Control Key Stuck

OneEyed55

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 28, 2012
25
1
Manchester, UK
Hello everyone,

I've had a problem with my MacBook Pro for two days now. In the past, the control button would sometimes get randomly "pressed", but not physically. This would make me unable to type properly and turn every left click into a right click. I dealt with it by pressing Control+Option+Command+Esc. I don't know what exactly that key combination does, but it was recommended by the guy who had this MacBook before me and it always worked. That is, until two days ago.
I left my MacBook in Sleep Mode and when I got back, the control key was stuck. I restarted it, but still I could type nothing, not even my password. Fortunately, I was able to log in as a Guest User, which requires no password and from there I controlled my Mac via TeamViewer with my iPad (it allowed me to type normally). I managed to reinstall Mavericks, but much to my surprise, that did not fix the issue either. A while ago I noticed something interesting though: I turned Keyboard Viewer on and realised that whenever I pressed Command, the Control key would also appear pressed on Keyboard Viewer, even though it seemed physically intact. Also, when I put it in Sleep and wake it up again, I can click normally. However, if I press any other key after that, it goes in right click mode.

Does anybody have any idea on what is going on and how it could be fixed?
I have found some threads describing similar situations, but they didn't really help.

Thanks in advance.
 

poiihy

macrumors 68020
Aug 22, 2014
2,273
40
Water damage. Most of my Apple keyboards have died because of it, and lots of $$$ wasted!! Apple keyboards absolutely cannot tolerate water. Because it is an internal keyboard you need to take it to apple autohrized repair center and replace it. You could also wait for it to dry out and eventually it may stop flickering, but this may take a long long time.

I use an external keyboard for my MBP because the internal keyboard has some bad keys and to fix it cost a lot of money.
 

OneEyed55

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 28, 2012
25
1
Manchester, UK
Thank you for your reply and above all for taking the time to read my post!

I have thought of it as a possible cause, but the thing is I have never spilt anything over it. I even have a silicone cover on it all the time. Still, could water damage justify its sudden malfunction since it worked fine for so long?
 

poiihy

macrumors 68020
Aug 22, 2014
2,273
40
Thank you for your reply and above all for taking the time to read my post!

I have thought of it as a possible cause, but the thing is I have never spilt anything over it. I even have a silicone cover on it all the time. Still, could water damage justify its sudden malfunction since it worked fine for so long?
Any moisture can destroy it, even just a damp cloth to clean it. The cover probably accumulated moisture underneath.
 

OneEyed55

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 28, 2012
25
1
Manchester, UK
That makes sense. Do you think that if I found a way to clean the keyboard, it could solve the problem? I know it's trouble and I don't think I could do it by myself, but a friend of mine once cleaned one after coffee was spilt all over it and, if I recall correctly, it worked afterwards.
 

DeltaMac

macrumors G3
Jul 30, 2003
9,535
2,303
Delaware
Water damage. ...
That is a likely failure, although you said that yours has been flaky for some time, and you apparently bought it used, and the previous owner had that work-around that helped to some degree.
Now, it is worse.
You COULD pop that control keycap off, and make sure there is no foreign material underneath the keycap. More likely, you will need to replace the keyboard. As poiihy suggested, using an external keyboard will probably allow you to function in many circumstances.
 

poiihy

macrumors 68020
Aug 22, 2014
2,273
40
That makes sense. Do you think that if I found a way to clean the keyboard, it could solve the problem? I know it's trouble and I don't think I could do it by myself, but a friend of mine once cleaned one after coffee was spilt all over it and, if I recall correctly, it worked afterwards.
I seriously doubt you can fix it

I once had an (brand new) Apple wireless keyboard (which I had for a month) and one day I cleaned it because it was getting dirty. I used a moist sponge (not even dripping wet :mad: ) and after that the keyboard went berserk. After a few weeks of dying it out, most of it worked except the right arrow key on the very bottom right corner of the keyboard. After almost a month and it was still flickering, I tried to do "keyboard surgery", because I'd rather have no right arrow key than one that is flickering. I tried to destroy the key contact, but ended up causing several other keys to get stuck on (including the increase volume key, which caused a lot of noise :p ). Worst $70 ever spent. :mad: After that got a Logitech k360 for $20 and it has been working perfectly fine ever since!

