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Corsair Strafe Keyboard has certain keys not working after small water spillage

This is a discussion on Corsair Strafe Keyboard has certain keys not working after small water spillage within the Other Hardware Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. Spilled a small amount of water over the bottom right corner of my Corsair Strafe keyboard. Switched it off and


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Old 06-28-2018, 12:33 PM   #1
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Spilled a small amount of water over the bottom right corner of my Corsair Strafe keyboard. Switched it off and turned it on its end and a little water drained out of it. Let it dry for 3 days but once switched on certain keys failed to operate, namely both zero's, full-stop, return and the P key. All others working ok. Stripped the keyboard down and it was completely dry inside and no water marks or visible damage. Cleaned the back of the PCB with Isopropyl Alcohol only where it looked a little dirty.
Tested all mechanical switches for continuity with a multi-meter. All working. Next with a wire I tried powering those keys that weren't working by joining the wire from the positive of the key next to it. This makes the key work again but it takes on the letter of the key that is powering it somehow? This happens with all of the keys that were not working, so if I take the power from the hash key to power the return key that key now also becomes the hash key.
I know nothing of how a keyboard assigns each key but I am guessing it has an onboard processor?
I am guessing my keyboard is past repair? Has anyone any other solutions or does anyone know why the wrong letter is being assigned to each key that isn't working?
Any help appreciated. I'm just exhausting all possibilities before buying a new keyboard.
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Old 06-28-2018, 01:31 PM   #2
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Not for gaming, but for older computers, Ive bought recommended and used a $10.00 keyboard from Big Lots with no problems ∴ I never thought about what makes the keyboard work.
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Old 06-28-2018, 02:38 PM   #3
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The main problem with spilling electrically conductive liquids inside of electronic equipment is they allow electrical currents to travel across unintended paths. This can *immediately* cause damage to the electronic components that those improper currents traveled through. In order to find out exactly what was damaged and where would require proper testing equipment, as well as the knowledge required to use the equipment and perform the tests . . . the cost of which could far and away exceed the cost of pallet loads of replacement keyboards. :(
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Old 06-28-2018, 05:45 PM   #4
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You might want to chalk that up to the "life of hard knocks" and bite the bullet and buy another keyboard.
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Old 06-29-2018, 01:43 AM   #5
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The challenge with water damage of electronic components, you never know where the water crept in unless it takes a few days and oxidation kicks in, you'd see some white/bluish coating which you might have to clean, run a hair dryer to remove any trace water/moisture.. Chances are the pads/dots/holes which act like connectors may have lost connection, so the hole/pad runs through the board, i'd typically test this connectivity using a multi meter, if that does not have a connection, I'd strip the winding wire from an old motor, remove the sleeve, run it through that hole and solder both ends..

The keys connections are like a grid/matrix (from my experience with servicing cell phones) so A1 A2 A3 etc... followed by B1 B2 B3.. and so on... The usual way of connecting the grid, all As Bs 1s 2s 3s etc are connected with a single connector/pcb line/trace whatever you want to call it..

So if you need to fix key B2, you need to connect one part to the main trace on Bs (which are connected) and the other part to the 2s(which are connected) this will help complete the grid of the key...Usually the keypad outer rings are connected with a single line and the inner dots to their own line.. So test the connectivity of a single Row/column and you should be able to figure out which one goes where.. Hope this made sense to you.. once you figure out the matrix you can fix most keypads, my best guess is that the Keyboard works in the same fashion as well, so as long as you figure out the matrix, you can fix the keys...
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Old 06-29-2018, 07:24 AM   #6
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Thank you all for your answers. I think the keyboard is past repair but you have given me a glimmer of hope tristar by describing how you expect the keyboard is wired up on the PCB through its traces. I will have a last ditch attempt at connecting the positive terminal of different keys, to different parts of the keyboard in the hope that somewhere I will be on the right part of the circuit so that when the key (one that wasn't working) is depressed it will type the right key.

