0 Replies Latest reply: Jun 10, 2009 8:12 PM by macvoodoodr
macvoodoodr Level 1 (0 points)
My 2 y/o pulled the spacebar off the keyboard and everywhere I looked I was told this required a keyboard replacement. The white clips that hold the spacebar can be purchased online (I found used ones) and I heard of another site that has individual letter keys.


The spacebar is daunting because there are three white nylon clips with a total of 12 connecting points to the space key, and these clips are each held to the circuit board by two pins and a chrome clip for each. There are also two wire brackets along the length of the spacebar underside which nest into little chrome boxes. The white clips act as springs and the wire clips keep the key aligned and floating free above the switch in the center.

The nylon clips can be removed from the circuit board by prying one of the pin arms at the hinge and tilting the clip slightly to pull out at the base of the clip. This is necessary if the clips have scissored upward and won't lie flat. Leave one in place for a reference, because each white clip is in two pieces and you have to sometimes remove them to restore them to a flat condition, by re-aligning the central axis pins--which is a sort of gimbal if you've ever seen a sailboat compass. Reading glasses, a magnifying glass and a flashlight can help with the delicate work. Go slowly and gently or risk breaking one of the tiny pins. They only fit together one way and while you can line up by putting flat together, to reset the pins you hold them in their X position and lock one pin at a time. If this fails buy a few replacements.

When the white clips are working and not sprung, they close flat easily and also expand like an X when viewed from the side. When they are all replaced in position on the base bring the spacebar in position at about 45 degrees, so you can see both the clips and under the spacebar. It might help if before reassembly you take a loose white clip and try snapping it into the spacebar to see how it fits--starting with the upper side of the bar and then rotating to the other side where it will lock in place.

Of the wire clips, one has a swivel effect with two "thumbs" pointing inward--that's the upper side. The other clip also swivels but point straight out. While coming at an angle and peering under the spacebar with flashlight, begin lining up the white clip pins with their respective groove clips under the spacebar. Now bring the thumbs of the wire clip into the little chrome boxes like hooking the tailhook on an aircraft carrier. The bottom metal clips will also orient towards the holes they go in--they start at about 45 degrees also but end up flat when finished. Nothing is clipped or finalized yet, you are just lining stuff up. You can get both metal clips in place while holding the key at an angle, and now you line up the plastic pins in their slots and press in place with slight pressure--they make a snap sound and you should line up both outside clips first and then the center will be lined up to snap in.

One of my outside white clips had a broken base pin so I put it in the middle position surrounding the switch where it is more stable--I didn't have a replacement for it. Make sure all three plastic clips have attached all upper six points, and lower the bottom edge of the key, keeping it in line with surrounding keys. Holding four fingers along the bottom edge of the spacebar, press with about 2-3 times harder than a normal key press and it will snap in place. If the key misses a press once in a while it is likely that a pin or two needs some pressure to lock in more. Mine was high in the middle so I pressed there a little harder for a final snap.

Individual keys would be much easier, and by appearance it seems that to remove a key one would lift from the bottom edge of the key--down being the bottom of the printed letter. Without pictures the above seems complex, but at least it is doable without leaving your computer and having it taken apart for a new keyboard--which sometimes leads to other problems.

Macbook Pro 17" early 2008, Mac OS X (10.5.6), Bootcamp XP Pro, iPod 8Gb, Dell Inspiron 8100 XP Pro