Introduction: Replacing an Ultrabook (Asus UX21E) Keyboard

I spilled a ginger-ale on my ultrabook's keyboard, and had to replace the keyboard. I noticed that there were some teardown pictures of the Asus UX21E online, but they all seemed to stop at taking the bottom of the laptop off. 

This information in this Instructable is specific to the Asus UX21E, but by reading my tips and following the general disassembly lessons you should be able to work on your own laptop.

That being said taking apart electronics has the potential to damage or destroy the electronics, so don't try to repair your own computer unless you know what you're doing. 


You need a couple of supplies before you begin this process:
Screwdriver set with Torx bits
Ice Cube Tray
New Keyboard

Step 1: Take the Back Cover Off

The back cover has ten screws. There are eight short screws and two long screws.

Do Not Use the Wrong Size or Type of Screw Driver!

Take out the eight short screws and put them into the first slot in the ice cube tray.

Now take out the two long screws and put them in the second slot in the ice cube tray. 

Step 2: Remove the Battery

The battery has five screws two silver screws and three black screws 

Remove the screws and put them into the second slot in the ice cube tray.

Step 3: Remove the Motherboard to I/O Cable

Hook your fingernail under one of the places indicated in the image, and gently lift. Do the same on the other location. The flat cable should pop right off. 

Step 4: Remove the Cooling System

There are seven screws in the cooling system two silver and five black. 

First remove the five black screws, and place them in the next ice cube tray slot.
Next remove the two silver screws, and place them in the next ice cube tray slot.

The cooling system will be stuck down slightly to the CPU. take your fingernail and hook it under the leftmost black screw hole and lift slowly and gently. Be particularly careful while pulling the cooling system off of the CPU.

Step 5: Remove the I/O Board

This board has only one screw and one speaker connector to remove. 

Take a small flat-head screwdriver and push the white part of the connector to the right out of it's beige socket. 

Remove the single screw, and place it in the next slot in the ice cube tray. 

Lift the blue I/O board from the left edge and it should slide right out. 

Step 6: Disconnect the Keyboard Ribbon Cable

First remove the tape holding the ribbon cable in place. Don't throw the tape away. When you're putting everything back together put it back in the same spot. 

Use your fingernail to gently push the beige tabs downwards towards the battery. They should slide out approximately 1mm freeing the keyboard ribbon cable. 

Step 7: Disconnect the Monitor Cable

Peel the retention sticker back towards the cable. When you reassemble the laptop make sure to stick the retention sticker back down. 

Use a fingernail to push the tabs towards the top of the laptop and release the monitor cable. 

Step 8: Antenna Cable Removal

Peel the tape off of the antenna connectors. When you're putting everything back together put it back in the same spot.

Use your fingernails to lift the small gold connector away from the wireless card connectors. 

Go ahead and disconnect the speaker connector. Take a small flat-head screwdriver and push the white part of the connector to the left out of it's beige socket.

Step 9: Mouse Ribbon Cable

Place your fingernail on top of the ribbon cable and lift. The black part of the connector will flip up and release the cable. 

Be particularly careful with this kind of connector as they sometimes will break off. 

Step 10: Remove Motherboard Screw

Remove the single screw, and place it in the next slot in the ice cube tray.

Step 11: Lift Out the Battery and Motherboard

You can now lift out the battery and motherboard.

If something feels like it's holding the motherboard back DO NOT FORCE IT. Look for a screw or a connector you missed. 

The battery disconnects from the motherboard with a connector that swings up. 

Step 12: Remove the Speakers

Finally we can see the keyboard!

Removing the speakers is a pain because they're held down with double sided tape.

Using a flat head screwdriver pry the edge of the speaker up from the bottom edge first. Slowly work the flat head screwdriver up towards the keyboard and the speaker will pop off. 

Remove both speakers. Note that the speakers are marked L & R. When you're putting the laptop back together make sure they go in the right locations. 

Step 13: Reveal the Keyboard

Gently peel the mouse cable back. 

Peel the plastic backing off of the keyboard. 

Step 14: Remove the Keyboard!

First remove the little piece of tape at the top right hand corner. 

There are about twenty one tiny screws holding the keyboard in place. Make sure you use the right size Phillips head screwdriver. If you manage to strip one of these screws it will be hard to find a replacement. Put the screws in the ice cube tray.

After you remove the screws gently lift the keyboard away from the laptop body. If there's any resistance look for a screw you missed. 

Step 15: Install New Keyboard and Put Everything Back Together

Look at the back of the keyboard you just removed and compare it with your replacement keyboard. My replacement didn't have the little grounding strips. So, I peeled the strips off of the old keyboard an attached them to the new keyboard. 

You should also check the model numbers of the old and new keyboards to make sure that they match.


Reassemble the laptop by reversing the steps that we used to take it apart!



If you have any questions or need a picture of a specific thing please leave a comment!


Comments

author
DennisB142 made it!(author)2017-05-04

Thanks a lot. This guide saved me 2yrs ago, when I spilled coffee over my laptop..

Unfortunately, picked keyboard without backlight, and now I'm back to set that straight..

Thanks x2

author
MaxP28 made it!(author)2015-10-30

By the way, for the keyboard screws you need a Philips PH000 screwdriver. A PH00 won't work.

author
EugeneB16 made it!(author)2016-01-19

I've got this ph000 screwdriverhttp://www.amazon.co.uk/C-K-T4882X-000-Precision-S... (The photo on amazon is wrong and shows a ph0) but it doesn't work for those tiny keyboard screws. Do you know if it could be because of the blade length? The one I've got is a ph000x60 which means that the length of the blade is 60mm.

Thanks!

author
EugeneB16 made it!(author)2016-01-25

I've ended up getting a WIHA PH000 x 40mm PicoFinish screwdriver and it works. I was finally able to replace the keyboard. Thanks for the instructions!

author
gregr made it!(author)2016-01-20

You might try using the smallest flatheaded screw driver. If it doesn't fit file it down a tiny bit & try again.

I find that big cheap sets of screw driver bits tend to be pretty low quality & may not really be a 000.

author
MaxP28 made it!(author)2016-01-19

The PH000 I used was this: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B005GOO7TA

author
SylviaD8 made it!(author)2016-01-18

is no ethernet port for ux21e, because no drivers for ux21e that i see here http://www.asfadriver.com/2016/01/asus-ux21e-drivers-download.html

author
MaxP28 made it!(author)2015-10-30

The first time you remove the cover and see all the interior components you get a bit distressed. But with the tutorial actually it gets easy to take components apart and reach the keyboard. Maybe the hardest part of all is to plug back the mouse/trackpad connector. It took me several tries but in the end I made it.

author
laptop_keys made it!(author)2015-08-10

Your post is full of knowledge. After going through this
step by step guide, it seems very easy to replace the keyboard.

author
Peter.Watts.23 made it!(author)2014-11-27

Hi there, How do I ensure that I get the right keyboard fo my Asus? Where can I check my serial number? Thanks Peter

author
gregr made it!(author)2014-11-28

The part numbers that I have noted for the keyboard on *this* laptop are MP-11A93US6528 & 0NK0-LX1US021e

I had to take apart the laptop to get at these numbers...

author
Vilse made it!(author)2013-12-12

you could change the title to "replace anything in Asus UX21E". now i don't have to pick mine apart to check things

author
amandaghassaei made it!(author)2012-11-13

great info and pics! I didn't realize it was so hard to get to the keyboard!

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