Librem 14 ethernet port seems to de-spring-ify the locking/latching tab of any cable plugged into it for a long time

dear librem 14 lovers/haters/designers/users/etc.,

the librem 14 ethernet port has a cover that seems to have a spring that holds it closed when no cable is plugged into the port. this cover also seems to press on the locking/latching tab of any cable that is plugged into the port. that is, the port cover does not lock in the open position but is always trying to return to the closed position. my experience seems to indicate that this continual pressure on the cable plug tabs is damaging these tabs over the long term. i get the impression that this de-spring-ifies the tabs. after a while, the tabs no longer correctly lock/latch to hold the cable in place.

does anyone else here also have this experience?

it is not nice that the ethernet cable starts falling out. it is also not nice to need to periodically replace the ethernet cable.

does anyone have a solution for this?

i am aware that there are clips that can be put on a cable where the tab has broken off to replace the tab, e.g.:

unfortunately, this seems to require breaking the tab off of the cable before putting the clip on. this is not nice to have to do. nonetheless, has anyone tried this? does it solve the problem?

long live libre software and hardware!

by the way, this issue could have been avoided if the librem 14’s ethernet port placed the locking/latching tab on top instead of on the bottom. not sure how hard this would be wiring-wise. i know that both kinds of sockets can be found for sale.

Sounds like the sort of thing that you should be telling Purism about: (in addition to seeking feedback as to whether any other customers have this problem / have a solution)

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I’ve never had a device whose RJ45 port had a cover, but I have had many cables whose tab latches have worn out over time. It always happens sooner than seems reasonable. What is really annoying when that happens is that the connection becomes unreliable just sitting there and there is no spare cable to be found and the cable needs to be “long” and cable couplers turn out to be bad out of the box.

Thanks for the feedback @Joe .

Is it possible that the cables’ tabs aren’t popping up to the “relaxed” position in the jack? I have not seen that on L14 but I’ve had a few devices that could do this, such as if the cable was not quite inserted fully, or there was debris in the port, etc. That might stress the tabs more, but I’m guessing you have probably checked that.

The spring-loaded cover does try to close on its own with the spring, but when held open by the plug, that should press mostly on the body of the plug, not the tab. At least, that’s what I’m seeing on the device and cable I’m looking at.

For what it’s worth, I use my L14s on Ethernet a lot with the same couple of cables, and I haven’t had any problems with their tabs, at least so far.


I was going to suggest that some photos would be helpful.


the main purpose of my post was to find out if anyone else thought they were experiencing this problem. i am not confident in my diagnosis (which is why i used “seems to” in so many places in my first message in this topic). i have noticed for every cable i use with the librem 14 after a time the latch tab no longer pops up. but the sample size is small, and might just indicate bad cable latch tabs. they are, after all, cheap pieces of plastic.

does anyone else here think this problem might be caused by the way the librem 14 port cover is always trying to close?

it is definitely the case after the cable latch tab is de-spring-ified that the tab no longer pops up and there is no longer the correct loud clicking sound when inserting the cable. but that seems to happen after the latch tab is damaged.

i have more to add but i’ve just run out of time. i’ll try to add some more tomorrow or next weekend.

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this makes me wonder if the design/implementation of the librem 14 ethernet port changed at some point. i looked at how the cable fits into the port on my librem 14 carefully after reading your message. as far as i can tell, the port cover is solidly fused to the part of the port that latches against the cable latch tab. they open and close as one unit. also, the edge of the cover presses in the middle of the long “handle” part of the latch tab. this seems to me likely to be capable of de-springify-ing the tab when used for long periods.

once again, i run out of time and i will continue responding next weekend.

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