Liquid spill damage laptop repairs could be difficult
Not always, but sometimes it’s difficult to repair water damaged laptops.
Because, the water damages vary and not always the same components are damaged.
There is no one-fix-for-all and there is no one-price-for-all.
It’s harder to diagnose the laptop when the it fails to turn on after liquid damages occurred.
There is no way to test every single components inside your laptop to see what needs fixing, simply because there is no tool to test everything.
Many tools also require the laptop to be operational to run.
Though not often, you may need to accept some minor compromises after your laptop is fixed (eg one of your USB ports may not work at all as it had suffered permanent damages from the water spill).
A common repairs on liquid spill damaged laptops is keyboard replacement. The keyboard is one that comes in direct contact with water spill and will be the first one that malfunction.
In the guide below, we explain the process of replacing keyboard for a HP 15-ay laptop after it had liquid spill damages that caused some of the keys to stop working.
Replacing the keyboard unit sounds simple itself but this repairs is actually quite a difficult process with most new laptops because of the way they are designed to be thinner and more portable over the years.
HP 15-ay laptop keyboard repairs
In this example, we will show you how to replace keyboard in a HP 15-ay keyboard laptop.
Replacing keyboard is a common laptop repairs because laptop are prone to liquid spill, moisture damage, dust and rust from exterior.
If your laptop keyboard has problems with its keys, for example: some of the keys are not working, pressing the keys do not output the characters that they are meant to, or some keys are jammed, then it is time to replace your laptop keyboard.
However it is important to understand that while most keyboard problem can be fixed by replacing the keyboard, the problem could potentially turn out to be a motherboard fault instead.
The keyboard itself is connected to the motherboard via a flex cable, input to the keyboard is indeed processed by the motherboard which then send data to display output onto the screen
In some instances, it is the motherboard that failed to process input from the keyboard correctly instead.
Unfortunately there is no tools for you to test this, the only way to find out is to actually try it out with a new working keyboard to see if the issue is resolved.
This HP 15 is a typical example of how newer laptops are designed – its keyboard is integrated onto the laptop upper frame (palm rest and keyboard upper frame unit).
A few years ago, this was not a common design in most laptops and keyboard was much easier to be replaced back then.
Since laptops are now getting thinner and more sleek, this new design is common to reduce the size of laptops and improve portability by sacrificing their repairability.
Let’s start repairing this laptop keyboard.
First, turn the laptop off and flip it around.
HP 15-ay laptop keyboard replacement
Remove all philip screw that you can find here. Make sure to remove the battery and remove 2 screws under the battery.
There are also 2 hidden screws under 2 rubber feet at top corners that you must take them out.
Once you have removed all the screws, use a flat tool to pry up the bottom cover to reveal internal parts. In the photo below, hard drive and DVD drive were already removed.
As we explained earlier, this HP laptop is designed to have its keyboard buried underneath everything else inside this laptop.
To get to the keyboard, you will need to remove almost every part you see here to get to it, namely fan, motherboard together with heatsink, hard drive, DVD drive, WiFi card, screen cable, WiFi cables.
If you do not have any prior experience with a similar repairs, we suggest that you stop here and take it to a professional technician to repair your laptop.
Chance is you will never make a good DIY repairs with replacing the keyboard on your own.
If you are keen on continuing your DIY repairs, read on.
Remove the fan from the laptop.
and WiFi card.
Disconnect all cables that you can see near the WiFi card. These are screen LVDS cable, WiFi antenna cables, DC jack cable, power switch button cable.
Remove a few screws that hold down the motherboard from the frame, then you will be able to gently lift up the motherboard and remove it.
Then a small DVD connector board needs to be removed.
You’re almost there. Now you are looking at a metal plate that helps holding down the keyboard to the upper frame unit. This metal plate is integrated into the upper frame.
There is no screws holding it, just plastic rivets that secured it down. Use a flat tool to gently pry up this metal plate without bending it too much (do not bend it, you will need it to be straight later on to install new keyboard).
There is your old broken laptop keyboard. It’s fairly easy to take it out here.
Hold on a second! Removing the old keyboard was not so easy, but it is even harder to install the new one.
Yes, you heard it right.
The new keyboard cannot be secured to the upper frame because the metal plate was originally secured to the frame by plastic rivets, and you have already removed all of those plastic rivets which can no longer be put back.
Without these rivets, the new keyboard will simply be floating loosely inside the frame.
Ideally you will need a machine to put new plastic rivets in. It is not easy to have access to these machine at home for a DIY job.
An alternative, cheap method is to use double sided tape and super glue, however you will have to be extremely careful with using these as you may permanently damage the new keyboard.
To make it worse, you may end up going through all of these hassles and end up with the same problem because the problem may turn out to be a motherboard fault instead (as we explained above).
Either way, it will be a fun experience (or a total headache) repairing this HP laptop.