How-to fix a laptop keyboard

laptop keyboard

The keyboard on [IraqiGeek]‘s aging Averatec started to fail after two years of use. He didn’t want to pay $60-80 for a replacement. Instead he decided to dissect a cheap membrane keyboard and use the key contacts out if it. The how-to is really thorough and covers the disassembly and reassembly of the complex key supports in the notebook.

Comments

  1. pocketbrain says:

    Wow, very timely hack. I just inherited a laptop with a busted key. Thanks for this hack!

  2. David Karas says:

    Nice! I need to try this.

  3. Craig says:

    i may have to try this soon, some of my keys are being to look like they might be on their last legs.

  4. mbm says:

    In the keyboards I have you can just unhinge one side of the bracket instead of carefully separating the pieces as shown in the article — bending those pieces like that is just begging for them to snap.

  5. fucter says:

    damn, i just tossed a laptop keyboard and purchased a new one. and it really never occurred to me that I could have fixed it myself. Great writeup and great hack.

  6. Pedro says:

    And while you’re at it, why not add a little bit of LED backlighting?

    Sorry, couldn’t resist suggesting it. I’d document it too, if I had a laptop. And a camera. Oh well.

  7. IraqiGeek says:

    Pedro,

    Nice idea! I’ll see if I can get my hands on some small surface mount leds, and may just try that :)

    IraqiGeek

  8. mac says:

    i’d like to point out one fact: if one or more keys have failed, others are likely to follow. if you’d rather pay $5 than rip apart your laptop and painfully trim a tiny rubber cup from another keyboard every time a key fails, it adds up to $60 pretty easily. don’t just look at the bad keys, think of the failures and typos you’re preventing in the future. buy a new part.

  9. Josh says:

    Mac, you dont need to buy a new $5 keyboard each time-you can use any of the keys in the laptop.

  10. trebuchet03 says:

    mac… most of us are “young” — we still have decent vision (be it with or without help)… trimming small rubber, plastic, copper etc. etc. whatever is not painful at all… If it is for you, you’d probably be doing yourself a favor by visiting an optometrist or asking asking yourself (when it becomes painful in any sense of the term) “am I doing this the best way I can.”

    If the answer to that question is yes… again, you’d probably be doing yourself a favor by visiting the doctor ;)

  11. Andross says:

    I just bought a single key on ebay for $1. came with the silicone membrane and all the little levers. I realise that if there were more than a few keys this isn’t a good idea, but I only had one key that needed replacing (the entire key was gone)

  12. mac says:

    josh: whoosh. i was making a point about not opening your laptop and risking unrepairable damage being worth $5…adding up to the $60 price of a brand new keyboard if you keep having to open the computer.

    trebuchet03: whoosh. i’ve soldered tiny smd parts and have no vision troubles. however, i do things because the investment is worth the return. will i spend $15 and two hours repairing one key and potentially ruining the keyboard anyway? no. i’ll spend the $60 and simply pop a new keyboard in, which in my book counts as “painless.” i looked at today’s hack and “am i doing this the best way i can” would result in buying a real part.

  13. jeanphe says:

    How timely, was just trying to figure out a way to repair my 8088 laptop keyboard right at the moment! Nice hack!

    Oh and those ‘get zwinked!’ ads make me want to puke

  14. blackbrella says:

    I have done this many time with my notebook. To clean under the keys or fix a loose key. Its really simple as long as you pay extreme attention to not snapping the brackets. They are very fragile. Oh and “mac” there is virtually no chance of screwing up a keyboard this way. As a last note smd leds under the keys might be a cool idea as long as it does not interfere with the key compression.

  15. d o says:

    Probably the most practical thing I’ve seen on this site. Great article

    However, isn’t it usually those hinge brackets themselves that break, rather than the rubber cups below?

  16. Stephen says:

    with respect, mr. mac, I think anyone who is about to do this can decide for themselves whether or not they would like to take that risk for the possible benefit of saving $55. If thats not worth it to you, then that’s your decision, but there are an very small quantity of people who care about that.

  17. bird603568 says:

    the real repair is if you break the little plastic hinges

  18. antiwhack says:

    #16

    I’m a college student, $55 is lunch for 2-3 weeks… or a copy of half-life 2, whatever seems more pressing at the moment

  19. markie says:

    Well, for those interested, I fixed an iBook-keyboard once in a similar fashion:

    http://geektechnique.org/projectlab/160/zen-and-the-art-of-ibook-keyboard-maintenance

    …and not long ago a friend’s Nokia-phone with a borking key:

    http://geektechnique.org/blog/661/a-typical-sunday

    (in the middle of that post, hardly did a write-up on the nokia though, sorry ^_^ )

  20. epooch says:

    If you break a pole off one of the plastic hinge brackets on a key, I have had luck heating a staple up with a soldering iron and pushing it straight it into the spot where the pole used to be. Then trim the staple to the correct length using a wire cutter.

    The plastic melts from the hot staple, and if you push the staple in far enough, it is held into place very securely.

  21. tomthegeek says:

    This is nice but I need a fix for my dell laptops keyboard, the 8-i-k keys work only intermittantly. I don’t think it has anything to with the keyboard directly though. It’s a very common problem on real old dell laptops.

  22. Edvardas says:

    Maybe it is promotional comment, but it may help to some people who has missing keys on laptop keyboard.

    Here are lots of keys from different laptop models.

    Check this shop
    h t t p : / / s t o r e s . e b a y . c o . u k / H e l p – f i x – l a p t o p s

    Regards,
    Edvardas

  23. Alicia says:

    A key has came off of my moms laptop and i have to fix it before she finds out…how do i get it back on..ive tried but i cant figure it out..please help

  24. Alicia says:

    if anyone can help me on how to put the key back on my laptop keyboard please email me roxygirl28557@yahoo.com..tnx a bunch

  25. Edvardas says:

    It’s easy to do. There are instructions of fitting almost any keys back to keyboard. There are a lot of replacement keys for different laptop models as well.

    Go to http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Help-fix-laptops

    Here on every listing pictures shows how to fit key step by step.

    Regards,
    Edvardas

  26. ibighost says:

    Is there any tutorial on how to fix the laptop keyboard?
    Some keys doesn’t work at all.

  27. Mango says:

    hellloooadfasdfasdfasdf

  28. the real repair is if you break the little plastic hinges

  29. Char3y 518 says:

    my laptop kb. FN,Key w6rks backward= to type u,i,o,p,j,k,l,m…1 finger hold down FN-ANOTHER FINGER TYPES.
    H E L P!!!!

  30. dennis says:

    keyboard stoped wkn

  31. just seen this on twitter cheers for the info.

  32. Anwar says:

    yeah..i came accross this really good video tutorial on how to fix laptop keys. Check out this website: http://www.laptopkey.com/installation_guides.php

    Good Luck!

  33. George Randolph says:

    Great install guides here and cheap replacements if you need any parts: http://www.laptop-keys.com

  34. lucas says:
  35. Shmit Lorrie says:

    I hadn’t even thought about doing this. Nice, this is a pretty straightforward to fix laptop keys, thanks IragiGeek!

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