That is what sucks about laptops (especially unibody macs). All the peripherals are integrated, so if something goes wrong, well then you are stuck with it. And with unibody MBPs you have to take everything out of the computer to replace the keyboard (very expensive if paying someone to do it). Apple says that the keyboard is permanently welded to the unibody and that the entire unibody case has to be replaced, but other sources say that the keyboard is held in with many many tiny screws. I've seen pictures and video about that so I am sure this is true.

If it was an older MBP then you could very easily lift the top cover and replace the keyboard right there. But classic MBPs rarely have keyboard problems :p
I like the classic MBPs. I see no point in having a unibody. And I hate the sharp edges of the unibody.

----------

That is a likely failure, although you said that yours has been flaky for some time, and you apparently bought it used, and the previous owner had that work-around that helped to some degree.
Now, it is worse.
You COULD pop that control keycap off, and make sure there is no foreign material underneath the keycap. More likely, you will need to replace the keyboard. As poiihy suggested, using an external keyboard will probably allow you to function in many circumstances.
He'd still have a flickering key :/
There is no feature in OS X to ignore built-in keyboard like there is for the trackpad. :(
 

OneEyed55

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 28, 2012
25
1
Manchester, UK
You COULD pop that control keycap off, and make sure there is no foreign material underneath the keycap.
Can you simply pop the keys of earlier models off? Early 2009 in particular. I had the impression it was possible only in newer models.

He'd still have a flickering key :/
There is no feature in OS X to ignore built-in keyboard like there is for the trackpad. :(
Yes, but the computer functions ok until I press a key on its built-in keyboard. So I am hoping that an external keyboard will do the work.



I still cannot figure out the issue's relation to Sleep Mode though.
 

OneEyed55

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 28, 2012
25
1
Manchester, UK
Coincidence.
But every time I wake it up from Sleep Mode, I can click normally. Then if I press any key, it starts to right-click and generally behave as I described above. The only way to stop it is to put it back in Sleep Mode and wake it again.
 

DeltaMac

macrumors G3
Jul 30, 2003
9,535
2,303
Delaware
Exactly!
You have a sticky/faulty key, and sleep, in one sense, disconnects your keyboard - until you next press a key on the keyboard (any key!), then further keypresses are available - and one in particular (the control key) is hanging.
It's your keyboard, which needs to be replaced.
 

OneEyed55

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 28, 2012
25
1
Manchester, UK
Exactly!
You have a sticky/faulty key, and sleep, in one sense, disconnects your keyboard - until you next press a key on the keyboard (any key!), then further keypresses are available - and one in particular (the control key) is hanging.
It's your keyboard, which needs to be replaced.

One more question. Can you explain why even when I press command on Keyboard Viewer, it also shows control as pressed? I mean, I am not physically pressing it and still command affects the control key. This is why I initially doubted that I am looking at a hardware problem.
 

simonsi

macrumors 601
Jan 3, 2014
4,849
716
Auckland
But every time I wake it up from Sleep Mode, I can click normally. Then if I press any key, it starts to right-click and generally behave as I described above. The only way to stop it is to put it back in Sleep Mode and wake it again.
Ah - sorry I thought you meant it just first happened after sleep. If it is every time reset from sleep until you press a key then that is the repeat key function I expect.

Either way it looks like you previous owner knew of this problem and as not fixed under warranty the theory of water damage stacks up. His workaround for a key issue would have rung alarm bells.
 

OneEyed55

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 28, 2012
25
1
Manchester, UK
Either way it looks like you previous owner knew of this problem and as not fixed under warranty the theory of water damage stacks up. His workaround for a key issue would have rung alarm bells.
I just find it peculiar that it happened now, after I've had it for over two years. Shouldn't any issues connected with water damage have appeared much earlier? Like, at the moment of the actual damage?
 

simonsi

macrumors 601
Jan 3, 2014
4,849
716
Auckland
I just find it peculiar that it happened now, after I've had it for over two years. Shouldn't any issues connected with water damage have appeared much earlier? Like, at the moment of the actual damage?
Why did he have a "workaround" that he told you about if he didn't have a problem?

