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X200 - 4 keys are not working - any fix

X200/X201/X220 (including equivalent tablet models) and X300/X301 Series
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g8tzl2004
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X200 - 4 keys are not working - any fix

#1 Post by g8tzl2004 » Sun Nov 01, 2020 10:35 pm

I have recently acquired an X200 to add to my Thinkpad "collection".

Sadly, 4 keys are not working on the keypad - K, ?, down arrow and left arrow.

There was no HDD so I booted using Linux Mint on an USB drive which worked OK

The 4 keys also did NOT work when in BIOS - so its not a OS issue.

Anyone know what the likely problem is?

I will try re-seating the keyboard plug BUT it looks like the keyboard has already been removed looking at the retaining screws which show poor screwdriver skills :( Maybe the motherboard keyboard socket has a dry joint?

Anyway, anybody know what is the typical cause of 4 dead keys? I don't think its "dirty contacts" due to liquid spillage. Could it be a failed PCB track on the keyboard which will be impossible to find?

Any ideas?

Many thanks

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Re: X200 - 4 keys are not working - any fix

#2 Post by TPFanatic » Sun Nov 01, 2020 10:50 pm

Keyboards can go bad. I've got a rather pristine T400 keyboard with a nonworking C key. My T500's original keyboard developed a hypersensitive U key. It's an unfortunate and annoying predicament to be in and the only solution is to replace it.
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Re: X200 - 4 keys are not working - any fix

#3 Post by rkawakami » Sun Nov 01, 2020 11:05 pm

Another vote for replacing the keyboard, if re-seating/cleaning the keyboard connector doesn't fix things. Assuming that there's a bad connection somewhere on the keyboard circuitry, you would have to be very lucky to find the problem, then to be able to fix it. I suggest getting an identical FRU so that in the future, if any of the keycaps go AWOL, you'll have a replacement on hand. If that doesn't matter to you, then get whatever X200 keyboard is available.
Ray Kawakami
X22 X24 X31 X41 X41T X60 X60s X61 X61s X200 X200s X300 X301 Z60m Z61t Z61p 560 560Z 600 600E 600X T21 T22 T23 T41 T60p T410 T420 T520 W500 W520 R50 A21p A22p A31 A31p
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Re: X200 - 4 keys are not working - any fix

#4 Post by g8tzl2004 » Mon Nov 02, 2020 12:44 am

Thanks for the feedback.

What actually "fails" on the keyboard? Do the keys that have failed (K, ? , down and left arrow) offer any hope of locating, say, the faulty PCB track or whatever?

I normally buy my Thinkpads from garage sales for around $10...like my T60 which I'm using to type this...but the X200 cost me $80...I knew I should have stuck to my $20 offer...especially as the battery is dead and there is no HDD :(

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Re: X200 - 4 keys are not working - any fix

#5 Post by rkawakami » Mon Nov 02, 2020 1:54 am

There may be a single copper trace on the PCB, common to those keys, that has broken. Or it could be one of the traces on the ribbon cable or the connector that is soldered onto those traces. Or there could be a short between some of the connections on the keyboard connector or on the receptacle on the motherboard. I've never seen a schematic for the keyboards so I can't point you in that direction (it could possibly confirm that those keys are tied together by some common path). About the only thing you could do is examine the solder joints on the connector on the ribbon cable (microscope would help) and closely look at the entire length of the ribbon cable for tears. If there's a visible short between some of the joints of the ribbon cable connector or on the motherboard, you could try cleaning it with some 90% (or higher concentration) isopropyl alcohol.

However, even if you do find a bad solder joint or broken trace, you're probably not going to be able to fix it. The connector requires special surface mount soldering techniques and there's really no way you could patch the ribbon cable given the minuscule width of the traces. Finding an obvious problem would only confirm that the entire keyboard needs to be replaced.

I think that there's a lesser chance that the problem lies elsewhere on the X200 motherboard. Therefore, the best course of action that I can recommend is swap out your keyboard with a "known good" unit and see what happens.
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Re: X200 - 4 keys are not working - any fix

#6 Post by Vopu » Mon Nov 02, 2020 5:58 am

It is very hard to trace a keyboard problem apart from the obvious reasons of dirt , jammed keys, some liquid damage and the possibility of an poorly seated connector.As adviced i would go for a keyboard replacement, i am seeing non-original/ compatible keyboards as cheap as 15-20$ from aliexpress, or as suggested an original FRU 2nd hand can be purchased from ebay if you dont want to spend too much. An advantage to an original would be having spare key caps. I don't think 4 keys failing is important rather , the area where all those keys are located. Circuit area supporting that link to these keys/that part of the circuit may have a short, and as indicated even if you were able to trace it there is really a slim possibility/chance of a fix. Once you have an alternative replacement , you can expreriment with the defective one and take out caps and see if you can manage to rescue it. Owerall , a fiddly job and a straight swap is the most common route i believe.

