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What to do when a key stops working on a Laptop keyboard?

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by Amanda Riphnykhazova, Oct 2, 2013.

  1. Anyone know anything about this common problem please?

    My L key has stopped working. Doesn’t seem to be dust or dirt (or a spill), it just stopped completely one day.

    It doesnt seem difficult to replace but I have seen mention of raising one side and spraying WD40 under the key.

    Anyone known this to work please?
  2. The keys are electrically positioned on a grid. If one column or one row of
    the grid goes out, then all the keys in that column or row will (probably) go
    out. So it's not likely to be a problem with the internals.

    That leaves the key switch itself (which would require dismantling), or
    something keeping the key from being depressed all the way. It could very well
    be -- as Scrooge would say -- "an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a
    crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato". Pop the key cap, and see if
    anything is caught under it.
  3. amdx

    amdx Guest

    How to remove key from keyboard.

  4. Sjouke Burry

    Sjouke Burry Guest

    What is it?(desktop/laptop/????/etc.)
    And for most, your procedure will probably kill the "L"
    and surrounding keys.
    A new keyboard is recommended before or after your treatment.
  5. OK Thanks, I suspected that even though I rarely undercoook potatoes, so I had discounted this possibility a bit

    But what are the chances of breaking something while popping it out on an Asus laptop? I have had keys which pop off easily (and push straight back on again) and ones which were an absolute pig to get back on again!

    A replacement keyboard on this unit isnt too expensive but the unit has already melted its targus tip twice, melting some of the casing when it did so.

    So I am not particularly keen on spending much on this box!

    You guys aren't impressed by 'the spray a bit of WD40 around the key' solution before risking breaking the (admittedly non-working) key?
  6. mike

    mike Guest

    It's extremely difficult to get relevant, competent help on the interweb
    even when you disclose the exact make/model/age of your laptop.
    Without it, the info you get is more related to what the guy had
    for breakfast.

    Designs vary, but many keys pop off easily if you pry in the right place,
    and in pieces if you pry in the wrong place.
    What's worse is that they sometimes rotate the assembly, so the
    right place to pry varies among keys.

    Designs vary, but many keyboards are constructed from two metalized plastic
    sheets that are forced into contact by the keypress.
    Liquid won't help if it doesn't get between the sheets.
    And liquid between the sheets is way more likely to suck in
    contaminants than cure anything.

    WD40 is a very bad idea.

    I've had some success disassembling the keyboard and swabbing between
    the sheets, then reassembling the sheets. This is rarely effective
    or worth the trouble unless you have no way to obtain a replacement
  7. mickgeyver

    mickgeyver Guest

    How about attaching an external usb keyboard or perhaps enable OSK, On Screen Keyboard.

  8. Do you have a can of aerosol duster? If there's something blocking the key's
    movement, it might dislodge it without having to pop the cap.
  9. Guest

    Forget the WD, you will really be screwed if you use that. If it gets past the keyboard and onto the motherboard, you will need alot more. I don't want to go into the chemical properties of WD40, but you do not put it on circuit boards usually.

    Laptop keyboard are not unique like little snoflakes and shit, you CAN buy them. If the thing is a couple years old, someone could have one on eBay with a broken screen or something. That shit happens all the time.

    Simply one letter on a keyboard ? I would certainly pop it off and have a look underneath. If it doesn't work you got nothing to lose. Usually thwey pop right back on. Right now my "J" key takes a hard hit to work, but I justhappen to have a replacement keyboard for theis laptop. I kinda got lucky that way. It is a full size with the numeric at the right. If you have thattype expect to pay a few more bucks for a replacement.

    Of course you can just plug in a USB one. Hell, they gotem that roll up now..
  10. Thanks for your help everyone and in particular I appreciated the explanations of why WD40 is NOT a good idea,

    However this problem has now gone away rather dramatically.

    My Targus APM12US which Targus recommended for this laptop has now melted its tip into the computer housing during a recharge and the computer has stopped working completely. I Had to pull hard on the tip to get it out of themolten plastic on the Asus housing and am not sure what damage the heatedtip or the tugging has done to the DC jack!

    Sorry this question has gone OT a bit.
  11. mike

    mike Guest

    Melting the housing is a new one on me.
    Usually, the problem is the connection where the socket solders to the
    circuit board.
    It's usually either working or open. You just got lucky.

    If you're mechanically inclined and can solder, or know someone who can,
    this problem is trivial
    to fix the SECOND time you do it. Depending on the model, you can find
    exact replacement sockets on ebay. And there are likely lots of youtube
    videos on socket replacement. Happens all the time.

    If you take it to a shop, be prepared for sticker shock. Although the
    fix is not hard, it does take a while to disassemble the machine
    and they know they have you over a barrel.

    There may also be a problem with the plug on the Targus, especially since
    it got hot too. Even if it didn't cause the problem, it may be a casualty.
  12. Curiously enough, two months ago Verizon asked me whether I wanted insurance on my computers to cover this sort of thing!! A standard $90 for every repair and if they cant repair it, they provide a replacement (I'l bet!!) WIth the key and the melting and possibly the jack and the adapter, I cant see this being less than $90 to repair, - that jack is an absolute pig to get to.

    Actually, the CFPB has announced a recall of certain other models of Targusadapter, see

    I did know about the DC power jack because this adapter had already melted its tip and I have had to replace the jack once already: On that occasion I thought it a common problem with the jack placement on the mobo. Now I can see that it is the adapter, especially from Targus's attitude: WhenI contacted them about this, they said that as this had happened to me twice now, they wouldn't accept any liability!

    (The Consumer Product Safety Board takes a different view)
  13. gregz

    gregz Guest

    I often turn keyboard upside down while doing that.

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