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Thread: Sol20 keyboard issue

  1. #1
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    Default Sol20 keyboard issue

    I have a weird issue with my Sol.. when I first fire it up.. the keyboard doesn't work. The lighted keys like CAPS and Local react when pressed.. but none of the letter keys do. Initially it seemed the issue was the strobe not working properly. I did not get a pulse when a key was pressed. I discovered accidentally shorting pins 3 and 4 on u10 would produce twenty or so of the letter you'd previously pressed. I swapped U10 and it was working fine, until I shut it off for the night. Again when I powered up.. no keys. However I left it running while doing some reading and was surprised when I pressed keys that it was working.

    I feel like it might be heat related.. like you power it on and after warming up some flaky component starts working. Just not sure what it could be..

  2. #2
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    Default

    The SOL-20 uses a capacitive keyboard and will almost certainly need refoamed. If you haven't done that, I wouldn't bother troubleshooting anything else until you refoam it.

  3. #3
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    I refoamed using new pads made by texelec. I'm a bit suspicious of their design... they don't have foil on the contact side and the foam is denser than what I got in my last set. After installing them about 1/4 of keys don't work. But none of them do on start up.. they only start working after the machine has been running for about 2-4 minutes. I've confirmed the behaviour is the same even if I have the keyboard keys off and am just making contact with my finger.

  4. #4
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    I can't comment on the replacement pads from texelec, I don't think I've bought anything ever from them. Perhaps you have a cold solder joint that's making contact once the board heats up and expands/moves. Try pre-warming it with a hair dryer or something to confirm it's definitely heat related.

  5. #5
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    Default

    Texelec had a bad batch of replacement foam pads. Reach out to her and check with her first before going too far.

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  7. #7
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    Jan 2012
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    Default

    Guys I just got in the replacement Pads from texelec (see the link Al posted above as texelec commented in the thread too) she is apparently using what seems to be mylar this time, every single pad she sent this time is working so it seems she got the bugs out. Also, reach out to her directly. I did and she was very helpful.

  8. #8
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    Dec 2011
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    Default

    After you sort out the "pad" issue, I would check a few things.

    Check that your Tantalums on the keyboard are good or simply replace them. Sometimes they can act up differently as they warm up.

    Also carefully clean the contacts on the chips using an art eraser. Then make sure your sockets are tight. I have the crappy Apple-1 style TI sockets on one of my sol-20 keyboards. Had to rebuild one because it had intermittent contacts (I don't generally replace them since I have gotten good at this specific socket type)

    Finally check your cable and the connector on both the motherboard and keyboard PCB. If you have a cold solder joint, this would also do it.

  9. #9
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    Default

    Thanks guys. I did reach out to texelec and she said she will replace all my pads with the new ones. I kind of wondered why she didn't use mylar in the first place. I also sort of question the type of foam she used.. it's that dense white stuff. When I last bought pads from another seller they were a lighter density green foam with mylar and they work awesome. Mistakenly thought she was the same seller.

    I definitely think they are part of the issue.. but initially no.. I think possibly what Corey suggested. It feels like everything needs to warm up a while before keys will start working. The lighted keys always work right off the bat.. just everything else doesn't. Once it warms up they all work if you touch them with fingertips.

  10. #10
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    Falter, not sure about the SOL layout but the foam she uses works and feels fine for my compaq portables. And I dont know why she chose either material. All I know is of my first batch, 44 pads did not work. And its strange they either did or did not work. There were none that SEMI-worked. I assumed they were glued on upside down but who knows. I am happy with her current product and will probably buy again. I tried making a whole set myself, and it was many many hours of work and didnt come out well at all. So I think its worth it.

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