Perhaps this is why the butterfly keys keep failing on me...

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by bill-p, Aug 7, 2019.

  1. bill-p macrumors 68000

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    Jul 23, 2011
    #1
    I'm not a fast typer, but I do hit 80WPM pretty easily. This was done just moments ago on the butterfly keys themselves.

    [​IMG]

    So yeah, I'm probably hitting the keys a bit more than some other folks. May explain why the keys fail a bit earlier for me.

    For the record, I own a 2018 MacBook Pro 13" now. I've had every butterfly key iteration from 2015 (12" MacBook of every iteration + 2017 and 2018 MacBook Pro 15" from work), and every single one of them needed at least one replacement.

    Skipping 2019 MacBooks until Apple reintroduces scissor switches.
     
  2. ruslan120 macrumors 6502

    ruslan120

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  3. Howard2k macrumors 68020

    Howard2k

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    #3
    Hav you considered sticking cotton balls on your finger tips? Might reduce any wear and tear.
     
  4. jerryk macrumors 601

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    SF Bay Area
    #4
    If you are a pounder typist you may be the issues. I use a lighter touch on my 2018 MBP vs when using my dedicated keyboard with MX Brown switches on my desktop system. But typing speed is the same or even faster on the MBP.
     
  5. DougFNJ macrumors 65816

    DougFNJ

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    #5
    If you are pounding away while you type, that may have been your problem. One of the fixes on the 2019 is stronger material that could take harder hits to the keyboard as you are typing.
     
  6. Herrpod macrumors regular

    Herrpod

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    #6
    A piece of dust getting under a key is enough to destroy an entire keyboard. That's not user error. That's the result of piss poor design.
     
  7. leman macrumors G3

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    Oct 14, 2008
    #7
    Or it could be something else that’s unique about your environment: humidity, temperature, dust composition, household plants, the chemical composition of your sweat... or combination of these and other things.
     
  8. Kung gu macrumors member

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    Oct 20, 2018
    #8
    no its been debunked it was the materials
     
  9. Sam Luis Obispo macrumors regular

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    Feb 7, 2006
    #9
    Please elaborate or share a link. Thank you!
     
  10. lambertjohn macrumors 6502a

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  11. estabya macrumors 6502

    estabya

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    #11
    I’ve had my first-gen butterfly 2016 rMB for about 2.5 years without any real problems. I use it for anywhere from 2 to 8 hours a day, 5 to 6 days a week, and I’ve only had one stuck key about a year ago that was easily fixed with canned air. I type at a similar, if not slightly faster speed than you, but I tend to use a pretty light touch.
     
  12. BigMcGuire Contributor

    BigMcGuire

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    California
    #12
    145+ wpm typist here. While I haven’t used my 2017 MBP as long as you have, my wife (60wpm) are doing really well with our MBPs. My wife uses hers every day for hours a day.

    One definitely has to re-learn how to type on these keyboards. Took me about a month after I got my MBP. Once I did, I learned to fly and now ... I can type for hours without getting tired due to the reduced energy necessary to type and I can really fly on these keyboards.

    I hate that game. My family loves to ask me to join them over and over just to see how fast I can type. Lol. Grew up typing on Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing 9? - I wanted to be like Star Trek actor Data - spent hours learning to type as a kid till I got really fast.
     
  13. Herrpod macrumors regular

    Herrpod

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    #13
    That's not remotely true.
     
  14. Kung gu macrumors member

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    Oct 20, 2018
    #14
    they are bad, use bad wifi cards and crash over time and ur data will be gone
    --- Post Merged, Aug 7, 2019 ---
    well the 2019 mbps have little to none reports
     
  15. leman macrumors G3

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    Oct 14, 2008
    #15
    The truth is that we don't know. But the most detailed analysis of the issue up to date (see link) makes good arguments that it's related to material fatigue rather than debris buildup. To further confuse the matter, it is entirely possible that a large part of the user base did indeed have issue with dust and dirt. This would explain why compressed air works for some, but doesn't work for others. Finally, if its material fatigue, than it would also explain why we have such high recurrence rates — the unique behaviour and environment of the user will have the highest impact.

    Link: https://www.reddit.com/r/apple/comments/bjtyaw/macbook_pro_keyboard_failures_why_apples_dust/
     
  16. tomi03 macrumors regular

    tomi03

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  17. smirking, Aug 8, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2019

    smirking macrumors 68020

    smirking

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    #17
    I only have first hand experience, but no data to back this up, but I suspect that hard striking and a habit of striking off center could make it more likely you'll need a replacement. I intentionally struck my 2016 MBP as hard as I could for a month until one of the keys snapped off. The binding underneath cracked so it was no longer tethered to the butterfly. This caused a corner to sink in just a tad. The end result was that the key no longer activated unless you hit it right flush in the center or in the corner opposite of the break.

    This is a keycap misalignment. This will cause an unresponsive behavior and possibly also a repeat if you hit it just right. In my case it was easily fixed. I took the broken keycap and turned it upside down so that the broken corner was on the bottom instead of the top.

    Flipping it 180 degrees worked because the butterfly mechanism is actually not a switch. It's a stabilizer. I tended to hit the top edge so when the fracture was near the area of the key that I struck the most, it resulted in the butterfly not collapsing.

    The butterfly and scissor mechanisms are what allow you to strike the corner edge of a key and have the entire key come down as if you struck it dead in the center. Otherwise a glancing blow will wobble and not trigger the keypress.

