I have two Framework laptops, one was a DIY one was a prebuilt, one is running Linux the other Windows 11. With both laptops I have an intermittent issue where they keyboard will just stop working. Usually this happens upon powering up or upon waking up from sleep but on at least one occasion the keyboard went unresponsive after plugging in a USB thumb drive. The issue is not software - it happens regardless of Linux or Windows OS and when it’s acting up the keyboard doesn’t work at the BIOS startup screen either (I have quiet boot and quick boot turned off in BIOS so there’s time to test the keyboard before getting into the OS). However the issue does not appear to be physical hardware either; the ribbon cable is fine because all the other top panel hardware works fine (touchpad, fingerprint reader, power button) and - here is the really baffling bit - I can usually fix the problem by plugging in an external USB keyboard. Not USING it, just PLUGGING IT IN, plugging in an EXTERNAL USB keyboard causes the INTERNAL keyboard to suddenly spring to life. But the other solution is to just turn it off and leave it off for a few hours, often the keyboard will come back to life on its own. It can’t be heat-related either because the problem usually exhibits waking from sleep or powering up so the machine is cold. So if it’s not software, and it’s not hardware either, then it must be firmware right? Except I can’t find a pattern there either. The one Framework (the non-DIY Windows 11 one) worked perfectly fine for months until I installed BIOS 3.10 update, shortly after that I started having keyboard problems. But the other Framework (the DIY Linux one) started having keyboard problems almost right off the bat, while it was still on BIOS 3.06 (updating to BIOS 3.10 didn’t change anything). I’m at the end of my rope here troubleshooting this, thought I’d reach out to the community before opening a support ticket. I love what Framework is doing but I have TWO Framework laptops that are too unreliable to be usable.
You could try these solutions:
I might recommend, as a first step in troubleshooting, restarting the embedded controller (which implements the keyboard matrix scanning and translation to PS/2). Hold down the power button for ~30 seconds, even after the power otherwise goes off. The charging LED should blink.
FWIW, this has the same effect as leaving the laptop unplugged and powered off for 30 seconds. The EC reboots. If the issue comes back repeatedly, it might be worth looking into the EC console log to see what it thinks is happening. That’s at
/sys/kernel/debug/cros_ec/console_log (or similar). Capture a copy of it when the keyboard isn’t working!
Not a bad idea @DHowett but I don’t have a cros_ec in my /sys/kernel/debug or anything similar to it. That might not be the issue because it takes a lot longer than 30 seconds of sitting off for my keyboards to start working again. More like 30 minutes. Also, holding down the power button until the charging LED blinks (takes about 10-15 seconds for me) also does not fix the issue.
My only thoughts are to check the ribbon cable for the keyboard, as opposed to the one for the whole top cover, to see if those might be a little loose. You could also try swapping the keyboards between the two laptops to see if that changes anything (less of a solution, and more of a test to see if the issue lies within the keyboards, or possibly the mainboards).
Either way, I would recommend sending in a support ticket, seeing as it is happening on two different laptops running two different OS’s I’m sure Framework would like to know about it so they can investigate the root cause.
This is the recommended course of action. Please contact support.
Thank you, Matt, I have created a support ticket, they have asked me to provide a video so I’m just waiting for the next time it happens to capture it on video.
After some further troubleshooting I’ve determined I actually have two different issues; on some occasions when the keyboard stopped working I was also experiencing the screen going blank, and on those occasions the “plug in external keyboard” fix did not work. I have determined that when this happens the problem isn’t the keyboard at all; the problem is the lid-closed sensor is falsely going off, and the laptop is disabling the keyboard, screen, keyboard backlight, and power light (but seemingly not the touchpad, curiously) because it thinks the lid is closed. I haven’t figured out exactly why this keeps happening to both my Framework laptops, it’s happening disruptively frequently, but for sure I’ve figured out that you cannot place a Framework laptop on top of another one; apparently the sensor is magnetic (?) and the lid of the bottom one will set off the sensor of the one above it. But I’ve also had this issue happen when the two Framework laptops were nowhere near each other and I haven’t figured out what is setting it off in those cases. This also does not explain the issue I have when the keyboard and only the keyboard doesn’t work; on these occasions the screen is still lit up and the power light is still lit up, and on those occasions are when plugging in an external keyboard causes the internal one to spring to life.
I have determined that when this happens the problem isn’t the keyboard at all; the problem is the lid-closed sensor is falsely going off, and the laptop is disabling the keyboard, screen, keyboard backlight, and power light (but seemingly not the touchpad, curiously) because it thinks the lid is closed.
