How do I fix membrane keys?


19 Apr 2021, 11:32

I've recently received an Olivetti ANK27-102 from Ebay and the space bar along with the B and N keys have stopped working after some use. It was working briefly a couple of times but then suddenly decides not to. I've checked the ribbon connector inside and noticed scratches on the contacts, so I snipped the worn parts off for fresh ones to be used. Still no improvement. The PCB is sandwiched together with the membrane and the capacitive sheet so I can't clean the actual contacts themselves if that's what the issue is. Does anyone have any ideas on how to fix this? I still have yet to give into the idea that the keyboard is simply near the end of its lifespan because the switches feel so good on it and every other key works fine.

I've thought about dousing it with isoproyl alcohol but I want some more professional advice on how to potentially fix this issue.
Thanks in advance!

User avatar

19 Apr 2021, 21:19

Like this?


There is no capsense PCB in there. Membranes are a cheaper implementation. The best thing to do is open it up and clean it out! But if there are plastic rivets in the way (like IBM rather evilly put in the Model M) then you’re looking at something like a bolt mod.

I wouldn’t just douse it in a fluid. Membranes aren’t the toughest things—they feel like sheets of celluloid—and the metal traces on them are weaker yet. Don’t dissolve them.


19 Apr 2021, 21:29

Membrane trace repair is already a pain in the ass, and it looks like that assembly is plastic riveted shut, so imo it is absolutely not worth trying to fix unless you have a sentimental attachment to the keyboard.

User avatar

19 Apr 2021, 21:38

Oh god. You have the same situation I had. I too own an Olivetti ANK 27-102 N that had dirty/burnt tracers. See, the slider barrels aren't simply one piece like other manufacturers made them, no, Olivetti made them separate so they individually hold the membrane sandwich together. What I had to subsequently do was break all the plastic rivets to get to the membrane and clean it. Then I had to put it back together by superglueing the barrels back to the metal plate.


But hey! At least it works now. You might be a little less ghetto than me and actually take the time to bolt them back on, but that would take hours.


19 Apr 2021, 22:50

"Siri, add "NEVER BUY AN OLIVETTI" to my to-do list."

User avatar

21 Apr 2021, 00:22

micmil wrote:
19 Apr 2021, 22:50
"Siri, add "NEVER BUY AN OLIVETTI" to my to-do list."
I mean... at least its a robust design and the Olivetti aesthetic is pretty unique. But yeah, it's a bastard to service and repair :lol:

Post Reply

Return to “Keyboards”