Well, it's been nearly a day now and even after many reboots and poking at the cable, I still cannot get the keyboard/trackpad to return. Luckily the external mouse and keyboard work fine or I'd have a brick. I'll order the replacement cable and see if it resolves the problem. I always use an external mouse at work anyway, but at home, I prefer to work not at a desk, so this will be a pain if I cannot resolve the issue. Also, even though I prefer a mouse, I still use the trackpad for some purposes (no pinching and stretching with a mouse).
I appear to have the same issue again. Faulty trackpad and keyboard. New part warranty ran out last month.
Another flex cable ordered. Going to complain to Apple if new flex solves problem. This must be a design fault.
One slight difference, I can only get the trackpad to work now and again, keyboard gone. The grey wire connection to the trackpad seems flimsy and I cannot get it to click into place. What is this wire? Wondering if I need to order another part.
I took my 2007 macbook pro to the "genius" bar, and they stared at me like I was from another planet when I explained the very sme problem to them. They also told me I should "Just buy a new computer".
So much for geniuses...
Your solution works perfectly. It seems this is not uncommon.
Even though I totally prefer a mac over a PC, the lack of quality in construction (ie. wear and tear ability) sometimes really ****** me off.... especially for the price.
Once, about 6-7 months ago I had the same problem, my trackpad and keyboard together freeze sometimes intermittently
Then I solved alone, putting a little thickness between battery and golden cable
This method worked great until a couple of weeks ago, when keyboard and trackpad together stop to work definitively
Now I had to repair it, but I don't know if is enough to change the golden cable or I had to change the keyboard or if are unnecessary both solution because is the black connector in the logic board to be out of order
Someone could help me, someone solve this second step of our problem??
Thank you everybody
Just passing to celebrate 5 YEARS of this Apple Hardware Problem without proper solution provided by Apple.
Thanks Apple, you have been proving that you do not give a **** for your clients!
I gonna fix it for the last time, sell everything that I have from Apple and never go back.
I expreiced similar problem. Unresponsive external keyboard. Keys being repeated. Macbook pro keyboard works just fine.
Did a NVRAM/PRAM reset (see here http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1379) and that solved the problem. Everythink seems to work fine again now.
I have this similar problem about 4 months back on my macbook pro that was purchased in November 2011. Was quite disappointed with the quality that I kept it until this week when I decided to tkae it to the local Apple service centre for repair. They qioted me RM 2,435.00 ( about USD 760.00) to fix the problem by exchanging the logic board. Well one of the USB and the blue tooth were not working as well. should I do it ?
The trackpad on my MacBook Air stopped recognizing clicks. The curser position could be changed but nothing I was trying was working to get the clicker to work... SMC Reset, Zap PRAM, Disk Utility, Permissions... etc.
Turns out that the wireless mouse I had paired to the MBA and tossed into my brief case was being pressed by other items in the briefcase! Turned it off. Problem solved.
I have a 2011 MacBook Air 13´ with the same problem. After suffering the lack of reliability of the computer which means switching it on and not knowing if the keyboard and trackpad are going to work or not, I took the computer to the Genius (Apple Service). They thought that it was a trackpad failure or a keyboard failure or both. So they changed the keyboard. I was going to pay for it because the warranty expired. When I go to collect the computer I test it for a few seconds and the problem continued.
I spoke wth the technician and after some tests he told me that I had very bad luck. My only choice is to replace the base plate which costs more than 400 Euros. Much more expensive than changing keyboard and trackpad.
I have been several months with this problem, and has affected professionaly to my activities with the computer.
In the last five years I have been a great Apple fan, we have at home several Mac computers, Ipad, Iphone, Appel TV, Time machine, etc. Apple is more expensive than other computers but it was worth it. But when I pay more than the average I expect, as a customer, a good reliability.
And this has not been the case with the problem. I have a great dissapointment with Apple and I doubt that I will buy another apple product again. I shall move to Samsung and other companies but never Apple.
From seeing this community I can see that Apple has manufactured a product with a serious defect and I would expect a solution. This is what I would expect and thousands of unhappy customers that have read and written in this community. This is totally unacceptable. Someone from Apple should come up and give an explanation for such a defective product.
I have been seduced by Apple for a few years, but not anymore... since I have paid for a useless computer.
Bye, bye Apple.
I last commented in this thread about a year ago. I was using the MBP without the battery (on AC) as my way of avoiding the problem. But about 6 months ago I stopped taking the battery out. I usually have the AC plugged in anyway since this model doesn't have a great battery life (early 2008, 15" 2.5 GHz, 4GB Ram 10.6.8).
Here's the odd thing. I have only had the freeze up or the multiple lettering maybe two or three times since then even though the battery is in the unit. What I do get on occasion is the trackpad not really recognizing my fingers. Sometimes I have to wet them or rub them, wait a few seconds, then try again and the cursor will respond.
