[ltp] Flaky keyboard on 760EL

M. Leo Cooper linux-thinkpad@www.bm-soft.com
Sat, 20 Jan 2001 14:06:32 -0700 (MST)

I had a bit of a keyboard problem with my old 760EL TP. It seems that
the "i" key had lost most of its sensitivity. It took an extra firm and
centered strike for it to register. This was no good for touch typing,
of course.

In despair, I finally decided to try using a can of compressed air to
blow out the keyboard. As it happened, I had a can of "Blow Off" sitting
around that a local laptop dealer had given away for free in a promotion.
This particular brand contains "tetrafluorethane petroleum hydrocarbon",
which I guess must be similar to WD-40, in addition to the compressed air.
Hopefully, this would clean and lube the key contacts.

Carefully, and with the power off, I sprayed the air into the keyboard,
paying special attention to the "i". Powered the machine up, and lo &
behold, the "i" key was back to normal. I followed up this successful
maneuver by blowing this stuff into the mouse of my desktop computer,
with similarly gratifying results (the right-click now works reliably).

If any of you wish to try this with a dirty keyboard, be aware that
there is some risk to the procedure. You could possibly end up blowing
additional contaminants into the keyboard and/or electronics. Don't say
I didn't warn you. In any case, if you do take this route, do it with
the power off. (BTW, it is not a sound idea to compute while eating
chocolate coated cookies. That's probably what got me into this mess in
the first place.)

Long-term consequences of this make me a bit nervous. The hydrocarbon
content of the spray could possibly leave a film on the keyboard contacts,
but then again, maybe not. If memory serves me, this kind of spray is
similar to what TV technicians used as "tuner cleaner", back in the days
of mechanical tuners, and with no ill effects. On the other hand, I recall
trying to fix flaky memory on a Z-80 motherboard a couple of decades back by
spraying the 4116 RAM chip sockets with WD-40, and it only made things much
worse. So, who knows...

Pardon my rambling. It must be a symptom that my brain's logic circuits
are getting a teeny bit flaky (should I spray some WD-40 in my left
ear?). Anyhow, hope this helps some people.


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