OLPC Help: Replacing the XO Laptop Keyboard

   
   
   
   
   

Have you experienced the "sticky keyboard" issues that plagued the G1G1 XO laptops from OLPC? Did you RMA your laptop and then wait with bated breath for a replacement XO to appear on your door?


Hacking the XO form factor

Fools! You should have gone Constructionist learning like a 5-year old girl in Nigeria and built your own XO laptop hospital . Or you could be cool like Jacob Rose and upgrade your keyboard with a random USB keyboard.

Jacob was frustrated by his X0's keyboard issues and dreamed of a normal keycaps-and-springs type USB keyboard. Yet unlike me, he was not afraid of radical surgery to achieve his dream of squeezing a new keyboard into the lower half of the X0 case:

Radical surgery to the lower half of the XO is necessary, so your OLPC will never be the same if you do this. I did it because I had too many Dremel wheels on my hands and my XO was so much more convenient to cut holes in than my neighbor's car. Who wants to mess with an extension cord and the potential for bad weather? Also because my XO's keyboard failed -- the Ctrl key got stuck -- after the 30 day warranty period had already ended.
Over on Instructables, Jacob has two lengthy HowTo articles giving us the step-by-step of XO keyboard replacement:
  1. Phase I: Installing a USB Keyboard
  2. Phase II: Finishing the USB Keyboard Install
But don’t be confused by Jacob's efforts. He many be happier with a USB keyboard, but he gives great credit to the XO laptop keyboard designers:
I really love the design of the XO's soft green keyboard. There's no Caps Lock key, which is brilliant, it gives you access to all kinds of useful (and fun) extended characters, and the Sugar interface keys simply look cool. I will probably have mine framed, now that I'm not using it.
If I ever stop using my XO, I'll be framing the whole laptop - as a testament to the dream as much as the reality of clock-stopping hot educational technology it represents.

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3 Comments

Genius!

Can you also put up a movie on Youtube of you typing? It's hard to tell how big those mini keyboards are.

i have one of those keyboards. it's _very_ small. remember -- it fits in the same space as the OLPC keyboard. there are more pictures here:

http://www.cyberguys.com/templates/SearchDetail.asp?productID=6083

it's so small that there's only one shift key. (!)

but the key action is quite nice for such a tiny thing. and unlike the XO keyboard, my fingers fit on the keys.

I need to find the guy who is doing this and pay him to do mine. I have an XO that my son peeled all the keys off of. I like the idea of having normal sized keys on the board, I'm just not comfortable doing the work myself. Any help?

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