Using USB-C hub with Librem 5 Evergreen


I got the USB-C hub offered by Purism, to go with the Librem 5 Evergreen. When I plug it in (out of the box), the HDMI port works for the phone. The display is extended or mirrored as directed. Charging through the hub also works fine.

However, plugging in HID devices doesn’t work. Mouse? Not powered up. Keyboard? Not powered up. Also, the ethernet port powers up and handshakes with the switch, but the phone indicates that the “cable” is disconnected. So I can’t get any internet service through that cable.

Any idea why these aren’t working? Do I need to do any additional setup? Do I need specific HID devices? Any other thoughts?

Do you have the dock powered at the time?

You are talking about the Hoyoki hub (dock), right?

Dare I ask whether you have tested the SD card reader that is built in to the dock?

Do you have the dock powered at the time?

Yes, it is powered, by way of the Librem 5’s power supply. I was trusting the Purism folks planned on that happening.

You are talking about the Hoyoki hub (dock), right?

Yes, that is the brand on it

Dare I ask whether you have tested the SD card reader that is built in to the dock?

I have not. The way you suggest that implies I probably should. Are these known issues with this setup? If so, is this related to the hub, or the Librem?

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I don’t think so. I don’t specifically recall something similar reported in this forum.

Nope, SD card doesn’t seem to work either. So data can flow out from the L5E, but not in? Is that a permissions/security thing?

I think your next step would be to use the lsusb command to see whether plugging things in to the dock causes anything to change i.e. starting with dock connected to power only, do lsusb on the Librem 5, then connect dock to Librem 5, and do lsusb again. Then plug in a keyboard on dock, and do lsusb again.

4 devices when disconnected.

6 devices when connected to hub, regardless of what I plug into it. I tried adding a keyboard, mouse, SD card, and HDMI monitor. No change in what shows connected, regardless of quantity and variation.

You would need to show us the two extra lines of output i.e. the USB details of the two extra devices that do appear.

At a certain point, you might start to think that the hub is faulty, in which case you should be seeking support from Purism.

What happens if you (temporarily) uninstall the usbguard package?

sudo apt remove usbguard

The package came installed by default on my L5.

Here are the two additional entries from the hub:

Bus 004 Device 001: ID 1d6b:003 Linux Foundation 3.0 root hub
Bus 003 Device 001: ID 1d6b:002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub

No other entries for bus 3 or 4.

I have tested using 2x Hoyoki CB-C71 hubs with 2x desktop environments (home and office). It appears to me that certain peripherals do not work when plugged in through the Hoyoki CB-C71. I have not tested the devices below with a simple USBA-USBC adapter to see if they are natively supported.

Working consistently

  • HDMI (1080p @ 60.00Hz in both cases)
  • Peripherals
    • Dell KB216p wired keyboard
    • Logitech MX518 wired mouse
    • Memzuoix WM-697 wireless mouse (RF)

Working sometimes

  • Ethernet detected once in gnome-control-center
    • Appeared as a 1000Mbps “USB Ethernet” device
    • “Wired Ethernet” showed Ethernet as “Cable unplugged” but this is because the Librem 5 uses Ethernet over USB and does not have a dedicated RJ-45 port

Not working

  • Cooler Master Storm wired keyboard

For any USB device that doesn’t work via the hub, that would be the test: does it work at all? i.e. without the hub

It can be that you would need a later kernel version in order to recognise some particular USB devices.