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Thread: Portege R500 - Replacement of keyboard - success

  1. Portege R500 - Replacement of keyboard - success
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    After buying a new keyboard for the R500 on EBay about a year ago, I finally screwed up the courage to replace a badly scratched keyboard with the new one. The reason I waited? I was concerned about how to get the old keyboard off (it is well stuck down to the chassis, and it was obvious that I would damage the old one upon removal.

    There is a nice general write-up about how to take an R500 apart here:

    The above write-up doesn't discuss the keyboard however, so here is some additional information and some tips:

    * Read this entire procedure before beginning - it's straightforward, but not for the faint of heart.

    * Shut down, disconnect power, remove battery.

    * Make sure you have the correct keyboard for your model. The US keyboard is p/n G83C000903US for example. The one I removed was a Rev 1, and the new one I got was a Rev 2 (don't know the difference - they look identical). These can be had as low as $40 - but verify the part number before buying.

    * The keyboard connector is underneath the computer, and so you'll have to take the bottom off, carefully following the instructions in the link above.

    A couple of notes: (a) the PCMCIA ribbon cable connector must be opened to disconnect the cable, as it's the only thing preventing you from removing the bottom of the computer. You can easily do this through the memory access door on the bottom, but BE CAREFUL not to damage the cable lock. It works by swinging up the little plastic lever which is held in place by the tiny pieces of plastic on the sides of the connector which flex *a little*. Be gentle with this connector. When you put the connector back in later, if you've positioned the cable all the way into the connector, you can lock it with only a little pressure downward on the connector, and it will snap into place.

    (b) There are other types of ribbon cable connectors in use too. For example, to unlock the keyboard connector, also now visible on the bottom of the circuit board, you slide the two end pieces of the connector in the direction that the cable plugs in. They are snug, and will only move about 1/4", so be gentle but firm.

    (c) The two tiny connectors blocking free access to the keyboard ribbon cable do not have locks on them. One is a ribbon with only a few conductors, and one is a red and white power connector. Just pull them to disconnect. All other connectors you'll run across probably require unlocking, so be cautious!

    _Now back to the keyboard:_

    Once you've managed to disconnect its ribbon cable on the bottom, turn the laptop over and start prying the keyboard at the edges. It is held down by lots of little pieces of sticky, 2-sided tape, and that's all. Since the base of the keyboard is made of aluminum, it likely that you'll deform the keyboard a bit as you pry it off, although this can be minimized by using perhaps a plastic tool like a ruler or something and prying with that. Take care not to damage the ribbon connector, and try to ignore those frightening cracking sounds as you pry each section off!

    Once you've got it off, you should pick off any excess tape on the base from before and put new a bunch of tiny pieces of new, good-quality 2-sided scotch tape (like 3M). No need to use anything stronger or thicker - just put a bunch of pieces everywhere on the base, especially near all edges and near the space key.

    Now, finally, place the keyboard in position, making sure that you thread the ribbon connector back through in the correct spot. turn the laptop over and re-insert and lock the ribbon connector in (make sure it's straight and fully in before locking connector). Put any other connectors back in too. Then back over and push down hard on all sections.

    Re-assemble, being careful to put the 4mm and 6mm screws in the right places, and that tiny one on the side.

    Cross your fingers and turn it on!

    Good luck!

  2. Re: Portege R500 - Replacement of keyboard - success
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Thank mate for this review.
    Usually the keyboard replacement is not really tricky and someone with small technician skills should be able to replace this…

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