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Old 10-07-2010, 12:45 PM
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Default Keypad Repair

I see quite a few posts on keypads giving up the ghost, especially on older but still useable radios.

These are actually and usually pretty easy to resurrect without the expensive return to the repair center.

I hope you don't think I'm too long winded here, but I want to give you all the info for a successful repair.

First, just a quick explanation on how these work. They are comprised of a rubber keypad with each of the keys having a small conductive metal dot under each key. The "switch" part is a PC board with copper traces under each key. They are usually circular in shape with two concentric circles, one inside the other. When the key is pressed, the conductive material on the key makes an electrical connection across the copper circles.

What can go wrong. With age, two basic problems arise. First, the copper traces on the PC board can get dirty, oxidized or corroded. The second potential problem is the conductive material on the rubber keypad can get dirty or breakdown so that pieces break off.

Getting to the keypad is usually pretty easy by taking the back off the scanner and then removing the screws that hold the guts to the front cover. The rubber keypad should stay on the front cover but also may be partially stuck to the pc board. Should separate easily though. Once you have them separated the fun begins.

The PC board can easily be cleaned using an ordinary pencil eraser. Carefully "erase" over all the keyboard pc board contact areas till they're bright and shiny. Insure all eraser bits are cleaned out of the scanner when done. Then use isopropyl alcohol to further clean the board.

Now, take a good close look at the rubber keypad back. Are all the conductive dots solid and clean? It should be pretty obvious if they're not. You can first clean the rubber keypad with a ordinary dish soap and water in a light mix. Rinse well and let dry completely. This will remove any oils from the pads and rubber as well. It has been highly recommended from successful keypad repairers that a very, very light sanding of the conductive dots with 1000 grit wet/dry sandpaper works well for refreshing them. Once clean, look closely at the dots. Are they all there and solid? If so, your keypad should now act like new when reassembled.

If there are missing chunks or cracks, fear not. There are repairs for them as well. In fact, there are many possibilities for sprucing a bad dot back up. There are conductive epoxies available. Just don't get carried away and keep the new layer thin. Many report complete success with thin conductive tape like what's used for gutter repair or air conditioning ducts. Don't be afraid to experiment. What have you got to lose?

Here's a lot more on the subject about midway down the article.

Notes on the Troubleshooting and Repair of Hand Held Remote Controls

Beats tossing them or parting them out without trying to refurb them. Good luck. Feel free to ask questions or comment.

Rick

Last edited by RickS31; 10-07-2010 at 12:47 PM..
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Old 10-07-2010, 2:54 PM
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RickS31 Thanks for taking the time and the materials =, info I have the back off of the pro43 and now I face the soldering phase , I will see if I can get a solder sucker Bob
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