyboard indicates that DYTCOM is an “abbreviation of Dah Yang Tech Company”. A brief check finds this assertion to be essentially true: DYTCOM is a trademark of Dah Yang Industry Co., Ltd. of Taiwan, for “COMPUTERS KEYBOARDS, TELEPHONE SETS, PAGING RECEIVERS”. Other trademarks filed by Dah Yang include DY, DYTCOM, ARISTA and COLORVISION. Dah Yang are known for using “Taiwan Jet Axis” switches, seemingly also manufactured or supplied by Multivictor Technology Co., Ltd.