This week, I found another reason that I like to buy Dell notebooks. Well, as I discovered in writing this article, the solution would have been good for other brands, too…
While my normal practice is to purchase a three or four year extended warranty on a notebook, my current notebook has now outlived its four-year in-home service extended warranty.
As I’ve written several times, I’m starting to have some trouble with it. I’ve replaced the hard drive a couple times, always with a larger model. Dell replaced the LCD when it went out after three years.
The problem plaguing me, and making me consider a Vista notebook (I bought a Dell Inspiron Mini-10 with Windows XP instead), has been the keyboard. Several keys were starting to malfunction — either producing double characters from one keystroke or not producing any characters unless I very carefully pressed the problem keys.
Let’s face it — the keyboard was worn out.
Last week, before I installed the Windows 7 Release Candidate on my old Inspiron 8600, I decided to check the ‘net to see if I could find a replacement keyboard.
I found that I could get a number of different replacement Dell parts from a company in Austin, Texas. DiscountElectronics.com has two physical retail outlets in Austin as well as having an great e-commerce site at http://www.discountelectronics.com. Their web pages state that the parts are used, tested and have a 90-day warranty.
They offered multiple ways to find the part I needed. First, I could use the search bar to search for Inspiron 8600 keyboard.
Or, I could pick Parts, Dell Laptop Parts, Dell Inspiron Parts, Dell Inspiron 8600 Parts, and then Inspiron 8600 Keyboards.
The even easier way to find it was that I did a Google search for Dell Inspiron 8600 keyboard — and that put me right to the page.
At the bottom of the keyboard detail page, they have a link "To see all laptop parts for the Dell Inspiron 8600 here" (they left out the word "click") The parts they show for my Inspiron 8600 are: AC Adapters, Bluetooth, Hard Drive Caddies, Keyboards, Modem Cards, Port Replicators, Wireless Cards, Accessories, CPUs, Hard Drives, LCDs, Motherboards, Video Cables, Batteries, DC Jacks, Heatsinks, Memory, Optical Drives and Video Cards.
DiscountElectronics.com also carries parts for Acer, ASUS, Compaq, eMachines, Gateway, HP, Motion, Packard Bell, Sony, IBM Thinkpad and Toshiba computers or laptops. However, their widest range of parts are for the Dell computers.
I ordered my replacement keyboard on Sunday evening. Monday afternoon I received an email that my order had shipping — and providing me with a UPS tracking link. As predicted by the link, my keyboard arrived on Wednesday afteroon.
After having seen the in-home repair guy pull out the keyboard to do another repair, I knew that the process was easy. There are plenty of guides on the web that show how to remove it — including one at Dell’s web site at http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/ins8500/en/8500/sm/keyboard.htm.
Surprisingly, Dell has the service manual for the Inspron 8600 on the web! Removing the old keyboard and installing the new one was easy and required only a flat-blade screwdriver and a small phillips-head screwdriver.
I don’t have any relationship with DiscountElectronics.com other than being a happy customer.