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Apple Notebooks Apple's notebook computers including MacBook Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, PowerBook, and iBook.

MacBook Pro - your worst nightmare: keyboard ribbon ripped!


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oneworld9

 
Member Since: Mar 11, 2007
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Hi all, i have a dreadful story which is indeed true. a few days ago i was sick in bed with a bottle of ginger ale by my bed, i (foolishly) had the macbook pro on the night table beside it and somehow in the night the bottle spilt and i awoke to what seemed like a bit of stickyness on some keys. Not so, as i slowly discovered. after using the unit a bit i discoverd several keys weren't working, then a few more later on. I then removed all the key caps and tried cleaning with a rubbing alcohol and lint-free cloth the plastic area underneath the keys, in lifting this plastic lining up to clean under it, the unimaginable happened: the ribbon attaching that plastic electronic layer of the keyboard to the logicboard ripped. forums which say how delicate this ribbon is are no exaggeration. I did not even feel or sense any rip at all. I am how facing the worst options for fixing it. I am in Israel and nevermind the fact that Apple won't ship to and from here, the cost, even if all else went well, would be up to a $1000 i am told.

The worst part of it all is that my wife is working on her masters thesis on this machine and she will now be in a real jam without the unit.

I am wondering, therefore, if anyone else has had any experience in either attempting to sauder this ribbon (i would ask an electronics technician friend, not myself), or purchasing on ebay a replacement 'upper case', and swapping out the keyboard myself. Am i asking for more trouble by considering these options, or is there any other that i haven't thought about. The ifixit.com website has a great walk-through guide to removing the upper case, though it doesn't go on in detail about how exactly one changes the keyboard, in terms of attaching the ribbon to the logic board, etc.

many thanks,
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iRye

 
Member Since: Jan 01, 2007
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I feel your pain. Keys randomly started popping up on mine and I had to muy a new one.
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Aptmunich

 
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First of all, you can always hook up an external USB or bluetooth keyboard for your wife to finish her thesis.

Next look around eBay for a replacement keyboard - it should be possible to replace it yourself if you take the time and do it carefully...
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oneworld9

 
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Hi all, thanks for the replies. Just a quick follow up. I figured i would resign myself to using external peripherals for a while till i could find a replacement keyboard. when i got to work, however, and tried my usual method of plugging the MBP into my monitor i couldn't get any image to appear on the monitor. I am wondering if anyone can verify whether this orange ribbon that runs from the keyboard to the CPU also includes any wiring for the display connection. THere doesn't seem to be any way any liquid came near that side of the unit, but i cannot figure out why else it might not be working.

any help would be greatly appreciated, since, of course, if this means something beyond the keyboard is faulty then i may have to send the unit in for repair. (groan).
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karudzo

 
Member Since: May 27, 2006
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The ribbon shouldn't have anything to do with it. I would pay a tech (preferably Apple certified) to take it apart and clean it or better yet, send it into Apple- it will cost, though.
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oneworld9

 
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in the case that anyone else has any feedback on this, when connected to my external monitor, if i choose "detect displays" from the MBP it seems to pick up the external monitor (since it lists DELL and the various resolution options), though i absolutely cannot get any image on the monitor. the 'on' light of the monitor simply switches back and forth from yellow to green. Just before investing the soon-to-be thousand or so dollars in all costs in sending this Apple, if anyone suspects i may be missing something obvious please, please do let me know!!
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oneworld9

 
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further update: i went to a local israeli computer tech shop and we tried it out with his external monitor (which has a DVI out) and thus using a DVI cable and it worked perfectly. When we used the analog cable from the same monitor with the Apple DVI to analog adaptor it didnt work. We tried the same using an adaptor of his and again, it didn't work. He was totally stumped. So, oddly, ever since the spilt-pop incident (whether there is a connection or not with that), the MBP display works on its own, and using a DVI cable, though not if it is using an adaptor with a flat-screen analog monitor. I am as stumped as he is? Now i really am hesitant of course about sending it off to Apple.

He is convinced it has nothing to do with the computer's hardware nor therefore the pop-incident since it is able to output its signal correctly. I don't know enough to guess at where else the problem may lie. Please any help!!??
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oneworld9

 
Member Since: Mar 11, 2007
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Hi all, i mentioned this in an older post but as a trail end of an original, so it got missed. Briefly, i spilt pop on the keyboard, foolishly tried carefully to clean it off, in so doing i ripped the ribbon connecting the keyboard to the CPU, and ever since, strangely if i hook up an external vga monitor via the vga to dvi adaptor to the MBP C2D i get a black screen (no signal), but if i hook it up to a DVI external monitor it works just fine. I have tried several monitors and several adaptors now, and this scenario still remains the same: works with DVI connected monitors, but not with VGA connected monitors (even tried on a monitor that has both ports and it works in one instance but not the other).

I am waiting for a replacement keyboard to arrive, which will of course determine if that resolves the problem. If anyone knows anything obvious such as that this is clearly a software problem that some sort of reset would fix, or if this is clearly a function of the ripped keyboard ribbon, i would be most grateful.

As a note, the pop spilt on the opposite side to the DVI port (closer to the magsafe, though not really near it). I inspected under the hood and don't see any spilt liquid in and around the power, but am wondering if this problem may in fact be due to some shortage near the power. The unit otherwise operates flawlessly, runs for hours, runs on battery, and so on.
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