Ticket #5658 (closed defect: fixed)

Opened 7 years ago

Last modified 5 years ago

Sticky Alt or Control Key

Reported by: davidpfarrell Owned by: wad
Priority: normal Milestone: 8.2.0 (was Update.2)
Component: hardware Version: Build 653
Keywords: Cc: davidpfarrell, aconbere, cgalpin, briandorsey, legutierr, holt, kop, bernie, gnu, theplaz, rbh00, mtd, kronenpj
Action Needed: never set Verified: no
Deployments affected: Blocked By:
Blocking:

Description

This is day 4 of my new OLPC and today I am experiencing some weird Alt key behavior.

After power on finished, I went straight to the console (Ctl+Alt+Group)

I was not able to log in as every character I typed had a little symbol preceding, as if it were a control character - I Believe the character was '' but am not absolutely positive.

I tried pressing ctl, alt, shift, fn and many other keys for a minute or two to see if the problem would go away. It didn't.

I managed to get back to the home screen, so I 'restarted'

After restart, I switched into the Write activity to try out the keys.

The keys appeared to type as normal, so I again tried to get into the console.

The console didn't up after pressing the keys.

After that, I could not type normally on the keyboard:

* Typing "R" would rotate the screen * Typing "F" would toggle the frame * Typing "N" would switch to the next program * Typing "P" would switch to the previous program

I could tell that one of the control keys was stuck, but I didn't know which one. I eventually discovered that those are Alt key combos.

I tried tapping, rubbing, and flicking the ALT key, but nothing changed.

I left it alone for a few minutes and, when I came back, the keys appeared to be working again.

I tapped the alt key and, grrr, it was stuck again.

I have not found a way to consistently un-stick the alt key when this happens, BUT

If I press the alt key very slightly, it will allow me to type normally, until I relesae the key.

By The Way: I could not repeat the case where that weird character preceded the letters while typing on the console. Holding down Ctl, Alt, Fn or any combo of them did not seem to reproduce the character.

So to summarize:

The left alt key is getting stuck "on" and I can temporarily turn it off by slightly pressing the key. But as soon as I let go of the key, it is stuck "on" again.

Attachments

stuck_keys.jpg (336.1 kB) - added by wad 7 years ago.
Photo of disassembled keyboard showing ALT key spacers
OLPC Stuck Key.mp4 (5.2 MB) - added by theplaz 7 years ago.
Video of Stuck Key prblem in diag. mode

Change History

  Changed 7 years ago by aconbere

I have the same problem. There are a couple of posts about this in the forums

http://olpc.osuosl.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=924 http://olpc.osuosl.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=884

follow-up: ↓ 3   Changed 7 years ago by davidpfarrell

  • cc aconbere added

UPDATE:

I unplugged the unit and removed the battery for several hours, to see if that might 'reset' anything. No go.

I then entered the Hardware Test Program (hold down left d-pad while powering on or restarting computer) from power on.

The keyboard test worked without any problems and I was not able to make the alt key register as being stuck 'on'

After the hardware test finished and shut down, I restarted and launched the Write activity.

After less than a minute of trying, I was able to get the alt key to stick.

From there, I did a restart (not shutdown) and entered the hardware test again.

This time, the keyboard test clearly showed that the alt key was stuck 'on'

I could verify that lightly pressing the alt key did often cause it to unstick - until I let go of it.

Also I could see that pressing some other keys, like 'fn' or 'space' would sometimes cause the alt key to turn off for a very small period of time, then it would come back on.

BUT THEN:

I picked up the open laptop and held it in my left hand, with my thumb on top and the rest of my palm below the laptop.

I was consistently able to find positions where I could hold the laptop in my left hand and cause the alt key to behave normally - i.e. no sticking.

But setting the laptop down, or holding it in my other hand, or just shifting my grip, would cause the alt key to turn on and stay on.

Another thing I noticed was that the 'r' key would sometimes stick, too.

in reply to: ↑ 2   Changed 7 years ago by info_anarchy

I can confirm experiencing this problem too - in my case it seems to usually be the ctrl key, showing the same symptoms. Anecdotally, a few times I've held the ctrl key down and "massaged" it firmly but not really hard for a few seconds, and it seemed to fix it. this makes me think it's a physical problem with the keyboard.

  Changed 7 years ago by cak

I'm having similar problems with the Alt key. Often pressing it hard and releasing causes it to "unstick" ... but only for a while. I haven't yet seen a clear cause.

  Changed 7 years ago by leetcharmer

  • keywords stuck, alt, ctrl, key, keyboard added
  • version set to Build 650

I am also dealing with this issue. It acts as though the "alt" key is pressed, but physically there is no issues. Should this warrant an e-mail to Donor Services?

  Changed 7 years ago by jg

  • keywords stuck, alt, ctrl, key, keyboard removed
  • owner changed from jg to holt
  • component changed from distro to hardware

Seems likely bad keyboards.... Our apologies....

The one thing to try is to remove the main battery for a few minutes, in case something is going on with the EC.

  Changed 7 years ago by davidpfarrell

Thanks for replying.

You will notice in my "UPDATE" post above that I did just that - Removed the battery for several hours - With no luck :(

  Changed 7 years ago by jg

  • milestone changed from Never Assigned to Ship.2

ouch. Seems like it is time to send it back...

follow-up: ↓ 10   Changed 7 years ago by cgalpin

  • cc cgalpin added

I too have this problem (with the ctrl key) after a few short days of minimal use of a G1G1. It took quite a while to figure out what was wrong! I believe it is physical as I have tried removing the battery for a few minutes, and fiddling with the key is the only way to resolve it. It will however re-stick without touching it (but pressing the "a" key seems to cause it to stick more often than not). Very hard to use like this :)

So should we be asking for a replacement? Email Holt?

thanks charles

in reply to: ↑ 9   Changed 7 years ago by holt

http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Support_FAQ#How_do_I_test_my_keyboard_for_sticky.2Fbroken_keys.3F Currently Reads:

How do I test my keyboard for sticky/broken keys?

Test your keyboard by running the firmware diagnostics. See Cheat codes: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Cheat_codes

Holding the rocker (button below the speaker) to the left, while powering on, will get you into these diagnostics. The keyboard diagnostic will come up pretty soon, if you exit various earlier diagnostics by hitting the Escape key. This lets you see very easily what the computer is seeing as you press or release each key. Any "sticky" key would be visible in light blue on the screen as if a finger was still pressing it.

The touchpad and stylus area can also be tested in the same diagnostic.

Finally, if you've genuinely confirmed your keyboard is damaged, after multiple reboots -- check your warranty if you need to apply for a possible return: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Support_FAQ#What_is_the_warranty_info.3F_RMA_process.3F http://laptopgiving.org/en/return-merchandise.php

  Changed 7 years ago by davidpfarrell

I have contacted customer service (1-800-201-7144) and received my RMA Number. I will be sending the unit back tomorrow :(

The Customer Service Rep I spoke to was very nice, but I had to wait on hold for 50 minutes before being able to speak with her.

She wanted me to email 'technology at laptop dot org' and get confirmation from them that a return was necessary.

I dropped jg's and holt's names (hope you don't mind) and mentioned the comments above and she agreed that my situation warranted a return.

It could be as long as a month before I see my laptop again :(

Still, I'm glad to have been a day-1 buyer, and will wait patiently for my chance to play with the XO again.

I hope the hardware guys can diagnose the problem and implement a (hopefully easy) fix, as this seems to be affecting a reasonable number of people.

In the meantime, I'll have to stay entertained with my new DS-Lite (Brain Academy Sudoku is pretty sweet)

Thank you all how responded to my ticket - I will be signing off this ticket until I get my laptop back.

  Changed 7 years ago by leetcharmer

  • status changed from new to closed
  • resolution set to fixed

I also called in for an RMA today (was on hold for 1 hour and 20 minutes). I wish they paid for shipping for the return, but what can ya do :/!

Hopefully when the new one comes in, some newer updates will be out, I'm looking forward to some updated features to add my perfect little companion computer. :)

  Changed 7 years ago by aconbere

  • status changed from closed to reopened
  • resolution deleted

Even though we're RMA'ing these machines right now, this is still an open issue. We have some people poking on it today and we'll be posting updates into this ticket. So I'm going to re-open this ticket.

  Changed 7 years ago by briandorsey

  • cc briandorsey added

  Changed 7 years ago by frankprindle

Add me to the list - for the first several days, no problem. Then it happened once and went away on reboot. Kept getting worse. Now it's almost constant, and getting worse by the hour.

I ran the keyboard test and, most commonly, the Alt key comes on by itself when another key is pressed. Sometimes it stays on, sometimes it is just on for that key press. I also occasionally see other keys stick after pressing them, for example the 'k' and the space bar; pressing the key again releases the stick. Pressing the Alt key itself makes the stuck key go away for a brief time, but it always seems to come back.

