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Keys not working on built in keyboard on my Inspiron 11

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My name is Kristina, and I've been having a lot of issues with my built in keyboard.  A lot of the keys stop working at random times.  I have tried to reset my computer but it doesn't help.  I end up having to use the touch keyboard, and I don't like to.  This is also the 2nd computer I have gotten from dell, the first one had the same issue so bad we couldn't even finish the initial setup.  This is getting very frustrating, and I'm about to send it back, I just don't want to.  Please help.

Kirsa Rhodes

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RE: Keys not working on built in keyboard on my Inspiron 11

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Hello everyone.

I have a similar problem with the keyboard of an Inspiron 11 3147 model. The following keys only work intermittently after tapping them several times: ESC, ~,TAB, CAPS, 1, Q, A, and Z. The laptop was 14 months old, just out of warranty, when we noticed the issue. I called DELL support just to check what my options were and some joker there quoted me $349 Canadian dollars for the repair.

Before putting this piece of junk in the garbage I decided to spend some time and take a look at the problem myself. My first step was to make sure it wasn’t a software issue. Uninstalling and reinstalling drivers and trying different BIOS versions did not make any difference. It was not a software problem.

Next step was to determine which part of the hardware was failing. I checked the keyboard controller IC, motherboard traces, keyboard connector on the motherboard and the keyboard module itself. It turned out to be the keyboard module itself. There is a broken trace inside the keyboard connected to pin 16 on the keyboard connector. In the process of troubleshooting the issue I ended up mapping every key to the corresponding pin pair on the keyboard connector. The keyboard connector is a 26-pin connector with pin 1 being the closest to the battery. Below is a list of the intermittent keys and the corresponding two pins that get connected when pressing on the keys:

ESC         16-26

~             16-18

TAB        16-19

CAPS     16-15

1              16-24

Q             16-25

A             16-22

Z              16-21

As you can see what is common between these keys is that they are all connected to pin 16 of the keyboard connector. Obviously that trace on the flex board (some people call it membrane) or an electrical via is broken. Unfortunately the keyboard module cannot be repaired without completely taking it apart but then it will be much easier to just replace it with a new one instead of repairing it.

I haven’t replaced the keyboard yet. I am not sure if it is worth the time and effort. For those of you who decide to replace the keyboard I recommend checking the new one before installing it. Just use a multimeter to measure the resistance between the corresponding pins while pressing on a key. The resistance should be about 200 ohm. You may need a helper to press the key while you are holding the multimeter probes on the connector pins.

I don’t know about you but I personally will never buy another DELL product again. From what I have seen inside this laptop it so obvious that the designers at DELL have absolutely no clue of what they are doing.

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RE: Keys not working on built in keyboard on my Inspiron 11

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Thank you MILKO_D.  That was an incredible job of diagnosing the keyboard issue and makes complete sense.  It also explains why my first replacement keyboard had exactly the same issue.  Dell must have had a huge batch of keyboards with a weak conductor in the ribbon cable.  It probably took a while for them to recognize the problem but once they did they should have stepped up to the plate and made it right.  

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RE: Keys not working on built in keyboard on my Inspiron 11

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Kirsa have you been able to fix this? Mine did the same thing... only able to use the touch screen for typing... please advise

Thanks

Melissa

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RE: Keys not working on built in keyboard on my Inspiron 11

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Mine doesn't work on the left side, the !, q, a, and z are very intermittent, if I hold the key down for a few seconds it will work and then I can type but I have to be very careful to make sure it captures all the letters. It sounds like a recall or viable support from Dell is needed..... Mine did this starting at about the first few weeks of ownership and got worse, not better

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2 Bronze

RE: Keys not working on built in keyboard on my Inspiron 11

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Hello,

My Inspiron 11 3148 started doing the same thing just under a month ago. I already sent it once for the keys on the left side not working every now and then and they sent it back to me saying it was fixed. It may not have produced the issue when it was with them just as it is right now working fine but on a fresh start after being off for a while the ESC ` 1 TAB Q CAPS A Z keys don't work. After some time they function sometimes not at all. To my knowledge there was never any liquid damage to the unit or any other significant event that I'm aware of. It just started happening one day. In the BIOS I switched the "function key behavior" to normal, that may have done something but I'm not sure. All I know is I really don't want to have to send in again.

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RE: Keys not working on built in keyboard on my Inspiron 11

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My keyboard is not working at all.  It started with 2 keys being sluggish to none of them working.  All I can use is the on screen touch keyboard.  If I had only wanted a tablet I would have bought one.  This is absolutely the last dell piece of *** I buy.  Nice going Dell, one customer down.  Back to HP for me.

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RE: Keys not working on built in keyboard on my Inspiron 11

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This seems to be a known issue. I'm having the exact same issue. 1 Q A Z keys are intermittently working. I think this is a possible overheating issue as the left side of the keyboard is laptop especially when the AC adapter is plugged in.  

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RE: Keys not working on built in keyboard on my Inspiron 11

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Hi,

I would suggest you to try flashing the BIOS on the system. Please enter your service tag # on the link below, select the operating system, and then download the BIOS from the BIOS section onto the system and install it.

http://dell.to/18r60nI

Also, I would suggest you to run a thorough test on the system. You can download Support assist from the link below and run the PC CHECKUP on the computer to check for issues

http://dell.to/1hAPOXr

Also, please check is issue reoccurs with external USB keyboard connected.

Please let me know the findings.

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RE: Keys not working on built in keyboard on my Inspiron 11

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Mine were working intermittently, but now not at all.  Not for the last few days, whether I have had the computer on for a while or just booted up, with or without the AC adapter.  this computer has been the biggest waste of money and like I said, my very last Dell ever. 

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RE: Keys not working on built in keyboard on my Inspiron 11

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I am having the same problem with the left side of the keyboard: '1', 'Q', 'A', 'Z', CAPS LOCK.  Too many folks are having this issue for it not to be a design flaw.  Between myself and my sons, I have purchased five Dells in the last five years only to watch their quality drop precipitously.  Paying this much for any other appliance and having such poor quality would be considered an outrage.  

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RE: Keys not working on built in keyboard on my Inspiron 11

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Yep.  My "new" Dell is now sitting on a shelf.  I restored my old HP computer and am now using it. Windows 7 and all, when I'm not using my desktop HP, Vista Windows.  No more Dells for me.  They got my money this time, but had better enjoy it because it was an expensive lesson learned on my part.  I won't make the same mistake twice.