Librem 14: 4-cell vs. 3-cell

I’m wondering whether the 4-cell Librem 14, which has only one M.2 slot, could later make two M.2 slots available by swapping out the 4-cell battery for a 3-cell battery. Or are the motherboards completely different? I’d like to order a Librem 14 now, but battery life is less important to me than total storage and I’d be willing to purchase a 3-cell battery later.

Yes, this is in general possible, once we have these 3-cell batteries, the main board is the same and the EC firmware will recognize the battery and adjust charging appropriately.

BUT we have a bit of a problem we do not have a good solution for yet. With more and more LiIon batteries around and these arguably being a bit dangerous, restrictions on shipping have increased. Right now we can not ship spare batteries by plane :frowning: This is super annoying and we are trying to solve this somehow. (Actually we can ship them but each shipment would get a “security surcharge” of over $100 which makes it practically impossible). We can ship ground though, i.e. within the USA and also to e.g. Canada or to the south this should be possible more easily.

Cheers
nicole

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Wow! That was a quick reply! Thanks.

I put in an order just now. I hope it comes before mid-June. I’m impressed with the specs and the kill switches, especially the write protect switch on the EC/BIOS. I wrote to Todd several years ago asking specifically for that.

I also really like my Librem 13v4. My only tiny criticism of the Librem 13v4 is that the white status LEDs are very bright in the dark, so bright that I have to cover them. It’d be nice if they were less bright, at least in the dark.

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Any ETA on when you’ll be able to get the 3 cell batteries for those who pre-ordered with the 3 cell?

I’m afraid not ETA yet, electronics sourcing is a major PITA right now, nothing’s moving forward, lead times on almost everything are crazy! I just got word that most STM32 microcontrollers will not be available anymore until 2022! Can you believe that!? I don’t want to suggest that it will take that long but right now the market is very unreliable and unpredictable. All I can say is that we are working on it and I think we can only be sure about an ETA once they start shipping from the factory.

Cheers
nicole

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You can change their brightness in Librem 14 yourself: https://puri.sm/posts/librem-14-progress-hardware-development/.

But could you ship on a ship to the other parts of the world?

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Well, not all of them, there aren’t that many PWM output on the EC. We can control the keyboard backlight (a bit limited), the power state LED and the notification LEDs. We can not control brightness of the WiFi/BT LED, the mic/camera LED and the LED next to the camera.

The power state LED brightness right now can not be controlled from userspace. It is at full brightness (which is not super bright) in normal operation and in this dimming / glowing mode while in suspend.

That’s what we are trying to figure out. It’s not easy… and shipping by ship, if possible, would take a very long time, many weeks. Better than nothing, agreed, but not what we would want. We’re working on it!

Cheers
nicole

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I’m delighted that someone at Purism is following up on whether batteries can be shipped by SHIP! I asked about this (in email to Josh Green, who was briefly at Purism as Director of Operations) back in 2015-12.

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Does the tight supply of STM32 microcontrollers affect the Librem 14s that are now being assembled for imminent shipment?

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Not directly since we do not have an STM32 in there. I mentioned the STM32 situation more as an example case:
https://www.digikey.com/en/products/detail/stmicroelectronics/STM32L432KCU3/8257912

This is the STM32 we use in the Librem5 as smart card reader controller - no stock, 32 weeks lead time!

And this:
https://www.digikey.com/en/products/detail/stmicroelectronics/STM32F103TBU6/2529356

This is the STM32 we use in the LibremKey - 0 stock, 52 weeks lead time!

This is totally insane! We still have some stock but I seriously hope this situation gets better and lead times come down a bit (which they sometimes do, most of the time these are estimates). But first we have to assume the worst and that’s why we are very busy getting ahead of the situation searching for stock and buy what we can. But that’s also what many others in the industry are doing right now and that’s why prices are going through the roof! Some parts’ prices already doubled or even tripled. It’s a war out there…

My prediction is that we will see this crisis hitting the consumer electronics soon too, i.e. the goods on the shelves. Products often have long preparation times until they are finally made, packaged and shipped to the stores. That’s a kind of buffer we re still seeing. But soon this stock will be empty and new goods will not come in because of the sourcing situation on the global market. First that will happen, and this is already happening, is that prices for the still existing goods will rise to make up for the rising sourcing prices to make new ones. The next thing to happen is that a growing number of products will simply not be available anymore, shelves will clear out. My current assumption is that this will start to happen this summer and become more and more serious towards the end of this year and will last way into 2022 - it takes time to restock again after the drought. From what we hear especially from Asia this parts drought will last at least until the first quarter of 2022.

