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Joined: Feb 2003
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Ariel Offline OP
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I have a little clankity-clank COMPAQ computer, and I don't care. Well, it IS a little slow and I hate Windows ME. It is the opposite of cutting edge (tear on the dotted line?).

Anyhow, how to clean its increasingly grungy keyboard. That does bother me. I don't think computer keyboards like to get wet any more than piano keyboards do. Do I have to go key by key? :

Ariel


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A few options, depending how clean you want it to be:

(1) If it's light spill -- air dry the keyboard and it should work after dry, no cleaning, just drying.

(2) Light cleaning -- flip the keyboard over and shake the tiny foreign objects out.

(3) Compressed-aid cleaning -- buy a can of compressed air (home improvement and computer shop/department should have it) and use it to blow away dust and tiny foreign objects trapped beneath the keys.

(4) Deep cleaning -- make sure keyboard is disconnected, pull off every key (they're all snap-ons anyway), shake/blow off all foreign objects and dust; use cloth, cotton balls, or Q-tips to clean the keybed with isopropyl. If you have one of those mesh laundry bags, can consider putting all the key caps in the mesh bag and wash the key caps together with a load of laundry or dishes (air-dry cycle OK, no heat-dry cycle), or just rinse them with soap/detergent. After all is dry, snap all the key caps back on to the keyboard. MAKE SURE YOU REMEMBER WHICH KEY GOES WHERE before you start this procedure. (Have fun!)

(5) Buy a new keyboard -- there are inexpensive ones in CompUSA.

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Ariel Offline OP
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You have confirmed my worst fears. Key by key with alcohol (hmm, now that might work wink )
I chose option #5, I think. I've been wanting a wireless keyboard (hope they come without wireless mice, as I have a nice one already).

Thanks, Axtremus smile

Ariel

P.S. Good luck with your postponed recital. Is that agreeable for you? I'll bet you were all psyched up for it.


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Take a (digital) picture of the keyboard.

Shut off the computer, unplug the keyboard.

Using a tweezer, butter knife, letter opener, the keytop removal tool attached to your Schaff multi handle, or whatever works, gently pry the keytops off of all the keys. If you have a really nice keyboard, the keytops come off and leave little buttons in place. On most keyboards, the keytops and the buttons are one piece.

Be careful with the spacebar. Some have a metal wire to keep them horizontal. Some just snap into two or more holes that are similar to the ones for other keys. If you are not sure how it goes in, just leave it.

Put the keytops in a colander.

Flip the keyboard over. Somewhere between three and fourteen screws hold the top and bottom together. Remove them. As you do, note whether any are a different size from the others, so you can get them back in the same holes.

There may be sheets of plastic, some with conductive tracings, some not; a printed circuit board; and the cable readily visible. Maybe take another picture or two to refer back to how everything goes together.

The cable is probably jammed in place between some hunks of plastic to keep it from getting yanked out. Lift it out, noting the routing.

The printed circuit (PC) board may be held in place with a couple more screws, or just plastic clips. Unscrew if necessary, then lift the PC board out.

You should now have: 1) PC board, cable and membranes; 2) top outer piece; 3) bottom outer piece; and 4) colander of keytops.

Take 2, 3, and 4 into the bathroom. Draw a nice warm bath, a couple inches deep. Add a splash of ammonia or your favorite household cleaner. Soak the pieces.

Meanwhile, gently flip the PC board over and see how the topside looks. use Q-tips, paper towels, window cleaner, or whatever looks like it will work to de-gunk the spaces between the keys. Also if you chose not to remove the spacebar, clean it as well as you can from here.

Now go back into the bathroom. Swish everything around. Use an old toothbrush, or whatever to clean the gunk off the keys and top and bottom pieces.

Rinse everything three or four times.

Lay all the keytops out, upside-down to dry. Let them all dry very, very thoroughly. Like overnight. What? Computer out of commission overnight??? Maybe a hair dryer on low heat will help things along.

Put the PC board and membranes back in the top part the way you found it. Re-route the cable the way it was. Put the bottom panel back on with the same number of screws it had to start with.

Flip the keyboard back right-side-up.

The keytops should just snap right back in place with gentle pressure.

Now figure out how to turn on the computer without the keyboard, and load the digital picture from the camera, and look at it on the screen to figure out where all the keytops go. Ummm... okay, I think we have a little problem here. Ummmm....

Maybe $10 for a new keyboard down at 'Pooters R Us isn't such a bad idea after all.

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I have a black one. Looks clean enough to me. wink


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