UPDATE: After working fine for a few days post-cleaning, some of the keys stopped working again for some reason . The process was a failure.
Well this was probably one of the dumbest things I’ve ever done. Late last night while playing Starcraft II with a friend online, I spilled some wine that got all over my desk including my expensive TypeMatrix keyboard. It’s probably one of the worst liquids to spill anywhere, let alone on computer parts! After frantically trying to dry it and leaving it alone overnight, some of the keys just didn’t work anymore. I thought, could this be fixed? I might as well try before dropping $110 for a new one.
The following instructions may vary depending on the type of keyboard you have. Actually if you’re fixing a laptop keyboard the instructions will be very similar. Here’s the steps to repair:
1. Carefully pry all the keys off and put them aside.
2. Turn the keyboard over and remove all screws. If you cannot see any, they might be hidden by stickers or rubber stoppers.
3. Remove the left LED panel and panel below spacebar. (TypeMatrix only)
4. Remove the screws holding down the circuit board.
5. Carefully remove the keys panel and flip it over. On TypeMatrix, disconnect ribbon cable.
The keyboard is made up of a hard plastic top, then one or two thin sheets of a semi-transparent “circuit paper” that are connected to each button, then a metal bottom. The offending liquid has most likely connected some of the circuits causing wrong or multiple keypresses when you type.
6. The 3 layers are probably sandwiched together with plastic rivets, also called Thermoplastic staking. The hard part will be melting these plastic rivets a little bit to dislodge the plastic layer from the metal layer.
7. I used an X-acto Knife heated by a nearby candle to kind of melt & push the plastic on each rivet. If you have a soldering iron this will be much easier.
8. Once all (or enough to access the affected area) rivets are unlatched, you can pry apart the layers to clean the circuit paper with isopropyl alcohol — DO NOT USE WATER OR OTHER CLEANING SOLUTION! Use only alcohol to clean it.
9. After cleaning it thoroughly you can carefully plug the keyboard in to test if the keys are working better again. If not, clean more.
10. Begin putting the keyboard back together in reverse order. Try your best to “fix” the plastic rivets using a soldering iron or hot knife so the layers become tightly sandwiched together. Your results may vary and a soldering iron with a big tip might help here.
And now my keyboard is fully working again!