So if I should give an advice, start buying what you think you will need within the next 12 months and buy it now.

Cheers
nicole

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I bought a L14 in September 2020. I decided to buy a Librem Key with the L14.
As I need my new laptop soon (my old laptop starts to have some hick-ups, some parts are failing), I would like to ask whether it would speed up delivery if the Librem Key is shipped later (it can wait, as long as I have my laptop, everything is OK).

Yours,

Mirko Adam

PS: As a developer, I understand the huge pressure of deadlines very well, just keep on going!

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Right now the LibremKey is not a problem, we have stock. But given the hick ups in the supply chain this may change later this year. We do our very best to avoid it, but well, sometimes there is nothing you can do except to accept the situation.

Cheers
nicole

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I used to work in fulfillment and can remember li-ion batteries were a lot of bother. As also said in this thread, shipping and road is probably the way to go. Unless selling a spare battery with a dedicated charger unit counts as packed in equipment :slight_smile:

If you already have North America covered for deliveries by road, then a European fulfillment centre is worth considering. I used to use a fast boat from Hong Kong to the UK, 6 weeks, which was a considerable cost saving versus air freight, then road couriers to consumer addresses.

I worked in the UK fulfilment industry. There are many UK fulfilment centres, get one that can manage the complexities of delivery duty paid DDP and you have the UK and EU covered, and possibly the rest of the world. You will need to register for VAT etc, though I think you need to do that anyway depending on value where goods are posted from. The UK has very good delivery rates, so even with Brexit it is worth considering. I always heard good things about this company, https://www.fulfilmentcrowd.com/

Rich

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Just an aside,but related.
One thing people should be aware of is that some time ago, most suppliers,manufacturers and companies realized that with the reliable (up untill now when it isnt) production and shipping meant you could keep low stock and costs of large warehouse space and staff and reduce overproduction by working according to a process or approach most commonly known as “Just in time” meaning, if food supplies stop coming…theres not really much stock since to cut costs…things are calcuated regularly to ship and arrive at the same rate it is being purchased or consumed.

Covid affected and greatly dented this entire process,unfortunately a very large majority of everything operates on this principle.

I encourage anyone curious as to why things are so difficult, not specifically purism but in general and price hikes and why you cant find that thing you could always find it just keeps saying out of stock…

Google something like “Bussiness” or “Trade” + Just in time to get a better description by a business and trade person with a Phd rather than myself, i know what it is in basic terms but i only know really in any detail how it relates as to Civil defense ,disaster management and a defensive war assuming litte or no ressuply,and even then only as to how it applies in my own nation. Which, both the military and the “Total defense agency” have decided that just in time showed how a nation cut off even for a few days can be severely hit and from a defensive perspective and war as a small nation one should assume 0 supplies or goods, beyond some airdrops and smuggling, and be able to sustain society for 12 months across all food,medical,fuel and parts both military and civilian. So that is going to take many years to put back into place and move away from “just in time”.

Wether business,world trade and companies will do so or be able to do so, or have any incentive…as best as i can tell the jury is still out but probobly when things normalize… the profitable choice is to go back to “just in time” with minimal stock and storage costs,or overproduction.

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As a further example, you could look at how one ship blocking one trade canal (the suez) just recently, rippled across markets globally as shipping backed up weeks and weeks, due to one blockage for a short period via 1 shipping route. Because stores,bussinesses and company keep little stock,save alot of money, by operating on the “just in time” principle. This is virtually every civilian and a good deal of military supplies, products,parts, etc and the principle is applied by the local grocery store up to global retailers. Very nearly across the board,all over,for just about everything that is part of local,regional or global trade.

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What is the difference in battery usage time between a 4-cell battery and 3-cell battery? Depending on the difference in battery life between the two options, I might forgo extra storage of having 2 M.2 hard drives instead of just one.

3-cell battery will give you about 25% less time. How much is it depends on operating system and software you use.

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My battery indicator for the 3-cell battery states approximately 9 hours, although I have my brightness at the lowest settings most of the time.