You've all made good points about how water ruins the PCB; there is only a small gap between the PCB and the case bottom. Although I have cleaned the face of the PCB and have found no discoloration or water marks on it, it isn't possible to see or clean between the back of the PCB and the metal chassis. The only way to view that side would be to de-solder every key and then un-slot the PCB & metal chassis from each other.
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Old 06-30-2018, 06:54 AM   #7
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The keyboard is fixable. You were right tristar. I carried on testing with my wire held on the positive post of a key not working and went through holding the other end of the wire on each key on the keyboard. 99% of the time I still got the effect of the key powering on but it then taking on the key the wire was being held onto. However I came to the Plus Key above the bottom right Enter and the first key that was not working suddenly became what it was meant to be. Strangely enough this Plus Key became the only one that makes every key that isn't working into its rightful key. How I don't know?
My next step is to solder a joining wire from the Plus Key to all of the keys not working. I haven't soldered into a PCB before but I have been watching instructional videos on it.
I think the best way is for one wire to be soldered into the positive of the Plus Key and then to join all of the connections from each wire from each key that didn't work before. I expect they have to have to have shrink wrap around them where the join is.
I was ready to scrap this keyboard and I expect most people would. Thank you very much tristar for your help. It was well worth posting on this forum, as I have found many time in the past.
Would you like to leave this post open until I solder the wires in? I have to order materials online first.
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Old 06-30-2018, 07:01 AM   #8
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Cool.

And yes, post a picture or two when done?
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Old 06-30-2018, 09:15 AM   #9
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I think you are on your way but a few of you sort of missed the point and "tech no" was nice enough not to say it, but this is a $100 keyboard, not a $10 keyboard and well worth the effort to try to fix it!
https://www.amazon.com/CORSAIR-STRAF.../dp/B00ZUPOMDQ
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Old 07-02-2018, 12:49 AM   #10
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Good to see I instilled some hope.... Like Rich says, it's a $100 keyboard, I'd try to squeeze any and every step possible to revive it..This post will be open as long as some activity is there :) So do keep us posted with some regular updates.. Digging deeper, here's another analysis...

The Matrix could be connected in series, A1--A2--A3 and such, for the sake of argument, if A1 is the '+' key chances are other keys sequential in this series will not work if there is a break in trace between A1-A2 thereby rendering A3/A4 unusable..

Instead of pulling a lead from A1 ('+') and running it to each of the other keys, I'd rather figure out if the sequence A2--A3--A4 are still having a connection and just solder one lead connecting the A1('+') to the existing A2--A3--A4... Connection and you should be good to go... The challenge is figuring out the matrix..instead of soldering on the gold contact use the small pad/dot/hole to perform your soldering, my guess is, one of those holes has lost contact... figure that out, use a very thin stripped copper lead, pass it through, scrape the ends of the pad/dot/hole(s) and solder them both ends, you should have a working keyboard and we'll get beers from you :P
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Old 07-10-2018, 01:35 PM   #11
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Sorry I haven't been in touch recently. I have been trying to order the right soldering gear, not having a clue myself, so I have been getting advice from online electronic companies. I have ordered a Hakko FX888D soldering station and a D16 Tip, Rosin Flux Solder, De-solder Braid etc. The hard bit for me is doing the job but you have to start somewhere. Hopefully this will lead to other repairs of this kind.

Thank you Rich-M for pointing out that it is an expensive keyboard and well worth saving.

tristar, if the keyboard has some kind of matrix system the keys that are not working are not connected to any matrix now. You have guessed that the water has damaged the traces on the PCB and I am sure you are right. However, visually even with a magnifying glass the PCB looks perfect. I have scrubbed the surface of the PCB, with a soft nylon brush, with Iso-Propyl Alcohol but it has made no difference.

My plan is to de-solder each positive post on each key that isn't working using a solder sucker and then de-solder braid. I was going to use either alarm cable (a single insulated wire) or telephone landline cable (a single insulated wire). I was then going to re-solder the positive terminals of the keys not working with the small wire attached to each, other end of each wire left free for now. Lastly re-solder the Big Positive Key (above Enter). I was then going to join all of the free ends together and solder them together with lastly heat shrink around them. These soldered ends would stick up into a free space above the PCB and under the top plastic casing.

Please let me know if this is an OK way to solder the wires. I have attached 2 photos to show you what the PCB is like before soldering and how the red, metal chassis is attached. All of the keys fit through the chassis before being soldered to the PCB when the keyboard was made.

I cannot find any matrix. I used a fine test wire that was held on one key that wasn't working at a time and went through every key on the keyboard. This was repeated for every key not working. There is only one key that makes the key not working its letter or number that it is meant to be and that is the big + symbol, above Enter. Every other key makes the key that isn't working the same key that the test wire is held on. I hope this makes sense.

There are no holes on the PCB to pass the wire through tristar unless I de-solder first. I have provided the photo of the PCB in case you can see something I have missed. You cannot pass the wires over the red chassis as it would show with the illuminated keyboard.