    The type of switch in both scissor and butterfly keyboards is actually the same. They both use rubber membrane dome boards. The scissor and butterfly stabilizers just affect how the force of your (attempted) keypress gets transferred to the dome switch.

    The mechanism of the scissor stabilizers are flexible so if something goes wrong, the switch can still come down, but with wobble. The butterfly mechanism is VERY HARD. It doesn't wobble an iota. That's how it can get stuck.

    Because the butterfly mechanism is so hard and has so little clearance room, hard debris wedged into just the right spot can cause it to jam, but this really isn't that easy to accomplish. You need more than dust as is commonly believed. Also because the butterflies are so hard, anything that is semi-solid will get crushed. It can cause some temporary issues, but will probably go away after a few days of regular use.

    So for the keys to get stuck you'd have to somehow manage to get teeny pebbles under the keycap or something will have to cause either the keycaps or butterflies to misalign. Very hard off-center striking could accomplish this by fracturing the underside of the keycap. Some people believe heat is the big culprit and I could see that as a factor. If heat caused some of the butterflies to warp just a tiny bit, it could cause them to no longer collapse cleanly.

    I have a 2018 MBP now. No keyboard issues at all in the 6 months I've had it. My 2016 also only had it for the first year of ownership. It actually got better the more I used it. Some of them might actually get better with breaking in as my old machine did.

    Dust alone won't do it. iFixit found that a grain of hard debris could jam it. What got erroneously repeated was that an ordinary speck of dust could break it and that's what everyone's been repeating ad nauseum ever since. If you study the mechanism of how the switch and other keyboard switches work, it'll make a lot of sense. You'll need a lot of dust before can impede the butterfly mechanism.

    I'd be willing to bet that the compressed air really worked for only a very small percentage of people and for others it was just a placebo because based on what I've figured out of how they can jam, some of them would have unjammed with some repeated presses. I cleared my jams just by pressing down hard and jiggling it until they stopped happening. Stuck keys caused by misalignments of the keycaps could even improve just by turning the laptop upside down.

    Why would they suggest compressed air? Beats me. My guess would be that it was better than telling people that there wasn't really anything they could do about it and also compressed air was already known as a keyboard fix for mechanical keyboards. Mechanical keyboards are susceptible to dust because dust getting into the switch itself actually gets onto the electrical contacts. Compressed air blown directly into the switch can sometimes clean them enough to stop the key chatter.

    That's not possible on a butterfly keyboard though. The butterfly keyboards switches are not exposed. They're sealed rubber domes. You're not getting dust in there unless you're sandblasting your keyboard.
     
  18. throAU macrumors 603

    throAU

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    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    #18

    So basically what you're saying is that if you're a competent typist, the keyboard is junk.

    Great.


    (i type faster than 80 wpm myself :D)
     
  19. c0ppo macrumors 65816

    c0ppo

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    Feb 11, 2013
    #19
    What wifi cards are thinkpads like X1C or X1E using that are bad?
    And what sorts of crashes are happening to thinkpads?
     
  20. Kung gu macrumors member

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    Oct 20, 2018
    #20
    i had my wifi card replaced but it was an yoga thinkpad series and the samething happened to him as well. His logicboard also failed, so what I am trying to is no laptop is perfect and has issues.

    *IDK if this windows related or something to with lenovo but when u login all u flies on ur desktop disappear and ur drive will be empty and but then suddenly it comes back say like after a reboot/restart

    edit: added one more issue.
     
  21. c0ppo macrumors 65816

    c0ppo

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    Feb 11, 2013
    #21
    So one device failed, and they are all bad? I had multiple MBP fail on me (butterfly keyboards), but my thinkpad X1E is running like a champ. Better build quality, better wifi, way better hardware then MBP in general. Only thing lacking behind MBP is battery life, and trackpad.

    So saying 'thinkpad has bad wifi and it will crash' is kinda funny, especially since you used yoga, and it failed. A single device that isn't even a flagship device from Lenovo.
     
  22. Kung gu macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2018
    #22
    yeah the only major thing holding the mbp line is the butterfly keyboards, once apple fix that macbooks will be top of line again. the 2019 mbp so far had little to no reports about keyboards. I know that prior 2019 the failure was high, but nowadays i don't see many people talking about failing 2019 mbp keyboards.

    the build quality(expect the keyboards for now) and ssd is better on macbooks or at least they used be, so for now u are right. lets see what apple brings to table in Sep-Oct.
     
  23. c0ppo macrumors 65816

    c0ppo

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    Feb 11, 2013
    #23
    If you have some store with PC laptops near you, check out something like X1 Extreme. That thing is thin, light, and military specced. That means it can take hits like no other. And the keyboard is spill resistant.

    So as far as build quality goes, I'm not sure Apple will ever compete with something like that. But as far as design of the laptop goes, apple wins hands down.
     
  24. throAU macrumors 603

    throAU

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    Feb 13, 2012
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    #24
    SSDs are fast everywhere now, and on other machines they're standard, replaceable M.2 NVME (where a TB is a few hundred bucks - for something fast but still cheap like a 970 evo), not this proprietary/soldered/non-upgradeable/overpriced garbage apple is pushing.

    Apple's SSD pricing is a joke in 2019.
     
  25. BigMcGuire Contributor

    BigMcGuire

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    California
    #25
    As a competent typist (145wpm in this game) with this keyboard I disagree with this statement. But people will read what they want. And you’re free to your own opinion.
     

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63 August 7, 2019