The fact that it is getting much worse with time indicates to me that it is a hardware issue, though perhaps not one with the keys, but rather with the keyboard controller, connectors, or cable. It is not likely that pressing another key is actually causing the Alt key to close, though I really have no idea what the keyboard technology is. The Commodore 64 had an unusual resistive-rubber setup, where pressing a key made contact through the rubber.

What in the world are they going to do if ALL the G1G1's eventually develop this problem? Yikes!

  Changed 7 years ago by cgalpin

Well I emailed for an RMA, but still have not had a response. I'm not in any flaming hurry and would rather not tie up someone's time with a phone call. I'm ordering another 1 or 2 of them today anyway :)

Once you get it into a non sticky state, using an external keyboard at least keeps you productive. It's near impossible to use otherwise and I share your concerns if this is a common problem out in the field.

I was first leaning towards the membrane causing the sticking (it flexes as you touch any part of it), but one thing confuses me. When the sticking gets particularly bad, rebooting seems to resolve it (at least fro a short while). So wouldn't this indicate a software problem? At least not with the keys themselves, although I don't quite grok how a controller or cable would fail this way.

charles

  Changed 7 years ago by legutierr

  • cc legutierr added

  Changed 7 years ago by frankprindle

The problem (sticking Alt) was VERY bad this morning, as indicated above. Then, about noon, as I was showing my son how bad it was, it suddenly went into remission. It's been 4 hours and nary a stick. I didn't do anything in particular, other than type, and it just went away. I'm not expecting it to be gone forever, though :~(

I certainly hope you hardware gurus can track this one down and work up a fix that doesn't require shipping and waiting. I'm well aware that intermittent stuff like this can be very frustrating to isolate though.

  Changed 7 years ago by briandorsey

I'd like to add one more report to the mix. My XO's symptoms are very similar to the ones listed above.

For me, the problem comes and goes with periods of near unusability followed sometimes by several hours of everything working fine. In the firmware test mode, I can see various keys sticking sometimes, but ALT is by far the most common.

Also, this problem occurs for me even when using a USB keyboard.

  Changed 7 years ago by bernie

Sounds like the same of #2233. If so, please close this bug as duplicate. And cross reference both bugs in a comment.

  Changed 7 years ago by briandorsey

I think this is either something different, or at least a more severe version of #2233. My keys start sticking even without switching to a console... in fact without even booting into linux - they stick in the firmware test mode (left game pad on boot)

  Changed 7 years ago by holt

  • owner changed from holt to wad
  • status changed from reopened to new

Looks like a HW fault, so I'm reassigning it to Wad (on Bernie's recommendation...)

  Changed 7 years ago by holt

  • cc holt added

  Changed 7 years ago by briandorsey

If it's useful, I'd be happy to try any troubleshooting steps, data gathering, etc, for the next week or so before I have to get an RMA and send it back.

  Changed 7 years ago by cgalpin

Likewise on troubleshooting/data gathering.

Also my behavior is as briandorsey describes - sometimes nearly unusable, sometimes fine.

charles

  Changed 7 years ago by frankprindle

Additional info:

a) #5772 is a duplicate of this one and should be so indicated

b) Perhaps this is a resurgence of #473, i.e. a static buildup issue. After all, it is winter here in Philly.

FYI, my keyboard remission is now nearly at 24 hours, the longest it's gone without a sticking Alt in days. Totally bizarre (unless it's static related.)

follow-up: ↓ 28   Changed 7 years ago by wad

It is unclear what the failure mechanism is (electrical, or membrane sticking in the keyboard.) The C2 units have extensive changes from the B1 to improve the ESD performance, so keyboard failure is more suspect.

in reply to: ↑ 27   Changed 7 years ago by aconbere

Replying to wad:

It is unclear what the failure mechanism is (electrical, or membrane sticking in the keyboard.) The C2 units have extensive changes from the B1 to improve the ESD performance, so keyboard failure is more suspect.

Is there anything that we (people with failing keyboards) can do to attempt to isolate what the failure point is?

  Changed 7 years ago by kop

I had the v and m keys stick (bug #5772, since closed as duplicate), as well as (iirc) the k and m keys stick at the same time. I ran the diagnostics soon after receipt of the laptop and got keys to stick. It felt like I could get _any_ key to stick if I toyed with it long enough. I could be wrong.

  Changed 7 years ago by frankprindle

I believe seeing arbitrary keys stick in the diagnostic is just an anomaly of the diagnostic (but maybe not - a non-repeating key sticking wouldn't be all that obvious.)

The real issue here is either the Alt or Ctrl keys coming on all by themselves when not even touched, and staying on for a while or until pressed and released. This causes all the rest of the keys to misbehave during text entry. When it is happening (mine hasn't been for over a day now), it shows up exactly that way in the diagnostic too. Curiously, nobody has reported the Shift or Fn keys doing this, only the Alt/Ctrl. Maybe that's a clue.

  Changed 7 years ago by legutierr

Might this be a moisture/condensation issue?

I had this problem when I first got my laptop, but it was very infrequent, and it would also resolve itself after a reboot.

Then two days ago, as I was trying to update to build 653 using a USB, I was drinking a cold drink and some condensation dripped onto my space bar and track pad. I blotted it up very quickly, but after rebooting with the new build my keyboard stopped working correctly (I soon realized that it was acting like it had a stuck alt key). At first I assumed that the problem was related to the installation of 653, so I downgraded using the USB to 650. But that didn't fix it.

After finding this bug report, and after seeing the behavior improve during the day and worsen at night (but never disappear), it occurred to me that moisture might be the cause. So yesterday I opened the keyboard up, pealed back the rubber keypad, and let the whole thing "air out". The performance improved immediately after I put it back together. Although the ctrl and alt keys started sticking a little last night, and again this morning (I was able to get them to unstick by jiggling them a little), I am typing this report on the same machine that was unusable two days ago (now running 653 again), and I haven't experienced a stuck key since this morning. I don't know if opening up the keyboard did the trick (maybe the benefit is that I undid the seal, which might now provide some vent space), but I am unsure as to whether I really need to RMA it anymore (I'm going to wait a couple of days).

There are other reasons to think that this is a physical issue related to moisture/condensation, from reading the comments above and in the forums:

  • extremely unpredictable/variable occurrence
  • performance changes over time (improves/gets worse) with no apparent cause or change to/interaction with the machine [evaporation/condensation]
  • responds to physical movement of the machine and certain physical stresses [movement of the fluid]
  • a key that is next to another key can cause that key to stick/unstick [movement of the fluid]
  • pressing a stuck key can unstick the key (and vice-versa), but not every time and not the same way every time. [movement of the fluid]
  • the keyboard mechanism functions by completing circuits by pressure, but moisture can also complete those circuits (the connectors of which are spaced less than a millimeter apart, unlike mechanical keyboards).
  • the keys that are getting affected the most are at the edge of the keyboard (alt,ctrl, fn, space) [where moisture is most easily introduced]
  • a sealed, rubberized keyboard might keep moisture in as much as it keeps it out.

I would ask some questions of users with this problem: what is the weather like when the sticking gets worse or gets better? Does it stick more when it is humid/raining/foggy or at night? Does it stick less when it is dry/sunny/clear or during the day? If you try to "dry it out" does that help?

I would ask OLPC: are the new keyboards sealed in a different way than the prototype models? What is the geographical/climactic distribution of individuals reporting the key-sticking problem? Is the environment where the malfunctioning machines were built different than where the prototypes or functioning machines were build? Where the malfunctioning machines built on a rainy/humid day?

  Changed 7 years ago by AlbertCahalan

I saw this once, with the control key on B4 hardware. The problem persisted for many minutes.

This is a warm and humid environment.

  Changed 7 years ago by briandorsey

Regarding moisture/condensation: I am in Seattle, WA, USA. It's winter, so it's wet and humid most days. I haven't noticed a correlation with the weather, but it's possible. Mine worked great for the first week, and has been getting worse (intermittently) ever since.

FWIW: We had a first user-group meeting in Seattle with 30+ XOs yesterday, and two of us in Seattle (Hi Anders!) are having the ALT sticking problem.

follow-up: ↓ 36   Changed 7 years ago by wad

Keep the comments coming in. Moisture was one of the possibilities I suspected. Perhaps cold machines coming into warm humid areas ?

  Changed 7 years ago by briandorsey

I was thinking about how to confirm the moisture question. Is there an easy way to open the laptop and disconnect the internal keyboard? If it then worked fine for a few days with a USB keyboard, would that confirm the moisture theory? Or at least narrow it down to being keyboard related?

