Librem Mini , USB issues behind hub


I’m a new owner of a Librem Mini but am having much trouble using a USB hub. I understand this is not for customer support, but I’m using this discussion to gather insight into the architecture of the Librem Mini to diagnose the behavior.

Note, the foregoing has been repeated on both Debian Live and PureOS Live.

The Problem: I’ve attached a 4-port USB 3.0 hub (Sabrent brand, if you’re curious) to my Mini. However, all devices connected via the hub fail to either register (as being assigned in ‘lsusb’) or, if they do, function improperly. The exception is block storage devices which sometimes work properly, however, I often (~50%+ of time) encounter I/O errors in ‘dmesg’. As a notable example, I’ve never been able to mount a LUKS device via the hub on the Mini. Also, when copying files, I may receive a “no space left on drive” message in terminal, which is certainly not the case, and then the block storage device disappears from the list in ‘lsusb’ and/or ‘/dev’.

As another concrete example, I have never gotten my NitroKey to properly access using the USB hub. After running ‘dmesg’ after a simple ‘gpg --card-status’ command, I get:

from ‘demsg’
[ 342.311993] usbip-host 2-10.1:
[ 342.313418] usbip-host 2-10.1: urb completion with non-zero status -71
[ 345.566679] usbip-host 2-10.1: recv a header, 0
[ 346.411975] usb 2-10-port1: Cannot enable. Maybe the USB cable is bad?
[ 347.259886] usb 2-10-port1: Cannot enable. Maybe the USB cable is bad?
[ 348.108001] usb 2-10-port1: Cannot enable. Maybe the USB cable is bad?
[ 348.956017] usb 2-10-port1: Cannot enable. Maybe the USB cable is bad?
[ 348.957486] usbip-host 2-10.1: device reset
[ 348.960416] usbip-host 2-10.1: USB disconnect, device number 18
[ 349.527683] kauditd_printk_skb: 61 callbacks suppressed

Just to note, all devices work (mostly; see below) properly when plugged directly in to the Mini, but not when via the USB hub. Also, note, I have 3x identical USB hubs (all Sabrent), 2x of which have never been used at all, and I can confirm identical behavior with all 3x hubs.

Additionally, and perhaps most bothersome, built in USB ports directly on the Mini are handling some devices sub-optimally:

  • Some keyboards are intermittent or only operate in a sticky-key fashion (a key creates an infinite key loop that must be disconnected physically). This consistently happens with a USB Apple keyboard I have; but who know as its an Apple product (even though it works fine on my x230)? Contrarily, I don’t seem to have issues with my cheap Inland, bargain basket keyboard. So at least I can type this message to you guys.

  • My USB headphone’s create crackles/pops regularly, where as they do not do this when using my x230. Again, I’ve checked using the same Live OS, being Debian and PureOS.

The Question: Could it be anything with either the Comet Lake PCH-LP USB xHCI host controller that is not virtualization properly, or could it be the device driver that both Debian and PureOS are using to handle the controller?

Any ideas or tests would be welcomed. As a first, I’m going to try to pick up a different USB hub to try and see if I can isolate to the brand I’m currently using. Any other ideas?

Thank you all!

I sometimes see this message in the system log. NB: Completely different hardware and different distro.

As far as I can tell, the troublesome USB device is a USB 2.0 hub. Despite the similar unhappy messages that I get in the system log, the hub does seem to work (but it is only one of several hubs and that particular hub does not get a lot of use).

One obvious question is:

Latest? Wouldn’t want to be chasing down a bug that is already fixed.