Keyboard cover dangers?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Timshan0876, Jun 1, 2012.

  1. Timshan0876 macrumors member

    Timshan0876

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2012
    Location:
    San Marino, Los Angeles, California
    #1
    I have a 13inch MBA and I recently bought a keyboard cover.
    My question is, will this cover trap heat inside the MBA?
    Is the cover even worth it?
     
  2. RedCroissant Suspended

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2011
    #2
    It won't trap heat because as far as I know, heat is not released through the keyboard. I use one on my 15" MBP and love it. The only downside is that the cover blocks a lot of the light and makes it difficult to se which keys are which.

    I bought an Arabic keyboard cover from KB Covers and it's great. Plus, when I take the cover off and use the actual keys again, it's like a brand new machine.
     
  3. TheRealDamager macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2011
    #3
    Only danger is that you make your Macbook Air look horrible.
     
  4. Satnam1989, Jun 1, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2012

    Satnam1989 macrumors 65816

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    Nov 16, 2011
    Location:
    Illinois
    #4
    I use a clear one....it doesn't make my MBAir look horrible....nor does it make it any difficult to see the keys......I only put on the keyboard light 1-4squares and I can see very well as u don't need it during day and night time its perfectly. I keep it low because I run off of battery majority of the time as I'm on the go.


    I have been using this cover for 8 months now...started from my MBPro and since I replaced it with a MBAir for which I have gotten a cover for it as well. Its great, doesn't block any heat either.

    for a $1900 MBAir the cover provides great protection for as little as $5 against liquid, crumbs and dust from travelling under the keys and causing damage overtime.

    Time to time I do take it off and enjoy the bare keys as it feels good to type on, many people that do have the money don't care to protect their investments because of their "its a computer and its meant to be used as is" beliefs but as for me, I recommend it to every person I know and many have gotten it.
     
  5. Kyllle macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2011
    #5
    Air is only released through the bottom, so covering up the keyboard should have little if any effect on the temperature.
     
  6. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #6
    I use keyboard cover. It does not affect heat. I'm pretty sure the InvisibleShield skin I use is worse.

    That said in the beginning, it looks okay, but after some use I agree it looks horrid.

    But I don't care how my computer looks. The skin is for added grip and the keyboard cover is to prevent splashes of liquids (ie: opening a soda).
     
  7. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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  8. TyroneShoes2 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2011
    #8
    Seeing as how the bottom of my MBA is solid aluminum, I sincerely doubt any air is "released" there. Most heat is released there, however. Invent a way to actually vent heated air through solid metal and you can then sell your technology to Apple for more than FaceBook is valued; you would be the first to suspend the laws of physics and accomplish that.

    There are two major openings to the innards on the MBA; one is the keyboard, and another is the screen pivot point (where the black plastic strip on the back surface is). Most products that need air cooling, fan or no fan, use two openings to take advantage of the chimney effect of hot air rising. This is probably what the MBA does as the first, passive stage of cooling before the fan kicks in.

    Most of the heat dissipation is due to the heat sink effect of the metal case; the fan helps spread the heated air around so that it transfers to the case, sort of like a convection oven in reverse. The fan also directs some of the heat directly out the vents, and ambient air in other vents. I have a sneaking suspicion that the "intake" vent is, you guessed it, the open keyboard.

    Those are the facts we know, and that alone is enough for me to raise the same Q the OP has raised. My best guess would be that at a minimum a keyboard cover would cause the fan to kick on sooner, and at worst the heat dissipation with the keyboard blocked might be problematic. At least that is what makes sense from a physics standpoint.

    But since we are seeing conflicting info here, the best thing to do is to do an empirically-sound scientific experiment and find out for yourself. Easy-peasy.

    Download a free thermometer program such as iStat Nano. Plug in the mag-safe adapter and run at full brightness for 15 minutes with the cover off. Note the op temp. Now run it with the cover on, and see if the op temp has raised significantly. Then you will have your real answer, free from the armchair speculation of an internet forum.

