Reddit user posts detailed analysis of butterfly keyboard issue: it’s probably not dust

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by oneMadRssn, May 2, 2019.

  1. oneMadRssn macrumors 601

    oneMadRssn

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    #1
  2. afir93 macrumors 6502a

    afir93

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    Read through the whole thing earlier today, definitely a very detailed and thorough analysis.

    His conclusion that dirt and dust isn't actually the (main) issue may also explain why there are still so many complaints about keyboard failures on the 2018 model: maybe the membrane does actually work and keep out at least most of the dust, but whatever other causes there are haven't changed on the 2018 models.

    He mentions that dust and debris shouldn't be responsible for the double-typing and failed-to-register keys, but only those where a key would get stuck completely and not move down all the way to the bottom anymore, and from an anecdotal experience, most if not all of the reports about keyboard failures on the 2018 MBPs here on MacRumors and Reddit are about letters that double-type or fail to register on a press, not so much about letters getting stuck completely.
     
  3. pshufd macrumors 6502a

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    I might get one of these and just use an external keyboard if they drop enough in price.

    This also shows that Apple put a ton of thought into designing this thing.
     
  4. BigMcGuire Contributor

    BigMcGuire

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    #4
    "Contrary to popular belief, Apple actually took a lot of effort sealing these switches from the elements."

    LOL wow no kidding. What a read. I'm shocked. I'm about 80% through the thread.
     
  5. oneMadRssn thread starter macrumors 601

    oneMadRssn

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    The thing that stood out even more to me is that it is usually the most-used keys that are affected. This suggests mechanical failure and not dust, because dust should effect all keys equally. The fact that the most-used keys tend to fail suggests that the failure has to do with repeated use. That points to the metal domes.
     
  6. pshufd, May 2, 2019
    Last edited: May 2, 2019

    pshufd macrumors 6502a

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    It may be that the extra layer of plastic on the 2018 models dampens the force on the dome so that they are somewhat less prone to failure. If it is fatigue, then the solution might be fairly simple in a stronger dome. If that is the fix, then what do the people with "broken" models do? Replacing a ton of keyboards would cost quite a bit.
     
  7. spidertnt, May 2, 2019
    Last edited: May 2, 2019

    spidertnt macrumors member

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    #7
    [​IMG]

    Correct it is the metal domes

    If you use a a very sharp pin and insert it so as to bend the center contact down just a-bit. Usually this will rectify the double keys stroke or no key press at all. Peel only halfway off the film with the black dot. Bend center pin down just a-bit... re- apply film.

    Design sucks not enough travel . Debris gets underneath key limiting travel. Customer has to press harder to make character. Pressing harder eventually fatigues metal dome center pin . This will now allow for double key presses or no key press. It's doomed to fail



    How to test before and after fix.

    Find key that either has no key press or double. Open up text document . Using your finger and make a character hold down the key and move your finger to each corner of the key round and round . it should not make another character. If it does ..it's either limited in travel ( dirt etc.) or the center pin slightly bent up from hard presses.





    [​IMG]
     
  8. ghostface147 macrumors 68030

    ghostface147

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    Excellent analysis. A good conclusion is definitely fatigue. Since this is my primary machine at work, I am 99.9% using my magic keyboard at work. I don't use it heavily at home. To be honest, I don't think my 2018 MB Pro will last as long as my 2011 17" MB Pro did. However that old laptop did have the motherboard swapped out two times for the graphics card issue under warranty and their replacement program. I only moved on from it when the LCD was failing and no replacement parts were easy to come by. And I only got another Apple because I'm heavily into the Apple ecosystem and my co-workers husband worked for Apple when I got it and got a decent discount.

    Personally, I don't mind the keyboard as far as feel. I like it.
     
  9. tkermit macrumors 68040

    tkermit

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    Recently started using one of the new 15" MBPs at work. It's given me a newfound appreciation for the 2015 MBP I get to come home to...
     
  10. poorcody macrumors 6502a

    poorcody

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    Interesting read. He mixes a lot of emotionalism and speculation-presented-as-fact, but the deconstruction is really interesting. As much as it probably shows dust is not the issue, it also doesn't point to what the problem might be. Which I suspect is the boat Apple is in as well.

    Looking at the complexity of the design (i.e. delicate/floating dome, adhesive "tape" over the dome, tiny variances), I wonder if it's a manufacturing issue: it seems like there are a lot of places where mistakes could be made.

    It may be one of those cases where they never quite figure out the problem, but need to just toss the design and start over.
     
  11. pshufd macrumors 6502a

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    I remember the days when products went through a field-test phase to shake out the bugs in the real world. The downside is that it's impossible to keep a secret with a bunch of them in use. So the initial customers are the field test. That didn't work out so well for Samsung and their foldable phone.
     
