Replace a Toshiba Satellite Laptop Keyboard





Introduction: Replace a Toshiba Satellite Laptop Keyboard

Not long ago my old but still highly useful Toshiba Satellite (A65) had an odd breakdown. One of the shift keys shorted out in the "down" position. So, it functioned as though the shift key was always pressed. That meant I couldn't type any numbers and clicking on things tended to highlight or open entire pages. 

I tried several software fixes and then dug into the hardware. I even tried an external USB keyboard to no avail. After buying a replacement laptop I decided it would be a good idea to try removing the keys completely, including the board. That was a bad idea.

It didn't solve the problem and it created a new one. To make matters worse that laptop is where my Adobe software lives and I've long since lost the discs and things needed to migrate it to my new laptop.

I finally decided that the real solution was going to be installing a new keyboard and then doing a system restore.  

Step 1: Finding the Right Part

It turns out that an awful lot of Toshiba laptops use the exact same keyboard. That's a good thing. I simply used the model number of my laptop and looked for one on Amazon. It ended up being dirt cheap. So, my hundreds spent on a replacement laptop wasn't all that necessary as it was effectively a $16 problem. 

From the looks of things, if you have a Toshiba laptop with a broken keyboard it's a mildly intimidating but simple thing to replace. 

Step 2: Disassembly

It's always a good idea to unplug any electrical device before working on it or taking it apart and you should also remove any batteries if it runs on those. So, do that. 

I also had no idea how to take the laptop apart and get at the keyboard. Having a spare machine it was easy enough to look up how to do this online. 

I can't stress enough the importance of reading instructions first when doing anything like this. For instance disassembly instructions tell you how to take your machine apart but you don't really need to do a full disassembly to get at the keyboard on a Toshiba. 

As in the images, gently pry up the plastic cover to access the screws that hold in your keyboard. No need to crack the case.

Once inside remove the two screws that hold the board in place. The other side is just tabs.

Be careful not to yank on it or pull too hard. There is a ribbon cable under there.

With the board free, carefully pry or lift the black retaining sleeve where the ribbon cable connects to the motherboard and gently pull it free. The space was too cramped to get a shot of this but it'll be obvious when you see it. 

This won't take much force. if it does have a closer look and see what's not right.


Step 3: While You've Got It Open...

Grab some canned air and clean things out. You won't open this thing every day or possible ever again. Make the most of it. 

Step 4: Install the New Keyboard

This is predictably the same thing you did to remove it just in reverse. 

Gently insert the ribbon cable into the socket being careful not to push too hard or force it. The shape of the cable and the socket should allow it to line up fairly easily. Once you are sure it's in, push the black sleeve back down to lock it in place. 

You can now flip over the keyboard and insert the tabs that hold the side closest to you. This should be another gentle operation that doesn't require any forcing of parts into places they don't want to go. 

I went ahead and put the retaining screws back in place. You may or may not want to do this but do wait for a boot test before putting the cover back on.  

Step 5: Test It

Boot that thing up and tap some keys. 

Mine needed the time and date reset as well but I'm not sure if that had anything to do with the keyboard swap. Not sure why it would have. 

Either way, it made for a good test of the new keys since it required the use of numbers. 

If things are working just button it up! The plastic cover just snaps back in. 



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    18 Discussions

    Some facts and other points mentioned here are quite considerable and to the point as well, would be better to look for more of these kind for efficient results.

    Thank you very much.

    It's very useful to me

    I have the Toshiba C55t-A5218. I couldnt get windows to come up, but later did. However when the laptop was doing a restart, I heard a pop (not sure if it was laptop or something else) and now it wont power up at all (with adapter or battery. Any suggestions. The adapter is producing 19 volts. Please help, or I have a boat anchor.

    You are correct that Toshiba keyboards are pretty much universal between most of there laptops. You can find Toshiba keyboards at very cheap prices here: Toshiba Laptop Keyboards

    I tried eBay but ended up finding everything I needed on Amazon. It was a lot easier. You just need to search with part numbers.

    Nice writeup. Hooray for Amazon and replaceable keyboards :D

    I tried replacing my toshiba keyboard, bought off ebay from china using the computers model number and the full model numbers off the bottom of the old keyboard.
    I was sent a keyboard with near matching numbers, but the ribbon cable was to the left by an inch (guessing to remember), so not usable.
    Sent it back, emailed them megapixel pics with measurement photoshopped in.
    They sent another, better matching numbers, still same offset cable.
    Sent it back, more detailed pictures, they sent another, numbers matched perfect, same problem but the ribbon had copper corrosion.

    They refunded my money less initial shipping I paid and to send them back, and let me keep the last useless keyboard.
    I had to buy a used DOA computer replacement to fix the problem.

    Take what you will from this experience.

    2 replies

    Wow... that's terrible! I just looked up my model number and found one on Amazon. Had no trouble at all first time around. Though for unrelated reasons and another known issue with these, my screen has gone so dark I have to use an external monitor.

    For the new 2010 models, the keyboard is easily removed by removing the cd drive, and unlatching from the underneath.


    Not finished yet, but the disassembly bit is done.

    If you needed to add the time.. then the CMOS battery was dead. cna also be replaced normally with a little more break down. Usually happens if you have had it unplugged for long periods of time and not being used.. Great write up.. when you clean things out. while open.. make sure you get all the vents also..

    4 replies

    if that batterie's dead, then it's a really old laptop :P those things run for years most of the time. nice instructable, with clear instructions/photo's :D might want to add a site where alot of instructions are found
    i found this site usefull

    Thanks for that link by the way. I just Googled Toshiba laptop breakdown guides when I did mine. There were a lot of them. The one problem I had with them was they "all" seemed to want a much more complete tear down that wasn't needed to replace the keyboard. I would have needed to remove more than a dozen screws for no reason if I had followed any of them.

    It is a really old laptop! I just can't let it die. I think the screen is going dark now though. I'll have to see if it's the board or just the cathode going out. If it's the board then it's pretty much dead and the HD will migrate to an external enclosure but it's just the monitor I'll be replacing that or trying out the LED retrofit solution.