USB Keyboard stuck

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Hawaii Cruiser's picture
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Hi, I picked up an old blueberry Mac USB keyboard at a thriftstore today, but now that I've got it home and am trying it out I find it is stuck on command key combinations. For instance, if I type "o" it doesn't type the letter, but instead, opens a finder window, and when I type "w" it closes the window--exactly as it should if I were holding down the command key at the same time, but I'm not holding down the command key but just typing the letter key. I know there's Sticky Keys in the Universal Access preferences that enables this single keystroke ability, but this is not occurring because of my software, but is something that is happening within the keyboard. I'm just wondering, by chance, if this is something you can somehow program your keyboard to do, which I can undo, or am I just stuck with having to open up the keyboard and poke around and see if the command key connection is somewhere stuck together? thanks

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TheUltimateMacUser's picture
Joined: Jan 28 2004
Posts: 615
hardware

sounds like a hardware issue to me.

time to bust out the ole screw driver and check. *hitches up pants* Seriosuily, sounds like a short.

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Jon's picture
Jon
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Open KeyCaps and see which bu

Open KeyCaps and see which buttons it tells you are being pressed. That will help greatly when you get it open.

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eeun's picture
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Pretty sure those keyboards h

Pretty sure those keyboards have membrane switches like the new extended kbds.

If so, some carefully applied soap and water works well to remove old coffee and cola residue that might be sticking contacts together...if you don't mind removing the five billion screws that Apple seems compelled to use.

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Hawaii Cruiser's picture
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post-surgery update

Now that the holidays are over I got around to checking out the insides of the keyboard, despite the little voice in me that kept saying, chuck it and move on. What possesses us to ignore that little voice in spite of all our experience? I don't think this is one of the seven habits of highly successful people, or is it? There must be a clinical term for this malady, obsessive tinkerosis or something like that.

I've learned to respect quips by others like, "if you don't mind removing the five billion screws that Apple seems compelled to use." I know too well there's usually a hard reality behind such sarcasm, and yes, there it was. Actually, you can see them through the plastic if you turn the keyboard over. Not five billion, but thirty one or something like that--which was much more than seemingly adequate. When you finally get the back off you can see the screws arranged across the back plate in a crisscross pattern reminiscent of the beginnings of some esoteric design on a medieval tapestry. Maybe there's some Apple Kabbalah at work which only a handful are privy to?

Image 1
Image 2

Still ignoring the little voice--which at that point was becoming shrill--I removed the thirty one little screws and very carefully opened the keyboard guts to get to the double membrane inside. Like most keyboards, there's more than a hundred little rubber cups in there that will fall out all over the place if you're not careful.

Image 3

Well, I saw no obvious coffee spills on the membranes or any other reason why the command button would be sticking. There were a few small smudges of some yellow grease here and there. I'm supposing the grease is some ingredient in the mechanics of the keys. Please no comments on what else the grease could be. So I cleaned up the membranes with a rag as completely as seemed necessary, and then put the keyboard back together, trying very hard to remember how everything went back . I also cleaned out the lint and little bug carcasses that constitute the typical toe jam between the keys. It was the wee hours of the morning when I was doing this--my sleep biorythm still wrecked by the night before's New Years' pandemonium--so I couldn't use the vacuum cleaner without arousing the wrath of family and extended family. Of course, I was doing this this late after everyone else was asleep to avoid the stink-eye of my wife observing my typical, much-fretted, obsessive compulsive computer goring.

In the process of rescrewing the thirty one little screws, I dropped one that fell to the kitchen floor and disappeared. I suspect it went under the refrigerator. So the keyboard went back together, except for one little screw and one broken plastic snap--less than the usual loss for this kind of tinkerosis--while I ruminated what I might soon suffer because of the absence of that one little screw, or from some misalignment or over-tightening. Would I plug the keyboard into my computer, and in a sizzle and smokey pop, completely short-circuit my USB port and the whole house?

So what were the odds that this operation was successful? Why didn't I listen to that little voice that said, for the time I spent on this, I could possibly have been working on something that would have paid for a whole new keyboard? (I might add at this point that I did recently buy an new USB keyboard--a Macally IceKey Slim which I purchased from Amazon and am more than delighted with--it's a gem!) From too much experience, I was expecting that I had probably rendered the whole keyboard functionless, if not dangerous.

Well, I took the chance and plugged it into one of my secondary B&W's and, Lord have mercy! It works fine, everything perfectly. No more stuck on command. I typed away, tried command o and command w--both work as normal. I typed, "Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country," and then again with the caps locked. All flawless. I typed this sentence because I never can remember the sentence that has all the letters of the alphabet in it. How does it go? Something about a red fox jumping a fence or something like that? But anyway, the tinkering payed off.

So, sometimes you win a few. 2007--must be a luck year.

Happy New Year everyone!

Jon's picture
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The quick brown fox jumped ov

The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog?

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Hawaii Cruiser's picture
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No s

That sounds close, but there's no s in that sentence. I guess you could just pluralize dog to dogs. Thanks!

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Re: The quick brown fox jumped ov

Jon wrote:

The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog?

How about "the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog"

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That durned fox ...

The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dogs.

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eeun's picture
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Re: The quick brown fox jumped ov

Billybluff wrote:

How about "the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog"

You thought it worth resurrecting a year-old thread just to correct that?

But since we're all here, I prefer using:
Cozy sphinx waves quart jug of bad milk,
Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs,
and the one Apple used for a while;
cozy lummox gives smart squid who asks for job pen

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