Can my buckle spring keyboard be saved from evil water?
June 2, 2008 11:42 AM   Subscribe

Water in my buckle spring keyboard, oh my! Are buckle springs less durable than I thought? Is it beyond repair. Story inside.

I spilled water in my beloved Unicomp buckle spring (clicky) keyboard. Not good, not good! But at least it's not sticky soda or hot coffee. Besides, there have those stories about cleaning your keyboard by putting it in the dishwasher, so it should be okay, right?

Wrong. It's mostly okay, which in some ways is more frustrating that completely broken. The top half is fine but here's the what the bottom row of letters produces:

hold down Z: §z±Z§z§z§z§z§z§
hold down X: sxxxxxxxxxxx
hold down C: c,,,,,,,,,,

you get the point. I've tried:
Waiting 72 hours for it to air dry
A careful hair dryer attack
Compressed air
Q-tips

I can't seem to get into the keyboard to check the magical keyboard insides due to the bolts (not screws) on the back that don't fit any sockets in my set.

Are there any fixes I haven't thought of?

Are buckle springs less durable than I thought? (Honestly, this keyboard was going to be my "go to" anti-burglar device because it was so sturdy)

PS
I did check previous keyboard spill threads, but only one dealt specifically with buckle spring keyboards and the only solution in that one was to buy a new one. I'm inordinately superstitious about my keyboards so I'm hoping to salvage this one but I'm starting to lose hope.
posted by sharkfu to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Best answer: Well, it sounds like the damage is to the actual switches, rather than to the control circuitry, since the damage is localized on the lower keys. It would have been best to disconnect and flip it over as soon as the water went in, then disassemble it before proceeding, but that doesn't really help you now. You might be able to salvage it if you disassemble it as far as you can and let it all dry thoroughly - maybe go at the exposed components with a hair dryer on the "no heat" setting. Without taking it apart, even 72 hours isn't necessarily going to get all the water out. I've gotta say I have a bad feeling about it, though.
posted by pocams at 12:25 PM on June 2, 2008


It's "buckling spring," not "buckle spring." This might help you in searches.

Are buckle springs less durable than I thought?

The springs are fine. You spilled water on a non-waterproof electronic device; what do you expect?

Buy a new keyboard on EBay.
posted by grouse at 12:48 PM on June 2, 2008


Response by poster: grouse: "It's "buckling spring," not "buckle spring." This might help you in searches.

Are buckle springs less durable than I thought?

The springs are fine. You spilled water on a non-waterproof electronic device; what do you expect?

Buy a new keyboard on EBay.
"

Ah, I inadvertently conjugated that adverb. As noted, I didn't really expect it to work, I was just hopeful because of the stories about cleaning your keyboard in the dishwasher, which would certainly involve more water than my spill. I guess this is one area where the cheapo plastic membrane mushy keyboards win out over the clicky ones.
posted by sharkfu at 2:24 PM on June 2, 2008


Best answer: It may not be completely dry. Put it in a sunny window.
posted by theora55 at 2:30 PM on June 2, 2008


Best answer: The keyboards of that type that I've taken apart still had the same old membrane under the buckling springs. Probably unfixable, unless you took it apart right away and cleaned and dried it. The liquid seems to oxidize the electrical paths and renders them broken. Sorry.
posted by gjc at 4:24 PM on June 2, 2008


Response by poster: OP here. Drying out another 48 hours did not help.

In memoriam: Unicomp Buckling Spring Keyboard, 1997-1998. You click in keyboard heaven now.
posted by sharkfu at 11:15 AM on June 5, 2008


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