How to fix broken keyboard connector

posted in: Keyboard, Motherboard | 171

In this guide I explains how to fix a broken keyboard connector on a laptop motherboard.

The connector is a very delicate mechanism. It’s very easy to get it damaged if you apply too much force while trying to unlock it.

The cable retainer (locking clip) is made of thin plastic and if it’s damaged, you are in trouble. Unfortunately, this part is not sold separately.

Well… let’s say it happened. The damage is done. How to fix it now?

On the picture below I show one of the most common connector types. It has the base (white in my case) and cable retainer (brown in my case).

When the connector is closed, the cable secured between the retainer and base.

The retainer applies some pressure on the cable and it makes contact with the pins inside the connector.

To unlock it properly, you have to move the retainer about 2 millimeters in the direction shown by two yellow arrows.

IMPORTANT! The retainer must remain attached base.

After that you can pull the keyboard cable and remove the keyboard.

If you are not careful enough, you can move the retainer too far and break it.

On the picture below you can see the retainer broken on both sides. It is missing the both locking hook.

IMPORTANT! Do not though away the retainer. You still can use it.

The cable will not stay inside the connector without the locking clip.

Here’s how fix this type of damage.

Position the broken piece the way it was inserted before.

Carefully insert the cable into the connector. In this case the cable goes above the retainer.

While holding the cable, carefully push the broken clip back in place. You can use a small screwdriver for that.

The clip fits tightly into the connector even though it has two broken hooks.

Secure the connection with sticky tape and test the keyboard. It should work just fine.

Here’s another connector type. The only difference – the keyboard cable is routed under the locking clip. Fix it the same way as the previous connector.

On the next picture you see another type of connector. The cable is inserted vertically.

In order to unlock the connector, you’ll have to move the locking clip (brown piece) about 2 millimeters up in the direction shown by two yellow arrows.

After that you can pull the keyboard cable (green arrow) and remove the keyboard.

If you move the locking clip too far, you can break it.

In my example one side of the retainer got damaged.

Insert the keyboard cable into the connector, position the broken retainer correctly (behind the cable in my case) and carefully push it in.

Even with a broken retainer the cable should be secured inside the connector.

Here’s the same connector shown from the opposite side. You cannot even tell it is broken.

If this trick worked for you, it means I just saved you big bucks on the motherboard replacement. And I’m glad I did.


Thank you to Alex for the following suggestion:

I found another way to fix it…
Have you lost the broken “Locking clip”?
Then do this…
Get some “electrical tape” on the back of the “flat cable” to make some “thickness”.
Make sure you are putting the tape on the right side, where there are no visible connections…

Then very carefully push the cable into the connector… It will not come loose and the keyboard will work just fine!

Also read this post explaining how to repair broken touchpad connector.

171 Responses

  1. I tried to clean my dell vostro 1014 model laptop. While removing the cover and keyboard the whole connector on the mother board pulled out as I was not knowing the retaining mechanism to disconnect the keyboard ribbon, In this process the motherboard linning ( fine golden line/fine wires also damaged and difficult to identify the correct sequence) how to solder it or join it or revive it. Though Lap top is working and I am using on screen key board in microsoft windows as easy access. Please advise me or arrange a mother board lining diagram in the above stated damaged zone. Thanking you

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