Yes much water damage is apparent at the time, some symptoms will disappear as it dries, secondary symptoms may then show due to adhesion or corrosion as the liquid (which may not be pure water) deposits salts etc on the inside and they cause their own effects...
 

OneEyed55

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 28, 2012
25
1
Manchester, UK
Why did he have a "workaround" that he told you about if he didn't have a problem?

Yes much water damage is apparent at the time, some symptoms will disappear as it dries, secondary symptoms may then show due to adhesion or corrosion as the liquid (which may not be pure water) deposits salts etc on the inside and they cause their own effects...
Yes, that may be the case. Thank you for taking the time to explain. At the time I thought it was a software-related issue, what with it being solved with a key combination and all. Also, an OS X reinstall that I did at some point, did eliminate the problem for quite some time. So I had my focus elsewhere.
 

poiihy

macrumors 68020
Aug 22, 2014
2,273
40
[/COLOR]
One more question. Can you explain why even when I press command on Keyboard Viewer, it also shows control as pressed? I mean, I am not physically pressing it and still command affects the control key. This is why I initially doubted that I am looking at a hardware problem.
That happens too
on my first keybard to go out, the 7 key would also trigger the 8 key.
 

x3n0n1c

macrumors regular
Jul 9, 2014
170
2
Keep in mind that your control key could be completely fine.

Keyboards work by completing multiple circuits with each key press. Which circuits are closed lets the controller in the keyboard know which keys you have pressed.

If you have an issue with another key, it could prevent a perfectly function key from working correctly.

Replacement keyboards are not expensive, they are just a pain in the A** to replace. You have to completely disassemble the laptop to get to them and then you have to remove something like 40 of the tiniest screws ever to get the thing out, then of course replace them once the new one is installed.
 

OneEyed55

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 28, 2012
25
1
Manchester, UK
Replacement keyboards are not expensive, they are just a pain in the A** to replace. You have to completely disassemble the laptop to get to them and then you have to remove something like 40 of the tiniest screws ever to get the thing out, then of course replace them once the new one is installed.
Do you know if the backlight mechanism is attached to the keyboard? Because I searched for replacement keyboards online and some of them were without backlight.
 

DeltaMac

macrumors G3
Jul 30, 2003
9,535
2,303
Delaware
Backlit keyboard is standard on a 17-inch MBPro.
So - don't choose one that claims to have no backlight.
Apple's part number is 661-5041 for the top case w/keyboard - and seems that most are in the range of $300 for that part.
 

OneEyed55

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 28, 2012
25
1
Manchester, UK
Backlit keyboard is standard on a 17-inch MBPro.
So - don't choose one that claims to have no backlight.
Apple's part number is 661-5041 for the top case w/keyboard - and seems that most are in the range of $300 for that part.
I am looking for something way cheaper, actually. Which is why ebay is my first choice for now.
 

DeltaMac

macrumors G3
Jul 30, 2003
9,535
2,303
Delaware
Then, to answer your question more directly -
The keyboard backlighting is built-in to the keyboard, not a separate piece that can be removed. If the keyboard is correct, then it will be backlit.
If you see a 17-inch MBPro top case for sale, and backlighting is specifically listed as "missing", or some such, then don't get that one. It's probable that the part will NOT be a correct part - and won't fit/function.
 

OneEyed55

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 28, 2012
25
1
Manchester, UK
Then, to answer your question more directly -
The keyboard backlighting is built-in to the keyboard, not a separate piece that can be removed. If the keyboard is correct, then it will be backlit.
If you see a 17-inch MBPro top case for sale, and backlighting is specifically listed as "missing", or some such, then don't get that one. It's probable that the part will NOT be a correct part - and won't fit/function.
Thanks for the advice. :)