I had previously assumed that it couldn't be keyboard related, since it still happened to me even when using a USB keyboard - however if moisture was causing the normal keyboard to generate key strokes, it makes some sense.

in reply to: ↑ 34   Changed 7 years ago by AlbertCahalan

Replying to wad:

Keep the comments coming in. Moisture was one of the possibilities I suspected. Perhaps cold machines coming into warm humid areas ?

Cold to warm: severe but very temporary condensation on the outside

Warm to cold: minor long-term condensation on the inside (trapped humid air with no way to escape)

Being almost waterproof, but not perfectly waterproof, sounds like a recipe for trouble.

Perhaps something is getting left on the boards during manufacture. Perhaps bits of the conductive material are floating around loose in the keyboards. It could chip off later too.

  Changed 7 years ago by greenfox

  • summary changed from Sticky Alt Key to Sticky Alt or Control Key

My control key sometimes goes on (and sometimes stays on). The environment is warm and dry.

The key stickiness on my keyboard seems not to be affected by bringing it inside (a warm dry house) from a cold garage. Neither was it a problem when using it in a cold car for about a half hour.

In running the keyboard diagnostic, I have seen these keys stick: 'a', 'i', 's', '1', ';' and most annoying, the control key. (The presence of a stuck key other than a modifier key (ctrl, alt, shift) would go unnoticed in actual use, and can only be seen in the keyboard diagnostic.) I have never seen my ALT key stick or activate by itself.

The main problem is the control key sometimes comes on (and sometimes stays on) when the 'a' is pressed (sometimes it is another key that activates the control key--but I haven't seen this during the keyboard diagnostic test, only during actual use, and am not sure which key was the culprit).

Pressing the stuck key once un-sticks it.

While I can put up with this erratic behavior of the keyboard, I can imagine a 12-year old throwing the XO across the room the third time it happens!

Note: this has also been discussed at http://olpc.osuosl.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=924

  Changed 7 years ago by kop

  • cc kop added

  Changed 7 years ago by frankprindle

Regarding the discussion at http://olpc.osuosl.org:

Pardon me if I'm being overly alarmist, but over there I see that there are instances of the Fn and Shift keys sticking also. Given that the boot diagnostic shows that just about any key can stick, and the number of folks on that forum that are already seeing this, I'd say this is developing into a very serious problem, not only for the G1G1 community but for the units being dispatched to foreign governments. I suggest that this be escalated to a very high level before it gets totally out of hand.

Also, for the G1G1 community, if it turns out to be a H/W issue, some sort of exception to the 30-day warranty needs to be made - i.e. if the problem ultimately boils down to a manufacturing or design defect, a gratis repair should be made "for this issue only" at any time in the future, sort of like an automobile recall program; i.e. the XO should not need to be under warranty to have a known systemic defect (identified during "sombody's" warranty period) fixed.

This is not like, for example, a speaker that cuts out, etc... Rather, this is a problem that has the potential to make every XO (all over the world) an expensive doorstop. Never mind the individual consumers - the governments will be up in arms!

Seriously, somebody at OLPC needs to get a handle on this ASAP, halting production if necessary.

  Changed 7 years ago by briandorsey

I decided to do some experimentation yesterday to see if I could confirm or deny the condensation theory. I put my XO in our food dehydrator at about 100 degrees F for about 5 hours. Using the OFW diag to test for a sticky ALT key, I checked on it at around 2 hours, and it seemed to be happening less. After 5 hours, all my keyboard issues went away. I used the machine fairly consistently for another 5 hours or so that evening with no trouble then shutdown. After booting in the morning, my ALT troubles returned. So... I don't think this really confirms or denys the condensation theory, but it perhaps hints at it?

A few things I noticed in the OFW tests which might be useful: When my keyboard is malfuntioning, I can usually get ALT to stick by pressing it, or other nearby keys (such as z or x). Also, the ALT key becomes incredibly sensitive. Barely brushing the surface of the key will rapidly trigger key presses.

After ALT started acting up again, disassembled the base just enough to unplug the keyboard ribon cable from the controller. After doing that, the external keyboard works perfectly, whereas I was having trouble with the external keyboard previously as well. It seems very likely that my troubles are with the internal keyboard itself.

Thanks everyone for all the time spent looking into this.

follow-ups: ↓ 43 ↓ 44   Changed 7 years ago by joemck

Writing this from an XO that had a stuck Ctrl key yesterday. The key was only stuck sometimes, and almost always registered a press when the left shift or A were pressed. Ctrl was also over-sensitive -- just barely touching the key would register.

It is indeed a hardware problem. It seems that part of the frame around the keyboard presses down and inward on the edge of the rubber membrane. I took apart the bottom part of my XO, reassembled it, and the problem was still there. Then I took it apart again, ran the OFW keyboard diagnostic with it open, messed with the edge of the frame, saw that it's what's causing the problem, then started putting it back together to see what part made it start messing up when I put it in. I got the whole thing back together without any stuck keys, so I'm not entirely sure exactly what part was causing the problem.

If you have stuck-key problems, I suggest pressing the thin left edge of the white keyboard frame outward into the green rail.

...There's also a separate problem mentioned in this thread: Quickly pressing and releasing a key occasionally leaves it in the "pressed" state. Pressing it again unsticks it. This is probably a hardware problem caused by how the keys get scanned. It may be possible to fix it in the OFW, though I'm not familiar with the keyboard interface. (Is it currently being polled at all? What's the update frequency?) Also, mashing multiple keys doesn't make all of them register, and often makes one become temporarily stuck.

  Changed 7 years ago by frankprindle

I'd be glad to experiment, but my keyboard's refused to stick for over 2 days, after getting worse and being nearly unusable for a day or two (no moisture issues here, just sitting on the counter powered up). I'm keeping a eye on it, as I don't trust spontaneous "cures".

Joemck, I'd be cautious about drawing conclusions based on what you see in the keyboard diagnostic; I'm not sure it reflects the same reality as when running with the linux driver. A more telling test, which I'll run if mine ever starts sticking again, is to start the terminal activity, use "xset r ..." in a shell script to set every key to be repeating, and then just keep tapping keys to see if any normal keys stick (which will be obvious by the repeat), or only the "modifiers" (cntl, shift, fn, alt). Another way to check for sticking normal keys would be to run the Mini TamTam activity and listen for notes that stay on after they're released.

The keyboard certainly has other quirks that are not intermittent. For example, in Mini TamTam, pressing the keys q-e-t-i, keeping each key down and pressing the next one in sequence produces a C-Major chord. But pressing i-t-e-q in the same way does not (though it seems as if it should). Pressing r-t-y in any sequence cannot make the full chord sound, only one or two notes at best. Curious children around the world will soon be asking their teachers why.

in reply to: ↑ 41   Changed 7 years ago by kop

Replying to joemck:

...There's also a separate problem mentioned in this thread: Quickly pressing and releasing a key occasionally leaves it in the "pressed" state. Pressing it again unsticks it.

...

Also, mashing multiple keys doesn't make all of them register, and often makes one become temporarily stuck.

These problems sounds like my problem report of ticket #5772.

I only came across the problem while running the diagnostic, although I don't know that's the only place it shows up.

I was definitely pressing and releasing keys rapidly.

If this is different problem, a software/hardware keyscan problem or whatever, then anybody should be able to reproduce it inside of 5 minutes by running the diagnostic and rapidly pressing and releasing keys.

(Although they seem closely related, the mashing multiple keys without all of them registering may or may not be a different problem than the 'stuck key on rapid press/release' problem. I didn't notice the key-not-registering problem when I found there were keys sticking. Just a thought.)

in reply to: ↑ 41 ; follow-up: ↓ 45   Changed 7 years ago by legutierr

Replying to joemck:

It is indeed a hardware problem. It seems that part of the frame around the keyboard presses down and inward on the edge of the rubber membrane. I took apart the bottom part of my XO, reassembled it, and the problem was still there. Then I took it apart again, ran the OFW keyboard diagnostic with it open, messed with the edge of the frame, saw that it's what's causing the problem, then started putting it back together to see what part made it start messing up when I put it in. I got the whole thing back together without any stuck keys, so I'm not entirely sure exactly what part was causing the problem. If you have stuck-key problems, I suggest pressing the thin left edge of the white keyboard frame outward into the green rail.

I think it's quite possible that joemck is correct. After having experiencing a temporary respite from this problem, my alt and ctrl keys started sticking again, as bad as or worse than before.

Just now I ran the diagnostic, though. Although the alt and ctrl keys weren't stuck when it came on, as soon as I touched them they stuck, and there was no way to unstick them. I then peeled the rubber back on the left side, and the stuck keys *immediately* became unstuck. Touching the circuit-board directly caused those keys to appear as pressed, but they did not stick after releasing pressure. It seems like the rubber was being squeezed down by the hard-plastic encasing, causing the keys to stick.

