So here\’s an interesting technical problem

I be travelling. And brought my little notebook computer with me. Which has developed the most amazing fault. Half the keyboard works: the other half doesn\’t.

It runs in a line, about 45 degree angle, across the board. 3 doesn\’t work, four does, n doesn\’t work, m does.

Anyone any clue as to what this might be?

19 thoughts on “So here\’s an interesting technical problem”

  1. Might be the keyboard switch matrix is in 3 sections, and one has failed. Not something that could be diagnosed without a circuit diagram anyway.

    Either that, or it’s one of those things where a certain shortcut converts part of the keyboard into a numeric pad, and if you don’t know you’ve done it, you just get part of the keyboard not working.

    But it’s probably just fucked.

  2. Got a laptop here with the same problem. You been giving it a clean? I probably damaged my one wiping the keys clean with a damp cloth. Too damp. Some water got down between the keys & got on the underlying electrics. Blew one of the keyboard zones.

  3. Keyboards are wired in a matrix: a keypress is detected by scanning the horizontal and (diagonally) vertical lines to find which two are connected together.

  4. Check that the problem exists if you’re just running the BIOS setup program (F2 or whatever when the system’s booting; there’s usually somewhere in there where you can type the name of the machine or something) – if it does, then it’s a hardware problem, if not it might be a Windows thing.

    Most likely it’s a hardware problem. My experience is that it’s usually a keyboard problem rather than the chip that reads the keyboard – so it’s worth replacing the keyboard on spec to see if that fixes the problem. ($38 online)

    The keyboard removal/replacement is very easy – 3 screws. There’s a Youtube video showing how to do it.

  5. Checking to see if the keyboard works in the BIOS – usually hit del or F1 as soon as the machine boots – is a very good plan. Even before that, check if the lower-left function keys – Ctrl Shift, Windows key etc – are working. It’s incredibly bad form to make them change function even with function lock on.

    I would be moderately surprised if it turns out to be anything other than that the function lock is turned-on. Untriggered electronic failures – that is, those not caused by pouring coffee into the machine or some such – are vanishingly rare.

  6. Dave: That’s why I suggested reseating the keyboard connector. A sharp knock to the bottom can often dislodge it slightly.

  7. Apple do make exceedingly good laptops but it’s pretty poor advice to recommend a £800+ device to replace a faulty keyboard on a sub £200 device.

  8. Not Thinkpad Edge is it by any chance?

    Oh no, I see it’s not.

    They have an irreparable motherboard fault that causes something similar – changing the keyboard makes no difference. This must be something of the same sort.

    Plug in a USB keyboard – not much of an option on a plane, I know, but probably the only option.

    Oh, and buy a better laptop.

    HP seem to be OK just now, but they’re about to make 25000 people redundant or something, so this will probably change.

    And to all Linux fanboys – this is a hardware issue, you fanatics.

  9. @15 Simon B…

    What’s the opportunity cost of a faulty laptop for a couple of days when you’re earning ~£60k/year?

    Recommending the purchase of an £800+ laptop is very sound advice.

    @14. Yes, install Ubuntu if you want but as [email protected] points out, it was the quality of the hardware I was referring to.

  10. Thankyou for the reading – my keyboard isn’t working – keys 3 z d t u I o ? Key on right of letter p – I can’t log on as use of those keys in the password – I have a Samsung n145 plus – is it worth replacing the keyboard?

  11. mine has started the same habit. plugging in a usb keyboard does n’t solve it. could it be a software issue?

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