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Re: X200 - 4 keys are not working - any fix

#7 Post by g8tzl2004 » Mon Nov 02, 2020 3:02 pm

Thanks for the detailed replies...its much appreciated.

Are the Ebay / Aliexpress "new" $20 3rd party keyboards any good? Are they the same build quality? Maybe they come out of the same factory!! Do they use different key components so that I can't use the faulty keyboard for spares?

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Re: X200 - 4 keys are not working - any fix

#8 Post by rkawakami » Mon Nov 02, 2020 3:23 pm

Not sure what you mean by 3rd party keyboards. The ones I've looked at before for my other Thinkpads appeared to be original, factory units. Provide some links so we can see what they are.
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X22 X24 X31 X41 X41T X60 X60s X61 X61s X200 X200s X300 X301 Z60m Z61t Z61p 560 560Z 600 600E 600X T21 T22 T23 T41 T60p T410 T420 T520 W500 W520 R50 A21p A22p A31 A31p
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Re: X200 - 4 keys are not working - any fix

#9 Post by g8tzl2004 » Mon Nov 02, 2020 11:38 pm

I was looking on Ebay for X200 Keyboards. There are numerous "new" X200 keyboards including screwdriver sets for $20 from China...but there was no mention of them being "genuine"...but maybe they are? I see lots of fake ham radio accessories from China so I was assuming that the X200 keyboards are also "non-original"?

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Re: X200 - 4 keys are not working - any fix

#10 Post by rkawakami » Tue Nov 03, 2020 3:31 am

There may indeed be fake / knockoff keyboards coming out of China but I'd remind you that Lenovo is a Chinese company.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/254564749930

This used keyboard comes out of Poland but at a cost of 51 euros. From my look at the pictures it appears to have a factory label indicating it's a genuine Lenovo part. That seller also has 100% positive feedback at the current time. Your $20 keyboards from China also look genuine (at least to my eye) but the sellers have 97-98% feedback ratings although they also offer 30 day returns. Were it me, and if it was the only source for an immediate replacement, I'd take a chance on an eBay $20 Chinese located keyboard (I'm cheap). If you do go that route, be sure to look at the labels (FRU) and get the specific keyboard layout you want (US or UK and not Spanish, French, etc.). You can check with the X200 HMM for a listing of some of the various keyboards FRUs. I've found that not all of them are listed so if you have or find an FRU that's not in the HMM, search this forum or use Google to figure out what it is (whether or not it's actually for an X200).

And as I stated before, you could post a WTB here in the Marketplace forum. There may be somebody near you with a spare keyboard. However, it might take awhile for your listing to be noticed.
Ray Kawakami
X22 X24 X31 X41 X41T X60 X60s X61 X61s X200 X200s X300 X301 Z60m Z61t Z61p 560 560Z 600 600E 600X T21 T22 T23 T41 T60p T410 T420 T520 W500 W520 R50 A21p A22p A31 A31p
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Re: X200 - 4 keys are not working - any fix

#11 Post by RealBlackStuff » Tue Nov 03, 2020 4:15 am

I have such a (US-layout) genuine NMB keyboard for sale.
However, it comes complete with a whole X201 attached! :mrgreen:
If interested, check here.
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Re: X200 - 4 keys are not working - any fix

#12 Post by Vopu » Tue Nov 03, 2020 7:31 am

rkawakami wrote:
Tue Nov 03, 2020 3:31 am
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/254564749930
This used keyboard comes out of Poland but at a cost of 51 euros. From my look at the pictures it appears to have a factory label indicating it's a genuine Lenovo part.
When looking for a genuine U.K keyboard like the one linked , look for the big enter key covering two rows, (notice aliexpress/ebay ones with 1 row enter/compatible ones) #3 should be £ symbol and #4 should be $, as realblackstuff said , your HMM lists two UK Qwerty. U.K.English 42T3741 & 42T3675T There is also the backward compatibility of later models X2xx series , so the FRU's i listed are not the definite and only ones that are compatible (as also noted by rkawakami)
Look at this example and note GB listed at the end of model #, also present from rkawakami's link.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Lenovo-Keyboar ... 1902485474 a bit pricey but new , %100 positive seller feedback and 14days return.
It is down to you , aliexpress/some ebay compatible ones will also work , generally you will find U.S layout keyboards but unlike the ones listed they are not going to be geniune/factory Lenovo FRU parts (with some exceptions)
Vopu

