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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Replacing a keyboard in an Acer 5741 laptop, liquid spill

We have an Acer Aspire 5741G-6983 laptop that I paid over $600 for 1.5 years ago.  It is a pretty good laptop with i5 processor and stand alone graphics.  My son spilled milk on the keyboard and several of the keys stopped working.   Nothing else is wrong, still works perfectly if you don't use words with those letters.  The laptop seems to be designed to contain liquids in the keyboard.   Applying alcohol didn't help.  I tried heating the laptop with a hair dryer and only succeeded in melting a key.   I used burn-in software to heat it up from the inside and let it bake for hours.  Nada.

I've been happy with Acer laptops, they offer a lot of performance for the money, and have held up to fairly rough usage by teenagers.  I'm not willing to trash this laptop yet.

I found a replacement keyboard on line and stupidly bought it without fully searching Amazon first.  Google shopping indicated that Amazon would be $65.  So when I found one for $25 + $10 shipping I pounced:

Later on I was searching for some instructions, since it is not obvious how to pry open the laptop, and found it on Amazon for $20, free shipping.  Doh!  $15 wasted.

Before doing any research, I charged in trying to take it apart, removed all the screws from the bottom, under the covers, etc.  The keyboard is NOT coming out.   OK time to do some web surfing.

Making note of some links to places with some instructions.  

This site is pretty vague:

These don't seem to describe the right laptop

Found a service manual for this model...sweet!

This page from the manual says it all!

There are little "locks" along the top edge of the keyboard, and I didn't have to take the back off at all.  The keyboard is supposed to lift out, however it took some picking and prying to figure out that the whole black area comes up once the six or so tiny spring clips are pushed in.  Had to stick a thin screwdriver under the top edge of the keyboard to pry it up.   One ribbon connector and it's loose.  The black plastic strip along the ribbon connector needs to be pushed towards the ribbon and the ribbon comes right out.

Here is the laptop with the keyboard removed, and otherwise working just fine.  In closeup you can see all the milk residue even under the keyboard.  So i guess the keyboard has holes.

I feel really stupid right now.  Once you know how, the keyboard on these Acer laptops is very easy to replace.  I opened up the back, pried and pulled and worked it and had decided it couldn't be done.  If  I had done my research, i wouldn't have risked opening the back of laptop at all, since the keyboard pops of the front without hardly taking anything apart.

Now I wait for the new keyboard to come in the mail and see if I'm in business.  Hopefully all my needless dis-assembly didn't ruin anything.

New keyboard is here!

PUshed the ribbon cable into the connector and pushed the black clamp strip back up to hold it.  Snapped down the new keyboard.  And powered up.

W000T!  double w00t.   The laptop is as good as new.  The keyboard is clean and new and works perfectly.  Here it is working and with words i typed on the screen as proof.


  1. Great overview! I have the exact same laptop and my kids spilled sticky lemonade on the keyboard and it more or less stopped working. (A little more than a year ago my son accidentely removed the K-key and tried to glue it back on.) The laptop besides from the keyboard still work flawlessly.

    So I have ordered a new keyboard and your instructions will come in handy when trying to remove the old one and mounting the new.

  2. This is an awesome instruction and it actually worked. I was frustrated after spilling half cup of coffee on my laptop.
    Then I found this review which show EXACT model of computer I have (YES, it is true that the computer offers a lot of features for the price).
    Now I m typing on the keyboard that I just fixed it by looking at review.