Should I just never use the PP keyboard?
#1
I received my keyboard a few days ago, long awaited, probably because of COVID supply chain issues.

I've gotten it to work, but with some serious issues. First and most importantly, keys constantly get "stuck" and repeat a character continually, until I hit another key or two to break it out of the loop. I've had the keyboard's repeating character issues cause me to execute commands in the terminal from my shell history that I did not want to execute, which obviously can be extremely dangerous if you're doing the wrong task.
I've tried both the userland and kernel-mode drivers. Both have this issue, so probably not a software issue.

I haven't found a workaround for this. I've tried to ensure the pogo pins make good contact, doesn't seem to help.

Secondly, while I can live with the idea that I can't use the phone's USB-C port while it's in the keyboard, I have also heard gurglings of keyboards destroying PinePhones for no apparent reason, even when instructions are followed. If this is true, I may not want to use the keyboard at all, because despite its bugginess, I do use my PinePhone with Fedora as my daily driver.

Lastly, the keys just suck. You have to hit them dead-on or they don't depress, and even then you have to hit them *hard*, and I'm not just talking about the top row.

Returning isn't an option, for one it's not enough money to be worth the shipping hassle, and for another I doubt Pine64 would respond to help in any reasonable amount of time anyways.

What the hell should I do? Just eat the cost and forget about it?
  Reply
#2
Wow, that does suck. Personally, I would remove the keys from the keyboard and see what might be causing them getting stuck. Maybe remove one keycap?

Someone fixed the top row with some extra paper (or extra 3D-printed rings): https://avery.cafe/blog/a-quick-fix-for-...s-top-row/
Maybe something similar will work for you?

Are all the keys getting stuck?

About the battery inside the PPKB - it should be safe to use your keyboard, but treat the USB port of the phone as if it doesn't exist anymore, as you said. There's some extra info here about those stories you mentioned: https://www.pine64.org/2022/05/31/may-up...-the-wait/

Personally, if I would have received your PPKB instead of mine, I would have wasted an unjustifiably long time trying to hack it to work, then give up on it and swallow the cost if it didn't work at all. I might have even ordered a second PPKB, if other people said it's only a defective one. But I'm desperate for keyboards on phones, so don't take my advice too seriously.
  Reply
#3
(06-17-2022, 04:13 PM)theResonant Wrote: Personally, if I would have received your PPKB instead of mine, I would have wasted an unjustifiably long time trying to hack it to work, then give up on it and swallow the cost if it didn't work at all. I might have even ordered a second PPKB, if other people said it's only a defective one. But I'm desperate for keyboards on phones, so don't take my advice too seriously.

I LOL'd because I'd probably do the same thing for the same reasons.
  Reply
#4
@Subsentient

  I had the same feeling when I got mine and it behaved more or less as you describe.  The keys and case balance are not that great but they still beat an onscreen keyboard.
  I got it that you already tried to improve the pogo contacts but bear with me...
  That being said, there is a simple test you can try to see if the repeating keys issue is fixable by you or not: squeeze together the screen where the pogo pins are (to temporarily improve a noisy/intermittent contact) and try to type something.  If the keys stop repeating, you have a typical first batch keyboard: salvageable and usable with the known caveats vs a total loss.  In my case this showed that by improving the contact I'll have a usable keyboard at least.  Seek more fixes for pogo contacts in the forum.
  There are also fixes for key responsiveness and feeling which improve the usability quite a bit (filing the edges, spacer rings).

  I also applied a bit of tape to cover the phone port while in the case.  This stops accidental plugs of usb cables in the wrong port and serves as a reminder not to use it as such.  I've no HW problem since.  On the SW side it needed some configuration tweaking in Mobiam/PostmarketOS after the latest releases but nothing drastic.
  Reply
#5
Hello,
I would want to know the specifics of the Pinephone keyboard destroying Pinephones through the USB-C Sideboard before offering advice but in my general experience with the Pinephone and SBC's such as the Pi, Arduino etc you need to make sure that the battery is adjusted to the proper "Maximum charge level" in the tweeks app as well as-since it has been reported as an issue for that particular component-a volage-tester(voltameter) for SBC components from Amazon or Adafruit or whomever. I'll start looking for one now and follow up. I think I got mine from the HackerBox dude.
Power to most electronic devices has to be precise- no more, no less. I was able to correct the issue of screen flicker of which is commonly reported as a firmware issue (not in my case) by adjusting my Maximum charging level to 100% and only charging with a Pi 4 power source instead of leftover power sources from just any device or voltage rating and I would suspect any issues arising out of use with the keyboard could be mediated similarly.
  Reply
#6
(06-17-2022, 03:05 PM)Subsentient Wrote: keys constantly get "stuck" and repeat a character continually, until I hit another key or two to break it out of the loop. I've had the keyboard's repeating character issues cause me to execute commands in the terminal from my shell history that I did not want to execute, which obviously can be extremely dangerous if you're doing the wrong task.
I've tried both the userland and kernel-mode drivers. Both have this issue, so probably not a software issue.

