Help With My Think Pinguin Wireless USB Adapter

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Theseus

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Joined: 11/22/2013

I purchased a Think Pinguin Wireless USB Adapter (TPE-N150USB) sometime ago. I then re-installed Trisquel with an updated iso image (6.0.1).

This got me up and running online. However, after several months, I restarted Trisquel and it was no longer able to connect to a wireless network.

I'm not sure if this is because of a software setting or if my USB adapter kicked the can.

Is there a way to test and see if the adapter is out of commission? Or might there be a quick software fix?

Also note, I stepped away from Trisquel for several months because I found it easier to transition to FOSS with my applications first. I have since switched my primary applications: word processor (Nisus Writer and MS Word to LibreOffice) and spreadsheet (Excel to LibreOffice). I'm also in the midst of switching from Dreamweaver to Bluefish and have my eyes on GIMP, Inkscape, and Scribus. Little by little. I intend to write a more detailed report down the road.

Theseus

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Joined: 11/22/2013

Oh man, embarrassing, I just realized that I fell victim to OSX auto correct...followed by a copy and past. Could a moderator please correct the name of the adapter so that it reflects the swimming bird and not the prickly plant?

mYself
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Joined: 01/18/2012

I cannot guarantee to make the adapter working again, since the problem can be virtually anywhere, but I can try at least. Please put here the output of the following commands:

md5sum /lib/firmware/htc_*.fw
uname -r
lsusb -d 0cf3:9271
Theseus

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Joined: 11/22/2013

OK. I will get to this later today, if not early tomorrow. Thank you!

sebelius
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Joined: 08/22/2013

Also try:

$ ls /lib/firmware | grep htc_.*

The output should include: htc_7010.fw htc_9271.fw

Just in case somehow the wireless adapter firmware is removed for some reason.

Legimet
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Joined: 12/10/2013

Simpler:

$ ls /lib/firmware/htc_.*

Magic Banana

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Joined: 07/24/2010

The dot is supernumerary:
$ ls /lib/firmware/htc_*

Theseus

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Joined: 11/22/2013

OK. Here are the results.

mYself

~$ md5sum /lib/firmware/htc_*.fw
9158b6bde3e458cb027028eaac776bad  /lib/firmware/htc_7010.fw
d0e6c63ca68b89f8c874bbff3ebde09a  /lib/firmware/htc_9271.fw
~$ uname -r
3.2.0-57-generic
~$ lsusb -d 0cf3:9271
(no output)

sebelius

ls /lib/firmware | grep htc_.*
htc_7010.fw
htc_9271.fw

Legimet

$ ls /lib/firmware/htc_.*
cannot access /lib/firmware/htc_.*: No such file or directory

It looks like I may have the firmware. However, because there was no output for "lsusb -d 0cf3:9271"—does this narrow it down to an issue with the USB hardware?

Theseus

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Joined: 11/22/2013

Also, I haven't gotten over my spelling mishap.

mYself
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Joined: 01/18/2012

From the given output I can tell that the adapter is either not connected, or the system is unable to detect it. Everything other seems to be just fine. Is the wifi adapter plugged in?

Theseus

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Yes, I tried both USB ports and had the same results. I just did it again for good measure. I even tried blowing in it, like I used to with my old Colecovision game cartridges. Still, no luck.

The wi-fi was going in and out several months ago. Perhaps, during inactivity, what ever was going wrong in the device finally fulfilled its debauchery.

mYself
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Joined: 01/18/2012

First we need the operating system to be able to detect the adapter. For this, plug-in the adapter, wait a second-two, then run this command from Terminal:

lsusb -d 0cf3:9271

If the output is empty, try another USB connector, then repeat this process until you will get some output. If there will not be any, we will try something else.

P.S.: It's necessary to directly connect the adapter into the USB connector or it may not work.

Morsing
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Joined: 03/28/2014

I have the same wifi-dongle, after a few months of use it started to start randomly disconnecting, until it suddenly completely died. I think they have some issues?

mYself
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Joined: 01/18/2012

You're not alone, I got periodically disconnected multiple times a day through more than nine months of use, then bought and replaced the internal wireless card and now my wireless connection is finally perfect. Not a single issue during the last three months of use.

If you bought the WiFi adapter from ThinkPenguin then I recommend you to ask for a free replacement or a refund. If you ask me, this is definitely something you can do considering the premium price of this device.

axgb
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Joined: 09/22/2013

To be honest, I think that ThinkPinguin products aren't great.

You could not get replacement parts for their latops (like batteries). (Obviously you can get generic parts like ram and hdd)
Their other stuff is just junk - particuarly the generic items like "penguin" mice, that are just a basic one, but cost as much as a luxuary one, and keyboards, and similar . Either ThinkPinguin is ripping Free software users off, or ThinkPinguin's supplier is ripping them off. (the latter more likely)

Legimet
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Joined: 12/10/2013

If you want another adapter, I recommend the TL-WN722N version 1. I've had it for 3 months, no problems yet. (The ThinkPenguin one was too expensive, so I did some research and decided to get this one for 15 USD)

Chris

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This is not true. I do not know why people are making false claims like this.