I'll take the thing apart tomorrow and put it back together, making sure that there is no pressure on the keyboard by the rubber.

It seems that this kind of squeezing of the rubber by the plastic encasing could well explain the alt and ctrl keys sticking, as they are located at the edge of the board. It also explains why jiggling the keys can cause them to unstick, and why near-by keys can influence the sticking behavior. Temperature may also affect the tensions on the materials (expand/contract), which could explain some of the variability. But could pressure from the encasing also cause other mid-keyboard keys to stick? I think I read that someone was experiencing sticking of letter keys (am I wrong about that? can anyone confirm that the sticking problem is with any but the keys at the edge?). If it is only edge keys that are affected, then it may be tight screws that are causing the problem and not moisture.

It is quite possible, however, that there can be multiple causes inducing the same symptoms in different cases, or that one cause contributes to or worsens the impact of another cause. Humidity could be the only factor in some cases, or could cause mechanical problems to emerge that wouldn't otherwise. Or moisture might have nothing to do with it.

Can anyone think of any tests that could confirm or exclude either cause definitively? Maybe if water were poured over the exposed keyboard circutboard (rubber pulled back), and it continued to function in response to pressure, that would strongly tend to exclude the moisture hypothesis. Anyone want to do that to their laptop? (I don't.) Regarding the pressure issue, tightening and loosening the screws would probably have an immediate and visible effect, if pressure were the cause of this problem.

in reply to: ↑ 44 ; follow-up: ↓ 46   Changed 7 years ago by greenfox

Replying to legutierr:

I think I read that someone was experiencing sticking of letter keys (am I wrong about that? can anyone confirm that the sticking problem is with any but the keys at the edge?). If it is only edge keys that are affected, then it may be tight screws that are causing the problem and not moisture.

These keys also stick, as reported in this ticket: V M K A I S 1 and ; So it's not just an edge phenomenon.

in reply to: ↑ 45   Changed 7 years ago by frankprindle

Replying to greenfox:

These keys also stick, as reported in this ticket: V M K A I S 1 and ; So it's not just an edge phenomenon.

But only in the diagnostic. No one AFAIK has reported letter/number keys stuck in normal operation under linux. I'm thinking that this is an unrelated phenomenon due to a bug in the diagnostic. The far more serious problem (the subject of this ticket) is one in which a key "comes on" all by itself without being pressed, and then stays on until pressed and released. This is visible in both the diagnostic and normal linux operation.

One more theory to throw into the fray: all the affected keys are in the lower left corner, more or less, of the keyboard. There's a big powerful magnet about an inch below that corner. Is it possible that the magnetic field is causing conductive parts to stick or be attracted (without knowing the technology of the keyboard, I'm poking in the dark here.) Can someone who is currently experiencing the sticky Alt or Cntl try putting a big hunk of steel over the magnet to divert its field and see if the problem changes in some way as a result?

  Changed 7 years ago by cgalpin

The only consistent behavior I have is that it will surely happen when you don't want it to :)

I am not a good judge of humidity so I can't tell if thats an issue in my case, but I had problems with it sitting stationary in the same room for days (indoors in the low 70's).

To those who think the diagnostics are not an accurate reflection, perhaps we need an activity that does the same thing?

charles

follow-up: ↓ 49   Changed 7 years ago by davewa

I believe that this bug will eventually be shown to be a problem in the code for the EC. Here's why I think this will be the case: My G1G1 machine has exhibited the "stuck ALT" bug for the last week, off-and-on. Every time this happens (yes -- EVERY time), I can restore keyboard function by doing Ctl-Alt-Erase. And the keyboard then behaves itself thereafter.

in reply to: ↑ 48 ; follow-up: ↓ 51   Changed 7 years ago by kop

Replying to davewa: What does "EC" stand for?

follow-up: ↓ 76   Changed 7 years ago by briandorsey

I've got another point of reference on the theory of pressure on the rubber keyboard membrane. Yesterday, I tried something new after failing with the dehydration trick, and proving that my issue is caused by the keyboard itself (by disconnecting the keyboard ribbon and running with an external keyboard).

I took the base completely apart and gently lifted the lower left-hand corner of the rubber keys up from the sensors. I looked at the ALT sensor, but didn't see anything obviously different about it. After putting the machine back together, my ALT troubles have vanished. It's now been nearly 24 hours since then and I tested the keyboard hourly for the first 12 hours of that. Since this has been a fairly intermittent problem for me, I can't declare success yet, but it looks very promising.

Regarding the OFW keyboard test: I'm still seeing phantom stuck letter keys in the OFW test occasionally, but ONLY after pressing that key very quickly and I'm not seeing any trouble with stuck letter keys in linux.

I typed this on my XO, and for now at least, I'm very happy!

in reply to: ↑ 49   Changed 7 years ago by bernie

Replying to kop:

Replying to davewa: What does "EC" stand for?

Embedded Controller. It's the 8051-compatible microcontroller built inside our keyboard controller.

follow-ups: ↓ 53 ↓ 54   Changed 7 years ago by bernie

We have one of these units with the stuck alt key in house. Ask Michael.

in reply to: ↑ 52   Changed 7 years ago by davidpfarrell

Replying to bernie:

We have one of these units with the stuck alt key in house. Ask Michael.

Was it the one I just sent back (rma# 002-8348)?

If so, please also check the SD card slot - I forgot to mention it to the CSR when getting my RMA and I'm afraid they're just going to replace the keyboard and send the original laptop back and I still won't be able to mount SD cards - Unless there has been confirmation that SandDisk SD cards don't work on XO? (off-topic so need to reply in this thread)

in reply to: ↑ 52   Changed 7 years ago by frankprindle

Replying to bernie:

We have one of these units with the stuck alt key in house. Ask Michael.

Halleluyah! Would someone there care to check the "Verified" box?

follow-up: ↓ 68   Changed 7 years ago by wad

My understanding is that we use "Verified" to mean that the fix has been verified, not the problem...

davidpfarrell -- there is a strict limit of one problem per trac ticket. If you want to report an SD problem, please do it elsewhere (perhaps #5473 ? Or open a new one if you never got your SanDisk card to work the first time)

I've disassembled the unit (CSN74802CE0) returned to Cambridge. No sign of moisture. The keyboard appeared properly seated. Removing it from the plastic case improved the problem slightly, but the key was still sticking when the keyboard was just sitting loose. Further disassembly of the keyboard indicated that the problem may be insufficient spacer material between the two membrane layers (see attached photo sticky_keys.jpg).

The markings on the keyboard were:

ZYE P/N QTCL1-ENT0106A

TWC P/N LECL1U00010

C0711260010Q REV.3A

TWC

Changed 7 years ago by wad

Photo of disassembled keyboard showing ALT key spacers

  Changed 7 years ago by Gabey8

My ALT key began sticking today.

As with a previous post, I ran the hardware diagnostic and when it got to the keyboard part of the test, nothing appeared stuck until I started to press keys on the keyboard.

Then the ALT key registered as though there was continuous pressure on it, and nothing would make it "release".

Sometimes hitting the space bar the "wrong" way (too far to the left) will trigger the ALT key to stick.

But if there is such a thing as an UNSTICKY key -- one that doesn't want to register -- I would have to say that the space bar on my XO keyboard qualifies. It doesn't always provide me with a space when I hit the bar... causing me to press down on various places on the space bar until I find one that responds.

I'm glad I saw the suggestion to press the white rail adjacent to the stuck key. That seems to get the space bar to register a space if need be.

In any event, please add my report of the ALT key issues to the ones already provided. If you need any additional details, let me know.

And to the person who peeled back the keyboard membrane: HOW did you do that? And did peeling it back and then replacing it help matters any?

  Changed 7 years ago by wad

Given the suspected source of the problem, we don't recommend peeling back the membrane --- you didn't really want to dismantle the laptop that far anyway, and while it might temporarily fix the problem it WILL reappear.

Units showing this problem will be replaced by the manufacturer, Quanta. You will need to go through the RMA process, sorry...

We are still looking into the root cause, and are increasing the production testing to catch susceptible units until then.

  Changed 7 years ago by cgalpin

Is it safe to wait for an email response if we emailed for the RMA or should I call? I'd hate to waste anyone's time over this, but also don't want to find 30 days have passed and I'm no longer eligible. Its been a week with no reply.

Thanks charles

  Changed 7 years ago by legutierr

Replying to Gabey8:

And to the person who peeled back the keyboard membrane: HOW did you do that? And did peeling it back and then replacing it help matters any?

I disassembled the laptop as described in the wiki here http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Disassembly and here http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Manual/Insides.

The first time I did it, it seemed to fix the problem, but a couple of days after reassembly, the problem came back. Then I did it again, being much more careful to align the rubber correctly in reassembling the machine. As of now, no problems (we'll see how long that lasts).

