Butterfly keyboard users with NO issues - how often does your laptop get hot?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by ajmicek, May 24, 2018.

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Butterfly keyboard users with NO issues -- how often does your laptop get hot?

  1. Essentially never (always running cool, never hear fans)

    14 vote(s)
    45.2%
  2. Once a month

    4 vote(s)
    12.9%
  3. Once a week

    1 vote(s)
    3.2%
  4. Few times a week

    9 vote(s)
    29.0%
  5. Everyday (always compiling code, exporting video)

    3 vote(s)
    9.7%
  1. ajmicek macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2008
    #1
    The theory I've seen around is that heat is part of what causes the butterfly keyboard to fail. Maybe we could add some evidence towards proving or disproving that theory.
     
  2. mrsir2009 macrumors 604

    mrsir2009

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2009
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #2
    What kind of failure are we talking about here?
     
  3. Miltz macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2013
    Location:
    New York
    #3
    I think it definitely has an effect. My 2016 took 11 months to fail. My laptop got hot during intense photoshop and final cut pro sessions.
     
  4. mrsir2009 macrumors 604

    mrsir2009

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2009
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #4
    What I mean is, did the whole keyboard stop working altogether, did individual keys fail, did it gradually become more and more unresponsive over time etc..?
     
  5. Miltz macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2013
    Location:
    New York
    #5
    For all the hundreds of issues I've read about including mine, certain keys stopped working. For example, if you hit the R key it would either not type anything or type multiple Rs with one press.
     
  6. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #6
    It seems the consensus is that its debris entering into the mechism and blocking (and eventually) breaking the very delicate butterfly components. Even Apple alludes this with their KB article that directs owners to old the laptop at odd angles and blow compressed air
     
  7. ajmicek thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2008
    #7
    Definitely, the infamous "speck of dust" stuff! I appreciate your accurate summary. I think Apple has really successfully set the narrative with blaming dust, and I'm unsure if that describes the full picture.
    So, the heat theory I have heard about has two parts:
    1. Keys in certain areas (spacebar, B, N) seem to fail more often than others. These keys are quite close to the CPU (check out the location, from iFixit).
    2. Some people have no issues with the keyboard and others have repeated replacements that don't fix their problem.
    As Apple stated in their butterfly press release, the dome switches are now stainless steel, which lends some credence to the theory that expansion/contraction during thermal cycling may contribute to degradation of the mechanism.

    This all may point to heat. It may not!

    Unfortunately, soliciting feedback from those who have had NO problems is like selection bias in reverse. So it may end up being a rather unsuccessful survey. After all, who is trolling forums about their butterfly keyboard if it works perfectly? : )
     
  8. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #8
    I thought they were plastic, my bad, but I still believe the mechinism is still incredibly fragile
     
  9. Nathan King macrumors regular

    Nathan King

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2016
    Location:
    Omaha, NE
    #9
    I put mine under a significant load for an extended period of time several times per week. The fan spins up and the case gets quite warm, but the keyboard works perfectly. It's a late 2016 touchbar model.
     
  10. Miltz macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2013
    Location:
    New York
    #10
    How long have you owned it?
     
  11. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #11
    It could be "dust".
    It could be "heat".
    or...
    It could be "a combination" of both...
     
  12. Nathan King macrumors regular

    Nathan King

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2016
    Location:
    Omaha, NE
    #12
    I purchased it within two months of release.
     
  13. ajmicek thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2008
    #13
    It definitely could be both heat and dust!

    I'm interested in how successful the "speck of dust" narrative from Apple has been, nearly to the exclusion of other theories of etiology of key failure. That's why I brought heat up.

    It seems that, in the discussions here at MacRumors and the ones started by Casey Neistat, Dustin Curtis, and Casey Johnston -- there are keys on these keyboards that fail FAR more frequently than others.

    Dust has an equal chance of falling into any one key, right? So if it was dust, I do not think we would see these patterns of failure, where specific keys conk out.

    That's what got my attention when others were talking about heat playing a role.
     
  14. content macrumors member

    content

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2015
    #14
    Good reasoning.
     
  15. geetfun macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2016
    #15
    Yup. Excellent reasoning and likely why dust isn't the real issue.

    I had noticed that when the machine got hot, one of my keys consistently stopped working or worked intermittently. I bought a table top laptop cooling pad (with large fans that spin underneath it) to keep the laptop cool. This seemed to have helped decrease the frequency in which keyboard issues arose.

    At last, the keyboard still malfunctioned. My best guess is that heat gradually distorts the keyboard's underlying mechanism to the point where it becomes unusable.

    Your observation that it happens consistently with certain keys likely point to the fact that certain areas of the computer's internals are hotter than others (eg. CPU, battery areas).

    Lovely machine, but unfortunately have a clear issue with the way the keyboards are designed. From the various forum threads and posts, I'm not confident that the top case replacement adequately fixes it and have been deferring this until this past week.

    Sadly, the underlying problem is still present (ie. the design) and I don't think it's fixable. The 2018 revision will likely still have this problem if the design is not fundamentally different. Given the limits of what Apple can do in testing it behind the scenes versus having millions of people using it on a day-to-day basis, it'll be hard to iterate out of this one.

    On a related note, I was at the Apple store and saw shelves full of this :cool:. I think someone forgot to close the shelf.

    Capture.PNG
     
  16. leman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #16
    The CPU/GPU are located in the upper half of the logic board, which itself is located in the upper half of the laptop. The major heat development should be under the number keys, not the lower key rows.

    I'd interpret this as the issue being partially dependent on user behaviour. Yes, that is part of that equation, but so is the average exposure to dust/dirt and frequency/force with which the keys are activated.

    Trying to do a representative survey on a forum is already problematic in itself :)
     
  17. ajmicek thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2008
    #17
    Your comment got me thinking!

    I had simply "eyed" it up when others were talking about heat areas and where the keyboard is, so instead I've made a gif. It shows 2017 13" from the bottom, and then as though you had x-ray vision and could see up through to the keyboard above; then it shows important chips highlighted (CPU in red box at the center of the computer, at the center of the heat pipe (image credits: iFixit, Apple).

    It is definitely true that the heat pipes run close to the number keys.
    But wouldn't it be hottest at the center, at the source of the heat?

    [​IMG]
     
  18. kemo macrumors 6502a

    kemo

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2008
    Location:
    ProtonVPN
    #18

    I got MBP 15'' 2017 with Touch Bar about 3 weeks ago, one of the keys is already acting up - number 9 is the key with issues - right above the heat pipe - weird thing though, laptop never went over 55 degree of celsius on CPU. I'm using external display though, so maybe a GPU could produce some heat for the "9".
     
  19. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #19
    Maybe/maybe not, but think about it. Even if heat is a cause, it still boils down to an inferior design of the keyboard because other keyboards do not suffer from such a design. At the end of the day, something is causing the keyboard to fail.

    Bummers on the keyboard failure though that sux :(
     
  20. smallcoffee macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2014
    Location:
    North America
    #20
    This is an assumption that warrants investigation. You can't just assume that this is the case.
    --- Post Merged, May 31, 2018 ---
    Funny, but they have likely kept these in store well before any keyboard change.
     
  21. ajmicek thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2008
    #21
    I think I see what you are saying! Namely, the larger surface area of the spacebar would collect disproportionately more dust, and if dust were the primary etiology of failure, then spacebars would fail more frequently. Which they do!

    Unfortunately, keyboard cover use affects both operating temperature (heat) _and_ exposure to dust... and those who use them have had failures, as well.

    I've gone in circles on this heat versus dust thing for so long -- we'll probably never know what really is causing the failures, but I sure am curious.
     

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