I haven't found a workaround for this. I've tried to ensure the pogo pins make good contact, doesn't seem to help.

That's interesting people are saying it could be the pogo pins, because my keyboard very occasionally has a key getting stuck and I always put it down to some PinePhone-specific driver issue simply because when I used the on-screen keyboard Florence the keys would often get stuck repeating as well. Reading this, I now think that was actually a coincidence and Florence is probably just buggy (my original assumption).

Although it makes for a huge PDA, I really liked my keyboard. It seemed robust. I don't anymore though, because the charge controller seems to be fried. I saw this may have happened to some others in the forum:

http://forum.pine64.org/showthread.php?tid=16271
http://forum.pine64.org/showthread.php?tid=17095
http://forum.pine64.org/showthread.php?tid=16979

In my case I left the keyboard plugged in to my charger probably far too long (I thought the chip was supposed to have protections against that). Normally when I unplug it, I have to shut the PinePhone down because it starts up by itself when it detects the charger is unplugged (Really annoying, that), but this time I wasn't around and I think a family member unplugged it. When I came back the phone had run itself completely flat and presumably run the keyboard battery very flat too.

Now the keyboard battery never seems to take any charge (even with the phone removed from the keyboard case) and the phone says it's unplugged when it's connected to the keyboard. Sad

I don't know whether I should bother trying to rip it open. I'll doubtless ruin the case. It still works as a keyboard but then it's unnecessarily bulky and heavy without the use of the battery function. Maybe I could charge the keyboard battery directly (carefully with a low current). It's a shame I can't buy a replacement PCB.

I don't know whether to risk trying again with another keyboard. It's a lot of money to waste these days if it's just gonna break again.
  Reply
#7
(09-02-2022, 04:28 PM)acid andy Wrote: ....
Now the keyboard battery never seems to take any charge (even with the phone removed from the keyboard case) and the phone says it's unplugged when it's connected to the keyboard. Sad

I don't know whether I should bother trying to rip it open. I'll doubtless ruin the case. It still works as a keyboard but then it's unnecessarily bulky and heavy without the use of the battery function. Maybe I could charge the keyboard battery directly (carefully with a low current). It's a shame I can't buy a replacement PCB.
...
I've had similar problem.

It's mentioned above, but also in the wiki - try to "squeeze" or "press" the place where screen and the pogo pins meet. If the
keyboard is being charged (or it's fully charged) and if the drivers are new - the phone should report it's charging now. If that happens - you can try to fix the loose contact with the shim trick described here: https://wiki.pine64.org/wiki/PinePhone_(...er_contact

Also, (i'm not sure if it'll be necessary) try to press the keyboard button to activate the charging functionality if for some reason, the board's firmware decided not to try to charge the phone.

I should report that I use mine regularly since a few months ago. I've seen "the sticky keys" issue before, but not recently as far as I can remember.
  Reply
#8
(09-03-2022, 02:11 PM)bosi564 Wrote: I've had similar problem.

It's mentioned above, but also in the wiki - try to "squeeze" or "press" the place where screen and the pogo pins meet. If the
keyboard is being charged (or it's fully charged) and if the drivers are new - the phone should report it's charging now. If that happens - you can try to fix the loose contact with the shim trick described here: https://wiki.pine64.org/wiki/PinePhone_(...er_contact

Also, (i'm not sure if it'll be necessary) try to press the keyboard button to activate the charging functionality if for some reason, the board's firmware decided not to try to charge the phone.

I should report that I use mine regularly since a few months ago. I've seen "the sticky keys" issue before, but not recently as far as I can remember.

