Can the mechanical keyboard be repaired?

Mechanical keyboards are becoming increasingly popular among gamers, typists, and computer enthusiasts due to their tactile feedback, fast actuation, and durability. However, mechanical keyboard can experience problems such as broken switches, unresponsive keys, sticky switches, or critical chatter like any electronic device. Fortunately, the user or a professional technician can repair or replace most mechanical keyboard issues.

In this article, we will explore the common issues that can occur with mechanical keyboards and the methods for repairing them. We will also discuss the tools and techniques required to repair mechanical keyboards and some tips on maintaining them to prevent future issues.

Common Issues with Mechanical Keyboards

Switch Failure: Mechanical keyboard switches are rated for millions of keystrokes, but they can still fail due to dust, debris, corrosion, or wear and tear. When a switch fails, it can cause a key to stop working or produce erratic behaviour such as double typing or missing keystrokes.

Critical Chatter: Key chatter is typical when a key produces multiple keystrokes for a single press. This can be caused by switch bounce and the rapid oscillation of the electrical contacts inside the switch. Critical chatter can be annoying and make typing or gaming difficult.

Unresponsive Keys: An unresponsive key can occur due to a faulty switch, a loose or broken solder joint, or a damaged trace on the PCB. Unresponsive keys can be frustrating and affect the usability of the keyboard.

Sticky Keys: Sticky keys can be caused by spilt liquids, dust, debris, or worn-out switch mechanisms. Sticky keys can affect the typing experience and cause fatigue or errors.

Methods for Repairing Mechanical Keyboards

Mechanical keyboard repairs can be done either by the user or a professional technician. The level of complexity and expertise required for each repair depends on the nature of the problem and the type of keyboard. Some repairs can be done with simple tools such as a screwdriver, while others require more advanced equipment such as a soldering iron or a multimeter.

Here are some of the methods for repairing mechanical keyboards:

Replacing Switches: If a switch has failed, it can be replaced with a new one. Some mechanical keyboards have hot-swappable switches, which means that the switches can be removed and replaced without soldering. However, not all mechanical keyboards have hot-swappable switches, so replacing the switches may require soldering. The keyboard must be disassembled to replace a switch, and the faulty switch must be desoldered or removed from the PCB. Then a new switch can be soldered into place.

Cleaning Switches: If a switch is sticky or produces inconsistent feedback, it may be dirty or contaminated. In this case, the switch can be cleaned with a contact cleaner or isopropyl alcohol. The keyboard must be disassembled, and the affected switch must be removed. Then the switch can be cleaned with a Q-tip or a brush, and any debris or dirt can be removed. After cleaning, the switch must be reassembled and tested.

Fixing Key Chatter: The critical chatter can be fixed by adjusting the debounce time or replacing the switch. If the debounce time is too low, it can cause switch bounce and critical chatter. The debounce time can be adjusted in the keyboard firmware or by using software such as QMK. If adjusting the debounce time does not fix the issue, the switch may need to be replaced.

Repairing Solder Joints: Loose or broken solder joints can cause unresponsive keys. To repair a solder joint, the keyboard must be disassembled, and the affected switch must be located. Then the solder joint can be inspected, and any loose or broken connections can be re-soldered. This requires a soldering iron, solder, and flux.

How to repair?

Mechanical keyboards have become increasingly popular among computer enthusiasts and gamers due to their tactile and responsive feedback and durability. However, mechanical keyboards, like any other electronic device, can experience issues and breakdowns over time. The good news is that, in many cases, mechanical keyboards can be repaired, saving you the cost of purchasing a new one.

  • One of the most common issues with mechanical keyboards is the failure of individual switches. These switches are responsible for registering keystrokes and transmitting them to your computer. If one or more of your switches have failed, you may notice that specific keys are no longer working or require more force to register a keystroke.
  • The first step in repairing a mechanical keyboard is identifying which switches are not functioning correctly. This can be done using specialized software that detects keystrokes and identifies which switches are not working. Once you have identified the faulty switches, you can proceed with the repair.
  • One of the most common ways to repair faulty switches is to replace them with new ones. Many manufacturers offer replacement switches compatible with their keyboards, and third-party switches can be used to repair keyboards from different manufacturers. Replacing a switch involves desoldering the old switch from the keyboard’s PCB (printed circuit board) and soldering in a new one. This requires basic soldering skills and tools, such as a soldering iron, solder, and desoldering pump.
  • Another common issue with mechanical keyboards is the failure of the PCB itself. Several factors, including physical damage, electrical surges, and overheating, can cause this. If your keyboard’s PCB is damaged, it may not be possible to repair it, and you may need to purchase a new keyboard.
  • However, it may be possible to repair a damaged PCB in some cases. This requires advanced electronics skills and specialized tools, such as a multimeter and an oscilloscope. The first step in repairing a damaged PCB is to identify the location of the damage. This can be done by visually inspecting the PCB for any signs of physical damage, such as cracked or broken traces, or using specialized tools to test for electrical continuity.

Once you have identified the location of the damage, you can proceed with the repair. This may involve replacing individual components, such as resistors or capacitors, or repairing damaged traces using conductive epoxy or wire. Repairing a PCB can be time-consuming and challenging, but it can be a cost-effective way to extend the life of your mechanical keyboard.


Mechanical keyboards can be repaired in many cases, whether a faulty switch or a damaged PCB. However, repairing a mechanical keyboard requires specialized skills and tools, which may not be possible in all cases. If you are unsure about your ability to repair your mechanical keyboard, it’s best to seek the help of a professional or consider purchasing a new keyboard. A mechanical keyboard can provide many years of reliable service with proper care and maintenance.

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