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No Keyboard input, but automatically inputting keystrokes?!

Posted on 2008-10-16
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Last Modified: 2013-11-17
I'm trying to resurrect an old laptop - a Dell Inspiron 1000, for a specific purpose. It hasn't been used in some time and had the following symptoms on start up:

Immediately after bios loading screen, a rapid repetitious beeping started, which lasted right up to the windows splash screen and log in screen, at which point it ceased.

Once logged in, no keyboard input is possible, however the trackpad works fine. Right clicking anything to bring up the menu list and the beeping starts again and continues until the menu is exited. the speed of the beep is directly related to the keystroke repeat speed set.

Any text input boxes clicked on using the trackpad, or indeed text editing software opened, will repeatedly input "7" and keep adding more 7's until you click away from the text entry area.

I've checked the keyboard itself, no problem with that, and the same as above happens with or without the keyboard fitted to the laptop!
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Question by:dongledell
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Mark earned 500 total points
ID: 22731806
Sounds like a stuck key on the keyboard but without the keyboard it  means the keyboard controller on the laptop motherboard is defective.
Is there a setting in BIOS to disable the keyboard and try using a n external keyboard?
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by:dongledell
ID: 22731849
Honest answer is I don't know about the bios! I'm OK at basics but haven't ever really ventured into the bios - not even sure how to on this (first laptop I've had, donated by the FIL for the specific purpose!)

 I don't have a USB keyboard to try an external one anyway unfortunately.

Is there any way to test / review the keyboard controller?
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by:asidu
ID: 22731905
It sounds like a hardware issue.

I reckon the  key board of the laptop is faulty.
Are you able to disconnect the keyboard from the laptop and connect an external keyboard.


Can you run knoppix on the system and see if the problem still persists.
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by:Mark
ID: 22731968
You can try to run the Dell diagnostics, When the DELL" logo appears, press <F12> immediately
If that won't work due to the keyboard issue hold down the mute button and press the
computers power button to begin the Dell Diagnostics.
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by:dongledell
ID: 22731970
surely if the keyboard is faulty it wouldn't have the same issue with it removed from the laptop? As I mentioned earlier no USB keyboard to try on it unfortunately.

Never heard of knoppix, but just googled it and will see if I can figure it out - very difficult to configure the laptop to do anything other than a straight forward boot without keyboard input!
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by:Mark
ID: 22732078
Can you enter the BIOS , press F2 during the DELL splash screen. Or is there no response?
I assume you don't type a password in to logon, just a mouse click?
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by:dongledell
ID: 22732107
no mute button on the 1000 - and as you correctly guessed, can't hit F12!
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by:dongledell
ID: 22732185
OK - just borrowed a USB Keyboard - this does give me input ability, BUT the laptop itself is still putting 7's up repetitively, which means I can't do anything unless I can find some commands with names like m777s777c7o777nf777i7g7!
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by:Mark
ID: 22732214
The F1 key is the mute button according to the Dell documentation.
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by:Mark
ID: 22732240
Without access to the BIOS it is impossible to see if we can shut down the keyboard. Try getting in with the USB keyboard, hopefully its supported on startup.
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by:dongledell
ID: 22732273
sorry yes there is a mute on the F1, but not a key separate to the keyboard.

I'll see if the USB board will allow an F12
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by:Mark
ID: 22732497
By holding down the mute button and then pushing the power button to startup, it's supposed to initiate the diagnostics. This may give us some info on the keyboard controllers health.
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by:dongledell
ID: 22732596
right I got in using the USB keyboard to F12 in, jumped into the keyboard diagnostic section, first off it said that the keyboard controller is fine, next it tested the keyboard itself and gave the error code 2C00:041D and said there was a key stuck issuing code Ch (I think - might have said C4, presume that's a character code?

That makes no sense to me though, as with the keyboard not fitted to the laptop it's displaying exactly the same symptoms! I suppose the next step is to take the keyboard back out and try again with just the USB board fitted which I know there is no problem with as I'm typing on it right now...

One aspect of the test is it asks you to hit each key on the keyboard - nothing happens at all hitting keys on EITHER keyboard, but the text above the keyboard illustration says it's looking at the fitted one rather than the USB one.

Unfortunately I've just been informed that the constant beeping is likely to result in a heavy beating by my work colleagues so think I best wait till I get home to test that!
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by:Mark
ID: 22732788
Those darn colleagues. Don't they understand progress is being made.
Looked up that code 2C00:041D and it refers to a stuck key implicating the keyboard ribbon cable and not a motherboard issue. http://www.geocities.com/techtoolscl/32bitcodes.html
I wonder if something is caught in the connector for the keyboard ribbon on the motherboard and causing a short between contacts. Perhaps the use of some PC cleaner compressed air on the motherboard keyboard connector would dislodge it.
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by:rid
ID: 22733542
Are you telling us you have removed the internal KB and have no external KB attached and still get a "Stuck key" error? Try resetting the CMOS by removing the battery for a few minutes.

Knoppix is a Linux distribution that comes on a bootable CD and runs without any installation, a "Live CD". Very userful. www.knoppix.org
/RID
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Author Comment

by:dongledell
ID: 22733677
LOL yeah though to their credit they have put up with it most of the day!

right - cheers for the code confirmation there sparkmaker :) I'll rip it back out again and have a look in the connector.

Rid - yep, no keyboards attached whatsoever still results in a stuck key error! Hopefully sparkmaker will have hit on something with the connector.  Tried the old battery-out first thing, to no effect.

One thing that is interesting, I've just been re-running the keyboard test. Try any individual key, nothing, doesn't register... BUT, if you hit any 2 or more of the numerical keys at the same time, it registers that and says that an invalid code has been detected (obviously - it's asking me to press key 0001, the escape key, and I'm not!) so SOMETHING is getting out of the keyboard. Sort of.
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by:dongledell
ID: 22735590
well I'm about ready to give up - stripped the whole thing down, nothing untoward immediately apparent on the motherboard or keyboard connection, but even stripped to it's basic components and using a USB keyboard it STILL gives me a stuck key error :( 3h continuous whatever that means.
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by:Mark
ID: 22735684
Well it looks like it may be an issue that may not be resolved. There may be a bad trace on the motherboard going from the connector to the controller if nothing is shorting in the connector.
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by:asidu
ID: 22747584
Your tests indicate the problem is persistent, even with all the isolation.
The  next thing is to have another close  look at  mother motherboard lines as suggested.
You may have to replace the motherboard eventually !!
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by:dongledell
ID: 22753009
Ripped it apart again and I can't see any issues with the motherboard  traces etc so I guess I'll consign the laptop to the bin (or more accurately, the parts bin!) as it's not worth spending out on a new motherboard for it.

What shall I do WRT the points now? Loads of help given and appreciated but obviously it's going to be one of the "going nowhere" types!
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