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Keyboard  'stuck' on Dell Inspiron 1545 laptop..

Posted on 2009-06-29
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Last Modified: 2013-12-09
A friend's 6 month old Dell Inspiron 1545 has developed what appears to be a keyboard problem.

When booting , after the BIOS flash screen, there is a fast repeating beep as the Boot manager screen appears and then it is impossible to do anything.. there is just the Windows Vista option but the keyboard doesn't work.

If I plug in an external keyboard I can get it to boot as far as the login screen when it asks for the password, but the password box is full with characters and refills as quickly as I can delete them with the external keyboard.

There are no keys obviously 'stuck' down, and just in case I checked the RAM and HDD on my own laptop and both are fine.

Any ideas before he returns it under guarantee?
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Question by:chrisfixit
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by:techzter
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Perhaps try to disconnect the keyboard from the laptop and try with only an external keyboard plugged in. This would eliminate an issue with the built in keyboard.

If it turns out that the keyboard is the issue than Dell should replace it under warranty. They could even ship you the part so that you didn't have to send it back for repair. It is fairly easy to swap. If the machine is no longer under warranty a replacement keyboard is fairly inexpensive.
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by:techzter
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Another thought.... Had you been doing any work on the laptop before the issue began? Perhaps the ribbon cable for the keyboard had just been pulled loose. You could try to reseat it and see if the problem corrects itself as well.
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by:chrisfixit
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Yes, my worry is though that it might be a mobo problem - I had a similar problem with a Compaq a few months ago and replaced the keyboard but the replacement made no difference, and that one worked fine with an external k/b.
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by:techzter
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Well if it does turn out to be a mobo hopefully the machine is still under warranty. It is a much more costly repair. The actual beep codes should give you some more detail as well. They generally sound off in a particular pattern to indicate certain errors. I would suggest eliminating the keyboard first as a cause and working your way from there.

Make a note of how it is beeping. For instance 4 short beeps, or two short two long, etc... You could call Dell to get more detail as to what it might mean. You may also be able to find it on the Dell support site but I did not turn it up on a quick search.
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by:chrisfixit
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the beeping is definitely the keyboard buffer filling.. I've disconnected the keyboard and it works fine with the external k/b.. AND you can see the password field quickly filling whenthe laptopkeyboard is  connnected.
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by:chrisfixit
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Just a thought - I still have the Compaq keyboard I referred to.. are they all basically the same.. can I test it with that without doing any harm?
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techzter earned 500 total points
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I can't see any harm coming from it. Will it work? It would depend on whether the wiring of the ribbon cable is pinned out the same way as the Dell model. I wouldn't bother messing around with it since you have already determined that the issue was with the keyboard. Did you try to reseat the keyboard to see if the problem is corrected? It may have just been a loose cable. If the keyboard continues not to work I would advise that you contact Dell and just use the appropriate part. You can get by with an external keyboard for a few days in the meantime.
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