I wish I could tell you all why it seems to be better now, but I can't. Not complaining, mind you. :-)
It seems generally known that the cause of this problem is heating and swelling of the battery that is affecting the orange ribbon cable, or the connection betweeen the orange ribbon cable and its connector underneath the trackpad. Here are some things people have done to solve the problem (either permanently or temporarily):
- Depressing and flattening the bulge (if present)
- Putting in a piece of paper/tape between the battery and ribbon
- Replacing the battery
- Replacing the ribbon cable
- Putting tape underneath the ribbon cable (to prevent shorts) solves
- Replacing the entire top case assembly
I think in many cases the ribbon cable has not gone bad, but that it loses proper connection. The presence of a bulge in the cable, for example, might indicate that the ribbon has partially pulled out of the connector thus losing contacts (or has shifted within the connector.) Or perhaps the swelling of the battery has put stress on the connector, so that over time the ribbon contacts can lose connection with the contacts in the connector. Or quite possibly a combination of both.
If this is the case, even replacing the ribbon may only be a temporary solution, as the new ribbon will still be subject to the same stresses as the old one. And if the connector is being stressed as well, then that failure point is still present as well.
One other solution that might work is to add a very small amount of thickness to the ribbon cable connector, to improve the connection within the connector. This might keep the contacts flush against the connector and prevent the sporadic failures. Another idea might be to use a relatively weak adhesive underneath the ribbon cable to prevent it from bulging.
I just started seeing this issue on my 2008 MBP, very rare but it still happens. So for now I have cut a small piece of cellophane tape and stuck it underside at the end of the orange ribbon (obviously on the other side of its metal contacts!) to add a small amount of thickness so it is seated more securly inside the connector. The cable still slid in smoothly into the connector, we'll see if that improves the contact.
If it helps, this solution may only be temporary as well. But it might work longer since it is applied closest to the point of failure (connection of orange cable contacts within the connector.)
Having received a MBP from a friend last friday showing exactly the symptoms discussed in this thread, I have just finished reading it all through. Awesome! And kudos to all contributors!
Nevertheless, I honestly believe I may offer some more detailed information/ conclusions in this case.
I started off with the assumption the intermittent internal USB dropout might indeed be caused by a faulty printed film cable. As corroborated by the overall (be it temporary) succes of the cardboard fix here, as wel as the less temporary succes of replacing the flatcable in question altogether.
On p. 19 of this thread, Computerix posted a neatly presented manual of a more permanent fix by soldering a single strand of copper from the trackpad component board to the main board connector.
Interesting, only one connection out of 4 which make up USB. This made me think, and have a closer look at the hardware on my table.
Whereas it seemed likely to me the brute and fairly unlocalized force applied by the cardboard fix might be able to temporaryly join a broken strand of copper, it seemed highly unlikely those copper strands could at all be severed by battery heat or not too extensive stressing/ bending obvious in the MBPs at hand here.
So my conclusion was this: it is not the copper strands in the ribbon cable that get damaged, rather the copper joining the "rivets" or "islands" on both sides of the ribbon cable close to the trackpad connector. Indeed, 5 of those rivets are in place to allow copper strands to jump to the other side of the ribbon cable, common enough in electronics these days.
Copper joining the rivets on both sides of the cable, will be ultra-thin. And as such easily damaged by the slightest stress ( being flexed all the time between battery and topcase metal framework) or undue heat caused by battery charging and/or adverse thermal conditions prevalent in a laptop.
If you take a close look at Computerix's picture you will see these rivets as small circular islands on the copper-coloured cable ( there are 5 of them, but two of them are a ground bridge):
From left to right, rivet ( not connector) pinout is probably: ground/ data - / data +/ ground / +5V. Note that the data connection rivets are slightly bigger.
What I did as a first test, is pierce the data rivets with a sharp pin and wiggle it around a little bit in order to spread the copper from the upper to the lower layer of the ribbon cable. Then I scratched the two connections with a fingernail. Et voilà, keyboard and trackpad are up and running again, QED.
Next step would be to pierce the holes with a strand of copper wire, and gently solder them in place. All you really need to do is reconnect the upper and lower parts of the ribbon cable near the trackpad connector, i.e. the most stressed point in it. Mind you, I will be using old fashioned resin core solder for this, not ROHs compliant!
I wouldn't be surprised this fix would be more lasting than putting in a new ribbon cable every 6 months or so.
Data connections seem to be less rugged than power connections, and probably for a reason: their frequency being much more vulnerable than a simple DC power line. The latter you can easily check with a multimeter, and, if need be, you can hardwire ground and +5V connections from anywhere else if you know what you're doing: http://attemptedmaker.blogspot.be/2012/10/converting-macbook-keyboardtouch-pad.h tml
And an afterthought: the MacBook Pros in this thread pose an especially difficult challenge: not less than 3 major family issues are involved here:
- the Nvidia 8600 M GT disaster.
- the issue of batteries swelling and/ overheating; not reporting charge conditions properly/ dying before their time.
- the internal USB device issue at hand in this thread.
Enough to create a lot of interference and confusion.
Good luck to you all!
@ Computerix: thanks for your photo and inspiration!