How is the keyboard replaced?
Is it possible to replace a balky keyboard, and if so, how is it done? Thanks!
I've done three of the 15" keyboards now. The 15" have screws but the 13" uses rivets and cannot be done. When looking for a replacement, be sure to get one with the bottom black plastic, the layer of white plastic and the clear plastic layer. I use an electric screwdriver to remove all the screws. I can now do a keyboard in a little over an hour. A novice will probably need two and half hours to do it carefully. Now the question becomes (after rebuilding the machine, another hour), will it work? I prefer to just use a new part.
To replace the keyboards one needs to completely replace the upper case as its part of the assembly. Review this IFIXIT guide MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Early 2011 Upper Case Replacement. In addition you will need to take the battery out as well (the guide fails to point that out).
While some people have managed to get the keyboard assembly alone to replace their damaged one its a lot of work as you have to deal with aprox 50 screws and/or rivets or both taking them out and you tend to break the snap rivets so you'll need to replace them with the correct screws.
Your other option here is first trying to clean the key mechanism under the key cap. Follow this YouTube vid Taking the Keycap off
Often a small blast of can'ed air will move away any crumbs, a cotton swab (Q-Tip) with some distilled water - moistened not wet (don't use tap water either) will dissolve any sugary junk (soda). And if needed use a cotton swab with some Isopropyl alcohol (85% or better) for anything else and to act as a dryer for the water.
I've changed just the keyboard several times. As long as there are screws you are gold. If its riveted in you are better off with a new upper case. I would also recommend buying a keyboard that comes with the keyboard backlight as it is possible you will rip it trying to pull the original backlight up. I would say this is a very difficult repair. You are going to have to completely disassemble the computer to do this. Good Luck!
I've taken a Macbook Aluminum model down to the bare frame, so I trust I may be up to this fix. Probably will try the key cleaning tips first! Thank you all for sharing your experiences & invaluable wisdom. : ))