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Re: X200 - 4 keys are not working - any fix

#13 Post by Vopu » Tue Nov 03, 2020 7:45 am

RealBlackStuff wrote:
Tue Nov 03, 2020 4:15 am
I have such a (US-layout) genuine NMB keyboard for sale.
I have checked your link right after my post , it looks like a tidy good unit with the upgrades you made i can see it reasonably priced, am sure someone will be interested..
i can see it's U.S , but am i wrong about the 2row enter key :eek:

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Re: X200 - 4 keys are not working - any fix

#14 Post by RealBlackStuff » Tue Nov 03, 2020 9:26 am

Vopu wrote:There is also the backward compatibility of later models X2xx series , so the FRU's i listed are not the definite and only ones that are compatible (as also noted by rkawakami)
ONLY X200/s/i/t and X201/s/i/t keyboards will FIT in there.
For emergency repairs, you can also use xx10 and xx20 keyboards (they are KB-connector compatible), but don't expect all their keys to function, and like I said above, they won't fit.
Vopu wrote:but am i wrong about the 2row enter key :eek:
Language problem?
Still NOT a great day for a Guinness! (the Real Black Stuff). And I have TWO (closed) pubs within 500 meters/yards!
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Re: X200 - 4 keys are not working - any fix

#15 Post by Vopu » Tue Nov 03, 2020 10:10 am

RealBlackStuff wrote:
Tue Nov 03, 2020 9:26 am
Vopu wrote:but am i wrong about the 2row enter key :eek:
Language problem?
I am afraid i don't see your point ? :roll: am i missing something ? I thought shape of enter keys i mentioned were unique to certain thinkpad models/keyboards & identifier/indication for original FRU's ?

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Re: X200 - 4 keys are not working - any fix

#16 Post by RealBlackStuff » Tue Nov 03, 2020 10:41 am

There are basically two/three Enter/Return keys:
- horizontal (ANSI) key on US-keyboards (only in 1 row)
Image
- L-shaped (ISO) key on UK- and most other language keyboards (spreads over 2 rows)
Image
- vertical (ANSI/ISO) [green above] key on numeric keypads (also spreads over 2 rows)

You write: wrong about the 2row enter key.
Do you mean to say you don't LIKE the 2row key?
Or is there a WRONG key on the keyboard?
Still NOT a great day for a Guinness! (the Real Black Stuff). And I have TWO (closed) pubs within 500 meters/yards!
On 10 May, 2021 Ireland has lifted most of its lockdown: time for a haircut!
Covid-19: Stay safe, so Mask it or Casket!

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Re: X200 - 4 keys are not working - any fix

#17 Post by Vopu » Tue Nov 03, 2020 11:17 am

RealBlackStuff wrote:
Tue Nov 03, 2020 10:41 am
There are basically two/three Enter/Return keys:
- horizontal (ANSI) key on US-keyboards (only in 1 row)
- L-shaped (ISO) key on UK- and most other language keyboards (spreads over 2 rows)
- vertical (ANSI/ISO) [green above] key on numeric keypads (also spreads over 2 rows)

You write: wrong about the 2row enter key.
Do you mean to say you don't LIKE the 2row key?
Or is there a WRONG key on the keyboard?
Neither , :) , i thought original/geniune UK layouts from factory only came with 2 row(L-shape) enter keys, hence an indication of a UK FRU Qwerty. That is what the op is searching. I had to replace a T61 UK 2row original FRU with with a US 1 row one bought from aliexpress. Working fine , no problems at all. Maybe i should have been clearer on my post; as long as it works i have no issue with US/UK layouts nor 1/2 row enter/return keys. As i said , since op is in U.K , i assumed he is after a genuine U.K layout keyboard and 2row/L-shaped was a unique identifier for such one. since i have not seen U.K geniune qwerty with 1 row horizontal before , hence i asked " Am i wrong about the 2row UK key layout being unique to U.K" except for U.S ? question can be asked the other way around as "Do you guys have L shaped/2row enter keys in U.S with U.S layout (original thinkpad) keyboards or ONLY 1row enter ,unique to U.S layout " :)

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Re: X200 - 4 keys are not working - any fix

#18 Post by g8tzl2004 » Tue Nov 03, 2020 11:05 pm

Thanks for all the useful info and links to keyboards.

I never knew there was a difference between UK and USA keyboards!!!...with the bigger return key!!! Likewise I looked up German keyboards and some of the letters are on different keys...so its no use going for a cheap German keyboard. But a US keyboard should be OK.

With some of the keyboard prices its almost as cheap to buy a good used complete X200!!!

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