HP Chromebook 14 G5 Trackpad Failure

I have a fleet of about 200 HP Chromebook 14 G5’s that I manage at my job (among other models of machines) and I’ve been having this common fault with the trackpads where they will stop working or stutter around. I thought it was an interesting problem so I’ve decided to document it a bit more in detail here.

The Problem

After 1-2 years, the machines start to have problems with the trackpad where the mouse will stutter around the screen or stop moving altogether.
It seems to happen in batches, I can go for months with no problems then suddenly 5+ machines end up on my desk needing replacements. I’ve been talking with my HP Tech about this and we believe it’s weather related, either due to static electricity or moisture.
I have seen this problem on some HP430g3 and HP430g4 machines as well, but with a much lower rate.

Frequency

My 200 machines were purchased between 2018 and 2019, I always buy 3 year onsite extended warranty on them, so a good portion of them are now out of warranty.
Of my 200 machines, I’ve had 100 of them fail so far and with a 50% failure rate, I’m expecting that more will die.

The Fix

For all the machines under warranty, I contact HP and usually within a day a tech is on site to replace the trackpad. An interesting thing to note is that the replacement trackpad is very slightly different in that the chip on the board has some black stuff around the chip covering the pins. After a machine has had the trackpad replaced, I’ve never seen the problem again. So I believe HP is aware of the issue and has implemented a fix for the failing part.

 

The old faulty part

The new working part

For the out of warranty machines, there’s not much you can do. I contacted HP and managed to get escalated up to some higher ups who agreed to give me an extra 6 months of warranty (of which I got many of the machines repaired), but that has now expired. So any machines that die now are just going to have to either go to my spare parts pile, or have a mouse connected at all times.

I really do like HP, especially their warranty guys. The local repair guy is an absolute legend and the higher up guys in Australia were really nice to me and negotiated with HP on my behalf.
I am a bit saddened though that any machines (~100 of them) are likely to show the fault out of warranty and be uneconomical to repair, and I was hoping to get 5 years out of these ones (besides the trackpad issue they’ve been really solid machines).

For those curious, the HP Part number for the trackpad is: L14356-001
A quick search on ebay shows the part to be ~$55AUD or so – but you can’t be sure if you’re getting the version 1 with the fault or the fixed version 2.

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