Author Topic: Help with sticky mechanical keys  (Read 22420 times)

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Offline AltF4me

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Help with sticky mechanical keys
« on: Tue, 22 March 2011, 17:19:18 »
Hi Everyone, hope you can help.

The other day I spilt a drink on my Steelseries 7G keyboard :(, I left it to dry over night but the keys are way too sticky to use. I've taken all the keys out and cleaned them to discover that it's the mechanical switches themselves. Whilst doing so I also unfortunately appear to have damaged one of the switches (see below).

I've taken the board apart and taken pictures below of what the PCB looks like.







Couple of questions really. Can I take apart the switches to clean them? If so how? Do I need to desolder them from the board? and if so will they just pull out after been desoldered or are they clipped in as well?

Any tips on what I need to do would be great. Also if I can't clean them where can I buy them? I believe they are MX black switches...

Thanks very much!

Offline rustybarnacle

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Help with sticky mechanical keys
« Reply #1 on: Tue, 22 March 2011, 17:41:19 »
I had some good luck with a rubbing alcohol bath on one board.  Bathe the sucker in rubbing alcohol, press all the switches a lot to work it through them, and then let it air dry for about 4 days.

Offline manfaux

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Help with sticky mechanical keys
« Reply #2 on: Tue, 22 March 2011, 19:14:50 »
Quote from: ripster;316272
99% or higher concentration Isopropyl is best.

Don't smoke while doing the Alchohol bath.


99% + isopropyl alcohol seems kinda hard to find...I was looking for some the other day and all I could get was 90%, 70%,

Offline BucklingSpring

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Help with sticky mechanical keys
« Reply #3 on: Tue, 22 March 2011, 19:22:43 »
Quote from: manfaux;316341
99% + isopropyl alcohol seems kinda hard to find...I was looking for some the other day and all I could get was 90%, 70%,


I'm curious... Is it because higher % makes it less prone to rust after?

I always thought corrosion was the consequence of whashing the oil/grease or whatever product they use to protect/lubricate the switches.
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Offline manfaux

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Help with sticky mechanical keys
« Reply #4 on: Tue, 22 March 2011, 19:41:20 »
Quote from: BucklingSpring;316347
I'm curious... Is it because higher % makes it less prone to rust after?

I always thought corrosion was the consequence of whashing the oil/grease or whatever product they use to protect/lubricate the switches.

Rubbing alcohol with higher % will result faster drying, which is probably a better choice if you are using them to clean electronics and such.

I'm not sure about the protective grease on the switches, I have some really old Cherrys that have no rust on the switches whatsoever, it's usually something else that had gone wrong first.

Offline AltF4me

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Help with sticky mechanical keys
« Reply #5 on: Wed, 23 March 2011, 05:30:38 »
Quote from: ripster;316259
Welcome to Geekhack!

The switch top should just pop back down.

First thing to do is run Aquakeytest and see if every switch is at least working.  Then at that point you have to decide if you want to do it the hard way (desolder every switch) or try a dunk in distilled water approach.

The first is thorough but time consuming.  The second is quick but will probably end up rusting out the switches in a year or two.

Thanks!

The switch I couldn't get to pop back down, have just damaged it more trying to push it down :(

I would rather not have the keys go rusty, I was expecting this keyboard to last many years not a couple of months :(.

If I desolder the switches then, will they just pull straight out? Just the two blobs of solder at the bottom of the PCB?

Does anybody know where I can buy new ones?

Edit: Also there is about 8 keys that are sticky, the rest are fine so should be ok?

Edit2: I imagine soaking them in WD40 would be good?
« Last Edit: Wed, 23 March 2011, 05:45:00 by AltF4me »

Offline AltF4me

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Help with sticky mechanical keys
« Reply #6 on: Wed, 23 March 2011, 14:17:46 »
Thanks. Just had a look but I can't seem to find where I can purchase switches?
« Last Edit: Wed, 23 March 2011, 14:32:26 by AltF4me »

Offline keyb_gr

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Help with sticky mechanical keys
« Reply #7 on: Wed, 23 March 2011, 14:46:37 »
Mouser or Digikey. Seems you'd need MX1A-11NN (JN would also work if you take out the jumper wire).

You may not need to do that though. Just unsolder all the problematic switches, pop them open and clean the surfaces where the slider has contact, as well as the slider itself. (There'll be some black grease where the slider pushes against the metal part, that's normal.) Top case and slider can go into water with a drop of hand soap / dish cleaner; you can also use the same to wetten cotton swabs for cleaning the critical surfaces in the bottom case.

Looks like liquids are drawn in between the top and bottom case parts rather easily and can be very hard to remove. On a particularly troublesome clear switch that had had a bit of old coke or somesuch, only disassembly and hand cleaning got it to operate perfectly once again. Previously it had been dropped in alcohol (still sticky) and then distilled water (fixed most of the problem, but off-center presses were still problematic).
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Offline AltF4me

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Help with sticky mechanical keys
« Reply #8 on: Wed, 23 March 2011, 14:50:53 »
Quote from: keyb_gr;316945
Mouser or Digikey. Seems you'd need MX1A-11NN (JN would also work if you take out the jumper wire).

You may not need to do that though. Just unsolder all the problematic switches, pop them open and clean the surfaces where the slider has contact, as well as the slider itself. (There'll be some black grease where the slider pushes against the metal part, that's normal.) Top case and slider can go into water with a drop of hand soap / dish cleaner; you can also use the same to wetten cotton swabs for cleaning the critical surfaces in the bottom case.