If you look at the rubber portion of the keyboard, there is a grove around the edge. The groove is meant to align with the white plastic encasing. In my first reassembly I didn't pay attention to the groove, and I allowed the encasing to settle on the thicker portion of the rubber, squeezing the rubber against the keyboard circuit-board. The second time, I made sure that the rubber was aligned properly, aligning the groove, but also the 3 small (1mm) alignment tabs underneath the rubber piece (which aligns with the circuit-board).

As wad writes, peeling back the rubber membrane is probably not advisable. I don't think that I ever really needed to go that far, though. You don't need to peel back the rubber membrane in order to align it properly when you reassemble the device after a disassembly. But as wad indicates, this problem is probably caused by another problem anyway, so disassembly may not do anything for you.

I do believe, however, that in my particular case it may well have been the rubber being squeezed by the plastic encasing due to improper alignment that was causing the problem.

  Changed 7 years ago by davewa

Okay, I take it back. There *is* a keyboard problem with my machine. The alt key sticks but can be unstuck if I push the key towards the track-pad instead of hitting it squarely. Which is what I was doing, I guess, when I was typing a three-finger salute. (Dang. I really didn't want to let this machine out of my sight -- I'm having too much fun. But I guess I'd better get an RMA.)

follow-ups: ↓ 62 ↓ 65 ↓ 69   Changed 7 years ago by frankprindle

Eureka! I have 3 rather significant pieces of info for wad which may help in the investigation of this problem:

1) After 3 days, I got tired of waiting for the stuck Alt to return spontaneously, so I shut down the machine, folded it up, tossed it into the front seat of my car, covered it so it wouldn't get stolen, and left it in the parking lot at work for about 6 hours at 30 degrees F (temps today in the Philly area). When I brought it inside after driving home, I put it back on the bench, powered it up, and sure enough, the Alt key was sticking rather badly, letting me get only one or two other keypresses in before coming on again. So the problem is exacerbated by the cold (sorry whoever baked theirs, you went in the wrong direction.) Surely 30 degrees F is not outside the environmental limits for the H/W.

2) Now that the problem was occuring, I could test various things. The most significant finding was that I could unstick the Alt key by either pressing it, OR... by pressing firmly on the white plastic directly below the Alt key (without depressing the Alt key at all.) It is still that way, about 1.5 hours after bringing it back indoors (temp about 67 degrees here). I don't know when/if it will go away again. In any case, this clearly points to a "mechanical" rather than an "electrical", "firmware", or "software" issue. The white plastic should be quite inert in any of those last 3 categories.

3) Now that the Alt was sticking rather regularly, I used mini-tamtam to test various letter and number keys. Although the sticking Alt would alter the pitch, none of the letter or number keys would ever stick themselves (thus sustaning a note), in spite of what is indicated in the on-board-diagnostic. Thus, I conclude that, while the diagnostic is fine for showing what IS sticking, it is useless for showing what IS NOT sticking - i.e. it shows keys sticking when in fact (when running with the linux driver) they do not. The subject of another (much less critical) ticket I'll submit once all this gets squared away.

So I will be calling for my RMA tonight. I hope these bits of info are useful in helping wad and the other developers to eliminate the problem in manufacturing that is causing this. Will replacement units be thoroughly tested to ensure they do not have this defect? I'm assuming the replacement unit will come with its own 90 day warranty, right?

Thanks

in reply to: ↑ 61   Changed 7 years ago by holt

frankprindle :

Please email me directly at OLPC (holt AT laptop DOT org) to see if I might quickly return/exchange your machine, for further investigation ASAP. THX

follow-up: ↓ 64   Changed 7 years ago by cgalpin

Since mine is the ctrl key, I have no trouble testing it. Drop to a shell and it wreaks havoc with your typing, and many control key combinations are easily identifiable or visible onscreen.

Holt, let me know if you need another easily reproducible unit (I'm in northern Virginia). I've been trying to avoid calling for my RMA but this sounds like the way to go to get it fixed.

charles

in reply to: ↑ 63 ; follow-up: ↓ 81   Changed 7 years ago by holt

cgalpin :

Not sure how we're going to proceed yet, but email me your *full* contact info if you can, thanks! --Holt (holt AT laptop DOT org)

in reply to: ↑ 61   Changed 7 years ago by kop

Replying to frankprindle:

Thus, I conclude that, while the diagnostic is fine for showing what IS sticking, it is useless for showing what IS NOT sticking - i.e. it shows keys sticking when in fact (when running with the linux driver) they do not. The subject of another (much less critical) ticket I'll submit once all this gets squared away.

Or reopen #5772 "keyboard keys reported stuck in self-test". How critical it is depends on whether the keys are reported stuck only in the diagnostic or if they "stick" whenever press and release is rapid. It's probably a software problem, but if the problem is activity independent then IMO investigating the cause should not be low priority because (I imagine, but am not well informed) there could be subtle software/hardware interactions, say in the embedded keyboard controller, that may reveal a underlying hardware issue.

follow-up: ↓ 72   Changed 7 years ago by gnu

  • cc bernie, gnu added

For G1G1 donors who have an external USB keyboard available, they report (e.g. rt# 3730) that a stuck Alt key on the main keyboard messes up input from an external keyboard. I have verified this on my own B4. If either keyboard's Alt key appears to be pressed, a key-up from the other one will not fix the problem. However, the commenter who yanked his internal keyboard cable was able to use an external keyboard without trouble (http://dev.laptop.org/ticket/5658#comment:40).

It occurs to me that a small change in the X configuration file might allow it to ignore the built-in keyboard -- or ignore that keyboard only when a USB keyboard is plugged in. I've cc'd Bernie to see if that's a quick circumvention that we can offer to the donors who have failing keyboards, while we figure out the actual cause and the most useful field fix.

  Changed 7 years ago by robby

have just diagnosed what looked like gmail trouble or random keyboard errors as actually being the stuck alt key phenomenon.

progressively getting worse for three days

a restart seems to clear the problem until next use of alt -- this note is my fourth test of that theory

--just to be safe i'm avoiding all key-combos including shift key on this message

note -- other 'nonresponsive keys' error reports may be the alt key, since it disables some normal behaviors

-- no 'erase' key in write? alpha keys don't type? spacebar doesn't insert? all could be stuck alt

-- tab causes switch to new activity or return to journal? stuck alt resulting in alt-tab

-- enter key not functioning in calc? stuck alt

.. enter key hides main menu -- alt-enter shortcut to full screen

.. screen rotates while typing? alt-r caused by stuck alt and r

-- frame menu appears? alt f

some keys have normal function with alt, others have command functions -- alt-tab, for instance -- and others are null in some activities

in write, some of the weirder effects included causing the left and right arrow keys to move adjacent text in tab increments, while disabling the up and down arrow keys

alpha keys no longer entered text

shift-cursor keys didn't highlight text

trackpad could make menu selections,but not reposition cursor

in browse, errors include not being able to delete contents of address field with erase key (does alt-erase send a different code?)

i don't know whether this is another alt-stuck function, but in my last session, something 'locked' the frame menu in place, even when i'd alt-tab to other activities; enter key zoomed to full screen, but within the frame

after i send this and get back to real life for a while, i'll try external keyboard at home

bob (robby) on the road from starbucks to starbucks... ny, va, tn

note--this is a firstday ship g1g1

if i can be of help, direct contact -- email to my first name at my last name dot com last name is stepno http://stepno.com

in reply to: ↑ 55   Changed 7 years ago by joemck

Replying to wad:

Further disassembly of the keyboard indicated that the problem may be insufficient spacer material between the two membrane layers (see attached photo sticky_keys.jpg).

Mine also has reduced spacer material on Ctrl, which sticks intermittently, and on Hand, which doesn't stick at all (http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Image:Kbd-peel-back.jpg - this is as far back as I've peeled it). If this is indeed the problem, I probably need an RMA...

