Discussion:
Fixing really bad keys on IIc
Add Reply
cb meeks
2017-08-07 15:07:48 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
A while back I got a IIc for a really good price. Unfortunately, it was one of the dirtiest computers I've ever seen.

After cleaning it up, it seems to work. However, some of the keys stick and don't want to come back up properly. Or, they are difficult to push down.

I fear that I will have to disassemble each key and clean it. But that will be a major pain because there's about 15 of them that have this trouble.

It's a ROM 0/1 IIc if that makes a difference (different keyboard than my ROM 3 IIc).

So, any advice on fixing these keys? Replacing the keyboard isn't an option at the moment. Not to mention eBay prices on those keyboards are insane when you find them.

Thanks for any suggestions.
James Davis
2017-08-07 19:17:07 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
[IIRC/Paraphrased] "PC Hardware in a Nutshell" says to clean IBM PC keyboards: Remove the keyboard, put it in your dishwasher on the gentlest cleaning cycle with cold water, and wash it. Then, stand it up on a long side for one month to dry thoroughly. But, only do this if the Printed Circuit Board is made of fiberglass. Otherwise, remove all the keycaps and vacuum. Then clean with a soft toothbrush and vacuum again. Then clean with a damp cloth.
cb meeks
2017-08-07 19:23:21 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by James Davis
[IIRC/Paraphrased] "PC Hardware in a Nutshell" says to clean IBM PC keyboards: Remove the keyboard, put it in your dishwasher on the gentlest cleaning cycle with cold water, and wash it. Then, stand it up on a long side for one month to dry thoroughly. But, only do this if the Printed Circuit Board is made of fiberglass. Otherwise, remove all the keycaps and vacuum. Then clean with a soft toothbrush and vacuum again. Then clean with a damp cloth.
Hmmm. Not sure if this would clean the grim on the inside of the key mechanism. I wouldn't mind replacing a hand-full of keys (re-solder new keys) if that were an option.
James Davis
2017-08-07 19:23:14 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
A little Alcohol might help clean/loosen sticky key posts. Apply with Q-tip swab and exercise--push and release several times--the key posts. Then do the other stuff stated above. You could use the lubricating kind of alcohol they sell for cleaning cassette tape players.
cb meeks
2017-08-07 19:24:29 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by James Davis
A little Alcohol might help clean/loosen sticky key posts. Apply with Q-tip swab and exercise--push and release several times--the key posts. Then do the other stuff stated above. You could use the lubricating kind of alcohol they sell for cleaning cassette tape players.
I have some white lithium grease. But I can't use that. I've tried the method you mentioned. It worked on some of the keys but many are too bad.
James Davis
2017-08-07 19:33:39 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by cb meeks
I have some white lithium grease. But I can't use that. I've tried the method you mentioned. It worked on some of the keys but many are too bad.
I don't really know for sure if it is the same thing, but that kind of white grease eventually gets really hard, I think.--It froze my Genie garage door opener screw when I used it once years ago!--Had to remove it with gasoline.

If the key contacts are not making contact, then you may have to do what you said.
cb meeks
2017-08-07 19:37:31 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by James Davis
If the key contacts are not making contact, then you may have to do what you said.
You're probably right. Too bad I can't run to my local computer shop and buy a new IIc keyboard. That would be awesome.
James Davis
2017-08-07 19:44:51 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by cb meeks
Too bad I can't run to my local computer shop and buy a new IIc keyboard. That would be awesome.
But they may be able to assist you in the proper cleaning and repair of your IIc keyboard.
James Davis
2017-08-07 19:40:17 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Have you tried WD-40? Or, penetrating oil?
cb meeks
2017-08-07 19:47:48 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by James Davis
Have you tried WD-40? Or, penetrating oil?
I haven't tried any kind of solvent (or liquid) other than IPA (91%) because I was concerned about both the corrosive nature of them and any sort of electrical conductivity causing a short.
James Davis
2017-08-07 19:54:36 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by cb meeks
Post by James Davis
Have you tried WD-40? Or, penetrating oil?
I haven't tried any kind of solvent (or liquid) other than IPA (91%) because I was concerned about both the corrosive nature of them and any sort of electrical conductivity causing a short.
After using any kind of liquid solvent, you would still have to flush it out by dishwasher cleaning. But, if the contacts are still bad, replacing the key mechanisms is probably your only option besides professional repair.
James Davis
2017-08-07 20:01:48 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Is this the same Apple IIc you are talking about in your "Yet another IIc in my collection" post?
Warren Ernst
2017-08-07 20:16:00 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by James Davis
Is this the same Apple IIc you are talking about in your "Yet another IIc in my collection" post?
You want Deoxit brand cleaners.

