Question chemical smell from keyboard of Dell XPS 13 9360

Apr 22, 2019
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Hi all,

I recently purchased a new Dell XPS 13 9360 (with 8GB LPDDR3 1866MHz and an Intel(R) Core(TM) i7 Processor). When I opened the computer, there was a strong chemical odor coming from the keyboard. (To clarify, this wasn't a burning smell.) The smell didn't dissipate over time, so I contacted Dell technical support to see if they knew about the issue. The representatives I spoke with couldn't help me, and offered to exchange it for a new one. The replacement laptop, though, has the same problem -- a pungent chemical smell coming from the keyboard.

Does anyone on this forum know what could be causing the smell? Is there any possibility this could be something hazardous?

Thank you for considering my question.
 

AllanGH

Reputable
I've actually been noticing this sort of thing when it involves insulated wires and cables that can be traced back to a manufacturing origin in China. At first, it was some of the "sketchier" items that you might order from eBay, or some of the Amazon sellers that take forever to ship--which pretty much implies China as a source.

Lately, though, I'm starting to get a whiff of the same odor from products that have traditionally been manufactured in the USA...so I assume that the domestic pipelines are filling-up with contract Chinese-manufactured goods.

The worst of the smell does fade over time, but I'm talking about 3 years-worth of time for one particularly bad-smelling product to fade into oblivion, nose-wise...and it is definitely the material that is used in wire insulation in this case. It is not the traditional vinyl that we are used to.

In your case, I would hazard a guess that it's coming from the elastometric membrane used in a lot of "silent" keyboards.

Is it hazardous? Geeze! I doubt that anybody can decisively answer that question without a full analysis of some sacrificial something or other; and, even then, I'd guess that the results would be something like "don't chew on whatever it is that smells bad", which I think we already intuitively grasp anyway.

We'll probably see Ralph Nader on TV, some evening, talking about the "horrors" of something that we've already learned to live with, because things like this do take time to address.

Write Dell an actual paper letter, addressed to several departments, and lodge your olfactory offense, and consumer concerns; and sniff test anything that may find its way into the hands of children.

On a positive note, we lived through the "bad capacitor plague of the early-mid 2000's", and we'll probably live through the "smelly plasticy-stuff plague of the late-20-teens".
 
Apr 22, 2019
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Thank you, Allan! Your response is really helpful, and much appreciated!


QUOTE="AllanGH, post: 20991992, member: 2728033"]
I've actually been noticing this sort of thing when it involves insulated wires and cables that can be traced back to a manufacturing origin in China. At first, it was some of the "sketchier" items that you might order from eBay, or some of the Amazon sellers that take forever to ship--which pretty much implies China as a source.

Lately, though, I'm starting to get a whiff of the same odor from products that have traditionally been manufactured in the USA...so I assume that the domestic pipelines are filling-up with contract Chinese-manufactured goods.

The worst of the smell does fade over time, but I'm talking about 3 years-worth of time for one particularly bad-smelling product to fade into oblivion, nose-wise...and it is definitely the material that is used in wire insulation in this case. It is not the traditional vinyl that we are used to.

In your case, I would hazard a guess that it's coming from the elastometric membrane used in a lot of "silent" keyboards.

Is it hazardous? Geeze! I doubt that anybody can decisively answer that question without a full analysis of some sacrificial something or other; and, even then, I'd guess that the results would be something like "don't chew on whatever it is that smells bad", which I think we already intuitively grasp anyway.

We'll probably see Ralph Nader on TV, some evening, talking about the "horrors" of something that we've already learned to live with, because things like this do take time to address.

Write Dell an actual paper letter, addressed to several departments, and lodge your olfactory offense, and consumer concerns; and sniff test anything that may find its way into the hands of children.

On a positive note, we lived through the "bad capacitor plague of the early-mid 2000's", and we'll probably live through the "smelly plasticy-stuff plague of the late-20-teens".
[/QUOTE]
 

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