Oddly, peeling back the membrane and then sticking it back in (with the laptop fully assembled) usually fixes it for a while. So does pressing/pulling on the left rail certain ways. Any hope of fixing this myself? If not, Holt, you want another one?

in reply to: ↑ 61 ; follow-up: ↓ 70   Changed 7 years ago by gia

Replying to frankprindle:

Eureka! I have 3 rather significant pieces of info for wad which may help in the investigation of this problem: 1) After 3 days, I got tired of waiting for the stuck Alt to return spontaneously, so I shut down the machine, folded it up, tossed it into the front seat of my car, covered it so it wouldn't get stolen, and left it in the parking lot at work for about 6 hours at 30 degrees F (temps today in the Philly area). When I brought it inside after driving home, I put it back on the bench, powered it up, and sure enough, the Alt key was sticking rather badly, letting me get only one or two other keypresses in before coming on again. So the problem is exacerbated by the cold (sorry whoever baked theirs, you went in the wrong direction.) Surely 30 degrees F is not outside the environmental limits for the H/W. 2) Now that the problem was occuring, I could test various things. The most significant finding was that I could unstick the Alt key by either pressing it, OR... by pressing firmly on the white plastic directly below the Alt key (without depressing the Alt key at all.) It is still that way, about 1.5 hours after bringing it back indoors (temp about 67 degrees here). I don't know when/if it will go away again. In any case, this clearly points to a "mechanical" rather than an "electrical", "firmware", or "software" issue. The white plastic should be quite inert in any of those last 3 categories. 3) Now that the Alt was sticking rather regularly, I used mini-tamtam to test various letter and number keys. Although the sticking Alt would alter the pitch, none of the letter or number keys would ever stick themselves (thus sustaning a note), in spite of what is indicated in the on-board-diagnostic. Thus, I conclude that, while the diagnostic is fine for showing what IS sticking, it is useless for showing what IS NOT sticking - i.e. it shows keys sticking when in fact (when running with the linux driver) they do not. The subject of another (much less critical) ticket I'll submit once all this gets squared away. So I will be calling for my RMA tonight. I hope these bits of info are useful in helping wad and the other developers to eliminate the problem in manufacturing that is causing this. Will replacement units be thoroughly tested to ensure they do not have this defect? I'm assuming the replacement unit will come with its own 90 day warranty, right? Thanks

I'm in Philadelphia as well. Very cold week here, and it's cold in my house all the time, if that matters. My keyboard started going bad on the third day after my laptop arrived. I have reinstalled build 650 countless times with no success in repairing the nutty keyboard. Sometimes when I reinstall, I can't even type my daughter's name, Elizabeth, in as the nick name. I get as far as E-l-i-z and the "a" will not appear when I type it. (This has happened three times, exactly the same each time) After that, NONE of the keys work. So her nick name is Eliz, which is fine except that the keyboard doesn't work at all anymore. The only thing I can get it to do is flip the screen when I type "r". This problem was getting progressively worse over the last week, now resulting in a very cute but useless little xo. Restarting and reinstalling no longer makes any difference. I can't use the keyboard at all. I have tried using my Apple keyboard with the xo, and it seemed to work very well for about 7 minutes, but it now draws the same response as the xo keyboard. My fear is that if I do get the xo replaced, what's to say that the replacement won't go bad as well. I understand that this issue is being worked on as we speak, and we plan to be patient in waiting for a positive outcome. I just wanted to let my experience with it be known to the community. Thanks, Gia DeGenova

in reply to: ↑ 69   Changed 7 years ago by frankprindle

Replying to gia:

My fear is that if I do get the xo replaced, what's to say that the replacement won't go bad as well. I understand that this issue is being worked on as we speak, and we plan to be patient in waiting for a positive outcome. I just wanted to let my experience with it be known to the community. Thanks, Gia DeGenova

Thanks for input from another Philly donor, Gia. I have exactly the same fear... that we'll be sending these back and getting bad replacements for a long time. I hope I'm wrong, but I suspect that EVERY XO manufactured since 11/12 (until the defect is isolated and eliminated) will eventually develop this problem, some not until the weather changes or their owners try taking it on a trip. I certainly hope the root cause of the problem is discovered and corrected at the factory, then all remaining XOs produced but not yet distributed are sent back for inspection and, as necessary, keyboard replacement.

When my replacement unit arrives, at least I know that testing it should include several car trips in the cold.

And will somebody who feels so empowered, "PLEASE" raise the priority of this ticket from normal to high?

  Changed 7 years ago by cjb

The only thing I can get it to do is flip the screen when I type "r".

Just to explain this one -- Alt-R is bound to "rotate", so you also have a stuck alt key.

in reply to: ↑ 66   Changed 7 years ago by bernie

Replying to gnu:

It occurs to me that a small change in the X configuration file might allow it to ignore the built-in keyboard -- or ignore that keyboard only when a USB keyboard is plugged in.

Unfortunately, disabling input devices is hard with the new input autoconfiguration scheme of Xorg. Ubuntu and Fedora are facing the same problems now that they're migrating to X 1.4.1 and 1.5, and you can see their questions and complaints on the Xorg mailing list.

  Changed 7 years ago by kop

FYI FWIW Someone on #olpc-help just said that their keyboard has been working fine for 3 weeks and now has the stuck alt key problem.

follow-up: ↓ 75   Changed 7 years ago by badaspirin

I just diagnosed my problem as the sticky alt key. Buffalo, NY (so chilly and dry). Further testing shows that I will occasionally get sticky keys along the top row if I press hard.

A quick and dirty fix for me (and those who don't rely heavily on a water resistant keyboard, is to gently pull the rubberized keyboard out from the left hand bottom corner. I detached the corner from a little north of the 'fn' key and all the way a little east of the 'alt' key, so that the rubber still covers the sensors, but there is a gap between the two layers. Pressing on the rubber still causes the key to go down, but no more sticking. Just a thought for those holding out on shipping them back.

in reply to: ↑ 74   Changed 7 years ago by frankprindle

Replying to badaspirin:

A quick and dirty fix for me (and those who don't rely heavily on a water resistant keyboard, is to gently pull the rubberized keyboard out from the left hand bottom corner. I detached the corner from a little north of the 'fn' key and all the way a little east of the 'alt' key, so that the rubber still covers the sensors, but there is a gap between the two layers. Pressing on the rubber still causes the key to go down, but no more sticking. Just a thought for those holding out on shipping them back.

I don't know how legit this is (because he hasn't provided any input here), but this post: http://olpc.osuosl.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2224 from Richard Smith emphatically says not to hold out. Jives with my experience is that any remission is temporary, at best.

in reply to: ↑ 50   Changed 7 years ago by briandorsey

Replying to briandorsey:

I took the base completely apart and gently lifted the lower left-hand corner of the rubber keys up from the sensors. I looked at the ALT sensor, but didn't see anything obviously different about it. After putting the machine back together, my ALT troubles have vanished. It's now been nearly 24 hours since then and I tested the keyboard hourly for the first 12 hours of that. Since this has been a fairly intermittent problem for me, I can't declare success yet, but it looks very promising. I typed this on my XO, and for now at least, I'm very happy!

And for closure: My ALT troubles came back yesterday. So far none of my troubleshooting has had a lasting effect. I've sent email for an RMA number and will be sending my XO back for repair/replacement.

  Changed 7 years ago by frankprindle

Any verdict yet on the cause?

  Changed 7 years ago by gia

I've got an RMA number for my sticky alt keyboard, and was all set to send the xo back, but the keyboard has worked flawlessly for 3 days. I would hate to send it back to have fixed and have someone tell me there's nothing wrong with it. Now I can't get the alt key to stick no matter how much I press it. Four days ago it was sticking if I so much as looked at it. I'm afraid if they can't get back to sticky then they won't replace the keyboard. Then I'll be right back to where I started a week ago. This thing was so bad I couldn't write anything, now I'm typing this. It's been unseasonably warm here in Philadelphia for January. Close to 70º for a couple days. Are people still thinking this has something to do with the weather?

  Changed 7 years ago by frankprindle

After misbehaving (the second time) for about 8 hours after taking it out in the cold, my problem also mysteriously went away. But this post: http://olpc.osuosl.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2224 makes it very clear that OLPC is well aware that a) the problem is highly intermittent, and b) if it happened once, it will happen again. As it says, anyone that's had the problem needs to RMA the unit. I'm sure Brightstar won't be replacing any keyboards, just sending out new units, they're not in the repair business. The defective units flagged with the dreaded "sticky key" symptom will get sent back to OLPC for analysis. The only issue is whether Brightstar's inventory includes additional units with bad keyboards. I have an RMA but am in a slight delay loop awaiting resolution of this ticket, because at some point they should be able to identify specific serial numbers that contain the errant keyboard (again, see that post), and pull them from inventory. Yes, I'm in the Philly area too, but I put mine in the refrigerator overnight, and this time it did not stimulate the problem to occur. Like the post says... voodoo!

  Changed 7 years ago by Kityoko

My keyboard is malfunctioning very severely as well. Initially I noticed that the right shift key only works one time in ten, most noticeably when trying to capitalize letters. I kept using the laptop anyway, as I really didn't want to send it back for one key, but now the entire keyboard fouls up half the time, and won't work even enough to type in a URL. It seemed like a key was getting stuck, but I didn't know which one.

Also, talking about climate - note that I am in the opposite of a warm, humid environment. I'm using my XO in arid Alaska, and although I'm not using it outside, it's just barely seventy degrees in my office, and dry enough that static discharge should be classified as a deadly weapon.

