Is it possible to repair a laptop keyboard?
Yes, it is possible to repair a laptop keyboard with some exceptions.
Here is when it is impossible to repair it. This is water damage, when the laptop gets a big dose of a liquid and the laptop keyboard fails. What usually fails is the controller that is in the keyboard, rendering it unusable. In this case we need to replace it.
Sometimes the keyboard just stops working for no reason at all. This is probably due to voltage spikes that somehow reach the keyboard and again render the electronic controller unusable.
There is a ribbon cable that connects the laptop’s motherboard with the keyboard. If the connector breaks we will have a keyboard that sometimes work and sometimes doesn’t, or we get not the letters that we type but some random letters.
In some cases the keyboard survives water damage and all we need to do is take it out, clean it a bit and leave it to dry for a day.
Each laptop model has a different keyboard. The real problem is that even if you get the same laptop model keyboard key, sometimes it will not match.
In general key replacement is not difficult. It just takes a bit of time and it is precise work.
If you look closely a laptop key has four connection locations where the plastic mechanism attaches it to the keyboard.
A laptop keyboard can have almost the same key, but underneath it the distances between those grips will be different so another key will not fit. Laptop keys are widely available on eBay and there are almost all types that you would need.
How to take out a faulty key
You need to get slightly underneath the key with a finger in one corner. Usually this is a lower corner. Then, pull it up slightly. Depending on the construction the key will pop out easily or it will need some more force applied.
Usually it pops out and leaves the plastic mechanism in the keyboard. If you need to replace the mechanism a small flat screwdriver can be used.
Sometimes a laptop key does not type anything or is stuck; in this case the rubber round part is to blame.
This rubber part is also replaceable; you need to use the same small flat screwdriver to take it out. Then, if you buy a replacement key you need to ask the seller to include this rubber bit too.
Inside it has a conductive coating that makes contact between two metal plates when the key is pressed. Sometimes this coating wears out and the key stops working, or sometimes it gets stuck and the key will stay pushed down.
When the plastic mechanism fails the key will not stay aligned or one corner would stay higher than the others.
Keyboard keys can tolerate dusty environments because the metal contact part is sealed with that round rubber and it would be waterproof to some degree.
There are even laptops that are immune to liquid spills as they have holes where the liquid goes through the laptop. I would say this is a great idea. Some Lenovo laptops have this feature.
How do you attach the key to the laptop keyboard? This is a very easy procedure. We need the rubber part to be in place, the plastic mechanism to be in place, and we need the exact key type that we need. Now what we do is take the key and place it on the top, then push it a bit down until we hear a click sound. Some keys will require more force applied.
An Apple MacBook keyboard is difficult to replace because we need to disassemble the entire laptop to access the keyboard.
There are a lot of laptop keyboards out there. Some of them have the same model number but are different by production versions. Usually those versions differ by the position of the ribbon cable, or by the width of this ribbon cable.
A laptop keyboard can be repaired if it is not water damaged. And on rare occasions even a water damaged keyboard can still be repaired.
Often the keyboard key is damaged because of wear or because of manufacturing defects. A laptop keyboard key is easy to replace if we have the exact key type.
In case we need to replace the entire keyboard we can purchase on online. To find the right keyboard a laptop model number will be helpful, along with the part number that is on the keyboard itself.
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