A mechanical keyboard has a physical switch under each key that tells your computer when a key is pressed. If one of these switches gets dirty, or if there’s an electrical problem that makes it intermittently trigger, a key can stop working.
Clean the Keys
When your keys on a mechanical keyboard don’t work, it’s usually a result of dust and dirt building up. These can affect the way your keyboard’s switches transmit signals, which can cause a key to register the wrong character inputs.
To clean the keys on your mechanical keyboard, use a cloth that has been dampened with soapy water and a few q-tips. Wipe down the keys using this method as frequently as necessary to prevent dust and grime from accumulating.
If your keyboard has a plastic cover, be sure to wipe it down regularly as well. This will help to keep dirt from getting in the switches and other parts of your keyboard.
Spills of water, coffee, or other liquid can damage the switches on your mechanical keyboard if you’re not careful. If you spill anything, use a clean, dry cloth to absorb the liquid and place the keyboard upside down over a bucket or sink for at least two days for the moisture to evaporate.
A dry cloth may also be used to remove any sticky residue that has built up on your keyboard’s surface. However, it’s important to avoid wiping down the top of the switches as this could result in an electrical shock.
Another option for cleaning a sticky keyboard is to use a cloth dipped in rubbing alcohol and a Q-tip. The rubbing alcohol will help to break up the stickiness that’s caused by accumulated debris.
Blow Out the Switch
If you have a mechanical keyboard, you might have experienced a problem with one of the keys. This can happen due to a number of reasons, including a dirty switch or an intermittent electrical issue.
If a key is unresponsive, there are a few things you can try to fix it. First, you can blow out the switch with compressed air. This is a quick and easy way to get the switch working again.
Another option is to replace the switch with a new one. This is a bit more involved, but it may be the solution you need.
For this, you will need a long and thin tool to depress the latch (usually a pair of tweezers) and something small and slightly sharp to pry up the casing. You should also have some cleaning supplies, such as canned air, Q-tips, and rubbing alcohol.
You will need to remove the switch from the casing, and then you’ll need to clean it thoroughly. This will take some time and you won’t be able to do it all at once, so make sure you have everything you need before getting started.
Depending on the type of switch, this can be very messy and difficult to do. It’s best to do this in a well-ventilated area with a dry cloth or paper towel.
It’s also important to test the switch before doing this. This will ensure that it’s not damaged by the process.
The most drastic option is to completely replace the switch, but this can be very expensive and difficult. This is a step that should only be done by someone who is comfortable disassembling their keyboard.
Replace the Keycap
If one of your mechanical keyboard keys is not working, it may be because the keycap has broken. A keycap is the part that looks like a button but is in fact a switch, and it’s easy to replace on a mechanical keyboard.
First, check the switch for dirt and debris. If there’s any, clean it out with rubbing alcohol sprayed onto a low or lint-free swab. If the problem still persists, try blowing compressed air into the space between the key and the switch using a can of compressed air or an air compressor.
You can also remove the keycap to test if it is stuck on the switch. This is a good way to see what the issue is before replacing it, and it also lets you clean out the keycap if it’s dirty or stuck on.
Next, you’ll want to pull the keycap off the switch with a keycap puller. This is a great tool for replacing keycaps on mechanical keyboards, and it’s the safest way to do it without damaging the switches or your fingers.
Once you’ve pulled the keycap off the switch, position a new keycap on the switch stem. It’s important to make sure that the keycap is aligned properly before you push it in place, so take your time.
Some keycaps have stabilizer bars attached to them, and if your keyboard has these stabilizers, you’ll need to insert them into the stems of your keycaps before pushing them into place. This is a good practice if you want to have a more stable typing experience, but it’s not required.
Replace the Switch
If your mechanical keyboard is not working as expected, there may be a problem with the switch itself. When you press a key, it hits a switch that sends a signal to the operating system (OS). If this switch is damaged or faulty, your computer won’t be able to receive any signals from it and the keyboard won’t work.
You can also lube the switches to help prevent this from happening in the future. Some companies even sell specialized lubricants for their switches, but it’s best to buy some in bulk so you don’t have to buy every time your keys start acting up.
If the key is not responsive, you can check the switch for a broken solder joint. These can be very difficult to repair, so if you’re not comfortable doing this, it’s best to take your keyboard to a professional who will be able to fix it for you.
A mechanical keyboard can have problems with its circuit board as well. This is more common in older models, but it can happen with newer keyboards as well. If you have an older model, try cleaning the circuit board and seeing if that fixes your keyboard’s problem.
If the key isn’t responding after you clean it and lube it, you can try replacing the switch. If you have a hot-swappable model, this is very simple, and you can even do it while your keyboard is still connected to your computer.