Am I mad to think I can change a keyboard in a laptop?

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IvanV
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Am I mad to think I can change a keyboard in a laptop?

Post by IvanV » Tue May 17, 2022 11:25 am

I think I'm quite good at taking things apart and putting them back together. I've mended many things, electrical and mechanical, that way. I change watch batteries, mend people's glasses, etc. But I've never taken a laptop apart.

I have a 4-yr old laptop, and several key caps have come off. Apparently the only way to fix it is to put an entire new keyboard in, which I can get for £25.

There's a video on youtube of how to change the keyboard on this specific laptop. You take the back off, take out the battery, motherboard-fan aggregate piece, and a couple of connecting pieces, then swap out the keyboard. You disconnect a dozen little plugs, unscrew about 50 little screws, unstick a few cables that are stuck in place with sticky tape, then reverse.

The guy on the video is saying "buy this 100-piece £30 precision toolkit" to do it. But he uses very little from it. Basically it seems the only thing I really need to buy that I haven't got in my "basic" precision screwdriver set, and tweezers and pries, etc, is a Torx T6.

I will obviously carefully document the dismantling process so I can reverse it independently of the youtube video.

Is it mad to think I can do this?

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Re: Am I mad to think I can change a keyboard in a laptop?

Post by Gfamily » Tue May 17, 2022 11:37 am

I replaced the inverter (provides the power for the screen display) on a laptop. Was a bit trepidatious, but was relatively straightforward.

The main problem was that the clip that held the keyboard ribbon cable in place sprang out and was lost for a couple of days, but a blob of BlueTak held the cable in place until it was found.

A minor problem was that the inverter was slightly different, so ended up secured with 1 screw rather than 2.

If you have instructions for a strip-down you should be ok.
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Re: Am I mad to think I can change a keyboard in a laptop?

Post by dyqik » Tue May 17, 2022 11:45 am

I've done several in the past, although they was a bit before they got as dense as they are now.

Keyboards (on larger laptops) are often designed to be fairly easily removed and replaced.

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Re: Am I mad to think I can change a keyboard in a laptop?

Post by insignificant » Tue May 17, 2022 12:00 pm

I've done a few laptop repairs and taking them apart and putting them back together after replacing something usually isn't difficult

The hardest part is separating pressure-fit plastic parts and I've often broken a clip or two on those because I didn't have a proper spudger

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Re: Am I mad to think I can change a keyboard in a laptop?

Post by Martin Y » Tue May 17, 2022 2:11 pm

If there's a good YouTube step by step guide then it becomes a job that you can do even if it's as unusually convoluted as you describe.

As insignificant says the trickiest part is stuff that "just" unclips because you need to have confidence that just levering a bit harder isn't going to wreck something. Also little flexible ribbons which clip into a variety of connectors with locking levers which variously slide or flip up in less than obvious ways. A good video lets you know how they work and what to expect.

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Re: Am I mad to think I can change a keyboard in a laptop?

Post by monkey » Tue May 17, 2022 2:52 pm

Seems doable to me, not done a keyboard, but swapped hard drives and memory before and it wasn't particularly difficult with the instructions I had. One thing I noticed was that some of the cables seemed like they'd be easy to break, but just so go slow and careful and that won't be a problem.

And make sure you have a screw left over at the end, because it's traditional.

As for this bit,
IvanV wrote:
Tue May 17, 2022 11:25 am
The guy on the video is saying "buy this 100-piece £30 precision toolkit" to do it. But he uses very little from it. Basically it seems the only thing I really need to buy that I haven't got in my "basic" precision screwdriver set, and tweezers and pries, etc, is a Torx T6.
I bet they're being sponsored.

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Re: Am I mad to think I can change a keyboard in a laptop?

Post by TimW » Tue May 17, 2022 3:37 pm

Dell provide instructions online for replacing bits of their laptops. I don't know about other suppliers but it's worth checking.

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Re: Am I mad to think I can change a keyboard in a laptop?

Post by IvanV » Tue May 17, 2022 3:40 pm

monkey wrote:
Tue May 17, 2022 2:52 pm
IvanV wrote:
Tue May 17, 2022 11:25 am
The guy on the video is saying "buy this 100-piece £30 precision toolkit" to do it. But he uses very little from it. Basically it seems the only thing I really need to buy that I haven't got in my "basic" precision screwdriver set, and tweezers and pries, etc, is a Torx T6.
I bet they're being sponsored.
Quite plainly so.