I have used these two products to bring back IIc+ keyboards that sounded gritty and had 15 keys each that didn't work at first.

https://www.amazon.com/DeoxIT-F100L-L25C-FaderLube-Needle-Dispenser/dp/B0018P6DPW/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1502136820&sr=8-10&keywords=deoxit

https://www.amazon.com/CAIG-LABORATORIES-D100L-25C-Contact-Cleaner/dp/B0000YH6F8/ref=pd_sbs_267_3?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B0000YH6F8&pd_rd_r=F5N281X4HP2AJ5KZN0VY&pd_rd_w=opgge&pd_rd_wg=fwVtH&psc=1&refRID=F5N281X4HP2AJ5KZN0VY

They are close to miraculous. Good luck.
James Davis
2017-08-07 20:35:09 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Yeah, I used to use CRC to clean the contacts on large electric relays when I was working as an Troubleshooting Electrician. I had forgotten about it. It would freeze anything on the contacts into a white powder, which could then be brushed off with a brass wire brush. Never seen Deoxit before.
cb meeks
2017-08-08 13:10:15 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by James Davis
Is this the same Apple IIc you are talking about in your "Yet another IIc in my collection" post?
Yes, it's the same one. I have two IIc's. One was almost mint when I got it and works great. It's my "go-to" IIc. The other one (this one) is the dirty one I got for a really good deal.
Nick Westgate
2017-08-07 21:51:11 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by cb meeks
So, any advice on fixing these keys? Replacing the keyboard isn't an option at the moment. Not to mention eBay prices on those keyboards are insane when you find them.
Search this group (or some of the other notable online forums) and you'll find many discussions about getting IIc keyboards working again. I would read those threads carefully and make a list of the tips relevant to your device - before trying "helpful suggestions" from people who've never worked on the exact keyboard you're trying to fix.

Michael Mahon in particular has posted a lot on this topic. If we could persuade him to collect his thoughts into a book, I would buy it.

Cheers,
Nick.
cb meeks
2017-08-08 13:14:52 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I will let everyone know my progress. Although it might be a while before I get to it...I have a PET 8032 I need to fix. :-D
Nick Westgate
2017-08-08 21:19:04 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by cb meeks
Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I will let everyone know my progress. Although it might be a while before I get to it...I have a PET 8032 I need to fix. :-D
I chose a random thread with posts from Michael below. Also, somebody else mentioned that the ROM 255 keyboard had springs that were problematic. They removed those and the rubber mat underneath.

Cheers,
Nick.

From 30/04/2001
If the sticky problem is external only, then cleaning the key caps and
the top of the keyboard may do the job.

If the sticky stuff got inside the key switches, then your idea is not
far off. Unless there is oil in the goo (check to see if the external part
cleans completely with water, for example), you should omit the
detergent. Just use distilled water, soaking the keyboard (only, not
the computer!) for about an hour, then draining it and rinsing lightly,
then repeat--for four or five iterations. Then let it dry for a couple of
weeks in a dry, warm place (don't heat it, or bad things may happen).

If the residue is sugar-based, this should clean it pretty well, and
the long drying time should ensure that it is completely dry before
trying it in the computer again.

Yes, tap water (in most locales) is a no-no. Distilled water is guaranteed
safe for all components, providing that the total length of exposure is
controlled (wouldn't want to rust steel springs, if any).

The problem with alcohol is that it may not effectively remove sugar
residue from soft drinks or coffee, although all common alcohols have
several percent water.

Compressed air is good for drying most things, but beware of using
it around bonded materials or elastomers--you may wind up separating
things that you didn't intend.

The real problem is that the innards of the keyswitches are not sealed
well enough to keep liquids out completely, but are sealed enough to
make removing the cleaning liquid difficult. Getting the switch "shaft"
clean will make the switch operate smoothly from a mechanical point
of view, but the contacts inside should also be clean to make it work
electrically well.

I should have mentioned that in each "bath", you should press each key
several times, to circulate the water internally. This will help to get any
residue out of the inside of the switches.

Loading...