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Early 2011 Model: A1278 / 2.3 GHz i5 or 2.7 GHz i7 processor

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P key not working after keyboard replacement

My MacBook Pro 13" Unibody Early 2011 had some water damage to the keyboard that caused the space bar to stop working, so I just replaced the keyboard with iFixit's replacement part, using the guide here: MacBook Pro 13" Unibody Mid 2010 Keyboard Replacement. After starting the system back up, all of the keys were working EXCEPT for the "P" key. Initially, it worked a few times if I pressed hard enough, but eventually it stopped working entirely.

During the replacement, I lost of of the 67 keyboard screws, so I reassembled it with all but one screw. I am not sure if this missing screw could cause issues with one key not working, but I thought I'd mention it.

I have tried re-seating the keyboard cable several times, and this doesn't seem to make a difference. I have also checked under the keycap for any obstructions, but it's clean.

Any ideas of what could be causing this? All of the other keys surrounding the P work fine. I can tear the system down again to remove the keyboard if necessary, if that would be helpful for diagnosis.

@danj Edited to add photos. Other than the old one looking absolutely disgusting, I don't see any differences that would explain the issue.

Old keyboard:

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New keyboard:

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@prwood - If you carefully lift off the rubber cap you'll find it has a carbon area on the bottom, see if you swap them over from a goo key from your old keyboard if that fixes things also inspire the two surfaces the carbon disk area shorts across for debris preventing the contacts closure.


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Where did you get the keyboard? To me it sounds like you may have just gotten a defective keyboard.

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@prwood - So only that one key? or a row or column of keys. grab your old keyboard and carefully lift off the KeyCap so you can see how it fits together. Then carefully pull off the installed KeyCap to see if something is missing or not seated correctly. I've seen a few keyboards where the rubber cap was missing.


Only that one key. Every other key on the keyboard works. I took it apart and it has all the necessary bits - the rubber cap, the plastic hinged bit, and the contact on the board itself. Nothing visibly different from any of the other keys next to it.

Could it be an issue with the keyboard ribbon cable? If it had a nick in it, could it affect that one key? Or could it possibly be the traces on the board for that key were faulty?

I’ve stripped everything down again and am going to try reassembling again just in case I missed something the first time around. Still not sure if that missing screw was critical - it wasn’t next to the P key but was one key over.


I will double check the key against the old keyboard, though.


@prwood - That was why I asked if other keys where effected. So it’s not the cable.


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