Replacing a laptop keyboard?

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Adam Lenhardt, Dec 20, 2007.

  1. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    The "B" key on my Dell Inspiron 9100 has been working sporadically for the last six months since a hairline fracture developed in the plastic piece that hinges the keycap up from the sensor. I managed to move it into position again a couple months ago, and it worked consistently until last week when the partial break just plain snapped in two. I can use the key without the keycap on by hitting the sensor directly, but the situation was sufficiently unideal that I ordered a replacement from Dell for $19. Sure enough, a nice new flat keyboard that matches my old one perfectly arrived by mail -- but with no instructions on how to install. Since the current one is pinned in place by the casing, I'm assuming I'm going to have to take the casing apart to get inside it. Is there any special things I should look out for? Anything I should take care to avoid?
     
  2. Al_S

    Al_S Second Unit

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    I've replaced a couple of laptop keyboards and it's not too bad. Just make sure you know which screws go where when you put it back together. On some laptops if you turn it over you may see some screw holes marked with a "K" for keyboard which makes things easier. Also, there is a small thin cable that connects the keyboard to the laptop. Make sure you don't break that cable when you take out the keyboard. You will have to detach it from the old keyboard and then attach it to the new keyboard.
     
  3. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    Thanks, Al. I didn't even think about the possibility of there being special screws to get directly to the keyboard. For that matter, I didn't really give much thought to how the keyboard connected to the computer internally either. I'll make sure to pay attention to everything you've brought up.
     
  4. Patrick_S

    Patrick_S Producer
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    If you haven't already replaced the keyboard I'll just add that I have replaced a keyboard for a Dell Latitude and it was a simple 5 minute job.

    If you get the replacement from Dell they will probably send you the screw driver you need and a special tool that is used to snap the notebook housing apart.
     
  5. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    It only came with the keyboard itself, which was MUCH thinner than I expected, without even the promised instructions. Fortunately, Dell puts their service manuals online in HTML format, so I was able to piece together the process.
    Even so, it was a five minute job when I sat down to do it Christmas day. The entire back half of the top is composed of covers that snap right off. Took off the center one (in between the folding hinges and that brought me right inside. Popped the keyboard up -- but not too hard thanks to Al's advice -- found the ribbon cable underneath, popped the old ribbon off the board, set the old keyboard aside, popped the new ribbon into the board, clicked the new keyboard into place, popped the cover back on and I was in business. Since the computer is out of warranty, I had to pay for the replacement. That means I'll be able to keep the old one for spare parts if any of the keys on this one start wearing out. If I had the one broken plastic piece under the "B" key I wouldn't have needed a new keyboard.

    Thanks for your help, guys!
     

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