Replacing the keyboard on the Clevo N151CU / Lafité IV / System76 Darter Pro / Entroware Proteus

After three years of constant abuse, my once pristine laptop keyboard now looks like this:

Keyboard with worn out letters.

My options were:

  1. Ignore it.
  2. Scrape off all the paint and replace with translucent stickers.
  3. Buy a new keyboard.

Even if I were happy with the aesthetic of a hard-worn keyboard (I wasn't) the flaking paint just didn't feel nice under my fingers. I also figured that scraping the paint further risked damaging the keyboard.

So new toy time! One of the problems of buying non-mainstream tech is that there is a dearth of components and 3rd party accessories. I found a few Ali-Baba sellers which were selling similar keyboards, but nothing which looked identical. So I contacted the retailer and, after a few weeks, they were able to ship me a replacement. In cherry red!

For future reference, the keyboard's model numbers: CVM18H96GB9430 P/N: 6-80-N15Z0-19D-1

The laptop is the same base as the System76 Darter Pro 6 - and they have a handy repair guide.

The keyboard can be replaced without full disassembly.

On the back, undo the screw which has the keyboard symbol next to it:
Embossed image of a keyboard.

Undo the screw which has the keyboard push symbol next to it:

An embossed symbol.

Insert a screwdriver into the hole and push. There should be a disturbing crack noise.

Gently lift out the keyboard.

A keyboard being lifted out of a laptop.

Underneath are two clips for the cables.

A fat cable and a thin cable.

Lift the clips and the cables will come loose. The whole keyboard can be removed.

To fit the new keyboard, do the whole thing in reverse! Plug in the cables, lower the clips, push the keyboard into place, screw back together.

A red inset keyboard on a silver laptop.

Assuming you've plugged it all in correctly, it should light up:

Laptop keyboard backlit in blue.

Huge thanks to PC Specialist for sourcing the keyboard and selling it for a decent price. And thanks to Clevo for making laptops which are easy to repair.

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2 thoughts on “Replacing the keyboard on the Clevo N151CU / Lafité IV / System76 Darter Pro / Entroware Proteus”

  1. @Edent

    It wasn't that long ago that all laptops were easy to replace screen panels and keyboards on.

    With more monolithic designs and with deliberately poor repairability it's getting less common for this to be an option.

    Got my eye on a Framework Laptop should I need a new one.

    Personally I stick with desktops that I assemble myself so they are repairable and upgradeable 🙂


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