Knowledge Base

How do I fix sticky keys?

Cause - Keys have become soiled/dirty over time, causing them to stick and/or not snap back properly

The following information is recommended for advanced users only, and ONLY APPLIES TO THE FOLLOWING CYBERNET MODELS: ZPC-9000, ZPC-9100 and ZPC-GX31. Do NOT follow this procedure for the ZPC-D5.

It is provided as a courtesy, and no warranty is expressed or implied. Trying anything suggested here or anywhere on the web is always at one's own risk.

This process will restore a ZPC-GX31 keyboard to like new performance. Proper cleaning and lubrication as described here will restore a ZPC-GX31 keyboard to the snappy and smooth performance it had when new. There are several reasons why the keys will start to stick - spilled drinks, wearing off of factory lubrication, weakening of the rubber pieces which give each key its snap action, and contamination by dust and hair. The following will completely solve these problems and return the keyboard to perfect operation.

This will require about 2 hours time once the proper cleaning materials are collected.

  • Cleaning materials:
  • Cotton swabs
  • Cosmetic foam rubber cleaning pads (use only with lighter fluid, NOT alcohol)
  • Paper towels
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Water
  • Lighter fluid
  • Fine tipped tweezers
  • Scissors
  • Kitchen strainer
  • Household cleaner, Windex or equivalent
  • Super Lube Dry Film spray (critical - DO NOT SUBSTITUTE!) available in the automotive section
  • This is a PTFE (Teflon) based lubricant which dries perfectly DRY and is ideally suited for this application.
Proceed as follows:

DISASSEMBLE
IMPORTANT: Make a keyboard map so as to remember where each key goes.
Carefully pry each key loose with a small screwdriver and place in a container. They pop off. DO NOT use excessive force. There will be a small rubber piece for each key. Remove all of these and place in a separate container. CAREFUL, these are small and like to jump away.

CLEAN KEYBOARD
Clean the keyboard with cotton swabs SLIGHTLY DAMPENED with water. Replace these often and BE SURE they are only slightly damp. If they are too wet the excess water will contaminate the keyboard through capillary action. This will clean all water soluble contaminants like soda, coffee, and sugar residue. For the very small places, cut the foam rubber into small pieces and use the tweezers, again SLIGHTLY DAMPENED, for cleaning. Each and every key space must be cleaned inside and out; this is critical since this is where the key touches and moves.
Repeat this procedure again using rubbing alcohol and cotton swabs but NOT the foam rubber as it disintegrates when used with alcohol.
Finally repeat this procedure using lighter fluid and foam rubber. Even the smallest key guides can be cleaned with small pieces of foam rubber and tweezers. This action will remove any petroleum based contaminants as well as the grease that is sometimes used on the wider keys which may have guide wires.

CLEAN KEYS
Some keys have wires attached and some grease on them, clean these first with cotton swabs and lighter fluid. Remove all traces of the grease.
Place all keys in a kitchen strainer. Spray with household cleaner and let stand for 5 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with hot water and place keys on paper towels to dry. Let dry completely.

CLEAN RUBBER COMPONENTS
Place all rubber components in a kitchen strainer. Spray with household cleaner and let stand for 5 minutes. Use stopper in the sink so that none are inadvertently lost. Rinse these thoroughly with hot water and place on paper towels. Fold the towels over and press to squeeze most of the water out of the pieces. Let dry completely.

LUBRICATE KEYS
Place all keys bottom-up on a paper bag. Lightly coat the keys, at a 45 degree angle with Super Lube Dry Film lubricant. Do this from all 4 sides to assure penetration and coverage into the small and critical guide spaces inside each key. Let dry (this happens nearly instantly). DO NOT overdue this step as the carrier solvent may affect the plastic.

LUBRICATE KEYBOARD
Mask off the ZPC-GX31 with paper and scotch tape. Apply lubricant (as above in LUBRICATE KEYS) to the keyboard and let dry.
The machine now has perfectly cleaned and lubricated keys and rubber components for the keyboard.

REASSEMBLE
Place all rubber components into the keyboard.
Install keys with wires. Make sure wire is secured in the key, usually snapped into place. Place ends of wire in the guide slots adjacent to the key location when aligning the key. Firmly press down to snap the key into place.
Install the rest of the keys by aligning and firmly pressing down.