The 1, Q, A, Z, R & I keys on my Microsoft Natural Keyboard Elite stopped working all of a sudden.
July 14, 2004 12:54 PM   Subscribe

The 1, Q, A, Z, R & I keys on my Microsoft Natural Keyboard Elite stopped working all of a sudden. Another keyboard plugged into the same computer works fine, so I'm pretty sure it's a hardware issue. Is there anything I could do to fix it?
posted by signal to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
Have you spilled anything in it recently? Is it over dusty? Try prying the keykaps off (if you can), turning it over, tapping it, and blowing some compressed air in it, if you have a can handy.

Or have you done all that already?
posted by jammer at 1:00 PM on July 14, 2004

I would try to plug the keyboard into another computer if you have one available. That will help you narrow it down to either keyboard issue or a computer issue.
posted by Cyrano at 1:01 PM on July 14, 2004

Take it apart, clean with water if it looks like that'd help (let it dry thoroughly), and put it back together. That almost always works.
posted by sfenders at 1:04 PM on July 14, 2004

Will try everything, thanks.
I don´t think I've spilled anything on it, but I drink a lot of tea at my desk, so who knows.
posted by signal at 1:08 PM on July 14, 2004

If you clean it with water, be sure you use distilled water. Tap water can leave trace minerals and such behind which may be damaging to the keyboard.

Rubbing alcohol is also good for wet-cleaning electronics.

As a last ditch effort to save an apparently dead keyboard, I have heard of people having luck putting it through a dishwasher cycle. (TURN HEAT-DRY OFF!)
posted by jammer at 2:11 PM on July 14, 2004

Opened it up, there was what looked like liquid rust between the plastic circuit/board layers, in a position consistent with the malfunctioning keys.
Cleaned it up with tissue paper and wd-40 (hope it doesn´t melt the plastic) and tried to put it back together.
Last step not going so well, thought I´d got everything in the right place, but when I plug it in all the computer starts beeping like mad, so I´m guessing some key is stuck.
Thanks for the suggestions!
posted by signal at 2:25 PM on July 14, 2004

I once spilt an entire slurpie on my Microsoft Natural keyboard, and I tried all kinds of tricks to get it to work again. After a couple of days, I decided that "nothing ventured, nothing gained" would be my new motto, and I throw the keyboard in the bathtub and soaked it in water for a few hours. I then put it on my sunny balconey for 2 days, and everything was back to normal. Perhaps I was lucky, but I sure was happy that I just saved myself $90 CDN.

I think the trick is to unplug the keyboard as soon as an incident occurs, and to wash away the conductive material that short circuits the connections beneath the keyboard. I'm guessing here, but once it short circuits, more drastic damage is done to the IC that is part of the keyboard.

On a related note, it sure would be nice if microsoft (or a third party company) were to sell the very cheap plastic material that consitutes the conductive pathways beneath the keyboard. When you open your keyboard, it looks like it would cost the consumer $10 to get a replacement for the plastic thing that records keypresses.

(though, I suppose its obvious why they DON'T sell such a thing.)
posted by sleslie at 4:20 PM on July 14, 2004

I've had this same problem with MS NK. Taking the keys off and cleaning with rubbing alcohol helps. However don't take off the space key it's near impossible to get back on. In the end I find it easier to buy a "new" one from Ebay.
posted by stbalbach at 8:34 PM on July 14, 2004

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