An old laptop, not all keys work
January 10, 2012 9:01 AM   Subscribe

I have an old Mac laptop from 2006, it works pretty good. The main problem is that 4 keys don't work on it, I spilled water on the keyboard and "r", "s", "f" and "4" don't work. Should I just donate the computer? Who would want it? Should I try and sell it on craigslist? Would anyone want it?
posted by raspsgirl to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
Since you can use an external keyboard with it, it should still have some value. I rarely actually type on my laptop keyboard - just the external.
posted by backwards guitar at 9:04 AM on January 10, 2012

External keyboard and/or bluetooth keyboard would work great. (Does it even have bt?)
posted by unixrat at 9:10 AM on January 10, 2012

You can probably replace the keyboard for something on the order of $100.
posted by alms at 9:25 AM on January 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

Maybe just grab one of those foldable, flexible USB keyboards that you could easily pack along with the 'top?
posted by speedgraphic at 10:07 AM on January 10, 2012

Agreed with all the above about using the external keyboard.

But don't put any money into repairing it (or expect to get much for it) if it has a PowerPC (G4) main processor.

I'm transitioning all my web browsing to my Intel-powered laptop from by PPC G5. Websites today are so code-heavy that older browsers cannot keep up (Firefox for PPC is stuck on version 3 forever, with only occasional security updates... current version is 9).
posted by omnidrew at 10:22 AM on January 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

One from 2006 probably won't have much (monetary) value, but it's worth checking Apple's reuse program:

Put in your laptop model details and they'll tell you if it's worth any $.

I got a $50 giftcard for an old iBook a few years ago, so there may be hope.
posted by brackish.line at 10:47 AM on January 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

There have been various AskMes about what to do with an old laptop. Results vary from using as a printserver, permanently mounting it in a table to become an arcade machine, or in the kitchen to become a recipe database, a web browser, or a giant iPod jukebox. If any of those appeals to you, the bonus is that having a separate keyboard doesn't really affect the concept at all.

About selling it - sure, put it up on Craigslist. The only way to know if someone would buy it is by posting the ad and seeing if you get a response. If no response (at $100, say, or 2x Apples reuse offer), cut the price by half. If still no response, send it to Apple's reuse program, unless the cash value isn't worth the hassle, in which case donate it. Donate with a note saying what doesn't work, and no matter how you're getting rid of it, scrub the heck out of your hard drive.
posted by aimedwander at 11:46 AM on January 10, 2012

2006 was a cuspy year for Mac hardware.

If that's the 2006-era MacBook (black or white plastic) or the original MacBook Pro (aluminum) then it's still pretty capable, and would be great as a full-time TV-connected web browser or media player. One wireless keyboard and mouse to use from the sofa and you're all set.

If it's an older G4 based laptop, though, it's probably not worth much effort or expense.
posted by rokusan at 12:13 PM on January 10, 2012

I think that pretty much any Intel Mac will get a decent amount of money on Craiglist, even with the broken keys.
posted by The Lamplighter at 1:52 PM on January 10, 2012

If you can invest about 15 bucks, I'd try fixing it. Get a spray can of "potentiometer cleaner" also known as circuit board degreaser. I always keep some on hand in case I spill something in my keyboard. It's a solvent that doesn't harm electronics, and evaporates easily. I once spilled some sugary coffee into my keyboard (usually fatal) and I was able to drive out the coffee with the solvent spray, it's working fine (I'm typing on it now). Sometimes you can drive out dirt that got wet and gummed up your keys with the pot cleaner spray. You should have a can of the stuff onhand for emergencies anyway.
posted by charlie don't surf at 4:00 PM on January 10, 2012

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