Is my D520 Latitude Keyboard Dead?

By bstenfors ·
Yesterday morning soda got spilled on my dell d520 latitude keyboard. I was not aware of this and then that night when I went to use the laptop some keys didn't work (A, D, G, R, T, Y). I have popped the keys off carefully and have cleaned up as good as possible for those keys and the surrounding keys but no such luck. I have a inspiron 500m that is lying around with a good keyboard. Is there any way to make it work with the D520 and is there anything I can do short of buying a new keyboard?

Thanks in advance!

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All Answers

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You are lucky the laptop isn't dead (yet) ...

by OldER Mycroft In reply to Is my D520 Latitude Keybo ...

Whenever liquid is spilled on a laptop keyboard, gravity tends to have an effect. Whatever you found 12 hours after the spill would only have been the remnants of the spill that didn't flow beyond the keyboard and DOWN onto the laptop motherboard.

Being 'soda' (unless it was soda water) it will contain sugar, and sugar is a corrosive.

Unless the D520 & the 500m have identical keyboards, substitution would be unlikely. Nevertheless if they were compatible it would involve disassembly of both laptops in order to remove both keyboards and then substitute the 'good' one for the bad.

You would be best advised to arrange for the disassembly of the D520 chassis, in order to examine the internal components / motherboard for signs of continuing (sugar) liquid damage.

As a general rule, 'popping' (whether carefully or not) letters off a laptop keyboard is inadvisable since it is usually impossible to reattach them afterwards.

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Both models use the same connector for the keyboard sometimes...

by wanttocancel In reply to Is my D520 Latitude Keybo ...

but that doesn't mean that each will fit in the other's spot correctly. I would check Ebay for a keyboard for your Latitude and either replace it yourself (it's not hard) or take it to a reputable computer repair shop for them to replace it.

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Well firstly the NB needs to be stripped and cleaned

by OH Smeg In reply to Is my D520 Latitude Keybo ...

Soda is destructive to Electronics and Gravity always comes into effect when you spill Liquids onto them. The liquid will settle to the lowest spot possible and leave a coating of Organic Material over everything it comes into contact with. This Organic Material will then start to decompose and destroy any electronics that it is in contact with.

The M'Board and all other components affected need to be washed clean to keep this unit working if you are unwilling to do this then start looking for a new NB as you are going to need on very soon.

To see if these 2 Systems use the same Keyboard lookup the Spare Parts list on Dell for each of them and check the Part Numbers of a D520 & 500M if they are the same then you can use the Keyboard from the old NB in the new but if they do not have the same Part Number they are very unlikely to be interchangeable.

In the mean time however while waiting for Dell to supply a new Keyboard for this unit you can use an external USB Keyboard but you have to clean out the mess first to prevent the destruction of the NB.


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RE: Well firstly the NB needs to be stripped and cleaned

by bstenfors In reply to Well firstly the NB needs ...

I have already taken the keyboard out and soaked it in distilled water for 2 hours. It is currently drying on a "tea" towell. From what I can tell nothing got below the keyboard which thankfully DELL put a solid (no holes) back panel on the keyboard.

The NB seems to be functioning normally although I have not tested out with an external keyboard yet. The amount of soda was very little as it was the off spray of a shaken up bottle of Diet Coke and was wiped down immediately. Since I was not informed it was only wiped down and not detailed but again I think I am saved outside of the keyboard due to the design by DELL of putting a completely hole free back panel behind / below the keyboard itself in the D520.

The connectors are not the same on the 500m and the D520 so out of luck there. I am going to keep my fingers crossed on the distilled water soaking treatment. If that does not work there is a small computer store that sells used and new dell parts near my work. Hopefully they will have a D520 compatible keyboard in stock.

Any other tips are welcome...kind of nervous though now that 2 out of 3 responses are hinting at a destroyed NB.


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Well your existing D520 keyboard is already dead ...

by OldER Mycroft In reply to RE: Well firstly the NB n ...

So other than soaking it in water, distilled or otherwise, you have achieved nothing other than finding out if it floats or not. Chances are you'll never successfully re-attach the keys anyway.

Just about every NB keyboard I have ever seen, other than speciality bespoke designs, have a solid back panel so it's not down to 'clever design' by DELL - it's just a standard keyboard.

Now that an "off spray of a shaken up bottle of Diet Coke" has entered the damage equation, don't be fooled into a false sense of security because it was only water droplets. If anything the area of damage is now greater since you cannot be sure that ALL the droplets went in between the localised area of the damaged keyboard keys. There are plenty of minute crevices in the fascia panels of all NB's and if a few droplets destroyed 6 keys, what could the rest of them be doing right now.

Diet Coke still has sugar in it, the DIET bit of the name is just so's fat people can drink it without feeling guilty - it's only a marketing ploy.

I'd still advise that the NB is stripped down - what you are doing is like convincing yourself that you'll never get tooth decay because there is no sign of it at present.

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RE: Well your existing D520 keyboard is already dead ...

by bstenfors In reply to Well your existing D520 k ...

Not to disagree but I will disagree. I have popped off many a key in laptop keyboards and have successfully put them back on. It is not as tough as you make it sound. Plus if you have looked at any inspiron 500m keyboards there is holes all over in the back panel of the keyboard.

From what I can tell by removing all of the keys on the keyboard the only area affected was the area in which the keys are not working. I have put the rest of the keys back on except for the area affected which I have detailed at this point and now soaked in distilled water.

Plus the mentioning of Diet Coke was not to give the notion that i was hoping sugar was not involved. Believe me there is more to this story that pisses me off than I can share nor that you want to know about.

Have any of you used Cachuapapa as a source to purchase Dell laptop parts? They have a D520 keyboard for $25 which includes shipping to my location.

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The site looks legit...

by wanttocancel In reply to RE: Well your existing D5 ...

I've never shopped with them but the site looks ok. They have a street address listed, a phone number and all that good stuff. It's up to you if you want to shop from them or not. Have you checked out that shop that sells Dell parts near you however?

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RE: The site looks legit...

by bstenfors In reply to The site looks legit...

Thanks for your opinion. I was thinking the same thing since they have the items you listed.

I am going to check with the shop that sells Dell parts near me first thing tomorrow morning as they are not open on Sunday's . Then if no dice with them I am going to order one from that site immediately.

Thanks again.

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RE : Have any of you used Cachuapapa

by OH Smeg In reply to RE: Well your existing D5 ...

Afraid not mainly because I'm in AU not the USA. But that price sounds about right.

I still would suggest stripping the unit completely and washing the M'Board and other internal components off I still have a very vivid memory of a Bottle of Coke exploding inside a car and I do remember what had to be replaced just all of the electronics and that bottle of Coke was on the back floor so nothing was directly forced into gaps. Wiping the stained surfaces down didn't stop the ingress of the droplets of Coke but the car ran OK for about 2 weeks before dieing on a bridge in peek hour traffic. I thought it was Poetic Justice as the person who didn't take the bottle out of the car was driving it at the time and had to look guilty as the traffic bunched up behind it waiting for a tow truck to arrive. She didn't look so hot either when she arrived home.


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