I just ran the keyboard diagnostic, and it's showing basically what I'm experiencing. The symptoms are very similar to the above posts:

Left shift key sticks 'on' intermittently /// Top right menu keys stick 'on' intermittently /// Right shift key ALWAYS causes right function (hand) key to light /// The " key also causes the right function (hand) key to light intermittently /// 'alt gr' causes the left 'alt' key to turn on intermittently /// 'F' and 'G' keys occasionally stick 'on'

I was about to reinstall the OS and update to build 653, to make sure that installing some program or other didn't mess up Sugar. It was a long shot, but the XO is unusable. Looks like a hardware issue.

Because intermittent problems are hard for the best of us to resolve, I think I'm going to send pics of the XO's diagnostic clearly showing the fault with the laptop when I RMA it. I think that would make life easier for whomever ends up with it at the warehouse. I'd hate for it to appear fine after shipping it in, get it sent back with no trouble found, and have it start up again a week later.

in reply to: ↑ 64 ; follow-ups: ↓ 82 ↓ 88   Changed 7 years ago by holt

cgalpgin's machine received in Cambridge, Massachusetts:

His Serial# is CSN748020D4

It was decided to ship this to Quanta in China immediately for analysis.

(I will ship him a replacement machine immediately for arrival Friday...tracking info to follow in private correspondance)

in reply to: ↑ 81 ; follow-up: ↓ 83   Changed 7 years ago by dnastase

Yesterday I realized that my Ctrl key got stuck too. That's when I found this ticket. I'm curios what the Quanta factory guys will discover. Maybe there is a fix and we don't need to use the RMA. I really wouldn't want to part with this little guy :(

In the meantime I applied the following trick so that I can still use the laptop:

The following little .xmodmap disables the Ctrl key and sets as Ctrl key the left palm key (which is really mapped as Super_L by default):

remove Control = Control_L remove mod4 = Super_L

keycode 37 = keycode 133 = Control_L

add Control = Control_L

in reply to: ↑ 82 ; follow-up: ↓ 84   Changed 7 years ago by dnastase

Replying to dnastase:

Yesterday I realized that my Ctrl key got stuck too. That's when I found this ticket. I'm curios what the Quanta factory guys will discover. Maybe there is a fix and we don't need to use the RMA. I really wouldn't want to part with this little guy :( In the meantime I applied the following trick so that I can still use the laptop: The following little .xmodmap disables the Ctrl key and sets as Ctrl key the left palm key (which is really mapped as Super_L by default): remove Control = Control_L remove mod4 = Super_L keycode 37 = keycode 133 = Control_L add Control = Control_L

This got messed a little bit. Each of the commands is on its own line (5 lines totally):

remove Control = Control_L

remove mod4 = Super_L

keycode 37 = keycode 133 = Control_L

add Control = Control_L

in reply to: ↑ 83 ; follow-up: ↓ 85   Changed 7 years ago by dnastase

Replying to dnastase:

Replying to dnastase:

Yesterday I realized that my Ctrl key got stuck too. That's when I found this ticket. I'm curios what the Quanta factory guys will discover. Maybe there is a fix and we don't need to use the RMA. I really wouldn't want to part with this little guy :( In the meantime I applied the following trick so that I can still use the laptop: The following little .xmodmap disables the Ctrl key and sets as Ctrl key the left palm key (which is really mapped as Super_L by default): remove Control = Control_L remove mod4 = Super_L keycode 37 = keycode 133 = Control_L add Control = Control_L

This got messed a little bit. Each of the commands is on its own line (5 lines totally): remove Control = Control_L remove mod4 = Super_L keycode 37 = keycode 133 = Control_L add Control = Control_L

WTF ?!

remove Control = Control_L

remove mod4 = Super_L

keycode 37 =

keycode 133 = Control_L

add Control = Control_L

in reply to: ↑ 84   Changed 7 years ago by davidpfarrell

Replying to dnastase:

In the meantime I applied the following trick so that I can still use the laptop: The following little .xmodmap disables the Ctrl key and sets as Ctrl key the left palm key (which is really mapped as Super_L by default):

I had been thinking about something like this, but wasn't sure how to implement it.

Can someone post the changes necessary to remap the alt key to one of:

* The 'alt gr' key
* The left hand key

Although mine is already off for RMA I think this would be very helpful to many who are experiencing the stuck-alt key ...

  Changed 7 years ago by joemck

OK, I just did the .xmodmap trick. Works like a charm!

Is there still any reason to RMA it? That is, does the one sticky key mean that others are more likely to go bad in the future? (And when they make the "Grab" keys do something, will the left and right ones do the same thing?)

  Changed 7 years ago by theplaz

  • cc theplaz added

I have also been experiencing the issues described above. My "alt" key on the left hand side was sticking intermittently. I've managed to "pry" it free by using my fingernails to pry it upwards.

What I am wondering is if I should call for a RMA or if the new one/fixed one will also have the problem. -Michael (also from the Philadelphia area)

in reply to: ↑ 81   Changed 7 years ago by cgalpin

Sorry I haven't replied sooner. I got my replacement on Saturday as it somehow got delivered to the wrong street despite the address being correct :)

I haven't had much time to play with it, and may not until the weekend, but right ootb *some* key stuck (but not the ctrl key). Hoping it's not going to be a problem.

It's off to school with my 6th grader tomorrow to show it off at here Leo club meeting - hopefully we can inspire them to do some fundraising!

Thanks charles p.s. My unit also had the shutoff without warning problem if Quanta needs to look at examples of that too.

Replying to holt:

cgalpgin's machine received in Cambridge, Massachusetts: His Serial# is CSN748020D4 It was decided to ship this to Quanta in China immediately for analysis. (I will ship him a replacement machine immediately for arrival Friday...tracking info to follow in private correspondance)

Changed 7 years ago by theplaz

Video of Stuck Key prblem in diag. mode

  Changed 7 years ago by theplaz

I managed to fix the problem by not by replacing the alt key with the left hand key.

Keyboard mapping: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Scan_code_table L-Grab = 127 Alt = Something in the 40s

Run xmodmap in the terminal (not as root!). Open help with "xmodmap -h" and then it lists the different combinations to make. I am a bit of a Linux noob, so I spent 20 minutes trying stuff - so I don't know what actually made it work. Using -pp or something like that (see help) you can find the key scan tables. I may have also needed to remove "Meta_L" from the "mod1" group, but that might have been a mistake.

Anyway, this should fix the problem in the meantime by assigning the alt key to a useless task. -Michael http://theplaz.com

  Changed 7 years ago by theplaz

It reset itself for some reason.

This time I will log commands: This lists out the keymap table xmodmap -h xmodmap -pk

Alt_L is key 64; The left hand key (Super_L) is 133 (not 127 - where did I get that #??)

The first command removes the left Alt key from service, and the 2nd one reassigns it to the left "hand".

However after a restart, both the hand and alt key act as an alt key. Is there anyway to run the command every time at boot. (I know there is, but I am a Linux noob) Could someone provide step-by-step instructions? Would cron do it? xmodmap -e "keycode 64 =" xmodmap -e "keycode 133 = Alt_L"

  Changed 7 years ago by rbh00

  • cc rbh00 added

  Changed 7 years ago by Ace_NoOne

Thanks for providing this information, theplaz!

Turns out that you can just drop those commands into .xsession.

Here's the step-by-step guide: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Sticky_Keys

So I now have a dud on the keyboard - let's hope that no other keys will be affected.

  Changed 7 years ago by rraucci

  • version changed from Build 650 to Build 653
  • milestone changed from Ship.2 to Update.1

I also had the sticky keys problem described here. I fixed it (for at least the last three days) by disassembling my unit and peeling back the lower left corner of the keypad, then cleaning under the group of keys around the Left Alt key that was acting up with a pencil eraser. I noticed that the strata was rougher in that area, and smoothing it out seems to have helped.

I don't know if this fix will last forever, but I hope so. I think the bumpy strata under that part of the keypad may be acting up in a thermoresistive manner, expanding and causing a problem over time with power on, diminishing with power reset, and changing with the weather.

Scraping it down seems to have helped a bit.

I have a G1G1 unit, running Build 690/Update 1 prerelease, Q13 firmware.

  Changed 7 years ago by mtd

  • cc mtd added

  Changed 7 years ago by kronenpj

For what it's worth I disassembled the OLPC, peeled up the top layer around the CTRL and ALT keys and they're unstuck.

