Keyboard replacement -- securing keyboard to topcase

MacBook White Unibody Core 2 Duo A1342 Late 2009

This old Mac still works perfectly other than a keyboard that became completely unresponsive after an injudicious attempt to clean it with a barely wet sponge 3 or 4 years ago.

Since then we've overcome this deficit with a wired keyboard.

However, as the Mac still functions very well, I want to give it a new lease of life and replace the built-in keyboard.

Yes, I know this is not an easy job as the keyboard is glued and plastic-welded into position and a backing plate that covers the underside of the keyboard is also glued -in place.

There are no iFixit videos or guides for this job but I did come across two YouTube videos that show how it may be done.

Video1 uses an exacto knife or scalpel to remove the backing plate and then places the new keyboard over what's left of the 105 (or so) small plastic studs which acted as plastic rivets on the old keyboard.

Surprisingly, no attempt is made to glue or plastic-weld the new keyboard. The backing plate is, however, glued in place with superglue plus activator.

Even more surprising is that in Video2 each of the 105 (or so) small plastic studs that protrude through the keyboard are carefully removed with an exacto knife.

No further attempts are made to secure the new keyboard in place other than the rigidity of the glued-in backing plate placed over it.

Given that Apple seems to have used a combination of glue and 105 plastic rivets to ensure that the keyboard is held tightly in place, I find it hard to believe that a replacement keyboard requires nothing more than the overlaying backing plate to impart solidity to the keys of the keyboard.

If anybody else has actually done this job on an A1342 Macbook, what has been your experience with securing the new keyboard in place.

Thanks.

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Update: I've gone ahead and replaced the keyboard and it worked out pretty well.

The keyboard now works fine although the keys are just a little noisy when pressed.

It seems that the scissor-mechanisms under the keys are not as rigid as in the original Apple keyboard and seem to "rattle" a little.

Removing the black back-panel and the old keyboard were actually relatively easy and I got both off in less than 30 minutes.

The key to removing the black back-panel was to take out the two screws in the panel located close to the audio and K-slot ports (these are the only screws in the panel). After that, I needed nothing more than a small flat-head screwdriver to "unglue" the panel starting from the unglued section where the screws were.

The keyboard itself was even easier to remove and I needed no more than one hand to gently ease the keyboard off the palm-rest support. The plastic or rubber rivets which secured the keyboard to the palm-rest "popped", and some partially broke, as the keyboard was slowly removed.

I had intended to use the technique outlined in this video to reconstruct the securing plastic rivets out of what remained of the original rivets.

However, at this stage I was surprised to find that the holes (about 100 of them) in the new keyboard did not, even remotely, match up with the positions of the remnants of the rivets.

I was, therefore, left with no option but to remove all of the rivet remnants and rely only on the Laser Bond adhesive used in the video link to secure the keyboard to the palm-rest.

Without the rivets as "guides" for the precise positioning of the keyboard (to make sure all keys were unimpeded by the palm-rest supports), this operation had to be handled very delicately and several attempts were required before getting it right.

The black back-panel I glued to the casing using contact adhesive and this worked well.

Then, after replacing all of the other components in the case, I booted the MacBook and everything worked fine including the keyboard.

While the casing was open, I took the opportunity to replace the HDD with a SSD (Samsung EVO 850, 250GB), upgrade the RAM to 8GB as well as replacing the thermal paste on the CPU and GPU (CPU was running a little hot, but may have been more affected by about 60% of the fan outlet grid having been blocked by dust).

All in all, I'm happy with the results as well as with what I learned doing the job.

Thanks to everyone that contributed to the discussion.

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You know this has no bids, it goes in 6 hrs and is $55??????

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Apple-MacBook-Ke...

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Honestly just replace the whole palm rest like @mayer is suggesting, you have to otherwise glue in between the gaps which is a nightmare. Seriously not worth replacing just the keyboard on these models to save a small amount

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Thanks for this suggestion and the comment by @reecee.

