Librem 13v3 hinge failure, parts availability, and a lost customer

My super sturdy hinge has failed, which is disappointing in itself, however I have now been waiting 2 weeks now for a simple email to let me know if a repair facility has parts to fix it. Furthermore, I’ll have to pay to ship it to the facility, pay for evaluation, decide to pay for a repair and wait an unknown amount of time to have it returned (will I have to pay for a return shipment as well?). I’m fed up. This machine was purchased in May of 2018 and I’ve babied it. The rubber feet falling off felt like a reasonable, easily fixable problem to deal with, but the one hardware feature marked as being “super sturdy” has been showing up time and again on the forums falling to pieces.

I bought a Librem 13v3. I bought a Librem 5. I believed in Purism. I will not be supporting this company in the future.

EDIT: I confused the order dates of my L5 and L13, this machine is ~3 years old

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Did the hinge fail, or was it like others that I’ve seen posted where the plastic mount point on the chassis failed?

I don’t begrudge your frustration and based on the limited information I’ve seen on the forums, I would suggest checking your spam folder for a reply from purism (I’ve seen their messages end up there).

I also would not expect that there are spare parts to make the repair with; it seems to me that, generally speaking, the older a product gets the more likely purism is to replace it with a refurb of the new model (assuming it’s under warranty) as they do not appear to stock most parts for very long.

If the plastic is what failed you may be able to print a replacement part.

Hopefully purism gets back to you soon and hopefully there is an amicable solution for you.

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It’s a different failure point than other’s that I’ve seen. It appears that the hinge is failing on the screen side of the clamshell, not the case.

I’ve been in touch with @mladen directly, and have been told “don’t call us, we’ll call you”. Honestly, it’s ridiculous to call 3 year old machine “old”. Just like it’s ridiculous to have a machine that age fall to pieces from normal use.

EDIT: updated the age of this machine in accordance with my post above

This is a real problem that should be adress in the Librem 14 advertisment. Should we expect the same problem? Or should we expect something that will get better with age?

Given that I purchased the 3rd revision of a previous design… :man_shrugging:

Clearly I’m salty because mine failed, but this problem hasn’t been directly addressed in any wide public manner that I’ve seen. Purism has also left the hinge marketing piece up on their site for the L13, which seems pretty brazen.

The L14 doesn’t have anything differentiating it from a Lenovo machine with the HAP bit flipped + HKS. At least the ME code was actually neutered for the L13. I’d almost call it vaporware at this point.

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It’s hard for me to tell from that picture, but I suspect that the hinge is fine but rather the anchor point for the hinge on the display side has broken. I think the hinge is moving inside the plastic instead of moving with the plastic.

And yeah, part of repairability is access to parts… I’ve nit seen Purism say that the previous version or two is “old” and would be disappointed if that was the language used with you.

I have seen past posts of people commenting on being offered newer versions of laptops because of lack of parts to repair their laptop. It’s possible the “we’ll call you” style response is a result of there not being anything they can do at the moment and they’re waiting until they have an alternative solution to propose.

I think this is one of those “technically correct” things. The hinge is so robust the plastic around it breaks not the hinge itself.

You haven’t provided the clear photo of the malfunction yet. Based on what you have provided, we concluded that the bottom case is damaged, and sadly we do not have that part available. If the screen is in question, we might have the part available, sooner. Please continue support thread via email (instead of complaining on forums).


First, I’m sorry to hear about your issue.

It may be unrelated to the issue you saw, but I almost had a hinge fail on one of my Librem laptops because over the course of a couple of years the screws holding it in place on the underside worked their way loose (even with locktite) as there is a force on those screws in particular when you open and close the laptop. Eventually the screws got loose enough that the screen and hinge flexed more than usual and put strain on a different part of the case. I know it would have failed eventually had I not tightened the screws.

I could feel the difference and strain and flipped over the laptop and tightened the screws and it was fine after that, but it did leave me wondering how many people who have run into issues with the hinge had a similar issue to mine.