I’ve seen a variation of this. I place one Framework laptop on top of another, one off, the top one on. They sit on top of a metal table. Fine, then I move the top one - it goes into a state with no display, flashing power light like it’s suspended. Remove and press power, comes back to life.
I suspect this is definitely something support can help with. But make sure to note any and all environmental variables so they can get a complete picture.
Following up on this in case anyone else runs into it:
So I had two different issues happening here. One was the lid closed sensor falsely triggering; I figured out what was setting it off (a magnet in my desk drawer and having two Framework laptops stacked on top of each other) and just avoided those scenarios.
But there were some instances when the keyboard stopped working while the screen was still lit up, and in those cases plugging in an external keyboard would cause the built-in keyboard to spring to life. Those instances were not explained by the lid sensor. While trying to troubleshoot this I ran into a completely different problem, that hitting F12 at boot up to boot off a USB drive was hard-locking the boot process. This was happening on both my Framework laptops, the Linux machine and the Windows machine, and it happened regardless of what boot devices I had (or didn’t have) plugged in. Framework support helped me troubleshoot THAT issue and what eventually solved that was going into BIOS and doing a “reset to default settings”. Resetting the BIOS appears to have solved both the F12 issue and the keyboard failures. It’s been almost a month now and I have had no keyboard issues since resetting the BIOS. No idea why, I don’t think I had made any changes to the BIOS settings so I would have expected them to already be set to defaults. But here’s a tip, when in doubt, reset the BIOS.
Wow, this has been happening to me for months now and I was also stacking laptops (Framework on a Macbook). I removed the Macbook underneath and the keyboard & screen were instantly fixed! It may be worth mentioning that in the stacked state, the screen & keyboard still worked intermittently. What a weird bug!
Wow, this has been happening to me for months now and I was also stacking laptops (Framework on a Macbook). I removed the Macbook underneath and the keyboard & screen were instantly fixed! It may be worth mentioning that in the stacked state, the screen & keyboard still worked intermittently. What a weird bug
Yes, it is worth mentioning that there are a lot of scenarios that can trigger this false lid-sensor issue; not just a Framework on top of another Framework as I mentioned above. I have also experienced this issue with Framework on top of Surface Pro, Framework on top of iPad, Framework on top of a desk (I believe the culprit was a magnet in the desk drawer?).
Also encountered this when I stacked my Framework on top of a MacBook. Weird!
I just had this issue this morning with the same symptoms on my 13th gen. Trackpad works, power button works, but keyboard is non-responsive. Rebooting didn’t help. My laptop was just sitting next to my bed as it usually does, though I had my Samsung Buds 2 case near it which has some magnets in it if that’s the cause?
What worked for me was:
- Unplugged all I/O modules (all were USB so likely didn’t do anything)
- Unscrewed the screws on the bottom to remove the keyboard assembly
- Unplugged the keyboard ribbon cable
- Unplugged the battery
- Left it for a few minutes
- Did everything in reverse to put it back together
Then it worked fine!
Definitely looks like a firmware issue to me. Hopefully Framework can work out what’s going on. I’m running Linux Mint 22. I still have a few weird issues here and there that I haven’t been able to nut out. I’ll make sure to take my framework screwdriver when I travel so I can do this again if necessary.
@Andrew_Whalan’s advice is sound. Worth trying this.
@Matt_Hartley I should note that I DID in fact try reconnecting the ribbon cable and it did not solve the problem for me, I soon had the issue again. Not that I was really expecting it to; the power button and trackpad go through the same ribbon cable so if they’re working then the ribbon cable was unlikely the culprit.
Here is one tip though, if you have a keyboard-non-responsive problem:
Is the screen still on or did it turn itself off at the same time the keyboard stopped working?
- If the screen is off, then the problem is likely the lid-closed sensor falsely triggering. Look for nearby magnets that might be setting it off and avoid them.
- If the screen remains on, then the problem is NOT the lid-closed sensor or nearby magnets. The only thing that fixed this problem for me (and I tried a LOT of things) was going into the BIOS setting and selecting “reset to defaults”.
Excellent feedback! And solid advice.
This happened to me on two occasions, and thanks to this thread I now know it was due to stacking (in my case, on top of a Dell Precision). I never would have guessed! Maybe future Framework models need a way to design around this.
Appreciate the feedback. It’s tricky as one should not stack their laptops in the first place, but I suspect many of us have done this regardless (myself included). Best course is to avoid stacking as the lid trigger relies on this functionality.
Just had the same issue, in my case was caused by one framework sitting on top of another one
Yep, this is very, very often the cause - even with other laptops.