  Changed 6 years ago by kronenpj

  • cc kronenpj added

And they're sticking again unfortunately... I haven't yet repeated the procedure, but it looks like something I'll need to do periodically on my OLPC.

follow-up: ↓ 106   Changed 6 years ago by ixo

(update.1 693)

Just yesterday, after resuming suspend (closing lid). Was in suspend for about 2-3 hours, the next time I opened it. The Alt(gr) was "stuck" in the 'down' position. Every button with international characters came up instead of the English equivalent. Happened in Write, Journal, Terminal, and Firefox (running from Terminal). I repeatily 'slammed' down various keys to see if it would un-stick.... Alt, Alt(gr), Ctrl, shift, fn, hands, arrows, etc... several times. No luck.

I did a shutdown from Sugar. Next reboot, works just fine now.

(Thought I'd leave a note for anyone else having the same problem.)

  Changed 6 years ago by mtd

  • cc changed from davidpfarrell, aconbere, cgalpin, briandorsey, legutierr, holt, kop, bernie, gnu, theplaz, rbh00, mtd, kronenpj to davidpfarrell, aconbere, cgalpin, briandorsey, legutierr, holt, kop, bernie, gnu, theplaz, rbh00, mtd, kronenpj

METOO: I had the stuck keys problem (added my SN to the SN wiki page; I have one of the earlier-SN G1G1 machines, it seems) and disassembled and reassembled the keyboard and the problem's gone away. Hopefully it won't come back like kronenpj's did.

follow-up: ↓ 103   Changed 6 years ago by mtd

FTR, this recurred for me a week ago, and I "fixed" it again yesterday by waving the same deadWWW repeating the disassembly process.

  Changed 6 years ago by wad

PLEASE INCLUDE SERIAL NUMBERS WHEN ADDING TO THIS TICKET

  Changed 6 years ago by mtd

Sorry...didn't realize (I did add to http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Stuck_keys_SN ). My serial is CSN74701D62.

  Changed 6 years ago by kronenpj

My S/N is: CSN7470319C I haven't bothered disassembling again, just using the xmodmap workaround.

in reply to: ↑ 99   Changed 6 years ago by mtd

Replying to mtd:

FTR, this recurred for me a week ago, and I "fixed" it again yesterday by waving the same deadWWW repeating the disassembly process.

I'm (getting) annoying here, but it's happened again, starting four days ago. It usually takes that long for it to be bad enough that I want to throw the keyboard out the window...I disassembled it instead, and now it's working fine (Alt/Ctrl unstuck) again.

Two new observations:

1) I had to fiddle around with the keyboard cover/surface (what has the letters printed on it) and the actual contact layers below, this time, before it started working. I had the top cover/surfacce peeled off, starting at the left, to about the Y key, but even pressing on the 'real' keyboard itself, it seemed as if the keys were stuck. I don't know how I got it unstuck but pressing down with multiple fingers bunched together on the 'real' keyboard and then applying pressure as if to push the membrane around (various directions) finally seemed to do it; and 2) To try and mitigate the issue before I had to resort to disassembly, I had pulled the top membrane progressively further out from under the left side/bumper...this appeared at first to help but at the end I had the left side of the keyboard membrane out entirely and was still getting the stuck keys.

Anyway I think I will stop spamming this ticket with this type of issue, unless things change, as since it appears from my updates that I went 4 and 2 weeks between disassemblies (which isn't a compelling trend :)), I expect that to continue to be necessary until I can find out what is causing the behavior to recur.

  Changed 6 years ago by StuartGathman

  • next_action set to never set

I had the sticky alt key. I was able to reset by pressing right alt on a USB keyboard. Pressing alt on olpc keyboard would stick it again. After reading the adventures here, I grabbed the rubber cap over the alt key and pulled up. This has fixed the issue for the time being.

Note: I don't see a problem with periodic "maintenance" of the keyboard if it is effective and easy to do, and can be done in the target environments. I'm not sure opening the keyboard in a dusty environment is good, but pulling up on a key cap is ok.

follow-up: ↓ 108   Changed 6 years ago by chm

I have several observations on the Sticky Alt or Control Key problem:

(1) It may be more of a problem than realized. When my XO started

sticking, it looked like one more hiccup in the OS, Sugar, or Activities. If I had not been a Terminal user, I might never have figured out what was wrong.

(2) Since the Alt and Ctrl keys are used for shortcuts in Sugar and

Activities, the sticking problem can cause what appears to be a completely broken application with no symptom except that things don't work.

(3) The XO that has the sticky keys had the problem symptoms

stop completely during one of the os updates I've installed over time (seems like it was in the 700s). I upgraded and ever since the problem is back. Note: I am unable to revert and verify this since I only connected the two as possibly linked a month or so after the period of keyboard perfection)

(4) I've had the keyboard boot test show no keys sticking but

constant Alt and Ctrl sticking while running.

(5) It would be very useful to have an activity that could

be installed to work-around the problem. For example, even though I know how to remap with xmodmap, with a stuck keyboard, I was not able to create the file, test it, or install. I finally got a USB keyboard and plan to implement the work around mapping but this is way too hard to do. I work with unix all the time and this is still a huge pain.

(6) Would it make sense to have the ability to disable meta-keys

in sugar and other activities? If the activity is python based, would it be possible to add a checker in the stream at the level of the script dealing with keyboard IO. That would allow things to function: like typing in text to a URL in the Browse activity, in spite of the sticking...

--Chris

in reply to: ↑ 97   Changed 6 years ago by skierpage

Replying to ixo:

I had exactly the same problem as ixo: my G1G1 XO came out of suspend and every activity and terminal acted as if the Alt Gr was held down. After I rebooted, the problem went away. I've had no other sticky key problems, and for what it's worth it "felt" like a software glitch rather than a hardware problem.

Serial number CSN748011C2; my XO was running candidate.708 at the time.

follow-up: ↓ 109   Changed 6 years ago by GeroZ

Now I'm sure it's something about temperature or humidity.

I haven't booted up my G1G1 XO in a long time - like a ~5 months. But I clearly remember: after my first "keyboard maintenance" ie. disassembly when everything seemed to work fine, left Alt started to act strange again.

At that time it was cold outside. OK, my office is heated :) , however, now it's summer. I just booted it up, stopped it at the OpenFirmware prompt and type "test keyboard".

Guess what: Nothing - no sticky keys. Behaves as if nothing ever happened. Strange!

in reply to: ↑ 105   Changed 6 years ago by AlbertCahalan

Replying to chm:

I have several observations on the Sticky Alt or Control Key problem: (1) It may be more of a problem than realized. When my XO started sticking, it looked like one more hiccup in the OS, Sugar, or Activities. If I had not been a Terminal user, I might never have figured out what was wrong. (2) Since the Alt and Ctrl keys are used for shortcuts in Sugar and Activities, the sticking problem can cause what appears to be a completely broken application with no symptom except that things don't work.

I've reported activity bugs that turned out to be stuck keys. :-(

(5) It would be very useful to have an activity that could be installed to work-around the problem. For example, even though I know how to remap with xmodmap, with a stuck keyboard, I was not able to create the file, test it, or install. I finally got a USB keyboard and plan to implement the work around mapping but this is way too hard to do. I work with unix all the time and this is still a huge pain. (6) Would it make sense to have the ability to disable meta-keys in sugar and other activities? If the activity is python based, would it be possible to add a checker in the stream at the level of the script dealing with keyboard IO. That would allow things to function: like typing in text to a URL in the Browse activity, in spite of the sticking...

Xmodmap is too high-level, and python is way to high. This is a problem that occurs below X. It affects the Linux console, and it may affect OpenFirmware. It should be fixed as close to the source as possible.

The closest place that still runs on the Geode is the kernel. (and OpenFirmware)

Other places are much harder to deal with. (EC firmware, any firmware that may be in the keyboard itself, keyboard plastic)

Possible hack: a key that remains down for 1 minute (probably long enough to not interfere with a game) becomes ignored until it no longer appears to be stuck.

in reply to: ↑ 107   Changed 6 years ago by gia

Replying to GeroZ:

Now I'm sure it's something about temperature or humidity. I haven't booted up my G1G1 XO in a long time - like a ~5 months. But I clearly remember: after my first "keyboard maintenance" ie. disassembly when everything seemed to work fine, left Alt started to act strange again. At that time it was cold outside. OK, my office is heated :) , however, now it's summer. I just booted it up, stopped it at the OpenFirmware prompt and type "test keyboard". Guess what: Nothing - no sticky keys. Behaves as if nothing ever happened. Strange!

I am also sure it's temperature related in some way. My first sticky alt keyboard, CSN749039CE, was RMA in Jan. Very cold in Philadelphia at that time. My replacement xo was fine for months, all summer no problems. Yesterday we woke up to a very chilly morning, and sure enough, stuck CTRL. CSN7490315E. Perhaps it's the change in temp that triggers it. We had a high of 80º on Tues and the temp dropped to 54º over night.

  Changed 5 years ago by rsmith

  • status changed from new to closed
  • resolution set to fixed
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