The USB-C “convergence device,” as Pine64 markets that shipped with community editions of the PinePhone, and is available for separate purchase, is a nice idea1. However, in my practice, it leaves something to be desired.

My main gripe has been that the build quality, or perhaps quality control itself, isn’t quite what I’d hope. Primarily, the jacket on the cable seems to slip through the opening with nothing to retain it, and I’m afraid this will lead to an early failure. At first glance the device seems not designed to be user-servicable or otherwise non-destructively opened. A second glance indicates the ethernet end of the business is obviously how it was assembled, but simply pulling and prying lead nowhere.

I reached out to the community who also expressed interest in peeking inside, and similarly not knowing how, I decided the risk/reward trade-off was worth a potentially non-functional device, given that it’d likely fail anyway if the cable concern wasn’t addressed. As well, something inside was rattling and that the connector ports weren’t aligned with the shell has always tripped my OCD trigger.

After getting handsy and going a tad bit ape and unafraid to be destructive, I managed to expose the goods. Here’s a third glance, and some shots of the device laid bared, nekked!

I managed to open the device by prying up slightly inside the RJ45 jack and its plastic housing with a small flat-head screw driver. Unfortunately, I am now down a maraca as I intend to resolder the loose diode that was clearly cold-jointed at the factory and broken loose during transit/use.

under the covers

The community has updated me with these references and details, which I have not verified at all.