How long do keyboards last?

w1retap

[H]F Junkie
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Jul 17, 2006
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Membrane -- those usually get dirty and need to be cleaned where the plunger hits. Really old membranes can degrade, requiring replacement.
Mechanical -- switches can get dirty inside and need to be cleaned as well. Mechanical failures can occur, but I haven't ever had it happen.

That said, I have a few really old keyboards that still work 100% to this day. Amiga 500 keyboard, Amiga 4000 keyboard, Siig Suntouch, Siig Minitouch, etc.

Some of the cheaper gaming membrane keyboards I had from the early 2000's failed in relatively short order, within 5 years and wouldn't register key presses anymore, even with cleaning.

I have some "modern" mechanical keyboards that had 5-10 years of use and still all work 100%. They are by Ducky and Deck. All my other modern mechanical keyboards built within the past 3 years are DIY built from kits or parts and are 100% working. (YC96, Reviung39, Mercutio, Romeo, Daisy, MJ64, Pain27, etc)

Really, there isn't much with electrolytic capacitors that need replacing -- everything is solid state on the PCB and should last a long time, considering no ESD and manufacturing defects. They can easily be repaired too.
 
Joined
Feb 6, 2020
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Depends on the user. I have a membrane keyboard i got for free back when i ordered parts and its been 15yrs+, still works fine. I got a mech keyboard now and it should last a while too.
 

zandor

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Dec 14, 2002
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I had a key switch die on an IBM Model M. It was built in the '80s and was over 30 at the time. I have another one from the mid '90s I'm still using.
 

Domingo

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One thing I've learned over the last month is that coffee spills are equally effective at killing cheap keyboards and expensive ones. Just got a new kitten who loves charging at people holding coffee mugs.

My wife's stock Dell KB (mesh) lost 1/2 her keys almost instantly. This morning the same thing happened to me and my G613's CTRL, Win Key, Alt, and (randomly "G") fire off at will or act like they're being permanently held down. I powered this thing off immediately and cleaned it really well with electronics cleaner to no avail. I have a G915 incoming that I'm going to guard with my life. Been wanting one for years and this was excuse enough to finally pull the trigger. Hopefully I won't have to mute myself on Teams calls now.
 
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Ripskin

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Jan 15, 2004
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I used membranes at work for a while as sharing nasty crappy Dell keyboards was not fun... went through them every 1 to 2 years. Did replace with a Corsair K90 that never failed me in the 4 or 5 I used it.

I Bought the G15 when it released and used it solid until I bought the 910 Spark when it came out. Or within a year of it coming out but I am still using it. Cherry switches are so loud and even the browns on the K90 I got are too heavy. The roamer g's are more my style being fairly quiet and not needing much to press so I have been able to dial back my hard typing a lot. Better on my fingers and on the keyboards.

When Covid sent me home for work I just switched to using the laptop keyboard so the Corsair is in the corner if I ever go back to the office lol. I have a few keys on the laptop that are not as responsive as they used to be but softening my presses has made a huge difference.

A good keyboard with reasonable usage can last a really long time as those with the older boards from the 90's are attesting to.
 

cpufrost

Limp Gawd
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Sep 28, 2020
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344
A really long time.
However, as others have stated, the worst thing one can do is eat or drink near one!
You can really tell how clean a person is by looking at their keyboard, especially if they've had it for a few years in an office environment!
 

MRAB54

Gawd
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Sep 9, 2001
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852
depends on build quality and how you use/treat them. I have a k/b from the mid90s that works just fine still, ps2 of course.
edit: it says "designed for win95" on it but no date.
edit 2: and its micron branded?! not sure if its the old oem or the ram guys....
Good 'ol ps2. I still believe the ps2 ball mice were superior to optical/laser mice for fps gaming. Not sarcastic at all - when you pick up an optical mouse to move, the pointer moves ever so slightly when it is actually in the air. That didn't happen with ball mice. I actually bought a 5 pack of ball mice back when they were going out of style lol.

Back on track, I don't think I've ever had a keyboard stop working.
 

Darunion

Supreme [H]ardness
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Oct 6, 2010
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4,408
I had a zboard merc keyboard die, think i got about 9 years out of it. the controller crapped out on me. Actually was my favorite keyboard but never missed a keystroke that entire time.
 

slavie

Limp Gawd
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Jan 2, 2012
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I have actually experienced a key failure on a mechanical keyboard in ~4 years of usage: the Ctrl key started glitching up, sometimes not working. It was a Rosewill keyboard with off-brand switches, and I would venture to call that part of the reason. Undeterred, I took it apart, desoldered the Ctrl swith and swapped it with Scroll-Lock button switch (don't remember ever using that button, lol), and the keyboard is still working to this day.

I also have a membrane Logitech keyboard I got in like 2004 or something (bought it refurb, lol). Used it for maybe 8 years or so, never an issue. Replaced because it was white and yellowed over the years, and I just wanted something new.

Managed to kill a laptop keyboard. Spilled liquids on my IBM ThinkPad keyboard a few times. It was back in the day when ThinkPad keyboards had drainage channels (with corresponding drainage channels in the docking station). It drained fine, just some keys got sticky. Finally managed to kill it when beer spilled into the keyboard connector area that was not waterproofed. Had to buy a new keypad, which was not cheap, but laptop worked great.
Also, killed an on-off switch slider on a wireless Logitech Keyboard. Still works, just that I have to take batteries out if I ever need to turn it off (to sync with receiver, for example)
 

pitingres

Limp Gawd
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Jul 25, 2018
Messages
265
I've been using one of those Apple "aluminum" keyboards (full-size) as my primary keyboard for 11 years. The Shift key is starting to stick a bit and I might look around for a new one.
 

Domingo

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I've been using one of those Apple "aluminum" keyboards (full-size) as my primary keyboard for 11 years. The Shift key is starting to stick a bit and I might look around for a new one.

At my old office, we got 3 Macs with those keyboards when they first went on sale. All of 'em are still working fine. For that matter, the Macs are, too. If I wasn't a gamer, I'd probably just go that route myself.
 
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