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Acer C7 Trackpad Hardware Fix/Hack.

Picture of Acer C7 Trackpad Hardware Fix/Hack.
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This is a simple hardware hack that will void your warranty, but does fix the intermittent trackpad issues. The problem with the trackpad appears to be a lack of proper ground between the user and the machine(possibly compounded with static buildup?).  

To check if this is your issue, when the trackpad misbehaves (generally when on battery power) hold your finger on the shiny part of the VGA port, this will ground you to the chassis. While touching the port, if the trackpad now magically works, this is the fix for you, If not, you have other, deeper demons.

To do this, you need a small phillips screwdriver and a small piece of aluminum tape, generally salvageable from old laptops' EM shields. 

Start by unplugging the power cable and removing the battery (use a pen(or srewdriver) to slide the slider lock to remove the battery).

The rest of the instructions are easier with the front of the machine facing you. Puncture the "warranty void if seal is broken" sticker. The phillips screw below the sticker is removed next. Once removed, use the rubber feet to slide the bottom plate off the machine. Remove bottom plate and set aside. This allows access to most of the guts of the machine, including the hard drive and RAM.

Cut down your aluminum tape to an approximately 1"x1/2" section and apply to the bottom on the nose as shown in the images. I terminated the tape right at the top case seam in order to avoid peeling and improve the aesthetics. The tape must reach the top of the rounded section to connect properly connect with the bottom EM shield(the shiny stuff on the inside of the bottom case). Trim the tape to match the top of the round section, and trim out the circle where the case screw lands (see pictures for details). Once this has been properly pressed down and trimmed, perform the disassembly instructions in reverse.

You now have a small contact patch that will ground you to the chassis of the machine, allowing you to kill static by intermittently touching it, or my preferred method of keeping my thumb in constant contact. Goodluck!

If anyone knows how to make the SD card slot work on battery power, please link it in the comments!


jamesfu5 months ago
What htan10 said.

Also, if you're running a recent kernel, check for cyapa module. If present, edit /etc/modules and add lines:
    i2c-i801
    i2c-dev
    chromeos-laptop
    cyapa

That loads the correct Cypress APA drivers on next boot. It's available on 3.11, might also be on 3.10.
htan106 months ago
Software fix here
JDiesel9 months ago
I really appreciate the tutorial and the instructions to diagnose, thanks for that. My new C7 has a very responsive trackpad when in my lap or while touching the VGA port with my left hand, so it's pretty obvious that the ground is the problem.

Is there anywhere else it can be grounded to? The solution of the tape being exposed to the outside bottom edge is not suitable for my road-warrior ways. I am concerned it will peel & come un-tucked with enough movement.

If I'm going to void the warranty trying to fix a factory hardware problem, I'd like the solution to be more durable. Do you have any suggestions for improving the location of the ground as well as using a wire or something else for it? I've donated all my old laptops thus don't have EM shield tape laying around.
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