Laptop: three keys just stopped working - Help!

  six-h 12:38 26 Mar 2009

Last night after watching a film on "Catch-up TV" I started sending an e-mail, and part way through I noticed that the "A" key had stopped working, then the "W", quickly followed by the "1" key.
Thinking that it may be a heat related problem, I quickly finished my message avoiding these keys, lol and shut down.
Today, sadly the problem persists.
I recall reading a post recently where someone else had a similar problem, and thought it was a virus, but I can't find it now.
There was an explanation regarding the relationship of certain keys to different cores of the keyboard ribbon cable.
Can anyone advise me??

  Taff™ 12:49 26 Mar 2009

Is this a laptop? In my recent experience of this on a laptop the keys you mention are all in the same zone and a replacement keyboard cured the problem. However a post earlier this week about something similar turned out to be detritus under the keys. Cured by gently cleaning with a small paint brush.

  six-h 13:00 26 Mar 2009

Yes, it's a laptop, the title gives it away! lol
The keyboard is squeaky clean, and has never suffered a "spill".
I've "searched" for the post I refer to, and also reviewed the last 16 pages of the helproom forum for it with no success.
The problem as I recall was not resolved, but just went away! (don't you just hate that!)
Some enlightened individual had knowledge of the "keyboard to Mother board" ribbon cable, and the cores that related to various groups of keys, and I would ideally like to get in touch with that person.

  Taff™ 14:23 26 Mar 2009

Sorry! Didn`t look at the title. I don`t know if that information will help you anyway. The cable can`t be changed on these keyboards and it`s more likely to be a failed circuit. You could try re-installing the drivers and running a thorough AV scan but if you`re sure its squeaky clean I would get a laptop repair specialist to check out the keyboard.

  six-h 15:14 26 Mar 2009

Hi Taff™, I wasn't having a dig, just thought it funny lol
Took my courage in both hands and removed the Kb!
surprised how little pulling it required to "unplug" the ribbon cable (24 cores).
This gave me hope that it was not adeqately "locked" into the motherboard socket.
Cleaned the Kb with a soft brush, and again I must say, this lappy (which I've just acquired) looks as if it's rarely if ever been used.
There were no crumbs, dust, or signs of liquid spills.
Not knowing much about the "film ribbon cable's construction, I resisted the impulse to clean the contacts with alcohol, and just wiped the contacts with a clean microfibre cloth and began the circus of re-inserting and locking it in!
You need three hands! Two to hold the collar round the motherboard socket "up" whilst with your third hand ensuring that the ribbon "seats" to the bottom of the socket!
Holding that firmly in place, you can use your two remaining hands to firmly push down on both sides of the collar until it clicks, to lock the ribbon in place.
First attempt I ended up with about 5 keys operational! lol
second attempt seems to have been a far!
Now ...I still need to find a spare "A" cap, to complete the keyboard!
What fun! ;-(

  Taff™ 16:02 26 Mar 2009

Yep! ZIF Connectors - Zero Insertion Force but you need to be a contortionist. Do you still have the scissor assembly beneath the cap? What colour keyboard keys are they and give me the size as accurately as possible. I`ve a couple of spares lying about. Might be useful to know the make of laptop too.

  six-h 16:51 26 Mar 2009

ZIF lol sounds like a bathroom cleaner!
The Laptop is a "Starbook 520"
Manufactured by Clevo Co., badged "Iridium", and clicking through from the Iridium website via "Mobile service" takes you to "Rock Computers" where I downloaded the Manual.
The keys are grey with white lettering.
The retainers are black plastic, and attach to the keyboard baseplate above and below the silicone cup (rather than either side)
The main key caps are 18mm square.
The distance across the retainer, from the end of one pin to the end of the other, is a bit tricky to measure with a caliper, but appears to be about 13mm.
I've taken a close-up shot of the location with the retainers in a raised position: -click here

  six-h 16:54 26 Mar 2009

By the way, it started life sometime after July 2003 (that's Manufactured Date on the HDD)

  Taff™ 08:30 27 Mar 2009

I`ll have a look but I`m certain I haven`t got one the right colour, maybe the right size though. It should just clip on because the assembly looks intact. It might have to be next week though.

  six-h 11:29 27 Mar 2009

I'd be most grateful for any key that fits!
It's funny, your finger is constantly drawn to the hole!
Particularly when seeking the "shift" key. lol
Makes for interesting reading!

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