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Renewing an internal keyboard on a dell smartpc 520n

Posted on 2005-03-04
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I am trying to change a keyboard on a Dell SmartPc 250N. I have the replacement bought by direct mail from Dell's UK suppliers at an extortionate price, but I can't see how to install it.

I have taken out all the visible case screws but the back of the case remains firmly fixed. Looking in through the crack at the side I see the keyboard is sitting in a plastic tray and I wonder if there are screws underneath it. In any event if someone could guide me through taking it apart without wrecking the thing I would be most appreciative.


Regards

Nashwan1 (david)
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Question by:nashwan1
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16 Comments
 
LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 13457186
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Author Comment

by:nashwan1
ID: 13457572


We bought the laptop thru ebay and the nice folk at Dell online chat won't hear our call so I do need to find out how to so this for myself.

Thanks

Nashwan1
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LVL 8

Accepted Solution

by:
ddrdan earned 1500 total points
ID: 13459688
Sounds like you went way deeper in unassembly then you had too???? Heres a link showing some dell lap's. Review the list and find one that looks similar to your unit. From what I found that keyboard comes off  by removing the panel cover above the keyboard & under the screen to get at the keyboard screws. It looks like it has a pops off friction fit. I can't tell without looking at your model so review carefully before prying.

HERES THE LINK:

http://tuxmobil.org/disassembly_laptop.html

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Author Comment

by:nashwan1
ID: 13460465


Dear ddrdan,

You were dead right about 'going too deep'. I went to the pix on the link you provided and while none of them seemed to show one similar to the one I'm working on. I got the general idea. There is a light silver plastic plate between the keyboard and the screen. Looking at the new part gave the clue that the screws were under here and it duly lifted out with a little gentle persuasion - it was just clipped in.

Managed to get old one to move out from its fixings at the front end. I have one further question. What sort of pressure do you put on the clip holding the keyboard's ribbon connector to the mainboard socket? (I seem to remember I broke one on a different laptop by being heavy-handed with it.

Regards

Nashwan1
0
 
LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:Watzman
ID: 13460599
Well, generically, most laptop keyboards are removed from the top and do NOT require disassembly of the laptop itself.  I don't have any info on that model, but usually you remove some pieces from the top -- this may include a top bezel piece -- and the keyboard either lifts out or is held with no more than 4 screws (obvious, once you get the ncessary plastic pieces removed).  You will need to find some service info on that unit to continue.
0
 

Author Comment

by:nashwan1
ID: 13460639

Dear Watzman,

I'm past that - the keyboard is free I just want to know how to approach the clip that holds its ribbon into the mainboard socket.

Nashwan
0
 
LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 13460712
it 's like this :

  |------------------| --> this part must be moved up ! 2 mm grab it with your nails on both sides
     |                 |
     |                 |
     |                 |   plug
     |                 |
________________________________________________________Motherboard

after it is moved up, the cable is free to be taken out vertically
0
 
LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:Watzman
ID: 13460875
ok, on that I can help, but I could help a lot more with a photo.

The flat ribbon cables used in laptops go into "ZIF" (zero insertion force) sockets.  These have a mechanism for opening and closing the socket.  YOU MUST NOT ATTEMPT TO REMOVE OR INSERT A FLAT RIBBON CABLE ("FLEX CABLE") INTO A CLOSED SOCKET, IT WILL RUIN THE CABLE.  When the socket is open, the cable goes into (or out of) the socket with zero force.

