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Laptop keyboard malfunctioning intermittently


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#1 jsd123

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 02:44 AM

I have a Dell Inspiron 15 (5000 series) laptop which is about two years old. About six months ago I started having issues with the 'i' key on the keyboard. I would often have to hit it more than once, or harder than usual in order to get it to come out. It kept getting worse until it became basically unusable, and eventually stopped functioning entirely. Around that time another key started to fail as well. Recently the whole keyboard has begun to have the problem though, with the exception of just a couple keys. One thing to mention though is that while the keys are hard to get out a lot of the time, there are moments where it works very well (with the exception of 'i', which is totally dead). Sometimes I barely have an issue with it, but it's very short-lived and seems to follow no particular pattern as to when it works or when it doesn't.

 

A couple days ago I took apart the 'i' key and sprayed compress air in there, picked out some garbage with tweezers, etc. There wasn't much in there but regardless it had no effect. I also tried power cycling which seemed to make one row of keys in particular work very well, but on restart they all reverted back to their usual functionality. I know I should obviously just get a new keyboard, but I'm not sure if it's the keyboard itself, or its connection with the motherboard, or some other issue. What do you think the most likely problem is, and is there anything else I can try?

 

Thanks.



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#2 Shellfishclive

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 03:03 AM

It sounds like it is a problem with the hardware or the keyboard itself, there aren't many things you can do to a laptop keyboard as they are just plug in and play devices. The keyboards are normally fairly cheap so your best bet might just be to replace it.


Edited by hamluis, 18 October 2017 - 02:24 PM.
Fixed typo - Hamluis.


#3 mjd420nova

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 05:47 PM

Contact Dell, they can ship you a new /replacement keyboard assembly for around $40. USD. You'd  have to split the case to get at the screw to hold it down and reach under to extract the ribbon cable.



#4 britechguy

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 06:09 PM

Laptop keyboards are incredibly subject to failure (by comparison to regular desktop keyboards) and particularly for those of us who actually have a heavy touch on the keys.

 

The behaviors you've seen have but one solution:  replacing the keyboard.    If you want to absolutely differentiate that the issue lies with the keyboard itself and not some other hardware upstream that interprets keyboard input (which is very, very unlikely) plug in a USB keyboard that's known to be good and use it.  If it functions just fine you have definitive evidence that the laptop keyboard is failing/failed.


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#5 Snax111

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 10:14 PM

Thanks for the replies. I know the solution seems very obvious and I'm hoping it actually is. I've already ordered a new one a couple days ago, but it's not here yet. The reason i suspected any other problem in the first place was because the issue would spontaneously go away and reappear, whereas usually a problem is constant when something is directly broken. Also, as I was looking for solutions I came upon some threads about my same computer, where similar problems with the keyboard could be temporarily fixed by taking out the battery, or leaving the computer off for a while, and other seemingly unlikely things, making me wonder if it's an issue with a separate component. Anyway, I'll update this after installing the new keyboard.
 
The threads I was referring to:
 
http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/laptop/f/3518/t/19645327
http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/laptop/f/3518/t/19650856
 
EDIT:
 
Sorry about the multiple accounts. I thought I had lost access to this one, but because of this problem I switched to a different computer on which I was still logged in to this account. I didn't realize it as I was posting. Sorry for the confusion.


Edited by Snax111, 19 October 2017 - 10:26 PM.


#6 Snax111

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Posted 25 October 2017 - 04:27 PM

I installed the new keyboard and the problem is fixed. One minor issue is that the backlighting is much brighter in certain areas of the keyboard, and almost nonexistent in others, but I didn't care much about the backlight anyway so I just disabled it. I'm assuming the cable just has a loose connection or something. Thanks again for the advice.






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