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.

REPAIR TIPS FROM READERS:

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.

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149 Comments

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  1. 149
    Mary Says:

    You saved me from certain death by the hand of my son :)

  2. 148
    Tomm Says:

    Another success story thanks to your excellent comments and photos. Most appreciated!

  3. 147
    Charlita M Says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! Had this problem with a Toshiba Satellite, their website had BLANK pdf spec documents (so no go there) and I just had NO idea where to even TRY to reconnect the zif connector until I came here. Now at least I have an inkling of what to do — just unsure how I’m going to get the connector to hold onto the motherboard… THANKS AGAIN. You’ve done us ALL a great service!

  4. 146
    Laurel Campbell Says:

    @cj2600 Thanks! Yes, same zif connector as shown above. You are a genius. I broke the tiniest piece when doing this but it will not effect how the connector holds the cable, I feel certain. Going off to try it now, I am so tired of using the on-screen keyboard for the characters on the right most side of my keyboard — the P, the dash, the semicolon, all of the numeric keypad! Thumbs up!!

  5. 145
    cj2600 Says:

    @ Laurel Campbell,
    Is it the same type of ZIF connector as shown in the guide above? If yes, you’ll have to use a needle to unhook latches on both sides of the locking tab (cable retainer).

  6. 144
    Laurel Campbell Says:

    Excellent tutorial and picture study. I used this to help resolve my issues – I had a MOST of the pieces of my zif connector and used them for my fix. However this only lasted a few months. So I ordered a motherboard on ebay and I have it now.

    My question: Any ideas on how to remove the ZIF connector “latch” from this new motherboard? I realize it is not supposed to be removed but I need it, lol!! I am going to have to “break” it but I want to break only one end and only a small small piece! I have tried to be gentle but the darn thing isn’t coming loose!

    Thanks in advance.

  7. 143
    Wolfgang Wagner Says:

    Congratulation, this is the best and detailed decription for solving a big problem. Thank you very much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. 142
    Annie Says:

    Forgot to include that I have a Toshiba Satellite 350 (which is now in full working order – thanks to this site and my lovely bloke who repaired it for me. Thanks again.

  9. 141
    Annie Says:

    This site is fantastic! We were on the verge of giving up, thinking that a connector should be attached to the ribbon, instead of the black plastic strip. You instructions and pic’s worked a treat. Many, many thanks.

  10. 140
    Skeeterlost Says:

    I had the same problem with the connector to the clip breaking on my Toshiba L755D replacing a fan, and then putting the keyboard back, I looked every where for this clip connector, Cannot find. Thought I was going to have to buy a dead motor board to fix it. I found this site and read several of the reader’s comments, The best that worked for me was, using a square of thin stiff plastic from the grocery store bakery break fast rolls I had just eaten. LOL,,You see them all the time at the store, The clear molded plastic that holds a deli sub, breakfast rolls etc. Was perfect, I got my ribbon cable aligned and pushed this clear plastic square in the connector, It held it and then I taped it all down to the connector clip with sticky tape. Yippie!! I can now watch tv again with the HDMI. It is the only computer that I have with HDMI. I did go ahead and purchase another used Toshiba L775D just for a back up, from Ebay, will be here next week, Always can use back ups. I also purchased a wireless keyboard as a back up. The computer and my Roku is the only way I can watch my tv. I got rid of my cable last year, Saved $1000, and it’s nice to be free of cable. Thank you for this site. I hope this info can help another person, fix their clip/connector, if they break it. If you breathe on them , them break. This works. Just be patient and take your time, so you don’t damage something else.

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