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How to fix a bulging keyboard on the Dell Studio 15 (1535/1536)

Written By: James Rintamaki on March 16, 2009 16 Comments

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Just like the keyboard bulge on the Dell XPS M1330, I recently bought a (refurbished) Dell Studio 15 to find that it suffers from the same bulge/flex issue.  Just like the M1330, it has to do with the WiFi cable not sitting in it’s ‘designated groove’ in the chassis.  What you need to do to fix it is just simply push the cables back into the ‘grooved’ chassis, and that should fix most of your bulging/flexing issues! 

 

To do this, you can either follow the Dell Service manual of removing the keyboard and then putting the cable where it needs to go, or follow along below:

 

First, you’ll need to flip over the laptop, remove the battery, and remove the Center Control Cover by first removing these two screws:

1_flip

Then, flip it back over and open the screen as far back as it will go.  Starting from the back of the laptop (closest to the screen), carefully pry up the center control panel (imagine the dotted red line is a hinge) while being aware there is a small cable attached to it, so once it’s loose, so don’t go pulling the panel too far away from the laptop!

2_removepanel

Once the control panel is loose, you can just ‘fold it back’ and lay it flat on the keyboard (the next picture shows that I mean by ‘laying it flat’).  The Dell manual says to disconnect the cable attached to it, but I was afraid of damaging the connector, so I never did that (there’s enough slack to do what needs to be done for this task). 

Now, you’ll want to remove the 2 screws holding the keyboard down:

3_remove_screws

And then pry away the black plastic trim around the keyboard (it should be relatively easy to take off – no screws, just pull it off, starting at one corner and work your way around).   Then, just simply pull the keyboard off (you may need to slide it towards the screen a centimeter or two, and it may feel like it’s stuck – that’s just because there’s sticky pads underneath the keyboard):

4_flipkeyboard

Now if your Studio 15 was like mine, you can instantly see at least one (major) cause for the bulge – the thick (and taped) wifi cable is not sitting in it’s groove (which is shown by the dotted line):

5_groove

If you have the masking tape on yours, remove it, and then guide the cable into it’s groove.  I went ahead and took the eraser side of a pencil and used that to press further down the metal tabs (marked by the red arrows below):

6_fixed

Finally, put everything back on in reverse order, and you should now have a less bulging keyboard on your Dell Studio 15!

7_keyboard

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16 Responses to “How to fix a bulging keyboard on the Dell Studio 15 (1535/1536)”

  1. Stephen on: 17 March 2009 at 3:51 am

    Hey James,

    It’s interesting to stumble upon your post the next day you have written it. I was googling for “dell studio 15 keyboard bulge” and found yours. Mine is a brand new one and it also has the same problem! (not a very good first buying experience from Dell) I wonder if I should try your trick or try returning it back to Dell (wondering if I do it myself would it void my warranty?)

    Nonetheless, it is a nice write up about the fix. I will post back after I decided to fix it according to your suggestions.

    Stephen

  2. James Rintamaki on: 17 March 2009 at 8:23 am

    @Stephen, wow, good timing! Yah, as I mentioned in the post, I’ve not only had this issue with this laptop but also with the M1330 [it really upset me after spending like $1000+ when the m1330 first came out, the keyboard had a noticeable bulge!]. However, in reality, it’s not TOO hard of a fix. Also, this will not void your warranty (as long as you don’t break anything of course, haha). Do keep me posted if your wifi cable is the same way [assuming you go ahead with it!]

  3. bags jones on: 27 March 2009 at 9:31 am

    good job this works perfectly

  4. Gabriel on: 5 April 2009 at 10:26 am

    Just fixed the bulge issue and wanted to thank you for instructions. I got scared for a bit when the white cable from the media control panel came out but then looking at your pictures was easy to figure out where it goes.
    It’s interesting how Dell designed the right path for the wifi cable but they don’t use it. Probably to save few seconds (hence few cents…) at assembly.
    Once again thank you for your guide.

    PS.I wish there was a reliable one for installing XP on this machine.

  5. James Rintamaki on: 5 April 2009 at 10:37 am

    @Gabriel,

    I, too, am afraid the little cables in laptops will break. When I was upgrading the memory in my acer aspire one, I broke the connector that the keyboard cable connected to!