First, the adapters do work fine, as I've been using one personally for a long time without issue, and so have thousands of other customers now. We also have a number of other employees also using the TPE-N150USB adapter every day. The handful of people who have had a problem are users with systems that are problematic. They are few and far between. We will replace any wifi adapter that fails within a year, however we recommend selecting a different adapter if you encounter this problem. Upgrading your kernel may also solve the problem of failing adapters. The adapter is not the problem and newer kernels include code that solves issues with the USB controllers on many machines. We've seen far fewer users have a problem with failing adapters that were using newer kernels.

Second, we do sell batteries, AC adapters, and other parts.

Third. If there is a problem with something not being up to your expectations send us an email. We'd love to get that feedback. Simply bashing us on a forum that I nor anybody else at ThinkPenguin may ever read is not the way to get issues fixed. I happen to read the forums because I care about helping people with free software related issues. That doesn't mean I always have time for it though.

Lastly we've recently dropped the prices on many items by more than half. You can't find a similar adapter for a lower price that is of better quality.

While this was our intent all along (drop prices) the reason we did this sooner than later was because of the complaints. I don't feel they are valid given nobody else is even attempting to fix the problems of non-free software and there is already inadequate funding for free software projects. While Rubén Rodríguez isn't going to say it I will. There is NOT enough money to continue many free software projects and complaints don't help. You won't be getting an 802.11ac adapter any time soon if there is no money to make that happen. Buying a TP-Link adapter with the same chipset we helped get the code released for is only self-defeating.

The reason we were able to drop prices is because of a significant amount of support within the community and other efforts I've been undertaking to try and scale operations. Despite that the price was fair and reasonable and competitive to retail pricing. Now the prices are more competitive to lower online pricing.

Theseus

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Joined: 11/22/2013

Hi Chris, I'm running on the 6.0.1 version. I obtained the 6.0.1 version before it was listed on the official download page—it was in order to get my USB adapter up an running. Is that the latest kernel? I'm new to some of the terminology, by the way. I'm gradually learning.

I also recently ordered another adapter for testing.

lammi87

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Joined: 07/27/2012

You can check your kernel version with

uname -r

The latest linux-libre version is 3.14.0-gnu. You can get this simply
by adding a repository and installing it. Please see this page:

https://trisquel.info/en/wiki/update-linux-libre-kernel

Follow the instructions starting from "Using jxself's repository". It's really easy.

Theseus

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lammi87, thank you.

I ran the command and this was the output:
3.2.0-57-generic

Also, thanks for the link.

I believe it may be best to wait for the other USB adapter to arrive before making any changes to the OS/kernel. This may help diagnose whether or not it is the hardware.

I will follow-up when it arrives. Thanks again!

Theseus

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Joined: 11/22/2013

I received the new adapter and it connected to the Internet immediately.

axgb
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Joined: 09/22/2013

Ah, so it was a ThinkPinguin Quality control issue.

Or maybe you bashed it or knocked it.

lembas
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Joined: 05/13/2010

>Ah, so it was a ThinkPinguin Quality control issue.

I think we need quite a bit larger sample before we can draw any statistically meaningful conclusions.

axgb
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Joined: 09/22/2013

Apart from those two things, what else could it be?

lembas
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Joined: 05/13/2010

The bash or knock theory sounds plausible. All electronics are total junk these days.

alguien
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Joined: 03/27/2014

It may have been ESD. If the OP did not wear an anti-static wrist strap when switching out the wifi cards, this will almost certainly damage if not fry any components they touched, especially if they were wearing jewelry or standing on carpet. TL;DR: you have to properly ground yourself. How many people switching out their PC components are certified technicians? Probably very few.

axgb
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Joined: 09/22/2013

Who in the world wears an wrist strap when inserting a wireless card?

alguien
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Joined: 03/27/2014

Computer tech professionals who have the certifications and training to know that you should do that any time you open a computer chassis, that's who.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antistatic_wrist_strap

axgb
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Joined: 09/22/2013

Sure, that is sensible, but who does that when inserting a usb wireless card (or memory stick, or bluetooth dongle, or similar)

alguien
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Joined: 03/27/2014

I must have responded to the wrong thread, idk. I meant for the mini-PCI card. Nvm x)

Theseus

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axgb, I didn't bash it, so I think it may have just been a bad apple. The new adapter was less expensive, shipped fast, and has been working very well.

alguien, I normally wear a hazmat suit when descending in the silicon maze, but this is a USB (plug-and-play) adapter.

axgb
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Joined: 09/22/2013

I just noticed that it is reduced, and now it is a very reasonable price for what it is; and if I had a laptop with non-functional wireless, or one that required non-free drivers to work, I would buy it. About £15 or $25.