A Humble Librem 5 Daily User Review

I have not decided yet on which to buy and I would always prefer to try to avoid made in PRC if this would be possible.

Than just wait until old stock (mostly non-compliant hubs) within the country where you live in is sold away. But what is about to be imported (as needed/compliant), I do not know that.

I don’t understand why do you recommend the AENZR if in your tests it delivers only about 1,5A at 5V to Librem 5?
Shouldn’t we look for docking stations that deliver 5V 3A?

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Btw. I spotted this docking station as a potential choice as it seem to be suitable as it covers the USB4 standard.
But I have not ordered it yet as I am short on cash now:

It seems that it is hopeless to look for a good docking station made outside of PRC. :frowning:

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IMO, some of docking stations presented on this Forum do not deliver more than 5V/0.9A (as we are talking about Librem 5 only here, about 5 volt to be precise, not about PD2.0 in general, not even about PD3.0 with or without PPS, neither about PD3.1 range). It is about pass-through voltage and amperage that Librem 5 is getting from the dedicated USB-C male cable/connector, host related one on any used docking station. AENZR AZ2406 by itself consumes very little power and the shown value of 4.71V/1.37 charging Librem 5 comes from the compliant SoftBank PD2.0 5.00V power supply, therefore way under 5V (and I do not use those that provide 5.20V at all, not even for indirect charging of the Librem 5 as some PD power supplies do provide within nominated 5V specification). Do you want me to post picture with the 20V/3A (60W) PD2.0 power supply entering AENZR AZ2406 (although I do not have Librem 5 with completely empty battery at this moment, need to check, perhaps)? Just because I do not have much time to show everything.

USB4® sound much better than USB3.0 and it is for certain direction that we need to look forward. With my hope, at least, that you’ve noted that AENZR AZ2406 uses “VL103 - DP Alt-mode & PD 3.0 Controller with Auto Standby”. Let me know if you find another one with this controler mentioned on this Forum, please? VL102 is mentioned here:

Satechi Startech is premium … I’ll take a look at this here linked product, but please do not buy it on Amazon.

I’ll know more about this one soon: https://www.dicota.com/de/usb-c-portable-docking-4-in-1-with-hdmi.html (Gegründet in Deutschland 1992). Please wait for my signal until next few days.

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Why not?

And regarding the used controller, it is not particularly transparent most of the time. One would need to search for full specification of every particular product with no guarantees to find the info.
And I don’t know which controllers are better. So if I find a device having a controller different than the VL103, how would I know if it is better or worse than VL103?

One could go crazy with this topic.

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I wanted to get docking station with the VL103 from VIA Labs, Inc., searching for this particular controller for many months and therefore wanted to share what I finally got in my hands (docking station that works smoothly with the Librem 5, up to my very best expectations, even without USB4® certification).

EDIT: I bought it from AliExpress JQrain Store, with VAT (that goes directly into the German budget) included and payed.

Looks very nice on stats and price. Looking forward for the additional info.
German company does not mean designed in Germany and designed in Germany does not mean made in Germany. At this price tag it will be with 99% chance made in PRC.
But at long as there is no choice on the market and no transparency, I suppose with have to eat the lemons.

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Take this as your (our) current advantage :grin:. And for example, StarTech.com Ltd. do not hide anything, it is as easy as to open particular product “Technical Specifications” tab/link, yet sometimes very, very tempting. Also, DIGITUS® and i-tec Technologies s.r.o. are not telling much about its products, but sometimes info provided from them about certain product just suffice.

I have another stupid question on the topic with charging and docking stations.
We have:

  1. Librem 5 expecting 5V 3A
  2. Docking Station that itself consumes power (for example also 15 W).
  3. Power supply going to the docking station.

If I use the original Librem 5 power supply to power the docking station, the docking station might itself eat most of the power and so the L5 is not going to get the 5V 3A.

If I use another power supply for the docking station, should I look for power supplies 5V 6A? Or what will happen if the power supply delivers higher voltage to the docking station than 5V? Is the docking station able to transform it to the 5V that Librem 5 requires?