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  1. So the cracked plastic on the hinge, misalignment of the case, and separation of the screen from the hinge don’t indicate a problem? I’ve already offered to ship the machine to your facility for evaluation and was told not to. It’s not my job as a consumer to do your hardware evaluation for you. I’m not an expert, and I’d rather not damage the machine further attempting to disassemble the screen. Is this response what a consumer can expect from customer service?

  2. I refuse to apologize for publicizing a build quality issue on your forum. Your glitzy marketing calls out the quality of this part, but here’s a quick forum search of “librem 13 hinge”:

50+ results, many citing hardware failure.

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This particular problem is not related to the screws anchoring the screen hinge to the motherboard side of the case. I have checked those screws as instructed by Mladen, and they were not the source of failure. My issue appears to be related to the display-side of the clamshell, which appears to be glued together along with the display chassis.

rjrjr, you might want to edit or remove the picture sharing your proton mail address with the internet here.


Which is, by the latest info you provided here in forums, not related to the issue you have.

Good call; edited.

Alright, what should I call this defect? It’s related to the opening and closing of the laptop. Parts are cracking. It doesn’t seem crazy to call it a “hinge” problem. I’m surprised it has to get this pedantic. I paid $1400 for this piece of hardware, I think it’s worth calling out this problem.

So, beyond the subtleties, there seems to be a problem (50 posts) regarding “opening and closing” the laptop. which is of utmost importance. Has this been addressed with librem 14?

When replying to a post you can click the reply icon and select reply as linked topic. The librem 14 is a separate item and while both 13 and 14 have hinges this should probably be its own thread.

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Well, probably. Still, I would consider the absence of answer for my concern in this post as an answer.

If you shipped it to them for diagnostics and were told they don’t have replacement parts and won’t for X weeks/months would you be happier than if you were to wait until they had the replacement parts available?

This reads as if there is no ETA on either potential part so you may be without the laptop for an indefinite period of time, or paying to ship back and forth multiple times.

I do think support could have articulated more clearly that they don’t have either potential replacement part in stock and that they wouldn’t for X amount of time and that is the reason they don’t want you to send in the laptop for diagnosis and then for them to hold it until parts arrive; after all, if you leave the screen open you can continue to use it in the current state.

You don’t have to apologize, and don’t have to take unsolicited advice; but there is something to be said for being combative with the person you’re asking for help not often ending in the best results for you. I’d consider stepping away for a bit before re-engaging. Your frustrations are valid, but the approach may not get the desired results.

I do think this could be worded in a different way that would hopefully deescalate a bit. Not to say this escalates just that there is already frustration being vented and this seems like a good point to attempt to inject some de-escalation.

@rjrjr believe the primary reason for what mladen said here is that the forums are a community forum with minimal purism staff involvement so while they may see something and respond here it may not be super timely and is generally not official support. I don’t think the intent is to silence dissent but rather to make sure you’re getting the proper support. After all there are plenty of threads expressing frustrations on here.

You say pedantic others might say precise. Precision in troubleshooting allows for solving the problem instead of fixing something that isn’t broken and not solving the problem.

Yes you have a problem related to the hinge in that it affects opening and closing, but if it’s different to other hinge issues it’s important that it be addressed differently or it likely won’t get fixed.


I agree that discourse is a skill most can do better at. But expecting the customer to fil in gaps left by the customer service on that front is kind of silly.

I mean this might be a difference in cultures. The US is big on customer service. I’ve found that in Europe, particularly Germany, customer service is practically non-existent. (people often act put out that you want to buy something at a store, for example, like you are inconviencing them because you want to spend money in their store.) So it might also just be a difference in cultures.

Personally I think the support staff really should be using some kind of que system and task tracking. I have no problem with emails taking a while to get responded to, but do not enjoy the feeling that if I don’t bump support every once in a while I’m never going to get a response.

Furthermore, threads like this provide a bit of transparency that could be taken advantage of in addressing what some customers are experiencing.