Last week, a customer brought me a laptop on which the retainer clip for the keyboard connector had broken off. This problem is the fear of many of us who work on laptops because this clip is soldered to the motherboard and is not really replaceable, breaking it off means you’re buying a new motherboard. Until now! Using a hot glue gun and some materials I had around I was able to fix this problem in a way that I believe is permanent.
To replace the functionality of the keyboard tab locking clip you need to create downward pressure on the tab (to ensure electrical contact between the tab and the socket) and inward pressure (to ensure the tab doesn’t slip out of the socket). To create downward pressure, I made a shim out of a piece of that hard plastic bubble-packaging they use to package stuff that hangs on the shelf and Best Buy. I measured the length of the socket and cut a piece of plastic a little over 1/4 inch or around 8mm deep.
Cut a notch matching the length of the socket
Now, insert the keyboard tab into the socket fully, making sure that the it is seated straight and fully into the slot, wiggle it around until it’s in place, it should fit snuggly with no right/left wobble. Once you have the tab securely in place, slide your plastic shim in the slot above the inserted tab. At this point, you want to made sure you are curling the keyboard tab in such a way that it puts constant, even, hard pressure forward on the inserted tab so that it doesn’t wobble or come out of place.
Slide shim in above the tab
Next, holding the tab securely in place in the socket, manipulate the rest of the tab so that it sits flat against the motherboard for another 1/4in or 8mm past the end of your shim. Holding everything steady, drop a small bit of hot glue onto the edge of the tab that extends from your shim, if you can catch a bit of the shim, that’s great. Do this on both the left and right of the tab.
Bend tab down so that it's flat, then apply hot glue
You’ll see in the picture above that I have a little glue “stopper” in the middle of the tab, this was to keep the shim from squeezing out prior to gluing the edges. Hold this in place for a few minutes until the glue sets.
Finally, flip the keyboard over into place, start the computer and test it. You need to test all the keys (use notepad or something) to make sure all your contacts are contacting. If you find that some of the keys don’t work, it probably means that your tab is not inserted properly and squarely into the socket. Use your fingernail to pry up your hot glue and try the procedure again. It took me 3 tries to get this all just right.
Hartland Computer, Computer Repair Lexington KY, (859) 536-4107