If you wish to thank
or forsten me...


sterpin.net en français sterpin.net in english

Saving an Apple USB keyboard light version

As usual, I cannot be responsible for any damage to your machines when you will experiment the following tutorial.

Update of the 6 June 2004


This keyboard was attacked by a grape fruit juice ;-)

This saving operation can also be done if the keyboard received coke or coffee!

But if the electrical contacts have been oxidized too much or if the electronic circuits have to be repared, the operation is not profitable

Unplug the keyboard. Note that, the quicker we operate the patient, the more providential will be the surgery!


Very dirty..on the foundation (white arrow), between keys (yellow arrow)... and several keys are glued (blue arrows)!


Viewing the keyboard from this angle, we can not imagine it is so dirty.


Rear view. Yellow arrows point to classical cruciform screws.

Blue ones point to cruciform screws with washers.

White arrows show screws on the other face.


As on the pro keyboard, one screw lies behind the CAPS lock key (yellow arrow). This key has been removed whith a lever: we slightly lift it up.

The blue arrow points to the LED. Please, do not loose this led!


The two screws removed: the one on the USB connector side is bigger and has as separate washer.


Once the 4 screws removed, we have to unhook the upper transparent part.

See the clamps pointed by the yellow arrows.


A zoom on one of them.


More difficult: clamps on the user face... one under the yellow arrow.


It is advisory to remove the keyboard's keys which hide these clamps.

As the yellow arrow shows it, thera are lugs which sideways fix the clamp :-(


The removed clamp.


-> we see this when we succeed.


The yellow arrow shows an clamp for which we succeed... the blue ones, clamps for which we failed :-(


Th second screw which locks the keyboard on its foundation (the first screw is under the CAPS lock key).


To clean such a dirty keyboard, we have to use the "V.I.R.U.S." method:
unkook all the keys!

Warning: the longest ones (space bar,... ) have metallic clamps/glides -> unhook them smoothly!


The nude keyboard.


As on the pro keyboard, two screws fix the USB cable's protection. The blue arrow points to the ground screw we also have to remove.

On the right, some residue of a sticker which is supposed to hide the "technical" aspect of the stuff ;-)


The yellow arrow points to the part which clamps the USB cable and which also have to be removed.


We have to unhook the USB connector to avoid damaging the cables...


... On both sides, of course.


We can see the grape fruit juice attack!


We unhook the metallic part and deeply clean all!


We can upturn the keyboard which we extract from its shell.

Also dirty!

On the left, one of the lug which help us to put in place the three films building the keyboard.


Grape juice is everywhere! All must be cleaned:

there (yellow arrows) to avoid oxidation and damage of the cables girdles...
... and there (blue arrow) to have all the components clean!


Then, we can unscrew the card and related electronic components.


We can see that juice has spread out (yellow and blue arrow) everywhere.

We can also see contact between films (uppest white arrow) and the card below (lowest white arrow).

We clean both areas with isopropyllic alcohol.


Yellow arrows show the contacts to be cleaned.

The blue arrow points to a screw. All of them have to be removed and place in a secure place to avoid to loose them!


All the screws removed, we can separate the lower part of the keyboard... which is in in fact in the foreground in this picture.

Delicacy and precision are required!


When removing the metallic foundation and the films, we free the silicone cells: big ones (blue arrow), small green ones (white arrow)... well... small ones are not always green!

Yellow arrows show grape juice deposits.


The first film removed, we find the insulating film and the last third one.


The 3 separetd layers: the two ones which contain the electronic circuits are pointed by the yellow arrows, the blue arrow points to the insulating one.


Now, we can check the electronic circuits.

The yellow arrow points to a fully oxidized contact.

The two blue ones show less oxidized contacts... but they also are electrically out :-(


To be sure to clean all... without loosing pieces... we have to removed all the silicone cells and the dark plastic pieces.


The yellow arrow shows the LED: avoid to loose it, otherwise you will have no way to see the state of the CAPS lock key!


The LED.


The keys support..nude! It can be therefore deeply cleaned...


... like this.


Back to the electronic circuits. I scratch off all the the oxidized parts dirts but I also removed a part of the plastic girdle on the still conducting part of the circuit.


Then, I redraw the circuit using a special conducting painting.

I had to put 3 layers of painting to be sure of the circuit. Between each of them, allow 1 day for drying.

-> if I count the time I spend on this keyboard + the 20 euros of the special painting, this operation is not, in my opinion, financially profitable.

Elisabeth emailed me that, in place of the painting, she used a special pen:
http://www1.fr.conrad.com (or web-search with" conducting pen" )

Two models:
Standard : ref 823084 - 28,35 euros (Elisabeth used this one... and only one layer)
Micro one : ref 823070 - 28,50 euros


A newly reconstructed contact.


When all layers of painting are in their drying process, we can do all the remaining things: cleaning the keys, checking the circuits.

To do this, we have to unweld the plate we see above.


I prefer to work with an unwelding pump (note of the traductor: cannot find any other word to translate this specialized tool for removibg welds).

There are 4 clamps.

-> you need a good unwelding pump. To test it, release the spring with the end of the pump against the thumb. If the pump does not stay sticked to your thumb, it is not good.

So now: heat the weld, bring some fresh weld and aspirate the whole stuff.

Do not heat too much to avoid damaging the electronic circuits around.


When the circuit is visible, we can see the oxidized contacts.


Really disgusting. Please pay attention to components' paws.


Once everything is cleaned, we can follow the instructions in a reverse order to rebuild the keyboard. The most difficult step is to be sure that the silicone cells are well in place.


To put back in place the keys with a metallic support, we must first slide them in their glides.


And then push them in their location.

Back Top