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Laptop "types" letter "Y" continuously as if the key were pressed, even without the keyboard

Posted on 2010-11-08
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
I have this old compaq laptop that started typing letter "y" once in a while when no key was pressed. The problem became more and more anoying until it won´t let us work with anything. First I thought it was a keyboard problem, but when I disconnected the keyboard and the issue still happened I knew it was something else. So I took out the motherboard and found some strange things, like a little screw out of place, or traces of something that appeared to be a short circuit on the CD-ROM connector. Now I've cleaned as much as I could the motherboard's surface (using a toothbrush and a cleaning solution for electronic circuit boards) and disconnected the CD-ROM too but the "yyyyyyyyyyyyyy.....yyy" is still present (and remember, with no keyboard attached to the laptop). Any ideas of what could be causing this keyboard input?
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Question by:milnerflores
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16 Comments
 
LVL 6

Expert Comment

by:wwakefield
ID: 34089585
Have you tried to boot with the keyboard disconnected but a USB or PST keyboard attached?   Just to validate the keyboard is not throwing the character?

If it is the keyboard, you can probably find cheap parts or a parts only unit to use.

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LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:leoahmad
ID: 34089643
Have you scanned your system for viruses

or sticky key
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LVL 63

Expert Comment

by:SysExpert
ID: 34089836
could be a faulty keyboard controller, or motherboard going bad.

I hope this helps !
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:osmystatocny
ID: 34090167
You said it is a laptop so how did you disconnect the keyboard actually? Did you physically disconnect the keyboard that is on the laptop or another one attached to it?
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LVL 9

Expert Comment

by:Lance_P
ID: 34090958
Do you have the 'built in keyboard' still attached? Or did you remove it?

If not 'try' to remove it (Check for manuals on the website) and use it with a USB keyboard.
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 34091048
test if it happens when you boot from a live cd like :
 ftp://ftp.kernel.org/pub/dist/knoppix/KNOPPIX_V5.0.1CD-2006-06-01-EN.iso           Knoppix      
www.nu2.nu/pebuilder/                               BartPe

or pu t in another disk, and do a fresh install to check
this will show if it is hardware or not !
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Author Comment

by:milnerflores
ID: 34095008
Thanks for the ideas. I'm going to work on them and let you know how it goes.
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 34095113
ok - i'm waiting..
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Author Comment

by:milnerflores
ID: 34105465
Ok, this is what I have done so far after the motherboard cleaning:

1.- Disconnected the built in keyboard and plugged in a miniDIN external one (remember is an old laptop). When I turned the laptop on this way, the problem seemed to be solved, but after I accidentally pressed the button that deactivates the touchpad, y's started to appear again.

2.- Inserted back the CD-ROM and booted from UBCD. The same thing happened. It worked well until I pressed again the touchpad deactivation button. And

3.- Ran memtest for about half an hour and didn't find any errors. I did this because sometimes when I try to restart the laptop after the problem arises, it won't boot at all. It freezes at the Compaq´s logo screen. Then I discovered that this freezing was caused by the y's themselves.

Now, regarding all your comments and questions.  Unfortunately an external keyboard is not a solution. A virus, sticky keys configuration or OS problem is out of question since it's happening using a live CD also. And it is not a keyboard problem because it is not even plugged in. Which leads me to think is definitely a motherboard problem, and specifically some sort of short circuit on the keyboard bus. My question now is how can I track it down? or should I just change the entire board?

Any help will be appreciated.
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:osmystatocny
ID: 34105947
Now it's probaly come down to - is it really worth the effort? If you are earning let's say $30 per hour, yout time is valued at least $30 an hour. You already spent many hours with it and planning again. You have to buy this and that - is it really worth the effort instead of getting a new one?

You may be doing it for somebody else or like the "antique" stuff - then it's a probably a different story after all ;)

btw is there an option to update BIOS?
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Expert Comment

by:wwakefield
ID: 34106025
@ osmystatocny:   MEGA DITTOS
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LVL 92

Accepted Solution

by:
nobus earned 1000 total points
ID: 34109493
it looks like a keyboard controller error on the mobo; in which case the easiest is to replace the whole mobo.
if you want  to " how can I track it down?" you can look for the chips on the net -  if you find the keyboard controller chip - replace it - but no guarantee it will work
info :
http://www.pcguide.com/ref/mbsys/chip/kbctrl.htm
http://www.google.be/#hl=nl&source=hp&biw=1257&bih=828&q=keyboard+controller+chip&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=&fp=1
http://www.datasheetcatalog.org/datasheets2/13/135595_1.pdf
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Author Comment

by:milnerflores
ID: 34116786
Thanks for your comments again, and nobus, that's exactly the info I was just looking for. I'll let you know if I could fix it, but definitely I'm giving you the points.
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 34118506
always interested in the outcome
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Author Comment

by:milnerflores
ID: 34148152
With the information nobus provided I found that the keyboard controller on this machine (Presario 2150LA) is a National semiconductors 176pins PC87570 that controls not just the internal and external keyboards, but the pointing devices too (touchpad and/or an external PS2 mouse). So I double checked the surrounding areas to that chip for traces of something strange, cleaned the area again, and resoldered the chip using a heat gun but the problem is still there. This leads me to think that the problem is inside the chip as nobus suggested, so I'm leaving it that way since the only reliable solution would be to change the entire MoBo, or buying a new laptop.
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by:nobus
ID: 34152932
tx for feedback !
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