Dell forum

Question

Inspiron N7110 and N4110

I have two Inspiron N-series laptops having the same issue. The keyboards do not work. The Device Manager shows they have drivers. An external USB keyboard will work, tried both Windows and Unbuntu to eliminate any operating system issues. I then removed the CMOS battery, didn't help. I ran Dell Diagnostics, ran the keyboard test, failed, no response. I purchased new replacement keyboards, did not resolve the problem. Replaced the motherboards, same problem. Any suggestions will be appreciated.

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All Answers

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Answer
These are 4 and more years old.

In reply to: Inspiron N7110 and N4110

I rarely see folk get a new motherboard from Dell so my bet are the motherboards are not good or there are basic issues with getting the keyboard ribbon attached.

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My response

In reply to: These are 4 and more years old.

I appreciate your response and I do doubt the motherboards are new but the odds of getting multiple defective motherboards which exhibit the same symptom would be such a rarity I have excluded that possibility. As far as the getting the keyboard ribbon attached, I have refurbished hundreds, if not thousands of laptops, mostly Dell and I can say without hesitation that is not the issue here. I have pretty much eliminated any software issues so am focusing on hardware but think I must be overlooking something obvious. This is my hope for posting on this forum.

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"Don't tell me the odds."

In reply to: My response

From some movie.

I owned and ran PC repair shops so you found that a failure would show up in same make/model so the odds are your other boards if not new have the same issue.

I do know that newer techs struggle with the flat ribbon connections. Either they just can't figure out how to open/close them, getting the ribbon end in place or just can't keep their greasy oily fingers off the ribbon ends.

I'll write without hesitation that it is too possible to get old boards with the same failure. But the learning curve of ribbon connections tell me there is some hope. Not much but some.

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It's not about the odds, it's about my experience

In reply to: "Don't tell me the odds."

I hear you, but I've been a Dell Certified Tech for 10 years and providing computer support for nearly 38 years. I know these computers, the problems, the solutions and the probabilities like the back of my hand. It is rare I have to seek some outside help and I thought the CNET Dell Forum would be a good place to try. I'm not negating your advice or comments, but I too am speaking from experience. I'm at a loss at the moment and can't afford to keep buying motherboards as I am just refurbishing these two laptops for resale. Like I said, your advice is appreciated but I need some thinking outside the box, something that I may be overlooking. There has to be another reasonable explanation.

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Don't buy bad boards.

In reply to: It's not about the odds, it's about my experience

Send them back as DOA. One of the downside of low prices is that repair may not make sense today.

Good to hear you've been around the block many times. The one thing you never accept is "it can't be" is "I know...."

Just last month my brother had a keyboard failure on 2 laptops. So we ordered up 2 keyboards and 1 fixed the other did not. We are looking at a motherboard failure on the 2nd model but given today's prices, we're shelving the failed system even if it's just a row of keys and works with USB keyboards. We are however swapping out it's RAM with the working laptop as we move the best parts to the good one.

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A misunderstanding?

In reply to: Don't buy bad boards.

If I receive a product that is bad, I send it back and ask for a refund. I'm not in the habit of sending good motherboards back. I have other laptops that are the same model, they work. I have swapped practically every part I believe may be at issue, but they did not resolve the keyboard problem and the motherboards I took out of these two laptops experienced no problem in the good laptops. This is my dilemma, it's the only reason I posted on CNET.

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So these boards work in other laptops?

In reply to: A misunderstanding?

I could not read that in your post so far. To me this sounds like a bad mounting, connection or bad keyboard issue.

Look around for any missing insulation sheets (should be noted in the service manual.) As a Dell tech I think you know that area.

Being on any forum does not assure you members can guess what it is. I'm just someone that's run repair shops and will share what I've seen.

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Responses are welcome

In reply to: So these boards work in other laptops?

And R. Proffitt I appreciate your effort. I should have pointed out earlier the info in my last post, not sure why I overlooked it, perhaps old age creeping in. And having used other techie forums in the past I know what you're saying about members not having all the answers. Thank you!

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Let's say we had other working laptops.

In reply to: Responses are welcome

We may have to go about this differently.

That is we would start with a working laptop then one by one replace each part in the working laptop from the failed laptop.

Long ago we used the method when there was a mystery failure that we couldn't pin down.

At some point the working laptop will fail when we change that one part. That part then is suspect. If all parts get changed then what was not changed is suspect be that a case or LCD.

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The forum is eating my replies.

In reply to: Responses are welcome

Try it the other way. Take a working laptop and swap out parts from the non working model until you find it.

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