I don't think that's going to help my keyboard, unfortunately, as it was working fine for months and just stopped. I've tried squeezing it so hard I was worried I might damage it. Nothing. Also when I used to charge the keyboard it would get very warm. Now when it's plugged in it doesn't warm up at all, suggesting little to no charge going in. I may try to shim the pogo pins as I have nothing to lose but I don't see how it could help in this case. Sad

I'm contemplating opening the keyboard up and seeing if I could take the battery out and replace it with another smaller battery and charging circuit, separate from the keyboard circuitry, but I'm not sure how I would power the keyboard in that setup. I may just buy another keyboard but I'm disappointed how many people seem to be having similar problems to be honest.
  Reply
#9
Don't take this as an advice, because I don't know electronics and it may damage your phone and keyboard!

But I did a simple test using a basic multimeter to probe the 3 pins on the keyboard that connect to the pins on the phone: 5v, ground and DCIN (https://wiki.pine64.org/wiki/PinePhone#Pogo_pins). The keyboard was connected to an old PC to charge a bit while doing the test.

For mine I got values as high as 5 which seemed within spec (for one or both of 5v and DCIN pins - I didn't keep a proper record). And when I hold the button on the keyboard for 15 seconds I got some low values (below 2V).

For easy measurement, I opened the keyboard to it's fullest extend (180 degrees) and laid it on a table , because otherwise it was unstable and I got wrong values most of the time.

And as a side note: the battery on the phone and on the keyboard were depleted overnight and they have at most 0-1%, so I'll wait for a few hours before I can turn it on. I'm using the shim hack: 3 pieces of thick paper (each folded at least once) to make contact. Smile
  Reply
#10
My PP keyboard initially worked well enough to be usable when I initially received it at the beginning of this year (I was an early adopter). Took me a few months to figure out the shim so that the battery in the keyboard could charge the PP. When June came around, I started having troubles that appeared to be related to the linux kernel (my guess) not recognizing the PP keyboard. Although the keys worked well enough for basic typing, the PP did not recognize the battery in the keyboard and would not charge. About once a week, I placed the PP into the keyboard to see if a software update applied any fixes.

Note: When the PP was in the keyboard, I only used the usb-c port in the keyboard for charging.

A recent update restored the PP ability to see the keyboard battery and the charging icon appeared when I plugged a usb-c cable into the PP keyboard usb-c port. After about 5 or 10 minutes of charging, the bottom of the keyboard near the usb-c port became quite hot and the amount of charge didn't seem to change. I removed the usb-c cable from the PP keyboard to stop charging and removed the PP from the keyboard.

Note: I have a PPP (running Manjaro KDE instead of Mobian) and the same issues exist with it.

So, I don't use the PP keyboard except to test whether a software update applied any fixes to address the issues I have with it. I do hope the PP keyboard will become usable some day. If not, the PP keyboard will be a disappointment; however, I still like the PP and PineTime very much. When I move over to using the PPP on a full time basis, I expect to like that product too.
  Reply


Possibly Related Threads…
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  Pinephone keyboard needs pressure terarmot 4 1,242 11-15-2022, 04:29 PM
Last Post: _radv_
  keyboard case charging but not typing new2pinephone 1 183 11-15-2022, 03:56 PM
Last Post: _radv_
  selling 2x pinephone(pro) keyboard ragele 3 389 10-28-2022, 08:09 AM
Last Post: sacrednetwork
  PinePhone Keyboard on other phone/over USB Dakkaron 1 732 10-20-2022, 03:47 AM
Last Post: svenh
  PinePhone Keyboard Review, Documentation, Battery Tools and Custom Layouts Phalio 0 232 10-09-2022, 05:09 PM
Last Post: Phalio
  keyboard charging fault, chip "most likely damaged", how to be sure? korakin 1 281 10-06-2022, 02:50 AM
Last Post: korakin
  Keyboard drawing only 0.1A from charger qwazix 7 2,538 09-26-2022, 01:00 PM
Last Post: ClairelyClaire
  Faulty Pinephone add on Keyboard. Support Ticket: Id #12442 Kawayuppie 5 1,563 09-26-2022, 12:45 PM
Last Post: ClairelyClaire
  Pinephone (Pro) Keyboard Case for sale manubert 0 249 09-17-2022, 11:51 AM
Last Post: manubert
  Sales & shipping issues for PinePhone keyboard gsteenss 4 1,267 08-21-2022, 01:24 AM
Last Post: kat22

Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)