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Macbook Pro keyboard and trackpad stop funtioning

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I've been having this problem with my Macbook Pro for quite some time now, and it's absolutely infuriating. So far, I've found no solution. As it is out of warranty, I am loathe to take it to the Apple store, but I am beginning to fear I will have no choice.

I've got an early 2008 15" MBP with the NVIDIA 8600M GT 512. It spends most of its time in use as a desktop machine, with a keyboard, mouse, and monitor connected, so I don't notice the problem often. However, any time I take my Mac mobile, I am plagued by this issue. What happens is that, seemingly at random, the keyboard and trackpad will completely stop functioning. The only way to get around the problem is to connect a mouse and reboot, which returns things to normal for a few minutes, then it happens again. If I have no mouse, I have to force-shutdown, as the power key still works. Sometimes the keyboard and trackpad will shut down all at once, and sometimes they will fluctuate for a while, with keystrokes not registering and trackpad motions not happening. Sometimes keys will stick (not physically) sending a character repeating across the screen until I hit another key. But, in the end, the result is the same: no input functionality, necessitating a reboot.

Sometimes I am able to use my MBP for long periods without a problem. Sometimes it happens within minutes. It happens when it's hot, it happens when it's not. There seems to be no real consistency. For a long time I thought that it was a software issue as it never happened while booted into windows. But recently it has happened while booted into Windows 7, though it never happened in XP. The motherboard has been replaced recently, and the issue did not go away. So it has to be something else. I'm completely stumped.
post #2 of 6
By any chance is the battery in any way malformed, i.e., bulging? This would cause pressure on the KB & trackpad connectors.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tangobob View Post

By any chance is the battery in any way malformed, i.e., bulging? This would cause pressure on the KB & trackpad connectors.

No, the battery looks normal.
post #4 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clocknova View Post

No, the battery looks normal.

If the MLB has been replaced and if the unit functions normally while booted into a known good operating system, the only possibility is the top case/keyboard being faulty.
post #5 of 6
If it only happens when mobile, it's likely to be the battery issue tango is alluding to. When it get warm, it grows a little.
post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clocknova View Post

I've been having this problem with my Macbook Pro for quite some time now, and it's absolutely infuriating. So far, I've found no solution. As it is out of warranty, I am loathe to take it to the Apple store, but I am beginning to fear I will have no choice.

I've got an early 2008 15" MBP with the NVIDIA 8600M GT 512. It spends most of its time in use as a desktop machine, with a keyboard, mouse, and monitor connected, so I don't notice the problem often. However, any time I take my Mac mobile, I am plagued by this issue. What happens is that, seemingly at random, the keyboard and trackpad will completely stop functioning. The only way to get around the problem is to connect a mouse and reboot, which returns things to normal for a few minutes, then it happens again. If I have no mouse, I have to force-shutdown, as the power key still works. Sometimes the keyboard and trackpad will shut down all at once, and sometimes they will fluctuate for a while, with keystrokes not registering and trackpad motions not happening. Sometimes keys will stick (not physically) sending a character repeating across the screen until I hit another key. But, in the end, the result is the same: no input functionality, necessitating a reboot.

Sometimes I am able to use my MBP for long periods without a problem. Sometimes it happens within minutes. It happens when it's hot, it happens when it's not. There seems to be no real consistency. For a long time I thought that it was a software issue as it never happened while booted into windows. But recently it has happened while booted into Windows 7, though it never happened in XP. The motherboard has been replaced recently, and the issue did not go away. So it has to be something else. I'm completely stumped.


This response is a bit late so if it doesn't help the op hopefully it helps someone else searching for this issue.

I had this exact same problem for a while. When plugged in at home and using an external mouse there was never any problem. However, when running on battery, usually after 5-10 minutes my trackpad and sometimes my keyboard would become unresponsive. If I closed the monitor and allowed it to shut down for a minute it would work again. Very frustrating.

This is apparently a temperature problem. The built-in temperature regulation for these models is horrible. It took me a while to realize that it was the heat that was causing the malfunction. Eventually, common sense kicked in and I thought to myself "What is going on in 5-10 minutes that could cause this to happen?" Then a lightbulb went off. "IT'S GETTING HOT!"

So I downloaded and installed smcFanControl. It's free and efficient and works great. I try to keep mine a little below 50C. I have the settings at around 5500rpm for charging, 4500 for AC power, and 3500 for battery. This keeps it nice and cool and has since fixed the issue with the trackpad and keyboard glitching out. If you already have a Fan Control application installed, make sure you fully uninstall it and reset the PRAM on your machine.

I hope this helps out anyone else who has this issue. Let us know to confirm!
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