Unibody 15" MBP (late 2011) Keyboard repair - Done :)

Beliblis

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 31, 2011
207
6
Hi,

Just wanted to let you know I have just succesfully replaced the keyboard unit on my late 2011 MBP (15" model). Water-spillage, so didn't even try warranty. That said: none of the liquid sensors had been triggered!

The keyboard unit I bought off ebay was declared as "100% brand new", however it had VERY clear marks on the back, so defintiely second hand. Still a bargain at US$30.

Prior to disassembly the biggest question was: Will the keyboard unit be RIVETED or SCREWED onto the aluminium enclosure? Luckily, it was screwed, about 60-70 tiny little screws (all the same size, Philips 000 screwdriver did the job nicely).
Careful though: I have heard reports about other MBPs being riveted! Not sure which models/years...

Overall, the repair was fairly straight-forward. The only REAL nightmare was to put the keyboard ribbon cable back into its slot. (Step 17 here:
http://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Installing+MacBook+Pro+15-Inch+Unibody+Late+2011+Upper+Case/7532/3

The only cosmetic problem I've got now is the backlight display: in the centre it's nice and bright - on the outsides it's incredibly dim.
Maybe I wasn't careful enough when I put the backlight foil back onto the acrylic backing. (There's tiny little holes in the acrylic for the backlight LEDs).

Other than that: Very happy to have saved myself from purchasing AppleCare a while ago. And I now know two things:

1) Disassembly is not as hard as it seems.
2) Thanks to the backlight display backing, the motherboard is fairly well-protected from water spillages. As long as you turn the laptop upside down to dry out, things should be fine in most cases!

Hope this helps!!
 

Brian Y

macrumors 68040
Oct 21, 2012
3,631
775
Hi,

Just wanted to let you know I have just succesfully replaced the keyboard unit on my late 2011 MBP (15" model). Water-spillage, so didn't even try warranty. That said: none of the liquid sensors had been triggered!

The keyboard unit I bought off ebay was declared as "100% brand new", however it had VERY clear marks on the back, so defintiely second hand. Still a bargain at US$30.

Prior to disassembly the biggest question was: Will the keyboard unit be RIVETED or SCREWED onto the aluminium enclosure? Luckily, it was screwed, about 60-70 tiny little screws (all the same size, Philips 000 screwdriver did the job nicely).
Careful though: I have heard reports about other MBPs being riveted! Not sure which models/years...

Overall, the repair was fairly straight-forward. The only REAL nightmare was to put the keyboard ribbon cable back into its slot. (Step 17 here:
http://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Installing+MacBook+Pro+15-Inch+Unibody+Late+2011+Upper+Case/7532/3

The only cosmetic problem I've got now is the backlight display: in the centre it's nice and bright - on the outsides it's incredibly dim.
Maybe I wasn't careful enough when I put the backlight foil back onto the acrylic backing. (There's tiny little holes in the acrylic for the backlight LEDs).

Other than that: Very happy to have saved myself from purchasing AppleCare a while ago. And I now know two things:

1) Disassembly is not as hard as it seems.
2) Thanks to the backlight display backing, the motherboard is fairly well-protected from water spillages. As long as you turn the laptop upside down to dry out, things should be fine in most cases!

Hope this helps!!
Yeah, it's an easy-ish repair - just painstaking with all those screws!!!

And you're right about the rivets - the non-unibody aluminium MacBook Pro keyboards are held on with a combination of rivets, screws and tape (I swear those machines are held together with tape though!).
 

Beliblis

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 31, 2011
207
6
Are you sure it's just the non-unibody machines that have rivets? On eBay I've seen offers for screws only, to replace rivets. Though that would be a REAL pain to drill out all the rivets, then out threads into place... when, really, replacing a keyboard unit on non-unibodys is a piece of cake anyway...
 

Grahf85

macrumors newbie
Sep 21, 2015
13
0
I just replaced my early 2011 macbook pro keyboard. The backlight is behaving the same was you describe on your macbook. Did you ever find a solution?
 
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