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I have an LED-backlit USB keyboard. I recently took it apart to clean it, and after doing so, the LED backlight has started flickering. I assume that this means that I damaged some part of the electronics while cleaning it. Other than the flickering, the keyboard works fine. However, I am concerned that the damaged electronics in the keyboard might cause a short circuit which could damage my motherboard. Is that possible?

Note: the keyboard is not externally powered in any way; it draws all of its power from USB. That's probably obvious, but I'm stating it anyway to be explicit.

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All modern USB implementations have protection circuits to prevent short-circuits and ESD. – Sep 17 '11 at 1:19
Thanks to everyone who answered. – Mitch Lindgren Sep 17 '11 at 2:19
up vote 1 down vote accepted

If the keyboard is working fine, and its just the backlight thats flickering, then you should be perfectly fine.

Even if the keyboard was losing power intermittently, its not a big deal as USB is designed to be hot pluggable.

However, there is the "better safe, than sorry" mentality. Is the cost of replacing your keyboard worth more than the risk of damaging your motherboard? Thats a personal decision. My opinion is that it should be fine.

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Unlikely that the keyboard could cause any damage. The keyboard is entirely powered from the USB port, so there are no voltages higher than the port can handle. And the USB specs are such that you can short anything to anything inside (or beyond) the USB cable without damaging the computer.

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No, I don't think so. Especially the case being with passive usb device (no ext. powering).

I would guess it's probably just a contact somewhere that went loose and that's what's causing the flickering.

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