Fix a Keyboard Key

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About: I like to make things for the internets. I also sell a pretty cool calendar at supamoto.co. You'll like it.

Intro: Fix a Keyboard Key

I found a great keyboard in our junk pile, a Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard. It has a comfy layout, but there was just one problem. The N key wasn't too responsive. You had to really bang on it to get it to register.

Naturally, this wasn't going to work for regular typing, but the fix for it was easy. Here's how to do it.



Step 1: Pop Out the Key

Use a flathead screwdriver to get the key out. Just get the tip of the screwdriver under the key and push down on the other side. With a bit of leverage, the key will pop right out.

Step 2: Get a Piece of a Straw

Cut off a little more than an inch of a clean plastic straw.

Step 3: Fold and Insert

Fold the straw in half lengthwise and insert it into the bottom of the key. It should now be sticking out quite a bit.

Step 4: Trim to Fit

Cut off the straw so that a few millimeters are sticking out. You now have an enhanced key that sticks out more and will be better at engaging the button inside the keyboard.

Step 5: Put Key Back in the Keyboard

On most keyboards, this is just a matter of placing the key in the right place and pushing down. You'll know when you get it right.

Test out the button and see if it's responsive now. If it's working, but it feels a little stiff, then pop the key back out, trim a tiny bit more of the straw off, and put it back in.

Done!

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36 Discussions

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Kats15

17 days ago on Step 5

Thank you worked great! I just fixed the v key on my old keyboard now I don't have to get new one.

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GrenG1

2 months ago

Would this work with a laptop keyboard?

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fungus amungusGrenG1

Reply 2 months ago

Probably not. There's a lot less movement there.

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Ethan1023

1 year ago

EEW!! You have one of those split keyboards!

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KyriakiA1

1 year ago

AWESOME! It worked perfectly for my Z key!

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JoshB237

1 year ago

Amazing hack!! Thanks for this my A Key has been working horrible for the last week and this fixed it E Z

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GavinD9

2 years ago

;;;;;9;lllllllllllllllll-0;llllllllllllllllllllll000000000000o;;;;;;;;;;; no p key, fix didn't work for me, time for a new keyboard...

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I have the same keyboard. The C key died and no amount of prodding with a screwdriver or a straw could get it working again. It's a shame that I will have to write off the entire keyboard for one malfunctioning key, but I don't know what else to do.

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ylareauxsovereignpath

Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

The same thing happened to me, a few months after begging and pleading that my infamously stingy work purchase one (for a believe $100 +/-) for me.

It seemed like this horrendous keyboard was dying one letter at a time. On the day that I decided to give it up, it was down at least 13 keys - of what I was aware (c, i, o, u, y, z, ←, /, *, -, insert key, delete key... goodness knows what else)!! I wish MS would see that the MS Natural Ergonomic 4000 keyboard is - without a doubt - a defective unit, and should be recalled.

I hope this hack works... I'm dying using a regular keyboard, and I'm too ashamed to ask my work for another one. :(

i have the exact same problem and i have 3 of these with that exact same problem only the c key doesnt work.. and the rest of the keys are fine.. i want to strangle bill gates

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busa

3 years ago on Introduction

Just bought a new wireless keyboard and found the zero key on the number pad needed a decent push to activate. Was about to return it when I found your instructable and now it works perfectly. Thanks, you saved me a return trip to the store! 0000000000000000

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lj.sy2

3 years ago on Introduction

my keybo9ard i8s bro9ken so9me keys seem to9 be bro9ken.. every ti8me I* type letters u,i,o numbers co9me o9u7t

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rosswald

5 years ago on Introduction

I wouldn't recommend using the flathead screwdriver, but instead use some plastic tool. Or wrap duct tape around the screwdriver tip, because you could damage edges of the keys. Now I had 3 of those, It's a great keyboard while it lasts... The first one died within its warranty so it was replaced. On the second one I had C and Enter keys stopped working just couple of days ago, but strangely it's not mechanical, even pressing directly on the foil yields no reaction (that's how I got to this instructable btw).
In order to remove the top cover, you need to remove around 30 screws (!). It can be disassembled completely just takes patience.
And I recommend full cleaning of the keyboard (with removing all the keycaps and washing them) every six months at least. It's a tedious job but when you see the junk below the keys, it's worth it. And that junk can't be removed by vacuum cleaner.

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Win Guy

7 years ago on Introduction

Thanks, fungusamungus, for showing how to remove a key from the board! I'm making the "SteamPunk Keyboard" and this helps tremendously!
Win Guy

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cturnr

8 years ago on Introduction

 i have this SAME keyboard and the I key SUX!!!!! half the time it does not think i press it. and the I key is not like the Q key, you use it all the time. 

thanks for this, I am going to try it when i get home

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cturnrcturnr

Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

 THANK YOU!!! the I key works 100% better now!

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii i i i i i (i could do this all day now!)