In order to repair your keyboard, you need to find out what is the issue. A broken button on the keyboard can make it very hard for the user to accomplish their every day activities.
When a button is breaks on the keyboard, it is very vexing and ruins the user experience. You can check out our fresh guide on different types of keyboards to figure out what your next one will be.
However not everyone has the budget to keep up with the newest advancements in custom keyboard technology. Fortunately, we will provide a few tips on how to repair broken keyboard keys and other issues with your keyboard.
Numpad is not working
First off, if your keyboard doesn’t have a separate numpad on it, you might encounter some issues not being able to press down the numeric keys.
This can happen if the Num Lock key is activated by accident. The function of the Num Lock key is to lock down the numeric keys in case one doesn’t want to accidentally press down the numpad keys.
Pressing the button again will return the numeric key functions back to default. If on a laptop, sometimes you need to hold down the function or FN key to be able to toggle the num lock.
Bend the Connectors
If the keyboard is an external keyboard and not integrated like on a laptop, this should be doable in most cases. A membrane switch keyboard often consists of more flexible materials and allows you to bend it slightly.
In this case you can turn the keyboard over and gently apply pressure to the back side. That can help nudge some connectors back in to place and allow for contact to be made once again.
The membrane under the keys has to be able to touch the printed circuit board or PCB to register a keystroke.
This is a reasonably easy way to repair your membrane keyboard. In the case of a mechanical switch keyboard, this won’t be of much help. For mechanical switches you should resort to removing the keycaps and cleaning any debris around the switches.
Clean the Switches
One of the most common reasons why any keyboard might start acting up, is because it is dirty. Bits of food and dust often end up falling underneath the keys blocking them from making proper contact the the PCB.
If using a mechanical keyboard, removing any excess dirt is a lot easier. You can just pull out the keycaps and flip the keyboard. You can check out our guide on how to replace key caps while cleaning the keyboard, in case you need more tips on how to accomplish that.
Once you’ve removed all keycaps or just the one from the broken key, you can brush off the debris. You can also use compressed air to blow it all out.
If you have a laptop with a broken key or a switch, removing keycaps is often not an option. You might still be able to dislodge some dirt with a small toothpick or a paperclip.
Compressed air also works fairly well for cleaning under laptop keys, especially if it comes with a thin plastic nozzle. Be careful to to blow too much air on the screen itself, as the air becomes extremely cold after continues blowing and can damage the screen.
Let it Dry
A very common reason why a keyboard switch might not be functioning properly is water damage. Usually it’s not even water, but sodas or other sugary drinks, which end up shorting the circuits.
This causes key switches to not register at all or register unusual keystrokes even if not pressed down.
The easiest and most obvious solution to repair your water damaged keyboard is to unplug it and let it dry. This will prevent any further damage.
I’ve personally had this happen to a mechanical keyboard, which broke the “X” key on my keyboard. The key registered unusual presses and sometimes nothing at all.
I let it dry for a few days and the key started functioning like magic. Sometimes you might need to use a cleaning solution to clean any of the spilled fluid.
Once all of the fluid is cleaned from around the switch, let it dry fully for a day or two. After that you can attempt to plug it in and see if it worked.
Buy a more Durable Keyboard
If none of the above methods helped, then your keyboard might have more wrong with it. This is a bigger issue if you are using a laptop as a laptop keyboard can not be simply replaced or fixed.
The only remaining solution is to take the machine to a repair shop to get it fixed. This might end up being very costly and not worth the hassle.
This is why we recommend trying every step listed above first. We’ve explained how to maintain your laptop keyboard better to prevent it from breaking.
If you’re on an external keyboard and can’t fix the issue yourself, the cheapest solution often is to buy a new keyboard.
We highly recommend getting a mechanical keyboard, as most mechanical switches can last up to 50 million key presses while normal membrane switches often endure only around 5-10 million keystrokes.
We’ve made a massive guide explaining all there is to know about mechanical switches. You should definitely give it a read if you’re not sure what kind of mechanical keyboard or switcher are right for you.
Hopefully some of these tips were of use to you and helped you repair your keyboard or any broken keys. Check out our other articles on how to take care of your keyboard better, to prevent it from breaking in the first place.