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how do you clean a dirty keyboard?

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Just got a 520 STe UK with a bunch of goodies, however the original owner must have smoked like a madman!  Everything is stinky!  I have taken it apart and cleaned all but the keyboard and motherboard, waiting on some IPA for that, but the question is how to clean out the keyboard?  It is pretty filthy with crumbs and stuff, and I also need to remove the keys and clean them, how does one remove the keys on an ST keyboard?  Thanks!

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With gentle pressure most of the keycaps will pull off.   I use nylon tools designed to pulling smart phones apart.  Start at the edges, use a longer tool and gently prize them upward.  

 

A few keys - from memory the space bar, the zero on the number pad, maybe the Enter key and the Return keys have small metal braces that you need to push off using tweezers or something similar.

 

 

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I've cleaned several secondhand ST/TT computers back to their original condition using this method... remove the outer casings, separate the keyboard base from its circuit board and connectors.  Dunk the whole keyboard (and the case while you're at it) in hot soapy water, let soak underwater with a weight on top for a few minutes, and scrub with a soft bristle brush from different directions.  No need to remove the individual keys in most cases.  Let air dry for several hours or overnight and reconnect.  As long as no electronic parts go in the water they are safe.

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5 hours ago, moulinaie said:

Wash your hands before typing,

 

Guillaume.

Best comment ever!  Stop keyboard grime at the source.

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You can get a keycap puller from Amazon for a few bucks. 

 

1. Pull the keycaps and wash them as you like.  Note that some of the larger keys have metal stabilizing clips that are held in place by tiny plastic inserts.  Take care not to lose any of the clips or inserts.

2. Flip the keyboard over and remove the tiny screws holding the circuit board in place and then remove the circuit board. 

3. Capture and store all of the rubber domes.  Don't lose any.

4. Capture and store all of the key plungers.  Wash them as you'd like.

5. Now wash the bare keyboard cover.

 

Note where the domes and plungers are located at time of disassembly. The return key has locations for two domes and plungers, but atari only used one dome.  I think the left shift key is the same on some keyboards.

 

Reassemble in reverse order.  A small bit of white lithium grease on the ends of the metal stabilizing clips is a nice touch.  This is all generalities, but is basically the procedure I use.  GL!

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Thanks guys, I will give these a try, the owner was a smoker so the grime is there.  One thing I noted, I bought a Mega ST keyboard from Best, they have clickity keys, was that normal for the Mega keyboards?  I thought I read that Best sells these clickity keys for rebuilding keyboards, they really feel nice!

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Yes. Only the Mega ST keyboard have cherry keys. Rest (Atari ST(f, m, Falcon, Mega STe, TT) have rubber domes. 

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