Help needed! Trackpad having problems

I’m on a Librem v2 with Ubuntu 18.04 and I’ve been using it as my main work computer for the past 4 months. So far things have worked quite well, but since an hour or so my mouse is behaving really weird. When I hold my finger still on a single spot on the trackpad, it kind of jitters around:

mouse unstable

This is realy annoying and makes the trackpad virtually unusable. I ran a sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y and rebooted it twice, just to be sure, but the problem remains. Since this is my main work laptop I need this to be fixed asap.

Does anybody know whether this is a hardware- or a software problem? And if it’s the latter; does anybody know how I can solve this? All tips are welcome!

Does anybody know whether this is a

ps. I know I can use a mouse, but I simply prefer the trackpad and since I’m a lot in on and off meetings, carrying a mouse with me is really annoying. And then I’m not even speaking about the remarks I’ll get: “I told you soo, Linux is crap”… :persevere:


Hi kramer65; to chime in as well, I have a similar issue (trackpad sometimes behaves in the erratic manner you describe, other times is more unresponsive), detailed in a thread I posted a while back:

All I’ve been able to find online (non-Librem specific) is that there might be a grounding issue that interacts with some trackpads in certain environments. I don’t know of any way to resolve it, however. (For example, see:

Hopefully we’re able to hear from others that may have a solution; my use for the Librem is similar to yours, moving around a lot, not ideal for lugging around a mouse between meetings, etc…

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I have the exact same issue now. Have my Librem 13 v2 for almost a year now and the trackpad started to act jittery very recently (a few days ago).

I found this thread where the same problem was reported, but cleaning the trackpad solved the issue for that user.

For me, cleaning the trackpad did not solve the issue and it is very difficult to find my trackpad usable right now. I need help on this one, as I don’t want an unusable laptop (I always work with the trackpad).

It seems like a temporary issue. Right now it works normal again…

Sometimes it jitters, sometimes not… I need help

Me too. It seems like it’s not good at tracking small distances, which I notice when I’m trying to click on an icon or close a window.

I fiddled around a bit and noticed that the jittering only starts when my Librem is charging (plugged in) and everything is fine when I use it on battery.

Seems like a strange hardware issue. Can anyone try this (plugged and unplugged)? Is it like this for you too?

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I had a similar issue from the first few days of using my Librem 13 v3.

It happened to me with and without charging, when I used my laptop on a metal/glass table.

I asked Purism support about it and they said it may be due to electrostatic interference considering the case is made from aluminum.

I haven’t noticed it since then, possibly because the position where I placed my laptop may have had something to do with it.

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I got my Librem 13 about a month ago and its been jittering almost all the time and so badly as to make the trackpad basically useless.

I’ve tried permutations of plugged and unplugged, reboots, etc. Once or twice I’ve seen it stop after unplugging the adapter, but most of the time is pretty bad. I have always had it sitting on a wooden table.

There really needs to be some sort of RCA and fix provided. I can’t even let anyone see it as I’ve already been shamed … “You spent $2k for that ?”

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“You spent $2k for that ?”

Exactly the discussion I sometimes have.

For me the issue went away after a couple hours, but I fear for the day it returns. As for me Purism should direct about 80% of their energy towards creating a better trackpad, probably in both hardware and software. It “works”, but it takes a lot of getting used to, and when coming from an Apple trackpad it’s just miles behind.

When I will buy a new laptop (probably in a year or three) I will not buy a Librem again if they don’t significantly improve the trackpad.

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Purchased my Librem 15 in February 2018, and mouse worked fine until this week (November 2018) when the mouse started behaving extremely jittery and essentially unusable, just as described in the original post. Don’t know if it’s a coincidence or not, but when I ran Gnome Tweaks, and selected ‘Keyboard & Mouse’ and selected ‘Acceleration Profile’ and scrolled through the choices (but did not change anything), the mouse magically started acting ok again.

This time when I got the erratic movements, I tried unplugging the power adapter (battery was charging and at 80%) like someone had previously mentioned, and the mouse immediately went back to normal.

I had this issue a while back, and I was able to fix it after searching around for something like “debian jittery trackpad”. I’m pretty sure I had to reinstall or update a driver while maybe changing some configuratin. It was a month or so ago, so I don’t remember exactly how i fixed it. I may have had to change some configuration in synaptics. I wasn’t on the forum at the time, or I wouldn’t have detailed how i fixed it for you.

Hello everyone. Here’s an explanation from our CTO:

The issue in general is a problem with earth and the earth of the environment. There are many really bad switching power supplies out there these days which cause a lot of earth problems. Just very briefly, a switching power supply basically removes the reference ground from the output voltage. Between the GND and the DC pin of the output you will always have the correct voltage (in our case +19V DC) but there may be a substantial voltage (usually AC) between this GND and earth - this can be up to 120V but with almost no power so it is not dangerous, just uncomfortable when touching. Devices which operate with very low charges, like the touchpad, will get totally confused.
So if people e.g. have a cheap LED light on their desk and the desk is slightly conductive this can already cause a voltage difference between the GND of the laptop and the desk resulting in voltage and current flow when touching the touchpad.

Our latest chargers should be good. We used to ship, over a year ago, chargers that had a significant voltage from GND to earth. But we’ve discovered a potential problem, so the current chargers that we ship should be okay.
Apart from that you could / should check your environment for other potential GND-earth problems. If the table has a metal frame I would even suggest earthing the table’s frame. This is a common problem and since we use a metal case (like many others too) the case is connected to DC GND and thus prone to such problems - like any other metal case device too. (Sometimes just standing with your feet on an AC cable can be enough to cause such problems too…)

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I was sent a new battery in March and am still having the same problems (not sure when you started sending the newer batteries that you mention so I don’t know if my newer battery is from the old batch or the new improved batch). In any case, I’ve discovered an easy way to deal with the problem. I use a homemade grounding device for myself and the problem stops (so can verify that it’s an electrical grounding issue). But just wanted to offer an easy workaround that’s easy to implement which is to ground your body.

Having the same issue, hard to believe I paid 2000$ for this crap. Really infuriating, especially considering the lack of feedback from the company other than “sorry it’s because of the aluminium case” Makes me wonder if they have the professionalism and competence to make a proper phone.

I would be curious to know how long ago you ordered, which would provide a clue as to if your unit has the impacted power supply Mladen referenced. Have you reached out to support via email to see about a proper remedy? I know they do not offer replacements, repairs, or anything other than advice via the forums here.

Mladen, can you explain my case? I have correct ground in my house, but i have this trouble with touchpad regardless of AC power only on Glass Table. In wooden table all works perfectly. Also, libinput, which used in Gnome, can filter this oscillations due to the decrease in touchpad response. I use libinput as driver for my X11 desktop.
Also, why my laptop shocks me if i leave it charge without ground?

@scaled, @nicole.faerber and @slobodan.vujnic could explain this much better. :slight_smile:

Edit: the explanation is actually here: Help needed! Trackpad having problems

This explanation about problems with connected Power Supply. But problem exist even i don’t use power supply, but only on glass table. Also, how to protect my laptop if AC socket don’t have proper ground, for example, in trip?