Plastic cap is hard to remove


#1

I’ve got my Nitrokey U2F and it is really great! However, i noticed that the plastic cap for the USB plug is really hard to remove.
It’s really much harder than any other USB or so to remove as there is really no empty space around it and it just “burnishes” the USB connector.
So you have to “grab” it really hard and mind not to destroy the little thing while doing so… I think this is a very bad construction and not really convenient for a fast login… :neutral_face:

Is this expected? If so, I can also expect that wear of quite fast, as it is, as said, “burnishing” together and there is no empty space around the connector, nor is there any kind of “lock mechanism” which keeps the cap on it to protect it.


What I would like to see in the next NitroKey
#2

I can tell you my experience with the nitrokey pro which I think shares the design. At the beginning it was hard as you say. But as with everything in live, what is too new, always has very tight tolerances. With the time going by, I assure you, you will be quite happy that is was so tight, plastic tends to wear out.
My pro is now “good to use”. Did not take too long.


#3

I had exactly the same with my nitrokey pro. At the beginning I was unable to get the cap off at the first tries. Do it up to 20 times in a row and it will be better.

(My U2F didn’t received yet)


#4

Yeah, okay, but as you say:

plastic tends to wear out.

That’s also not ideal, is it? Because when you use it too much the cap won’t “hold” itself anymore at the USB connector, so essentially you’ll lose it… (and you end up here)

So I’d say this is just a not an ideal design and Nitrokey should possibly improve it in the future…


#5

I agree, however I had this problem since decades, even with “corsair-survivor” keys. As long as you do not opt for a IP64 version like “screw-able” cap like in these “survivor editions” of usb-key producers, there will be always some issue with it. Maybe a secondary security clip (but after also this will break…).
Maybe the best would be “screwed” - in the positive sense of course. But for cost reasons I would expect it to be an “extra” for the informed and tough geek with scars on the face and back. :men_wrestling:
Seriously, not all of the clients will want to pay the extra cost. Depends much on the usage pattern, don’t you think so?


#6

Oh, not so fast… It was just a tiny material/construction thing I pointed out. I looked these survivor keys up you’ve mentioned and they are totally of another level…

So what could e.g. solve the problem:

  • the cap does not have to be detachable, it can just be a a metal fixed at the usb case, which you can move over the USB connector (this also solves the problem of losing the cap)
  • e.g. a common design is to have a retractable USB connector, so you have no cap at all.

E.g., or you just use a connector that uses some mechanical “lock” with some space between the cap and the connector, so the cap at least is not worn off by the USB connector itself.

These are just some ideas, after all…


#7

:blush:
I feel blessed that at my old age I am still fast. Seriously.

This is true, but if you use a metal cover the body has to be of metal too. If not you are just shifting the breakage point to the body of the key (or better to the junction between body and cap.

That may be a better idea, however this design requires a good material for the axis of the retractable / shiftable device. There was once a key that came with tails (promotional) that used the system of an axis on the key that moves a hull that covers the key from the side. Drawback is here that with the time, also here the force to open it to the side is getting less.
Now if you use a connection of a traditional cap, e.g. a rope, that has to be changeable because whatever material may wear out. I would look at textile (nylon) solution or metal (sphere chain), as rubber or plastic will soon get unstable or will get micro-fissures, then rip off.
Any mechanical lock (as said before) might transfer the problem to the body of the key.
As you see, it is not so easy. But I am quite positive to “retractable” or “side move cap” as of the aforementioned design of the tails key.
Or, i could imagine a metal frame with a “buttonhole” as to say, that can hold the bullet chain / nylon for the cap. The advantage would be that the frame would join to the looks, it would hold safely the both usb outer shells without leading to a bigger body. The key as a whole would be more resistant to stain (albeit also a bit heavier).
Every design has as far as I see advantage and…disadvantages.


#8

The design of the stick is as it is. If it would be possible to form it like a yubikey I hope they would do it. Because than we don’t need a cap anymore.


#9

Hmm a Yubikey would imply not a full USB connector anymore and Nitrokey is right to highlight on their web pages that a full USB connector has it’s advantages and is quite nice.

Maybe with USB-C the problem could be mitigated in the future, though, as I doubt USB-C needs any cap…