    I learned the hard way in 2003 that it is not a good idea to import your entire CD collection into iTunes for the first time on your (then) brand new aluminum PB if it is resting on your girlfriend's fluffy comforter (even though that blocks no air vents); the heat from that little adventure warped the lid permanently, and proved to me the sad truth that heat dissipation through the case is more important than just the fan itself. Of course Apple does not warn you about such things; they don't want us to worry our pretty little heads about anything beyond the user experience. If there were an Apple store back then I would have demanded a replacement.
     
  9. Satnam1989 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2011
    Location:
    Illinois
    #9
    Its great what you provided for people to consider but I do know that the macbook's in general have improved quiet a lot since the PB days. As for me like I mentioned above...8months...(onto 9th) of cover on the keyboard has provided no issues with heat, even while editing on macbook pro. When running at full RPM(fans) i would just lift the back of the macbook pro and now the air slightly with a little block of rubber(ex eraser) and it did plenty to reduce the temperature while the cover remained on as always. Yes any laptop not just macbook(s) will get hot and may even become uncomfortable to use if kept on lap or pillow or blanket or cushion of any sort as the heat is let out as the aluminum body cools.

    Anytime even if the rear vent and the keyboard is not covered but your Macbook is on a Bed, Pillow, Cushion, Blanket or even on your lap it will get pretty hot and become uncomfortable to use when performing CPU intensive tasks, even your naked keyboard won't help you because the bottom has no natural air flow for the heat to travel 'AWAY' from the macbook.

    As for your and the natural theory that HOT AIR RISES....if it applied to Macbook's then we would feel the palm rests and the keys getting QUIET hot but instead its the base of the macbook that gets HOT.
     
  10. Timshan0876 thread starter macrumors member

    Timshan0876

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2012
    Location:
    San Marino, Los Angeles, California
    #10
    Thank you guys for all the responses, I think I will use the cover for as long as I can, and eventually take it off..

    Sort of like a rebirth :)
     
  11. AlphaDogg macrumors 68040

    AlphaDogg

    Joined:
    May 20, 2010
    Location:
    Boulder, CO
    #11
    You are completely wrong. The fan does not dissipate heat within the computer; if it did, the computer would be insanely hot and there would be no exhaust vent. The specific heat of thermoplastic polyurethane (what Moshi keyboard covers are made of, not those cheap silicone ones) is much lower than that of aluminum, so its insulating properties are very weak. There is no dedicated intake vent in any of Apple's new (2008ish and newer) MacBook line, air is sucked in from the exhaust vent and the hot air is blown out on the other side of the vent. It sounds crazy, but it's true. I've taken apart multiple new MacBook/Pro/Airs and there are no intake vents in the keyboard, as there is an opaque black plastic liner between the keyboard and the logic board to prevent light from leaking from the keyboard backlight. Also, no parallels should be drawn between a 2003 (mostly plastic and thin aluminum) computer and a 2012 (nearly all cnc-milled aluminum and glass) computer.
     
  12. daonesteven macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    #12
    do keep in mind that should you not wash the cover often, the dust and grease that accumulates on the cover over time will transfer to the screen.

    There's going to be people telling you that it never happens to them or that it won't happen, but that's either varying degrees of delusion or that they don't look carefully enough. It happens.
     
  13. AlphaDogg macrumors 68040

    AlphaDogg

    Joined:
    May 20, 2010
    Location:
    Boulder, CO
    #13
    Yep! With my ebay TPU keyboard cover (my original Moshi got terribly stained and I couldn't pony up the $30 for a new one) and my original Moshi cover, I would get terrible oil marks on my screen after about a month without washing.
     
  14. Queen6 macrumors 603

    Queen6

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    Enjoying Better Things
    #14
    You will have no problem using a cover, Mac`s do not dissipate heat or draw in air via the keyboard and its` a misconception that the keyboard is part of the cooling solution. Air is drawn in via the rear vent passed through the heat-sync`s and exhausted out the rear vent.

    You can do pretty much what you want with a Mac portable as long as you dont block the rear vent temperatures will remain stable.
     
  15. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #15
    In case people are curious, the Macs without a backlit keyboard used to suck air in through the keyboard to expel heated air through the back. So the MacBook was one such example.

    Of course now that all the Mac notebooks have backlit keyboards, this no longer that case (the backlight has a cover on the back that would block air).
     

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