From what has been said, it might be worth getting a spudger kit, for a few pounds, as well as the torx driver. It is always difficult to know what you can pull hard and will then harmlessly come apart. I would never have got our old vacuum cleaner apart without a video to say: pull this bit - very hard - it's only held there by friction. And when it comes out, it reveals the screws you have to undo.

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Re: Am I mad to think I can change a keyboard in a laptop?

Post by IvanV » Tue May 17, 2022 3:50 pm

TimW wrote:
Tue May 17, 2022 3:37 pm
Dell provide instructions online for replacing bits of their laptops. I don't know about other suppliers but it's worth checking.
Thanks. I see that only comes up on the second page of my google search.

In fact I found 2 youtube videos. One of them follows the Dell procedure precisely. Dell says, woodenly, take this out, take that out. But as the other video shows, you can take several things out together as a block without separating them, and thus save yourself a fair bit of work. The second video is also rather clearer in showing you what to do.

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Re: Am I mad to think I can change a keyboard in a laptop?

Post by dyqik » Tue May 17, 2022 5:02 pm

IvanV wrote:
Tue May 17, 2022 3:40 pm
monkey wrote:
Tue May 17, 2022 2:52 pm
IvanV wrote:
Tue May 17, 2022 11:25 am
The guy on the video is saying "buy this 100-piece £30 precision toolkit" to do it. But he uses very little from it. Basically it seems the only thing I really need to buy that I haven't got in my "basic" precision screwdriver set, and tweezers and pries, etc, is a Torx T6.
I bet they're being sponsored.
Quite plainly so.

From what has been said, it might be worth getting a spudger kit, for a few pounds, as well as the torx driver. It is always difficult to know what you can pull hard and will then harmlessly come apart. I would never have got our old vacuum cleaner apart without a video to say: pull this bit - very hard - it's only held there by friction. And when it comes out, it reveals the screws you have to undo.
If you don't have a precision toolkit, you should buy a precision toolkit.

</shill for Big-Toolbox>

Spoiler:

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Re: Am I mad to think I can change a keyboard in a laptop?

Post by IvanV » Tue May 17, 2022 5:51 pm

dyqik wrote:
Tue May 17, 2022 5:02 pm
If you don't have a precision toolkit, you should buy a precision toolkit.

</shill for Big-Toolbox>

Spoiler:
I also have been known to walk along well-stocked shelves of nice precision tools trying to see if I could find a reason to buy some. But ultimately I am disciplined and only buy things I really need when I need them. Sometimes it does make sense to buy a set, which is why I have about a dozen Torx keys already, for example, and have only used about 3 sizes so far. Unfortunately they stop at T10 and I need T6 for this.

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Re: Am I mad to think I can change a keyboard in a laptop?

Post by monkey » Tue May 17, 2022 7:39 pm

dyqik wrote:
Tue May 17, 2022 5:02 pm
IvanV wrote:
Tue May 17, 2022 3:40 pm
monkey wrote:
Tue May 17, 2022 2:52 pm

I bet they're being sponsored.
Quite plainly so.

From what has been said, it might be worth getting a spudger kit, for a few pounds, as well as the torx driver. It is always difficult to know what you can pull hard and will then harmlessly come apart. I would never have got our old vacuum cleaner apart without a video to say: pull this bit - very hard - it's only held there by friction. And when it comes out, it reveals the screws you have to undo.
If you don't have a precision toolkit, you should buy a precision toolkit.
Is just borrowing what you need from work allowed?

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Re: Am I mad to think I can change a keyboard in a laptop?

Post by dyqik » Tue May 17, 2022 8:49 pm

monkey wrote:
Tue May 17, 2022 7:39 pm
dyqik wrote:
Tue May 17, 2022 5:02 pm
If you don't have a precision toolkit, you should buy a precision toolkit.
Is just borrowing what you need from work allowed?
All my laptops belong to my work anyway, so definitely for me. Although I wouldn't borrow it, I'd just do the job in the lab, where I can use the magnifiers and anti-static stuff. And work will pay for the precision toolkit if we don't have one.

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Re: Am I mad to think I can change a keyboard in a laptop?

Post by IvanV » Wed May 18, 2022 8:49 am

monkey wrote:
Tue May 17, 2022 7:39 pm
Is just borrowing what you need from work allowed?
We don't have tools like that in the office, because we contract out our IT services, who bring their own.

