Mechanical keyboards are much more ergonomic and pleasant than conventional membrane keyboards, which not only contribute to an overall better computing experience but also safeguard your long-term health and wellbeing.
However, there is a price to pay for this degree of comfort and pleasure typing. The majority of mechanical keyboards from well-known brands cost more than the standard Logitech or Microsoft membrane keyboards.
The fact that cheap membrane keyboards have no moving components and a simplistic design makes them practically indestructible just makes the situation worse.
However, mechanical keyboards have switches with numerous microscopic components and mechanically brittle metal connections.
Even though certain mechanical switches have an MTBF (Mean Time Between Failure) of between 10 million and 50 million actuations, premature failure of these switches is really relatively rare.
Given that a mechanical keyboard typically has 101 switches, premature switch failure is a possibility. Additionally, it is more likely to occur after the standard one-year guarantee has expired.
If your keyboard isn’t covered by a warranty, even one broken key might make the whole thing practically worthless.
You do not, however, have to discard your pricey mechanical keyboard that has reached the end of its warranty for recycling. To learn how to replace broken switches on your own, refer to this page.
what you’ll require
In contrast to what was clear from our mouse repair instruction, taking apart a mechanical keyboard is really simple.
But before we set out on our daring voyage of self-repair, we must first stock up on all the required tools and materials.
Similar to the mouse tutorial, our suggested soldering tools cost well over $100, but you can choose to use this inexpensive soldering kit instead, which costs just $17.
You can omit components 7 through 10 if you want the cheapest soldering equipment. Once you’ve identified the sort of switch you have by consulting the keyboard’s specification sheet, replacements are simple to locate.
- Switches on the keyboard are broken.
- screwdriver with PH1-sized tips and bits
- screwdriver with a flathead and a fine point
- spare plastic sludger or credit card
- keyboard key puller, switch puller
- iron for soldering
- pump desoldering (solder sucker)
- Rosin core solder flux, 67/33
- Alcoholic isopropyl
- substitute switches
Clear the workspace, have a Phillips screwdriver on hand, and have a magnetic tray nearby to store the screws in order to replace broken keyboard switches in step one. Losing them would be bad.
The Corsair K65 Lux RGB keyboard that we’re using has an integrated plate design that is typical of mechanical gaming keyboards.
The benefit of this design is that you don’t have to search for screws that are (most of the time) covered behind rubber feet and compliance labels.
What’s more, these keyboard chassis designs don’t rely on plastic retention clips that snap on.
The aforementioned design is typically used by Razer and Logitech keyboards with all-plastic chassis, therefore for guidance on safe disassembly, see our mouse repair guide.
Carefully and safely remove the keycaps using a key puller to prevent damage. Long-lasting keys like the Spacebar, Shift, Enter, and Backspace switches should be deleted with extreme care.
A little flathead screwdriver or, preferable, a plastic spudger/pry tool can be used to remove non-standard keycaps, such as the ones on these media keys.
All of the screws for this specific keyboard are located on the side of the integrated keyboard plate.
To remove each one, a Phillips screwdriver will do. Some of the screws on the bottom of the chassis of other keyboards may be covered by rubber feet and compliance stickers.
However, a fast YouTube search ought to turn up a useful deconstruction video for the model of mechanical keyboard you have.
We’re not finished yet. Ingeniously, Corsair buried a screw right behind the corporate name.
This leads to the following generalization: if opening the keyboard chassis seems to be excessively tough, there may be a hidden screw blocking your path that is just waiting for you to exert enough power to break everything off.
It serves as a deterrent to self-healing. However, it is very simple to find these concealed screws. They are typically seen near the spot where the chassis won’t separate.
The Corsair K65 Lux RGB keyboard comes apart pretty easy after the final concealed screw is taken out.
The spacebar switch on this particular keyboard is broken. Make careful to use isopropyl alcohol and lint-free wipes to thoroughly clean the solder joints of each switch that needs to be replaced.
Allow the alcohol to totally evaporate for a few minutes. This is particularly true if you consume alcohol in lower concentrations; in general, stay away from isopropyl alcohol concentrations below 90%.
Apply solder flux to solder joints to eliminate any oxidation or impurities that may be present.
By enabling the solder joints to melt more quickly, this not only cleans the joints but also expedites the desoldering procedure.
660 degrees Fahrenheit or 350 degrees Celsius should be the maximum temperature the soldering iron is set to reach.
Wait until it reaches a minimum of 300°C. Before continuing, make sure the iron’s tip is correctly tinned. Please see step 14 of our mouse repair guide for a detailed explanation of this procedure.
Desolder broken switches. A thorough explanation of the procedure can be found in steps 15-20 of the mouse repair guide.
Carry out this procedure again for any defective switches that require replacement.
This was the most difficult step. New switches can be attached to the PCB via soldering. The replacement switch should be placed in the proper location, which you should have documented in advance. The switch will fit into the plate firmly.
Turn the PCB over so that the replacement switch legs are protruding out on the opposite side.
Using isopropyl alcohol, clean the switch pad and legs just as you did before you desoldered the broken switches. Once the alcohol has burned off, apply the flux to the pad and legs.
It’s crucial to keep your soldering iron’s tip tinned before soldering each junction, as was previously mentioned.
The key to a solid solder bond is to make sure the iron’s tip makes simultaneous contact with the switch leg and PCB pad.
At this point, solder is added between the junction and the iron’s tip. The junction should have no trouble receiving the molten solder. Run enough solder over the joint to create a concave solder fillet.
Gently slide the iron’s tip upward to remove it. More solder can be added later; pumping out extra solder and re-sealing is more difficult.
Where the fillet is concave and polished, you can see the ideal seam. Convex fillets with bulging extra solder are either an indication of too much solder or of a cold joint. Simply unsolder the joint and solder it again till you get it right if you only manage that.
That’s all it takes to swap out broken keyboard switches. To put the keyboard back together, perform step 6-1 backwards.
Then, you can check to see if the replaced switches are working once more using a convenient tool like Switch Batter.