As an example:
I have a Lenovo power supply:
5V 2A
9V 2A
15V 3A
20V 3,25A

What will happen if I use it to power the docking station?

Will this result in the docking station negotiating 5V 2A to satisfy the L5 voltage leading to getting just 10W? Instead of the 30W which would be required for L5 plus the docking station?
Or will the docking station negotiate higher voltage and then transform so that it feeds L5 with 5V 3A?

If both are possible, how to understand what is the docking station going to do?

This will be negotiated with the Librem 5 as part of the USB-C PD. The dock should either deliver the right voltage or none at all.

The right incantations (q.v.) on the Librem 5 will tell you what the negotiations produced. Or you can insert a USB-C power meter between the dock and the Librem 5.

That might be an unusual amount of power (depending on the exact specs of the docking station and what is connected to it) but …

if the docking station itself needs all, or almost all, of the power that the power supply can supply then you wouldn’t do this!

The Librem 5 doesn’t need 15W but with the supplied 18W power supply and under the assumption that the dock takes 15W and under the assumption that it worked at all, that leaves just 600mA (@‍5V) for the Librem 5, which should be enough for light running but not much else, depending on whether the Librem 5 display is on or off.

Aside: My understanding is that this is a temporary restriction (which is not to say that it will definitely change in the future).

I didn’t understand.
Let us take my example.
The power supply can deliver
5V 2A
20V 3,25A

What would Librem 5 get?
5V 2A minus the consumption of the docking station?
Or 5V 3A (with the docking station getting higher voltage and transforming it)?

I don’t think there is any way to answer your question because it depends on the individual dock. I would expect a decent dock to choose the latter option. The only way to know for sure is, on the Librem 5 side, issue the appropriate shell command(s), or, for either USB-C connection, use a USB-C power meter.

Note that the Librem 5 will not typically get 3A because it won’t typically ask for that much or draw that much - but let’s take that as what the potential exists to deliver in the second scenario.

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The maximum amount that can be charged into the L5’s battery is 5 volts and 1.6 amps (8 watts), but in my charging tests, I found that the L5 could use a varying amount of power in addition to that to operate itself. Unlike most phones, the L5 can operate directly from the power it receives from the USB-C port, so it doesn’t need a battery if it is plugged in.

I did some charging tests with the L5USA and a USB power meter last year, which might interest you:


Thank you @amosbatto and @irvinewade

Btw. I am not sure that it is clear, that I am not meaning charging only, but also the total current that Librem 5 consumes. So this means running the device plus charging the battery.

So what I get until now is the following:
Librem 5 only accepts 5V at the moment.
There is evidence that Librem 5 consumes over 5V 2A.
There are statements (official?) that the battery can be charged at up to 5V 1,6A.
This would mean that everything that would be above would go for running the phone and as the phone needs different amount of power depending on the load this would explain the fluctuations up to 5V 2,5A

Now what I still don’t get is the following:
Librem 5 will negotiate with the docking station 5V.
Does this means that the docking station will have to negotiate 5V with the power supply as well or could the input and output voltages of the docking station be different?
Irvinewade writes that it will depend on the docking station itself but I have not found any evidence on the internet that the case exists in which the negotiated voltage for the input and output will be different. I don’t know also how do people interpret the “Pass Through” charging.

This question is very important for understanding because if the docking station does need to negotiate 5V with the power supply than a power supply like the 5V 2A / 20V 3,25V I have, would be total crap for convergence mode. The original power supply 5V 3A would also be insufficient for a great convergence experience. So one has to not only look for a proper docking station, but also for a proper power supply capable of something like 5V 5A or 5V 6A.

The world would have been too easy if there was an original Librem 5 docking station with power supply :smiley: Now I understand why many computer brands are able to sell docking stations for several hundred USD. :smiley:

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So if you have the Lenovo power supply and you have a docking station, why not just connect it up and ask the Librem 5 what it is getting? With the supplied charger, the Librem 5 reports PD negotiation of 5V 3A max.


So I should run
sudo cat /sys/class/power_supply/max170xx_battery/uevent

My notes say
cat /sys/class/power_supply/tps6598x-source-psy-0-003f/uevent