Generally speaking, when someone in the office needs a tool for some small task or repair, it comes out of my bicycle pannier, which is much better stocked with useful tools than the office cupboard.

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Re: Am I mad to think I can change a keyboard in a laptop?

Post by Rich Scopie » Thu May 19, 2022 11:50 am

IvanV wrote:
Tue May 17, 2022 3:40 pm
monkey wrote:
Tue May 17, 2022 2:52 pm
IvanV wrote:
Tue May 17, 2022 11:25 am
The guy on the video is saying "buy this 100-piece £30 precision toolkit" to do it. But he uses very little from it. Basically it seems the only thing I really need to buy that I haven't got in my "basic" precision screwdriver set, and tweezers and pries, etc, is a Torx T6.
I bet they're being sponsored.
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Re: Am I mad to think I can change a keyboard in a laptop?

Post by Stephanie » Fri May 20, 2022 12:11 pm

My husband changed mine a while back (he spilled tea over it, and then when he was cleaning it up, put his screwdriver through the ribbon, so it was only fair). I've just asked him, and he said he didn't buy any special tools for it, just used the screwdrivers he already has. The only tricky bit was popping it out of the casing, and the aforementioned screwdriver through the ribbon issue, but I'm sure that's easily avoided (and tbf he learned his lesson).
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Re: Am I mad to think I can change a keyboard in a laptop?

Post by shpalman » Fri May 20, 2022 12:13 pm

I changed a keyboard on a laptop, but it was a very long time ago and I got to the keyboard via the top of the laptop not via the base and taking everything out. I also changed the screen on that laptop (because the HP laptops in that phase had terribly made screens which developed permanent vertical lines) and on another laptop which I spilt water into.
molto tricky

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Re: Am I mad to think I can change a keyboard in a laptop?

Post by IvanV » Tue May 31, 2022 4:10 pm

It worked!

I was a bit worried for half an hour, because when I put it back together some of the keys weren't working. But I quickly guessed I hadn't connected the keyboard connector strip properly - it was the single nastiest task and I wasn't convinced I'd achieved it properly when I first did it. It didn't require very much disassembly to access that and try again. It wasn't a firm connect with shaped terminals like many of the other connectors. Rather it was a thin tape with some exposed bits of copper at the end, and you have to put it into just the right place, then close a clip on it to hold it there. There is a printed line to help you align it. There were a couple of other connectors like that, but they were narrow and easy to control into place. This one was wide, and resisted being properly placed.

I undid 54 tiny bolts. It should have been 55, but one was seized, and by amazing luck one of just two bolts I could get away with not undoing, provided the other one would. Those 2 released a plate to expose a connector strip, and I could turn the plate rather than undo both bolts.

Aside from the seized bolt, dealing with 12 electrical connectors of a wide variety of designs was the most worrying bit. This was what I could not have done without pointed tweezers and spudgers. The tweezers were very useful for handling all the tiny bolts, but not essential. Aside from that, the only tool I needed that I didn't already have was a T5 Torx. And that was only for the external bolts on the case. Inside, all the bolts were #0 cross-head.

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Re: Am I mad to think I can change a keyboard in a laptop?

Post by shpalman » Tue May 31, 2022 4:21 pm

IvanV wrote:
Tue May 31, 2022 4:10 pm
It work!

I was a bit worri for half an hour, bcaus whn I put it back togthr som of th kys wrn't working. But I quickly guss I han't connct th kyboar connctor strip proprly - it was th singl nastist task an I wasn't convinc I' achiv it proprly whn I first i it. It in't rquir vry much isassmbly to accss that an try again. It wasn't a firm connct with shap trminals lik many of th othr connctors. Rathr it was a thin tap with som xpos bits of coppr at th n, an you hav to put it into just th right plac, thn clos a clip on it to hol it thr. Thr is a print lin to hlp you align it. Thr wr a coupl of othr connctors lik that, but thy wr narrow an asy to control into plac. This on was wi, an rsist bing proprly plac.

I uni 54 tiny bolts. It shoul hav bn 55, but on was siz, an by amazing luck on of just two bolts I coul gt away with not unoing, provi th othr on woul. Thos 2 rlas a plat to xpos a connctor strip, an I coul turn th plat rathr than uno both bolts.

