How tp repair and clean Laptop Keyboard ?
Two devices on the laptop get the most use and abuse are the Video Screen and the
The keyboard gets a good workout every time you use the computer. Like all keyboards it
is prone to collect dust, dirt, and other objects. Most keyboards fail from use not
abuse. Some times you see the lettering worn off the keys, sometimes a key will pop off
the underling support. Then there is the very thin ribbon cable, because it is very thin
mylar (plastic) film with the copper traces embedded between the layers it will degrade
with heat. Along with this the connectors are also plastic and are very thin these also
degrade with heat over time.
I will not list the trouble shooting techniques here, if the keyboard is giving you problems
it has failed. Unfortunately there is very little or no repair for the keyboard. Even the
laptop manufactures realize this, they do not require the old keyboard back when it is
replaced under warranty.
To replace the keyboard you will need either a small cross point (Phillips) screw driver, a
#1 or a small hex driver (some have Allen wrench) Compaq/HP uses a T8 hex. You do
not have to disassemble the complete case to get the keyboard out. Most of the laptops I
have worked on have screws that go through the case to the underside of the keyboard.
Turn the computer upside down and remove the screws from the vicinity of the keyboard.
Depending on the make any where from five to ten screws.
Once you have the screws out, turn the computer over and open the video display, 90 to
120 degrees to get it out of the way. Using a small flat tip (common) screw driver lift the
keyboard slightly from the front of the keyboard. Some keyboards have small tabs that
insert into slots on the video side of the case. Lift the keyboard about 2 or 3 inches. Look
inside and find the ribbon cable, you need to know how much cable you have loose
before you lift the keyboard all the way out of the case. Because the keyboard has failed
we really don’t care about the ribbon cable on the keyboard but do care about damaging
the connector on the motherboard, so use caution when lifting the keyboard. Check to see
if the ribbon cable is held in place by any cable keepers, if so you will need to open them
before lifting the keyboard out. Once you are sure you have cleared the ribbon cable you
can lift the keyboard out and disconnect the ribbon cable. A word of caution: Some
ribbon cable connectors have a lock on them to keep them from working loose over time.
If you don’t see or know how they work look at your replacement keyboard’s ribbon cable
connector. Now that you have it apart all you have to do is reverse the disassembly
procedure to put it back together.
Once you have it assembled, test it.
Cleaning the keyboard –
To clean the keyboard you would treat it the same as a normal keyboard. I would suggest
you power the computer down before starting, you don’t know what those stray key press
will do when you aren’t looking at the screen.
I usually use a small stiff paint brush and a vacuum or canned air to clean out the dust
and dirt. If you use a vacuum cleaner to suck out the dirt and dust don’t put the nozzle on
the keys, good way to lose a couple of keys, they will get sucked up the hose. Using the
paint brush try to move the dirt/dust to the center of the keyboard. This will enable you to
get under the keys and have it all in one place to vacuum it out. If you use canned air,
open the computer as normal and turn it on its edge, brush/blow the dust/dirt down the
You can use a glass cleaner to clean the grime off of the keyboard. As with the video
spray the cleaner on the cloth. I don’t recommend a paper towel because it will
disintegrate and leave pieces of paper in the keyboard. Leave the computer off for ten
minutes or so to let any excessive glass cleaner evaporate.
Enjoy your clean keyboard!
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