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Can an LED-backlit keyboard prevent a laptop from booting?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Saturable, May 6, 2016.

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  1. Saturable

    Saturable Thread Starter

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    A little while ago, I posted a question asking what was wrong with my laptop and why it wouldn't boot. Because there were so many variables, it was impossible to pin down one solid answer. I own a device strikingly similar to the MSI GT80S Titan, and I ended up spilling Kool-Aid over a portion of the keyboard. It's a Cherry MX keyboard with red backlights, and it would seem that they shorted out during the spill. The interesting thing is that once I unplugged the LED wire from the keyboard to the motherboard, my laptop booted up normally. Before I did this, however, my laptop showed no signs of life at all (apart from the battery charging indicator.)

    While it's clear that, yes, a LED-backlit keyboard can prevent a laptop from booting, why does it do so? Is it because the laptop is smart enough to detect some sort of short and prevent booting to prevent harm to the motherboard? If so, that sounds pretty smart to me. Or, is something else going on?
     
  2. Oddba11

    Oddba11

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    I don't know what "LED wire" you are referring to. Most keyboards connect using a standard USB cable. The computer/laptop supplies power over USB and also device connectivity/data. So if there was a short in the device, the computer could see it. Whether or not it boots would likely depend on how USB was configured in the BIOS. And as with any faulty hardware, it could prevent the system from booting or just hang for an undetermined amount of time as the hardware detection process timed out and boot continued.
     
  3. Saturable

    Saturable Thread Starter

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    Because the Titan (a laptop) has a built-in mechanical keyboard, it doesn't use standard USB. There are three flat wires that connect it straight to the motherboard and one is specifically for the backlights. It's interesting because I tore apart the entire laptop trying to find out why it wouldn't boot, and it was one simple cable the entire time. I'm just glad my motherboard wasn't fried.
     
  4. managed

    managed Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    One or more of the LEDs have probably developed a short and the laptop senses that and stops the boot. A new keyboard could work ok but there's a chance the motherboard itself has also been damaged so that's a gamble.
     
  5. Saturable

    Saturable Thread Starter

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    I'm planning on buying a replacement, so I'll find out soon. It is likely that the LEDs have shorted out because the ESC key was flickering a bit before it started acting up. I'm pretty sure the motherboard is okay, however.
     
  6. managed

    managed Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    I think it's worth a go, hope it works out well.
     
  7. dvk01

    dvk01 Moderator Malware Specialist

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    I have split 3 off topic posts from this thread. They have been moved to https://forums.techguy.org/threads/led-lights-cause-insomnia.1172823/ because such unsubstantiated and off the wall issues are not acceptable in any tech forum. I am not sure we should allow them at all, but for now the posts have been moved to controversial topics. I can't see any actual dubious health claims or suggestions to use non standard medical treatment, so it is likely we will allow the discussion to continue.
     
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