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29 Posts

11-16-2016

US

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ThinkPad keyboard hardware/firmware problem *AFFECTS MOST THINKPADS*

2018-10-25, 7:45 AM

Basically, it seems most ThinkPads (confirmed on my X1 Carbon, P1, T470, and T460) have a serious problem with their keyboards not detecting keypresses.

 

For example: typing "load" quickly produces "loda" every time. "Oad" is fine, but "load" will reliably produce "loda".

 

This error seems to be related to the extremely slow polling rate of ThinkPad keyboards. Using an external keyboard will not cause the same issue.

 

Additional info: https://www.reddit.com/r/thinkpad/comments/9ivh0u/thinkpad_keyboards_measurement_of_polling_lag_and/

additional info 2: https://www.reddit.com/r/thinkpad/comments/9j70v6/thinkpad_keyboard_firmware_worse_than_anyone/


This is a serious problem that hinders productivity of anyone who types quickly, and it needs to be addressed.

Thank you.

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1 Posts

10-25-2018

SE

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Re: ThinkPad keyboard hardware/firmware problem *AFFECTS MOST THINKPADS*

2018-10-25, 9:42 AM
This explains a lot... confirmed on my T460s. This needs to be fixed.
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28 Posts

07-14-2016

NL

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Re: ThinkPad keyboard hardware/firmware problem *AFFECTS MOST THINKPADS*

2018-10-25, 11:06 AM

Same on my T460s.

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2 Posts

06-29-2018

GB

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Re: ThinkPad keyboard hardware/firmware problem *AFFECTS MOST THINKPADS*

2018-10-25, 13:14 PM

It's 2 key rollover with certain key combinations. It's been this way for years. Polling rate wouldn't help much.

 

The 10 year old X200 I've got in my bottom drawer as a test machine does the same.

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28 Posts

10-24-2018

US

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Re: ThinkPad keyboard hardware/firmware problem *AFFECTS MOST THINKPADS*

2018-10-25, 13:34 PM

This was fixed with a bios update on my A485. Was it not fixed on others? I don't think I've noticed it on any other Thinkpad's I've used

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29 Posts

11-16-2016

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Re: ThinkPad keyboard hardware/firmware problem *AFFECTS MOST THINKPADS*

2018-10-25, 14:10 PM

hasn't been fixed on latest bios of X1E/P1, T470, and T460 at least.

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19 Posts

09-25-2018

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  • Message 7 of 14

Re: ThinkPad keyboard hardware/firmware problem *AFFECTS MOST THINKPADS*

2018-10-25, 16:25 PM

This post contains a summary of which Thinkpads are affected and which aren't:

 

https://forums.lenovo.com/t5/ThinkPad-T400-T500-and-newer-T/Keyboard-firmware-scrambles-keys-on-all-T-series-X-series/td-p/4222626

 

There are two problems that some people will encounter here. The first is that when pressing "load" on some keyboards, nothing will appear at all. This is because of 2-key rollover and isn't the issue we are testing. The other issue is the timing issue, which is our main concern. So instead of using "load", try "asdf". This produces "fdsa" consistently on my machine and skips past the rollover issue.

 

I can also provide a solid guess to interpret the data's underlying cause. The scan rate for the entire keyboard is 125Hz, which is not good but is still a standard, acceptable result. However, the underlying behavior is from something else. All keyboards must have a debounce algorithm, because when a key is pressed, the signal switches from Off to On-Off-On-Off before settling at On. To prevent several On-Off signals from being sent because of a single keypress, the firmware must introduce some hysteresis. The "low speed" way is that once a key is switched, the firmware will wait until On appears several times before finally sending an On signal. This is very stable, but introduces delay. The "high performance" way is that the firmware will send the On immediately on the first switch, and will ignore any further switches for a short period after that initial switch. This is very fast and works perfectly as long as there are no spurious contacts, such as from conductive dirt entering the switch.

 

IBM's method is different from both of these debouncing algorithms, and is worse than both. It uses the "low speed" way for a single key. But when two keys are pressed, the debouncing is short circuited and both keys are sent. This is because once several keys are seen, the controller knows that the second keypress was not spurious, so it sends it a little sooner. However, this is also the origin of why the keys are scrambled. If you press "d" before "f", then under the "low speed" algorithm, you'd see df after a delay. But because of the short-circuiting, pressing "f" forces the "f" to be sent instantly before its delay is up, and it also takes precedence over the "d". This produces "fd".

 

We know that the A485 fixed this problem in BIOS 1.05, thanks to https://forums.lenovo.com/t5/ThinkPad-T400-T500-and-newer-T/Keyboard-firmware-scrambles-keys-on-all-T-series-X-series/m-p/4248893/highlight/true#M129058. If you have an A/E485 without the appropriate patch, please test it before updating, because we would like some data.

 

Lenovo inherited the bad debounce algorithm from IBM and uses it in the X/T-series. Lenovo's own algorithm, which is used in most E-series laptops and the A485 1.05 BIOS, works just fine.

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29 Posts

11-16-2016

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  • Message 8 of 14

Re: ThinkPad keyboard hardware/firmware problem *AFFECTS MOST THINKPADS*

2018-10-25, 23:14 PM

Great post explaining the problem! Thank you.

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29 Posts

11-16-2016

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  • Message 9 of 14

Re: ThinkPad keyboard hardware/firmware problem *AFFECTS MOST THINKPADS*

2018-11-06, 5:24 AM

I've reported this to support in Hong Kong, but I don't expect they will recognize it is a problem until enough people complain about it.


Lenovo, you need to fix this in order to provide good products to customers. If a ThinkPad can't be used to type reliably, what is it for? Thank you for your attention on this problem affecting the T/X/P series.

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1 Posts

03-04-2019

PL

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  • Message 10 of 14

Re: ThinkPad keyboard hardware/firmware problem *AFFECTS MOST THINKPADS*

2019-03-04, 17:13 PM
Thanks for reporting this.
Lenovo, I have this issue on my E480 with the backlit keyboard: this is a real hindrance when typing - I am experiencing reversed letter order very often, complete with other characters such as even space! Also seems to somehow sometime not register a keypress at all, when the keypress is very brief (maybe due to the 'slow' debouncing algorithm?).

Thinkpad excellent keyboards were one of the main reasons I decided to go for a Thinkpad in the first place!
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