Looks like liquids are drawn in between the top and bottom case parts rather easily and can be very hard to remove. On a particularly troublesome clear switch that had had a bit of old coke or somesuch, only disassembly and hand cleaning got it to operate perfectly once again. Previously it had been dropped in alcohol (still sticky) and then distilled water (fixed most of the problem, but off-center presses were still problematic).
Well I was hoping I could clean them all by hand, but one of them is damaged. The one I originally popped up by accident. It looks like one of the clips has snapped but the other side I can't seem to pop up at all. I think the only way I could get the top part of is by bending it (but then I would snap the other side :( ).

Any ideas?

Thanks!


Edit: Oh and thanks for the websites! 1 a key, not bad at all :)

Offline AltF4me

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Help with sticky mechanical keys
« Reply #9 on: Tue, 29 March 2011, 18:00:18 »
Okay. I've manually cleaned the keys. However I now have a new problem :(

I couldn't get the solder right on one of the connections, it has became dark and always bobbles up when I solder it - could this be why the key isn't working? Is there anything I can do to fix it or am I doomed? :(

Thanks

Offline AltF4me

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Help with sticky mechanical keys
« Reply #10 on: Wed, 30 March 2011, 03:19:46 »
I looked through before I started but just had another look through.. I didn't use any liquid flux, will this cause the balling? It hasn't happened in any of the other joints though.

Also I don't see anything really on the dark bits on the PCB?

Offline AltF4me

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Help with sticky mechanical keys
« Reply #11 on: Wed, 30 March 2011, 12:41:48 »
Taken some pictures.. I've tested with a voltmeter and seems I'm not getting anything between the two points. It's hard to see in the pictures but one of the holes is a brown type colour. I've etched away at it a little and hasn't helped much. Is this something that can be cleaned up or is it damaged? If it is damaged can it be fixed?




(The hole on the right is the brown one)


Thanks again.

Offline AltF4me

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Help with sticky mechanical keys
« Reply #12 on: Wed, 30 March 2011, 12:51:43 »
Yeah I did have it on for a long time when it happened..

The lifted pad part, your referring to the wire bit that I caught, correct? I've tested with a voltmeter at both sides of it and it seems to be working so I assumed that wasn't a problem, and it was just an issue with the brown area?

Edit: OK so the lifted pad is referring to the hole. So is the only solution to replace the connection with wire?
« Last Edit: Wed, 30 March 2011, 12:55:08 by AltF4me »

Offline AltF4me

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Help with sticky mechanical keys
« Reply #13 on: Wed, 30 March 2011, 13:05:23 »
Thanks for that Ripster.

I've been testing with my voltmeter again and when I test one of the legs on the switch against the resistor next to it (when pushing the switch) I get a signal, however when I try it on the dodgy one against the OK connection I don't seem to get anything? Would this indicate a blown resistor?

Thanks

Offline RiGS

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Help with sticky mechanical keys
« Reply #14 on: Wed, 30 March 2011, 13:50:02 »
That's nasty.
FR4 pcb ftw.
Last edited by RiGS; Jan 2011

Offline AltF4me

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Help with sticky mechanical keys
« Reply #15 on: Thu, 31 March 2011, 13:17:15 »
Typing on it right now! All seems ok now but the space bar keeps sticking... how do I remove the little balance switches? ... need to clean them. Will they just pop off?

Thanks again for all your  help :)


Edit: Scratch that :(, seems like random keys just stop working...  seems to be a group of them every time  but thats  the only pattern?
« Last Edit: Thu, 31 March 2011, 13:19:28 by AltF4me »

Offline AltF4me

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Help with sticky mechanical keys
« Reply #16 on: Thu, 31 March 2011, 13:56:59 »
Thanks, I thought I had seen that somewhere.

The type I seem to have are these:
http://blog.gaingame.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/SteelSeries-6GV2-Gaming-Keyboard-Review-10-300x225.jpg

However how do you actually get them off? Will they just pop off? As the metal bar is underneith where the PCB is...

Thanks

Offline AltF4me

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Help with sticky mechanical keys
« Reply #17 on: Thu, 31 March 2011, 14:02:20 »
I've read through it. I can't see how it explains how to remove the stabiliser key?

Offline AltF4me

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Help with sticky mechanical keys
« Reply #18 on: Thu, 31 March 2011, 15:01:54 »
I saw that part. However it sounds like your talking about the space bar itself and not the stabilisers. I don't see how using a key puller on the SPACE BAR that is ALREADY REMOVED is going to remove a stabiliser?

Offline AltF4me

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Help with sticky mechanical keys
« Reply #19 on: Thu, 31 March 2011, 15:26:57 »
Quote from: kalrykh;322163
was all this trouble really worth it for a steelseries? :p


Haha. Well it's my first mechanical keyboard, and I've only had it since January + my girlfriend got me it which makes me feel even worse. Still an expensive keyboard that I love so just want to get it up and running again, especially considering I'm so close to getting it back again :)

Offline Baneat

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Help with sticky mechanical keys
« Reply #20 on: Sun, 12 February 2012, 02:20:26 »
This might seem mental but I have green alps switches and I spilled cola into them. About ten of the keys required double the force to actuate. I pulled off the keycaps and injected some lighter fluid gas into them (About 1/5th of a second, quick jab) and once the gas had evaporated (Takes about 5 seconds) the keys were smooth again.

I'm not sure how safe this idea was :/

Never mind, it didn't damage the board but the keys became sticky again after a few hours.

Offline Baneat

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Help with sticky mechanical keys
« Reply #21 on: Mon, 13 February 2012, 01:18:43 »
Quote from: ripster;513008
Well, I found it amusing at least.


The problem seemed to be that once the gas had dissolved it of course didn't take any of the gunk with it, and it was impossible to keep the liquid inside the switch for long enough to turn it upside down and pour it out with the sugar. Eventually, I just had to go for water like a normal person and it works just fine now.