Any advice will be welcomed. Thank you.
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Old 07-10-2018, 02:35 PM   #12
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My keyboard at the time of purchase was $179....it's not about price, it's about water/liquid damage and the severity of it.

Obviously by teh no last post there's some significant water damage. What seems to be the only way to fix it is to jerry rig it as he is doing. If he gets it to work...well then great. If not he has the satisfaction of trying.

That said there's 2 options that I see he can take if the jerry rigging doesn't work, 1 is to replace the PCB if it can be replaced or 2 buy a new keyboard.
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Old 07-11-2018, 11:52 PM   #13
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I think at this point, you might need to remove the board from the below unit, this will help you identify if there is any oxidation on the rear of the board. I'm unable to locate the + key, any chance you can provide a blown up picture of the area around the + key with the key centered (or a red arrow or circle or something as a highlight) ?

Also, can you post a blown up picture of the rear side of the board with the contacts of the + key centered ?
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Old 07-12-2018, 08:22 AM   #14
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I believe these (yellow circles) would be the + key locations:
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Old 07-12-2018, 10:04 AM   #15
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I've used pencil erasers to get rid of oxidation on contacts a few times.
In many cases the problem isn't with the contacts on the board, but on the moving part, underside of key or the membrane.
If the liquid was sweetened, it will often form an insulating 'skin' on the contacts.
Don't go nuts on the erasing, especially if the contacts are the black carbon-ink types.
Mechanical pencils with the small diameter erasers work well for close quarters.

I'm the type that fixes stuff all the time, not so much to save money, but simply for the enjoyment or the challenge of doing it.
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Old 07-12-2018, 12:20 PM   #16
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tristar, the PCB is completely removed from its casing, it was just resting on the lower casing. Sorry about the poor quality photos, I have taken a lot more which I will be posting very soon. There was no oxidation, verdigris, staining or marks of any kind on the Soldered side of the PCB. Only thing I could find was a little rust up the other end from the water damage on a steel post that has been soldered on to. Please see photo of this. The red plate, where each Cherry MX switch clips into is made of steel. It is rolled over at every edge so I cannot inspect the other side of the PCB unless everything on the PCB is de-soldered. You will see this in my photos. The red plate slots into the PCB sideways before its soldered during manufacture. You will see the red steel lugs that poke through the PCB and slot into it. I have provided photos of the big + key (above Enter, bottom right hand side), that makes all of the keys work, ringed around in red and a photo of all of the keys that have stopped working, again ringed around in red.

SpywareDr. you are spot on with your green circles. It's only the bigger + key over the Enter that makes the keys work though.

Thank you for the information kendalt, that is very interesting about your methods of removing oxidation. I did clean the whole PCB with Iso-Propyl Alcohol but it looks exactly the same as it did when it was first stripped.

I have always been very keen to fix anything that is broken and have a passion for it. It's why I became a mechanical engineer. It's like kendalt says, it's for the enjoyment and challenge too.

Thank you for your input too bassfisher6522.

Please let me know, any of you electronic engineers, if my idea for fixing the keyboard and my methods for de-soldering the positive posts, on the keys not working, is right. I have my soldering station at the ready. It's just knowing how to use it
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Old 07-12-2018, 12:22 PM   #17
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Further photos.
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Old 07-12-2018, 12:29 PM   #18
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The black plastic flap, top left corner of PCB, covers a micro switch. Does anyone know what the switch triggers? It must trigger when you remove the PCB.

Holding the micro-switch in whilst testing doesn't change anything.

The USB socket still works.
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Old 07-13-2018, 02:10 AM   #19
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So the last pic, which has the red circles are all keys which are not working ?

Sorry, my laptop is limited to a crappy 1366 resolution, so even if I blow up, I have to really strain my eyes to follow the trace.

Let's start with the 4 keys to the right...

Use a multi meter, check the connectivity between each of those switches, check all the left ones first and see if you can find a pattern, do the same for the right side.
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Old 07-13-2018, 04:14 AM   #20
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Hi tristar

Yes all of the keys with a red ring around them don't work.

I have a multimeter but can you talk me through where to place the probes that you have asked me to test as I am a beginner in electronics.

I think I need to use the continuity test setting between the keys not working. Do I just test positive to positive or positive to negative on the key posts?

Sorry for asking what must seem basic to you and others.
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