  12. petvas macrumors 601

    petvas

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    Very interesting post, but I have one question. How can this guy be sure that all MacBooks will eventually fail, especially when he says at the same time that he doesn’t know what is causing the failures? Sorry, but this is not logical and shows that maybe he is not as good as he would like to think.
     
  13. BigMcGuire Contributor

    BigMcGuire

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    This was brought up in his thread much later on (I just got done reading the whole thing) - even "engineers" disputing his assumption that based on his experience all will have this failure.

    --------------------------------

    While I appreciate his post - really enjoyed it, I am frustrated to see that the cause wasn't found. Combination of heat, stuff getting under the butterfly mechanism, wearing out of the plastic butterfly switch, or the metal dome cracking with heat??? It definitely isn't known what is causing it.

    My wife eats around her 2017 MBP 13' TB. I don't really do the same and I blow out mine monthly with canned air (just a habit I got into from long long ago). Neither of us have had keyboard problems. My wife is doing a PhD on hers and uses hers every day - has typed out massive papers (and continues to do so). We've had our laptops for about a year now.

    Cracks me up when you get sensational posts about how they won't buy Apple now and instead will go buy an XPS 15 or something of the sort. From a post I just put on Reddit: "As an owner of a 2018 XPS 15 I can attest to this. I've had more bluescreens in the first few months of ownership on this device than all my Windows usage in the last 3 years combined. I've had problems where it won't start up, where it shuts off randomly, and would freeze frequently. Dell firmware updates fixed the freezing, running powermode on maximum performance helped the random shutdowns and bluescreens."

    Nothing is perfect. My little brothers 2017? XPS 13 is so bad he has abandoned it. I'd waste more time than I want to list all the problems he's had with it.
     
  14. akaash00 macrumors newbie

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    #14
    By the look of the deep analysis it’s definitely a design problem with those metal domes.
    I think the domes loses contact over time and should be soldered or Stronger domes could help, but it has to be tested with more key repeats in the lab.


    Advice for Apple,

    Butterfly keys can stay as they are with the dust membrane. The metal dome switches needs to be redesigned stronger or a diffrent type of switch which would be more reliable.
     
  15. leman macrumors G3

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    #15
    Amazing work and very interesting design analysis. I didn't know how complex that stuff was. Now I understand why they suffered some delivery shortages on keyboards early in the day, that is a crazy piece of engineering. Probably too complex for their own good though.
     
  16. bobbie424242 macrumors regular

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    Laugh typing this on Thinkpad keyboard that you can swap out for 60$ if it went to fail.
    Seriously...these keyboards are a ticking bomb.
     
  17. thei3ug macrumors newbie

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    Every day I’m edging closer to a T590.

    I’ll need to make some significant changes to my work flow though. And that trackpad... but the keyboard and the lengths to make a sub par design function is absurd. Add in the port reduction, Touch Bar, repair issues, it’s stacking against Mac for me.
     
  18. Halo_2 macrumors newbie

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    #18
    Has the keyboard repair program fixed the issue.

    Don’t want to buy a 2016 mbp if the keyboard is only going to last a year or two.
     
  19. Expobill Suspended

    Expobill

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    #19
    this continuing keyboard problem is a huge reason why i'm typing this post an on Dell xps and preparing my macmini to be sold soon.
     
  20. Mainsail macrumors 65816

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    At this point, it doesn’t matter much to me what is causing the problem. Apple may never figure it out. While they don’t know why the butterfly keyboard does not work, they do know what does work......old school scissor style keyboards.

    As a stop-gap measure, Apple should give the MacBook Air 2017 a routine processor/internal refresh and replace the thunderbolt 2 port with thunderbolt 3. Then, sell it for $799 and called it MacBook Air series 1. Market it as the most reliable laptop on the market with extraordinary battery life. At least this will help prevent some typical consumers (e.g students) from jumping ship until they can redesign their current lineup of laptops to work reliably.

    It doesn’t do anything for the Pro users, but it could help stop some of the bleeding in the entry level laptop market.
     
  21. Never mind, May 6, 2019
    Last edited: May 6, 2019

    Never mind macrumors 6502

    Never mind

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  22. LogicalApex macrumors 6502

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    This theory makes a lot of sense to me and the wide variability may be due more to typing style (how hard you press your keys) than anything else.
     
  23. Trixs macrumors regular

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    #23
    This will likely be my next laptop unless Apple fixes the keyboard this year.
     
  24. Falhófnir macrumors 68040

    Falhófnir

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    #24
    My opinion has always been the issue is simply that the mechanism doesn't move enough, which means anything from a spec of dust to a marginal warping of the parts or even simple manufacturing variations could be enough to cause it to malfunction. This is why I think their next move should be to create a 1mm travel version, and see if that fixes it (arguably the time for this has already passed, even) if not, time to junk it completely as a failed design.
     
  25. afir93 macrumors 6502a

    afir93

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    #25
    So you could say... it's domed to fail? ;)
     

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