    And I hear you about installing xp! – It’s been nothing but a pain trying to do so! I’ve got everything working now except for the fingerprint reader and microphones (haven’t tried HDMI audio yet).

    (oh yah, and it turns out that I don’t think this is actually the wifi cable, and rather the cable that connects the LCD to the motherboard…or something else, haha)

  6. George on: 10 April 2009 at 9:29 pm

    MAN OH MAN THANK YOU!!!!!!! I DID YOUR WONDERFUL PROCEDURE BUT I PULLED TO HARD WHEN I TOOK THE KEYBOARD OFF, AND THE CABLES DISCONNECTED. I GOT TERRIEFIED BECAUSE MY DAD JUST SPENT $900 ON IT, AND I THOUGHT I BROKE THE KEYBOARD. BUT I TOOK MY TIME AND FIGURED OUT WHERE THEY GO AND HOW. AND NOW NO MORE BULDGE AND MY KEYBOARD WORKS, BECAUSE IM TYPING WITH IT RIGHT NOW!!!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH BECAUSE THAT BULDGE WAS A GREAT INCONVINECE!!

  7. Ben on: 26 April 2009 at 2:09 pm

    Though apparently, your CAPS LOCK is stuck in the ‘locked’ position.
    Seriously, thank you for this post. I don’t have the buldging keyboard problem, but I have blown speakers and needed to remove the keyboard to get to the connector. Thank you for showing me the way.

  8. Ira on: 10 June 2009 at 9:46 pm

    hey – thanks for posting this…been struggling all day long with my keyboard, and it just kept getting worse until it was almost useless. this solved the issue.

  9. Katie on: 23 June 2009 at 1:57 pm

    Thanks ever so much! I’d been procrastinating since I bought my laptop in February on fixing this (partly because I wasn’t sure how), but your directions were clear, concise and very helpful. Mine had the wire partially within the channel (at the very end) but was above the tabs in the middle and at the other end. But now the keyboard’s nice and level.

  10. Julian on: 14 July 2009 at 10:02 pm

    Hi my name is Julian, and today i was fixing a Dell Studio 1536, the costumer complain that the keyboard doesn’t work, so after i checked it i found out that many keys didn’t work, so i follow the James steps, but everything was fine, except i unplug the keyboard cable and plug it back fix the problem, so good luck to all.

    J.

  11. Faizan on: 18 September 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Hey… i m having problem with my dell studio screen. its has become a little wobbly. there is some play in it. can u please post the procedure do correct that. I will be so gr8full if u can do so.. thanking in advance :D

  12. lengvenis on: 19 November 2009 at 3:32 am

    hi it helps me tx. but can anyone show how to remove cd rom from this laptop whait answer tx.

  13. jan on: 19 February 2010 at 1:49 pm

    HI , I need the image of the Power cable connection to power button images .
    My power cable Board wiring is broken .

    STUDIO 1535 1537 POWER BUTTON BOARD & WIRELESS BOARD wiring broke

  14. sabah on: 1 June 2010 at 12:01 am

    HI,

    can anyone email me the pictures of dell studio 15 , which is damaged from the based or body damage.

    As i have bought the dell studio year ago, but came to usa for study and gave that laptop to my lil sis but she has accidentally thrown it. I have the insurance on it, but i m away and cant get the pictures as i told my mum to do but she is nt tech savvy at all. its hard for her to use internet and any device.

    I just need a few images to email to concerned department. i thought it will be bit easy fr me.

    Plz forward me if have by chance- at
    the100rub@gmail.com

    thanks
    sabah

  15. mrcanmandoo on: 29 July 2010 at 6:32 pm

    can anyone help me with removing my dvd player from dell studio laptop?

  16. Eddie on: 24 December 2010 at 12:09 pm

    I have a friend that brought me there laptop to repair, Its a dell studio laptop and the problem is that they dropped the laptop and the laptop no longer powers on, I checked to see what was going on and the problem is that some wires got broke. The wiring that goes to the power button are still attached to the button but only about an inch of the wires are there and I don’t see where they would go to on the board so I can repair the broken wires.. Anyone have a schematic or have any idea where the power wires go?

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