Hello, I don’t think of myself as that much of a clumsy person, but almost every usb c powered laptop I’ve had eventually breaks due to falls because the usb c ports aren’t that robust. That’s fine (and probably expected) but being mindful of that, I’m curious how robust the expansion ports and cards are to falls. I can imagine a usb expansion card’s port breaking and then being easily replaceable which is great and kind of fitting the whole spirit of this device, but how robust are the expansion cards themselves? Do they fit snuggly? How easily do they fall out of their slot? Are they robust to being pushed/pulled perpendicularly to the motherboard (due to falls when a cable is connected to the card)?
Fixing trashed usb c ports especially when they are through-hole type is a pain, I ended up pulling up traces off the motherboard of an hp laptop when pulling it off. SMT-type is slightly easier, although desoldering ports in general is tedious of course. I’m wondering how robust the card slots themselves are here so may be I could of course avoid this issue, and when a usb cable gets trashed eventually as entropy takes hold I can just replace the expansion card.
Overall they seem pretty solid. I’ve opened mine and basically it rests on a platform that is firmly set into place with two additional screws holding it down, so they don’t wiggle or anything inside the expansion card enclosure.
The enclosure itself has an aluminum shell around the exterior areas which could theoretically bend, but you’d have to try to make it happen.
If you were to operate the computer with the power cable dangling on an edge and suddenly came down hard on it, the construction is such that it might damage the port, but the rails that hold it to the motherboard are such that I don’t think it would damage it and, worst case, you know you’d be $12 (CAD) away from replacing the part, and getting to a point where you rip out traces would take a lot of extra effort.
In Louis Rossman’s teardown video he comments that the internal USB ports are soldered to the motherboard when he would prefer they were ribbon cabled, so stress on the port does not break the motherboard connection. He suspected that the USB-C expansion card served that purpose, and Framework confirmed that in a comment. First look: Framework laptop review from Right to Repair supporting manufacturer - YouTube
The modules are very snug. Agreed, even if the outer port took a hit I can’t imagine the inner port would suffer damage. $9 and some shipping to change the module in 10 seconds! Meanwhile I have another perfectly good one on the other side and they ALL charge (unlike my Yoga which had USB-C on either side, but only the left charged and that was a nutty choice they made)
Heck IMO they are cheap enough to buy a spare even if you only intend to use one.
@Vectorspace I saw that too (Rossman) and yeah he ended up pretty OK with it