Troubleshooting help for flakey Model 01

Hi, I’m seeing some troubling behavior with my Model 01. The issue is that intermittently, the keyboard will just stop working. As far as I can tell, there’s no pattern to when this will happen. It’s been happening once every few days for the last 2 weeks or so, but the frequency feels like it’s increasing.

I haven’t changed the firmware from what I’d been using without issue for several months, so I’m pretty sure that’s not the issue.

What I’ve found is that unplugging the USB cable for a few minutes and then plugging it back in usually gets the keyboard working again. I’ve been trying to isolate the cause, but it’s been hard due to the sporadicness of the issue. As far as troubleshooting steps, I’ve determined that it’s not an issue with the SMC on my mac. I have also ruled out the usb and ethernet cables used, and the usb hub the keyboard is plugged into, as being the source of the flakiness by swapping them out with known good ones. It’s beginning to feel like a hardware issue with the keyboard.

A few times, the keyboard has stopped working mid-keypress, leaving the computer to register a stuck key that persists even after uplugging the keyboard. The only way I’ve found to clear this is to reboot the computer.

I also have the Chase led effect enabled on the keyboard, although with my configuration, I can’t see them most of the time. When the keyboard stops working, the led effect ceases as well. Once, right as the keyboard stopped, I checked the led effect, and the keypresses before the keyboard failed were still lit, and they faded, but much, much slower than they usually do, almost as if the clock speed of the chip were reduced by a factor of 10.

I’d be curious to hear if you have any additional troubleshooting suggestions. I do not have the equipment or experience to make any modifications that would require soldering or the like.

The Chase led effect was affected by a bug some times ago (an overflow in an array if I remember well), so maybe it can comes from here… Disabling this effect for some day could chase the issue away :smile:

But as you said you unplugged the usb cable for a few minutes, it may be a problem with an electrical component that heating too much :frowning: (here, @jesse could surely help you !).

For the stuck key, the system is waiting for the release from a keyboard that does not exist no more… that could be interesting to know if it is the keyboard that still send the state or if it’s an OS problem… You can you check if the keyboard is still seen by the system next time it occurs.

The first thing I would try is eliminating the USB hub entirely, rather than replacing it with a different one. The “stuck key” that doesn’t get cleared even after unplugging the keyboard is very strange behaviour for macOS, and I would be that it’s your USB hub that’s keeping the keycode alive, not the OS. If it happens again, I think you should unplug the hub from the computer before resorting to a reboot.

That said, the one thing that sounds more like a software issue than a hardware problem is the very slow fading of the Chase LED effect. That seems more like a not-quite-infinite loop that’s being triggered somewhere in the firmware. That could possibly make the keyboard unresponsive without outright crashing it. I would try flashing it with an up-to-date version of Kaleidoscope as a next step.

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