I had indeed considered getting a topcase plus keyboard which would have dramatically reduced the difficulty and time spent on this job.

But, in truth, I have deliberately chosen the more challenging option. You know, spirit of adventure, another notch on the old rifle, that kind of thing.

I already have two other Macs sitting on my desk right now and the A1342 has been put out to pasture years ago and only functions as a bluetooth radio player these days.

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BTW this is a NEW part. The cost of just the keyboard is high because few want the nightmare of trying to do this one. There are things that challenge me enough in life and it makes good sense to repair. However this is not one of them.

by

I understand going for the challenging option; I fitted an A1278 keyboard in an A1342 before, since the keyboards alone are very expensive (for UK layout anyway). I vowed never to do it again, it was a nightmare to remove the backing and the keyboard itself sat a little bit lower than normal.

I have the patience to replace Air and Retina LCD panels, Retina riveted keyboards, reball SMCs, etc; but I don't have the patience to mess around with this particular repair myself anymore, it's not fun ;)

Wish you all the best, but I would personally go for the palmrest replacement, unless you don't mind if it doesn't feel the same after the repair. Best thing is to superglue the holes in the keyboard, which will secure it to the palmrest.

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Thanks again for these helpful comments.

However, I should have mentioned that I have already purchased the keyboard on Ebay and at €40 (incl. delivery) it wasn't that expensive. Indeed, there are many A1342 keyboards with UK layout available on AliExpress at half, or less than half of this price.

However, some buyers had commented that some of the AliExpress keyboards didn't quite fit the keyboard support on the original palmrest.

To avoid a possible problem with this I went for the more expensive option.

So, despite your advice to the contrary, I'm going to go ahead and try to install the new keyboard which I should receive next week.

If I completely screw things up, then I'll get the topcase.

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I got a water damaged a1342 sometime ago. The repair of the keyboard had been attempted before but was just half done, the keyboard support that was partly cracked away from the white plastic body had been glued back without much care and some keys would not respond properly and many were not protruding enough.

I did unglue the whole thing and cleaned it roughly with a chisel and then worked more carefully with a smaller electrical milling tool to get an even surface and matching parts. The plastic keyboard support is quite stiff and sturdy and can keep the keyboard in place by itself without any problem if it's properly glued back in place, I can confirm that. The outcome of my work might have not been perfect, but certainly satisfactory, and with patience and some work I'm pretty sure you'll manage to do the same.

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Thanks @arbaman. Your comment about the "stiff and sturdy" keyboard support is useful.

Can I ask how you glued the keyboard in place? Only around the periphery of the new keyboard or did you use the plastic studs in some way?

Also did you use superglue as the adhesive?

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Since I have a good quality biadhesive I use for iPads repairs I used that one to keep the keyboard firmer in place. I used it all around the sides and in between the keys rows. For the support I was unsure, but I don't like much superglue behaviour, thus I decided to go for a contact adhesive of the kind that you apply on both surfaces and let dry before matching parts. Probably there would be better options, maybe epoxy bicomponent ones. I'm sure someone more skilled in the field might guide you with that.

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@arbaman Thanks again for your comment.

As you haven't mentioned the 105 studs or rivets on the underside of the keyboard support. that protrude through corresponding holes on the keyboard, do I assume that you removed them prior to replacing the keyboard?

If so, why?

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@pfxh Honestly I can't remember about the rivets, it's a job I've done once only and it was sometime back, plus when I got the machine the back keyboard support had been tampered with previously. I believe that they were already removed since i remember having put the 2mm biadhesive stripes on the palmrest bottom to help keeping the keyboard in place.

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Hi I have a really nice one in great condition if you'd like to buy it. I can sell it to you for $60 shipped priority mail. I can send you some pictures also. Visit my on my site.

iPhone Repair San Diego

Victor at San Diego Mac Repair

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Paul Hackett will be eternally grateful.
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