Now the problem (a photo would really help), there are different "styles" of sockets and they open differently.  Nobus tried to illustrate one type, it has a solid bar running all across one side (edge) of the socket that you move to open the socket.  Another variant has two separate pins, one at each side, and to open it you move them both, but they are separate.  in either case, you use your fingernail or a tiny screwdriver, and use very little force.  I could be more helpful if I had a closeup photo of the socket.
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LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:ddrdan
ID: 13464434
Here is a very good picture of a FPC ribbon connector. The ZIF FPC socket is top center of the pic. The horse shoe shaped collar at the top of the socket is the retension sleeve. It prys loose. (straight up)

http://www.mikeshardware.com/howtos/sonyhdswap/pcgf630-009.jpg

Another type of ZIF or LIF (low insersion force) connector has a lever retension.
http://rocky.digikey.com/WebLib/Hirose/Web%20Data/FH18%20Series.pdf

Hope this helps.
0
 

Author Comment

by:nashwan1
ID: 13516586


I have changed the keyboard seemingly successfully but I am having power problems with the n250. The pc runs for about 20 min and then shuts down. It will reboot for less and less time and eventually won't boot at all for an hour or so.

You can hear the fan running though I have heard a metallic twang a couple of times and the laptop does not seem hot. I tried taking the battery out but the pc harddisk shutdown as before but the fan kept running until I took the power cord out.

Any ideas?

Getting desperate to return the laptop to its owner.


regards

Nashwan1  (David)
0
 
LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 13516659
you can clean the laptop from dust ot the vents and fans
0
 
LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:Watzman
ID: 13517470
It sounds like it's overheating.  Verify that in opening up the laptop, you didn't disturb the mounting of the heatsink to the CPU.  If, in trying to get the keyboard out, you started removing screws haphazardly (even from the bottom), you might have removed the screws mounting the CPU heatsink, which might no longer be properly or adequately mounted.  As nobus says, check for dust/dirt also, this is common.  But I do think that the CPU is overheating.
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Author Comment

by:nashwan1
ID: 13519870


The laptop seems to run indefinitely in safe mode. Does this not suggest that the problem is software/OS rather than hardware/overheating?

Nashwan1
0
 
LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 13523508
or a driver problem; you can install the latest drivers to test it.
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LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:ddrdan
ID: 13526013
1. Can't help you with the OS unless you tell us which OS????

2. Sounds like the palm rest shield or the power shield is hitting the fan, making that twang noise. I believe you may have put a srew back in the wrong place when you went too deep in un-assembly. That model has 6 different length screws. Each one is only 1 millimeter longer than the next. Isn't that a design engineering POS???

Check to see that you put the screw back in the power shield in the back right corner.
Here's a breakdown showing all the parts: http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/smrt250n/system.htm#1105269
CLICK ON "system components"

Check all the screws you put back for proper location. Make sure the palm shield isn't slightly bent over the fan. Here's a list of what screw goes where:
http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/smrt250n/begin.htm#1105269
CLICK ON "Before You Remove or Install Parts"

3. When you dis-assembled, if you did not pull the cpu cooling assembly, you did not disturb the CPU. There was no reason to, so I hope you didn't???

If you did, (please bend over and spank yourself ....)  get some thermal paste take the CPU cooling assembly loose and put a good gob on the CPU and re-assemble. Here's the picture version "HOW TO" link: http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/smrt250n/cpu.htm#1105269
CLICK ON "Microprocessor Thermal-Cooling Assembly and Microprocessor Module"

3. I think your CPU is overheating. While in safe mode the cpu usage load is reduced. This could account for it not matching the malfunction in normal boot. Download a freeware CPU monitoring software and review the temperature while running both modes of boot. Another step would be to open some high cpu usage programs while in safe mode. If it doesn't crash we'll know it's a driver or spyware problem. Uninstall the monitor software when your done testing and have this fixed. They're garbage to CPU usage when you don't really need them.

Heres a monitor that will shut you down if things get too hot. So then we'll really know if thats the problem: (its freeware) http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file_description/0,fid,7309,00.asp

Let us know what happens?
DDRdan

______________________________________________________________
This question is starting to resemble one of my wife's banana cream pies. You cut a piece and the rest of the pie fills in the gap. I call them the "never ending" banana cream pies. LOL
0
 

Author Comment

by:nashwan1
ID: 13639123


Sorry DDran,

Been away and not thinking about the problem for a while. This sounds very helpful and will work through it and let you know.

OS is XP Pro

Regards

NAshwan1
0

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