M17x R4 doesnt respond to new keyboard

Discussion in 'Alienware 17 and M17x' started by toastofman, Nov 2, 2021.

  1. toastofman

    toastofman Notebook Guru

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    Hello all. I'm at the end of my rope with this thing...

    I got what I thought was a good deal on an M17x R4 with the 120hz panel. I ended up having to replace the motherboard. I replaced the motherboard because in the process of trying to fix the (evidently) widespread keyboard blight affecting these friggin' laptops, a reflash went wrong and the mobo was bricked.

    I've now ordered an outrageously overpriced "new" keyboard from amazon (the listing is still up if anyone wants to verify that I ordered the correct part) for the same laptop. It took 2 weeks to get here, and now that it is here, it does nothing at all when plugged in.

    I've tried:
    reseating the ribbon cable
    resetting the BIOS
    full CMOS clear via CMOS battery
    reinstalling old keyboard
    full uninstall through device manager
    reinstall driver from dell
    BIOS update to fresh A15

    I'm ready to just sell it on ebay for a few hundred bucks and be done with it. I can't get in the BIOS, I can't type anything at all unless I plug in an external display. When I plug in the old keyboard that has broken keys (alienware keyboard blight), it functions and will allow me to type with the keys that still work. When I plug in the "new" one, not a single key works.

    What the hell gives? Is there a really obvious step I'm missing? Or is this laptop just fully cursed with the blight?
     
  2. mariussx

    mariussx Notebook Evangelist

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    Check the dell part number on both keyboards and confirm they match first. The new keyboard should not need anything at all, as soon as you plug it it, the keyboard should work. This sounds like you have either the wrong replacement keyboard or a doa replacement keyboard. If the part numbers match, send it back and re-order the keyboard.
     
  3. toastofman

    toastofman Notebook Guru

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    My keyboard:
    Part number PK130MK1B00
    Model NSK-D8G01

    New keyboard:
    Part number PK130MK1A00
    Model NSK-D8F01

    Both ribbons are green (R4 was always a green ribbon, the blue ribbon keyboards have errors) and it was sold as a replacement for the M17x R4.
    https://www.amazon.com/Laptop-Keyboard-Alienware-United-States/dp/B082XH3K27/

    Don't know if amazon links are allowed but that is the exact one I bought. It didn't (and doesn't now) have a picture of the back of the keyboard and the seller was unresponsive to messages. There wasn't another option after months of waiting, and now this one doesn't work at all. From the part numbers it may be a little bit older, but considering that the green ribbon keyboard was sold in exactly 4 alienware laptops and are all functionally identical, I am at a loss as to why it doesn't work. Unless as you say, it took two weeks to ship me a pre-broken keyboard.
     
  4. Reciever

    Reciever D! For Dragon!

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    If it doesnt work then send it back, it's doa
     
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  5. mariussx

    mariussx Notebook Evangelist

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    D8G01 - this is the part number want to buy. Dell part numbers are a combination of 5 letters and numbers (sometimes with 0 at the front and then 5 chars), all the other numbers on the part are not the part number. When buying Dell parts, never go with the model of the computer alone. It’s much safer to match your part number to the part you are buying.

    I would send that keyboard back and buy the keyboard, that matches your part number.
     
  6. toastofman

    toastofman Notebook Guru

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    I know that the part number doesn't exactly match (now that I have it) but it is a pretty basic designed part. It's just a membrane keyboard with simple circuitry. Even with problems, people are at least able to get blue ribbon keyboards working on their R4s. This keyboard is also advertised as compatible with the M17x R4.

    I'm contacting the seller to find out what my options are. It shipped from China so it's possible I will be on the hook for the cost of shipping it back (probably 30-50 dollars US).
     
  7. Maxware79

    Maxware79 Alienware died in 2014

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    That sucks man. The blue ribbon keyboards are for the M17x R3 and M18x R1. They do seem to work in the later models, for the most part, but some people have said that they have problems later on. I need to do some testing with the machines/keyboards that I have.
    Did you buy it from Aliexpress rather than ebay?
    Also, with your old motherboard, did you try the forced USB BIOS flash to unbrick it? Was there a beep code error or was is completely dead? You can sometimes recover these boards from a bad flash
     
  8. toastofman

    toastofman Notebook Guru

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    The forced USB/eSATA flash is what bricked it... It was a bummer! I did the thing: BIOS file decompiled, pulled the bin file out of the correct size, renamed it appropriately, put on a FAT32 formatted thumbdrive, popped out the battery, put the thumbdrive in the eSATA port, held 'end' and plugged it in. It ran, beeping its ass off for about 3 minutes straight. Then the beeping got faster and the fans came on 100% for about 2 more minutes, then the beeping stopped. All reports I read said it would reboot itself after the beeps stopped, and it just sat with fans at 100% for over a half hour. I let it sit for total about 45 minutes, then it dawned on me that the flash obviously failed. The laptop was totally unresponsive, and so with no other choice I pulled it off life support. After I did that, the power button wouldn't even fire it and the board was totally dead. PROOOOOBABLY my fault, but I was backed into a corner with no other option and evidently screwed something up.

    I bought the keyboard from the Amazon link I listed. All the AliExpress links I found were sold out, and a site called "cpumedics" had the keyboard listed as in stock and for sale (it still actually does, but I think it is a lie). But a week after placing an order (before I bought it from Amazon) on the cpumedics site, they emailed me and told me it was not actually in stock and refunded me.

    I'm actually quite bummed out. I wanted to put a P4000 in it and really push the 120hz panel, its so nice on the 17" form factor, but I don't really want to put 200-300 more into it if the keyboard is basically a ticking time bomb. I'm still waiting to hear back from the Amazon vendor I bought it from: The keyboard was sold as new and has very hard kinks in the ribbon cable as well as food on the w-a-s-d keys, so its obviously used!
     
  9. Maxware79

    Maxware79 Alienware died in 2014

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    Damn. I've used the forced flash a few times to fix a 1-beep error code and it's always worked great. I think the last time I did it I left the laptop for over an hour while it was going nuts. When I noticed that it had stopped, I went in and restarted it. Probably nothing you can do about it now though, other than replace the BIOS chip.
    The new keyboard definitely seems dead, if your old one kind of still works. Good luck getting a return on it. English/US keyboards are really hard to find these days. Your other option is to get one of the Arabic or German ones and replace the keys to English. Not terribly hard to do but would take some time.
     
  10. Reciever

    Reciever D! For Dragon!

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    I've never had to wait on vendor approval for a return. Practically the only reason to use Amazon at all to begin with is the easy returns.
     
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