Asi from th siz bolt, aling with 12 lctrical connctors of a wi varity of signs was th most worrying bit. This was what I coul not hav on without point twzrs an spugrs. Th twzrs wr vry usful for hanling all th tiny bolts, but not ssntial. Asi from that, th only tool I n that I in't alray hav was a T5 Torx. An that was only for th xtrnal bolts on th cas. Insi, all th bolts wr #0 cross-ha.
Great!
molto tricky

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Re: Am I mad to think I can change a keyboard in a laptop?

Post by IvanV » Tue May 31, 2022 5:33 pm

shpalman wrote:
Tue May 31, 2022 4:21 pm
IvanV wrote:
Tue May 31, 2022 4:10 pm
It work!

I was a bit worri for half an hour, bcaus whn I put it back togthr som of th kys wrn't working. But I quickly guss I han't connct th kyboar connctor strip proprly - it was th singl nastist task an I wasn't convinc I' achiv it proprly whn I first i it. It in't rquir vry much isassmbly to accss that an try again. It wasn't a firm connct with shap trminals lik many of th othr connctors. Rathr it was a thin tap with som xpos bits of coppr at th n, an you hav to put it into just th right plac, thn clos a clip on it to hol it thr. Thr is a print lin to hlp you align it. Thr wr a coupl of othr connctors lik that, but thy wr narrow an asy to control into plac. This on was wi, an rsist bing proprly plac.

I uni 54 tiny bolts. It shoul hav bn 55, but on was siz, an by amazing luck on of just two bolts I coul gt away with not unoing, provi th othr on woul. Thos 2 rlas a plat to xpos a connctor strip, an I coul turn th plat rathr than uno both bolts.

Asi from th siz bolt, aling with 12 lctrical connctors of a wi varity of signs was th most worrying bit. This was what I coul not hav on without point twzrs an spugrs. Th twzrs wr vry usful for hanling all th tiny bolts, but not ssntial. Asi from that, th only tool I n that I in't alray hav was a T5 Torx. An that was only for th xtrnal bolts on th cas. Insi, all th bolts wr #0 cross-ha.
Great!
Thank you.

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Re: Am I mad to think I can change a keyboard in a laptop?

Post by TimW » Tue May 31, 2022 8:44 pm

IvanV wrote:
Tue May 31, 2022 4:10 pm
It work!

I was a bit worri for half an hour, baus whn I put it bak togthr som of th kys wrn't working. But I quikly guss I han't onnt th kyboar onntor strip proprly - it was th singl nastist task an I wasn't onvin I' ahiv it proprly whn I first i it. It in't rquir vry muh isassmbly to ass that an try again. It wasn't a firm onnt with shap trminals lik many of th othr onntors. Rathr it was a thin tap with som xpos bits of oppr at th n, an you hav to put it into just th right pla, thn los a lip on it to hol it thr. Thr is a print lin to hlp you align it. Thr wr a oupl of othr onntors lik that, but thy wr narrow an asy to ontrol into pla. This on was wi, an rsist bing proprly pla.

I uni 54 tiny bolts. It shoul hav bn 55, but on was siz, an by amazing luk on of just two bolts I oul gt away with not unoing, provi th othr on woul. Thos 2 rlas a plat to xpos a onntor strip, an I oul turn th plat rathr than uno both bolts.

Asi from th siz bolt, aling with 12 ltrial onntors of a wi varity of signs was th most worrying bit. This was what I oul not hav on without point twzrs an spugrs. Th twzrs wr vry usful for hanling all th tiny bolts, but not ssntial. Asi from that, th only tool I n that I in't alray hav was a T5 Torx. An that was only for th xtrnal bolts on th as. Insi, all th bolts wr #0 ross-ha.
Excellent. I was going to ask but didn't want to nag.

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Re: Am I mad to think I can change a keyboard in a laptop?

Post by Gfamily » Tue May 31, 2022 9:00 pm

G eat news, you we e b ave and you got it wo king again. esult!
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Re: Am I mad to think I can change a keyboard in a laptop?

Post by IvanV » Tue May 31, 2022 9:49 pm

Gfamily wrote:
Tue May 31, 2022 9:00 pm
G eat news, you we e b ave and you got it wo king again. esult!
youareallsokind

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Re: Am I mad to think I can change a keyboard in a laptop?

Post by Woodchopper » Fri Jun 03, 2022 11:30 am

I'm glad it worked out.

I can now tell you that the IT person where I work tried to do similar with a laptop that had been assigned to me. He managed to break a soldered connector and the laptop was deemed to be not worth repairing (ie easier to buy a new one).

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