How to Replace the Keyboard on a Dell XPS 1530

One of the things I love most about summer, and working from home, is the option of working outside on warm sunny summer days. However, recently working at home got the best of me, in a different way.

I’d left a glass of water near my laptop, and my cat decided that was a nice place to walk past. Unfortunately, clutz that she sometimes is, she managed to knock the glass of water onto my laptop.

Panic stricken, I unplugged everything from the computer as fast as I could, turned it upside down, and started powering down. The blue screen of death beat me to the punch, and on seeing that I knew I had problems. I pulled the battery immediately.

The next half hour was spent digging my way into the bowels of my XPS 1530. I took all the screws out of the bottom, and partially separated the top plate from the innards. I was able to spy several water droplets, most of which I was able to get with a Q-Tip. After I was satisfied that I’d mopped up everything that was readily accessible, I got my wife’s hairdryer, propped it up and let it blow free through the case for about half an hour.

I tried giving it some power, but the light around the power button came on for half a second and then died. That was about all it could muster. I decided to let the thing rest overnight and prayed for the best.

The next morning I was able to get a little further. The computer powered up, but the BIOS registry took forever. Then it started beeping rather angrily at me. Finally though, it worked its way huffing and puffing into safe mode.

Did I mention this happened two days after I had freshly formatted my computer? Argh.

Anyways, satisfied that I was seeing progress, I turned it off and let it rest for most of the day (a Saturday).

Later on, I tried again. Now it went into Windows ok, and everything seemed fine…. EXCEPT my keyboard.

About a dozen keys weren’t working. Several days later nothing had changed. I normally use a wireless keyboard anyways, so it wasn’t the end of the world, but next week I’m traveling for a week and a dud keyboard just won’t do.

So I started looking online, and found a replacement keyboard on Ebay for $17.25 (buy it now – including shipping!).

Anyways, today I finally got the time to dive into my little replacement project. I tried looking online but wasn’t able to find any other tutorials for how to replace the keyboard on an XPS 1530 or 1330, so I’ve decided to share my newfound knowledge with you, dear reader. Here goes.

How to Replace the Keyboard on an XPS 1530/1330

The first step is to remove the battery. Never open your computer without doing that.

Sorry, backup. The first step I took was to make a nice rum and coke and take the operation outside. You’ll need a small Phillips screwdriver, and a small flat screwdriver would be good too.

xps-keyboard

Now, I’m going to show you the short way to do this, but I’ll just let you know that I did indeed tear this sucker apart – and you don’t have to. No, replacing your laptop’s keyboard should only take 10 or 15 minutes if you follow these instructions.

Second – and this is the secret that I found out quite a ways into the process – pop off the two side bits, as you can see from the picture. You can do this with a flat screwdriver. They’re just held in by plastic tabs.

xps-keyboard-9

After you’ve got these bits off, on each side, then you need to pop off the dark plastic bit that runs the width of the laptop, with the holes for the speakers. Again, use the flat screwdriver.

xps-keyboard-10

Don’t bother trying to unplug this, you can just put it aside out of the way. Now you should be looking at the two screws that hold the keyboard in place. Take those out, slide the keyboard out, and you’re halfway done.

The last thing to do is actually unplug the keyboard.

xps-keyboard-12

There’s a plastic bit holding the wire on. The plastic pops upwards, as you can see in the picture.

Now, swap the keyboards, plug it in, put the whole thing back together and you’re done!

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