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I Was Warned , Now I've Done It !!! (or How to Clean a Laptop Keyboard)

Updated on November 18, 2019
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Eugene writes a variety of articles on topics including health, technology, STEM, travel, cooking, and home and garden.


What a Disaster ! Coffee all Over the Keys on the Keyboard!

Here I am sitting at my laptop at the kitchen table enjoying the morning, typing furiously on my notebook and enjoying a coffee as a reward for several hours work. I was warned it would happen but I said I would be careful.

"Your going to spill that coffee all over your computer".

"I won't", I said, "I'll be careful, It's like driving a car, You don't drive over people on the pavement"

An then of course it happened, A sudden impulsive movement of my hand sent half a mug of coffee over all the keys of the notebook. It was pure stupidity of course , drinking coffee while typing and getting over enthusiastic answering questions on the WebAnswers website.

I stared at the mess in a stunned manner for a couple of seconds and then sprung into action. I turned the notebook upside down to let it drain and prevent the coffee seeping down into the innards of the machine and doing who knows what damage to the PCBs and modules inside. With the machine upside down, I powered it down fully.

The Operation - Cleaning a Lap top Keyboard

"All these keys are going to have to come off", I thought. Firstly I took a close-up photograph of the keyboard keys with my digital camera so I would know where everything went during re-assembly. Next I removed the keys by gently prising them up from the keypad. All of them were treated to a bath in a basin of warm water and were allowed to dry. The underside of the keyboard was given a wipe with a moist cloth, a wet cloth might have done more damage.

I was an electronics technician in a previous life and the notebook wasn't on warranty so I said what the hell, I'll try and tackle the problem myself. I had never opened a notebook before but had plenty of experience dismantling and re-assembling appliances. Opening a notebook was new territory though.

First I removed the hard drive. I made sure to touch my hand to earth to discharge any static build up and then removed the two RAM modules. I removed most of the screws from underneath the notebook. This allowed me to pry the upper half of the shell upwards enough to shine a torch at the innards to look for wet marks due to coffee. I was extremely relieved to discover that no coffee appeared to have leaked inside.

I replaced some of the screws, replaced the hard drive and RAM and powered up the machine. It sprang into life to my relief. I was then able to replace the remaining case screws, and keys.

If you aren't used to messing about with electronics or delicate parts, I wouldn't advise tackling this type of problem. The little hinges / supports under the keys are quite delicate and I reckon might be easily broken if too much force is applied

© 2011 Eugene Brennan


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