What's wrong with my spacebar?
January 27, 2005 7:09 AM   Subscribe

Something has gone horribly wrong with the spacebar on my laptop. You have to hit it in the middle to get it to work. If you tap it towards one side, nothing happens.

I admit, I removed it to clean it. Maybe this damaged it. But all the other keys on my laptop can be safely removed and replaced without damage. It's a Toshiba Portege. I'm weirded out.
posted by Polonius to Technology (5 answers total)
have you tried hitting it (the spacebar) fairly hard? sometimes gubbins gets in there, and a few good hard taps seems to sort things out.

make sure it's not incorrectly re-assembled first, though, of course.
posted by andrew cooke at 7:13 AM on January 27, 2005

Spacebars are usually connected slightly differently than other keys. On my ThinkPad I recall that there is a long metal wire that can be connected in two different orientations but the key only works well if it is connected in one.

Why don't you try removing it and replacing it again?
posted by grouse at 7:15 AM on January 27, 2005

I've a Portege M200 and the same thing is happening, on and off, to me. I haven't taken anything apart. When it gets intolerable I bash the space bar a bit on the assumption that some grit has got in there and it gets better. It does seem to be a design fault and it is a worry. Having said that it's fine at the moment.
posted by grahamwell at 7:59 AM on January 27, 2005

A lot of keyboards I've taken apart only have one "trigger" (for lack of a better word) for the space bar. It's usually placed in the center. The problem is that the space bar is ever so much larger than the rest of the keys. So when you hit it off center, it will pivot around the trigger instead of depress it.

The solution they came up with is to put another little bar underneath that connects one side of the space bar to the other. It works in such a way that if one side is depressed, then it pulls the other side down too (thus depressing the trigger in the center). My guess is that you failed to reconnect the little bar underneath.

But this is all conjecture. Your space bar may work differently than mine.
posted by sbutler at 10:07 AM on January 27, 2005

Sometimes (as on my last keyboard) the little plastic tabs, under which the bar locks, snap off. Hence, only pressing in the middle works.

Since the tabs are part of the keyboard, and not the key, the solution was a new keyboard. Cheap for me, but on a laptop, expensive.
posted by maledictory at 8:12 PM on January 27, 2005

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