punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

OLPC Part 13: The big control problem

One of the things I first reported about my OLPC is the fact that I couldn't type anything. A quick diagnostic showed the control key was stuck down. Jiggling it fixed it.

For a while. Sadly, this became more and more of a problem until last week when I couldn't get it to "unstick" for more than a few keystrokes. I already knew this was a bug because I saw some people report they had things stick with the left ALT and control keys before. Well, now it's my turn.

There are several workarounds. I did the BIOS test and it showed that, yes, the control key was totally jammed down. No amount of wiggling released it. The software workaround is to remap the sticky keys. The first problem will seem immediately obvious; if my control key is stuck, how can I type a new .xsession to remap the control key? If I type "cp... [whatever]" as those instructions first direct me, the OS thinks I hit "control c" [copy] "control p" [paste] and so on. So, pretty much, the keyboard is rendered useless. Attaching an external keyboard won't work either, according to some people, because it will act like the control key is pressed down as well. I will have to figure out another way to do this. I got skills. I can do this.

The problem seems to be how the spot welds were done on the spacers, and since those are sealing in a plastic shell, this may be harder than a hand-fixable item. But apparently opening up the OLPC and resetting the keyboard membrane fixes the problem at least for a while. The RMA warranty was only 30 days, and I have had the OLPC for almost 2 weeks past that.

Bummer, man.
Tags: computer, olpc, review
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