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Dell Keyboard Replacement
As your Dell Latitude laptop ages and is subjected to much use you can expect that some moving part will need replacing – one such component is the keyboard. In some cases it could be the only component that needs replacing. Replacing a keyboard is an excellent DIY job especially if it’s just missing keyboard keys or a malfunctioning keyboard that is causing you grief.
If you know what to do, changing a laptop’s keyboard can be a simple job, on the other hand you can end up dissembling the entire computer if you don’t know what screws to pull and what parts to remove. Hopefully you will find these steps for changing a keyboard on a Dell Latitude laptop easy to follow.
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Before You Get Started
There some precautions that should to be taken before you start working on the machine. You should ensure the computer is completely shut down (not in a power save mode) and be careful to unplug all attached cords, including the power cord and all the cables for attached any peripherals and remove the battery. Not only do these precautions prevent the risk of an electrical shock but it also eliminates the risk of damaging the connection ports and the system board when you are moving the computer around to get at the screws and components.
There is also a risk that static electricity can cause damage to certain components inside the computer. To prevent this from happening you will need to discharge any static buildup before you start working on the machine -- you can do so by periodically touching an exposed (unpainted) metal component on the machine while you are working on, or wear an antistatic wristband.
While the steps for removing and replacing a keyboard on a Dell laptop is generally the same for many models, there are often some unique steps that must be undertake to repair certain models. However the following steps will apply to a number of Dell Latitude Laptops including the: Dell Latitude D620, D630, D820, and D830 machines.
Interestingly the steps roughly apply to other series models as well, such as a Dell e6500 keyboard replacement. The only difference it that these keyboards don’t have the ribbon keyboard connector.
If you decide to proceed, ensure that you don’t pull anything that you don’t need to remove; be gentle when removing components as it is common to forget to remove screws and cables before removing some parts – not yanking out components will allow you to feel that something is still attached so you can make the necessary adjustments before proceeding.
(Image credit: Dell.com)
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Things you will need
- A replacement keyboard
- An antistatic wristband (optional)
- A plastic scribe
- A small flat-head screwdriver
- #1 Phillips screwdriver
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Removing The Center Control Cover
- Open the display and push it all the way back. The screen should be lying flat so that you have full access to remove the Center Control Cover. This cover must be removed in order to get to the screws that secure the keyboard.
- Use a flat head screw driver or preferably a plastic scribe to gently pry the Center Control Cover out.
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Removing the Keyboard
- There are two screws at the top of the keyboard; you will need to remove these.
- Gently lift and rotate the keyboard clockwise so you can see the keyboard cable that needs to be detached.
- Identify the pull-tab where the keyboard connects to the board and gently rock and pull it until it comes loose. DO NOT yank the cable itself! It you do, you run the risk of dislodging the pins, which can be time-consuming to repair.
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Installing the Replacement Keyboard
You simply need to reverse the process to install the new keyboard.
- Connect the keyboard cable to the motherboard and press it down firmly with just enough force to secure the connector, you should have need to apply a lot of force.
- Slide the keyboard into the base of the laptop; you may need to slightly push in the base to get it seated properly.
- Ensure that the screw holes line-up properly. Replace and tighten the two screws that you removed.
- Insert the left side of the center control cover and snap in the other side to complete process.
Key for the attached components diagram
1 M2.5 x 5-mm screws (2)
2 keyboard cable pull-tab
3 keyboard connector on system board
4 keyboard tabs (5)
5 palm rest
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Don't Void the Warranty
While it is easy enough to replace a keyboard, you must remember that doing so can void the warranty. Dells service manual warns that “only a certified service technician should perform repairs on your computer. Damage due to servicing that is not authorized by Dell is not covered by your warranty." However, this shouldn’t be a concern if the computer is not under warranty.