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Thread: Help with Aluminum PB keyboard

  1. #1
    Help with Aluminum PB keyboard
    Hello, I am proud to say I just got my first mac, a 15" aluminum powerbook 3 months ago, and am very happy with it. However, I unfortunately spilled a small amount of my drink on a couple keys. I fully cleaned it and let it dry but now a couple of keys still stick despite my cleaning. So I was looking to replace those keys instead of the whole board. I found replacements on and I was wondering how I go about replacing the keys. Any help would be appreciated, thanks!

  2. #2

    Member Since
    Mar 30, 2004
    The parts of the keyboard you can replace are the "caps" (plastic covers) on the keys, and the scissor hinges (the white things in the photos on The switches are contacts glued to rubber membranes, and can't be replaced individually.

    If all you've done is spilled a sugary drink in there, you should be able to clean it by prying up the key caps and maybe the scissor hinges. This is not easy, because the fittings are very fragile (very thin plastic.) Since you're considering replacing them anyway, you might as well give it a try.

    For the full-sized keys, I think the best way to pry them up is to from the side. Be very careful to to put too much pressure on them. (I've found that the half-size keys (like arrow keys and F1-F12) are just too fragile to bother with.)

    Once you've pried up the cap, you'll see the scissor hinge. You should be able to tell how it works and how to pry it out. Try to remove both "leaves" of the hinge together; they tend to break if you try to pull them apart. Again, the hinges are made of thin plastic and can break easily.

    First, try to clean the mechanism and the underside of the key using some rubbing alcohol and Q-Tips.

    If you break one, or just can't get them clean enough, then you'll have to get a replacement from someplace like Once you've pried up the old one, you should be able to see how they fit back in. It's tough, but not impossible. After you get the scissor hinge in, the cap snaps on fairly easily.

  3. #3
    Thanks for the reply. Sounds like a lot of work. Odd thing is the keys are only sticky every once in awhile, but when they are, they're incredibly annoying as you probably know. Anyway the key thing sounds tricky but I thought about giving it a try after finding new keyboards are $120... I'm going to the new Apple store in KC and see what they have to say about installing new keys/new keyboard.

  4. #4
    I think the alcohol and Q-Tip idea is good for that situation. If you are worried about messing up the keyboard, just swab the ones that get stuck. HP sells some especially made for the keys of a keyboard. But i dont think you would want to purchase an $80 PC kit when there is only one problem with your Mac.

    Good luck with the problem.

  5. #5
    Thanks for all the replies. Anyway I'm gonna be replacing the keyboard and probably buying one from powerbookmedic. I was wondering if this is something I can just do myself by unscrewing everything and taking the top plate off or not. Also, if I took it to the Apple Store do you think they would charge me to have them do it (probably a dumb question) Also, if I replace the keyboard, would that void and warranty (had it only 3 months) or AppleCare if I bought that down the road?

  6. #6

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