Lenovo X380 Ethernet Extension Follies

Last week, I decided to order an Ethernet dongle for my 8th generation Lenovo laptops. Each of them — the Thinkpad Yoga X380 and the X1Carbon Extreme — includes a proprietary Ethernet interface. It connects to each of those computer’s inbuilt Intel I219-LM GbE adapters. Ordering and obtaining the right device from Lenovo itself has, however, shown itself to be an exercise in frustration. It’s why I describe the current whirlwind of mostly wasted effort as Lenovo X380 Ethernet Extension follies. Sigh.

Here’s a snapshot of the relevant side of the X380 Yoga PC, courtesy of the folks at TigerDirect:

When my replacement part arrived, it was too big (or the wrong shape) to fit any of the ports on my Yoga X380. Obviously, I ordered the wrong part! I wanted something to plug into the mini Ethernet port at center above. No dice!

Lenovo X380 Ethernet Extension Follies: Part 1 (How to get an RMA?)

Looking over the paperwork that arrived with the unit shipped to me, I see an return address and a URL for the return contact. When I try to fill out the form on the web page, it tells me my order number — copied faithfully and accurately from the included paperwork — doesn’t exist or is invalid. I have the option of calling Digital River in Germany for further discussion, but that just makes my stomach hurt. Here’s the part that was shipped to me (part number 4X90Q84427). Apparently it’s a part for the 6th-generation version of ThinkPads (including my X380 but perhaps not my X1Carbon Extreme). I needed an 8th generation part, which looks like this:

Apparently, this is what I needed, but not what I got. Notice how tiny the PC side of the cable (not the RJ-45) is. Sigh again.

Looking over the paperwork, I can’t figure out how to get an RMA (Return Merchandise Authorization) to send the unwanted item back for a refund. I’m on the phone with tech support right now, to see if they can (a) give me the right part number to order for my PCs and (b) point me at where to go to get an RMA to return the current unusable part. Right now, technician Mike is checking my serial number to make sure I’m eligible for warranty support (I’ve already checked myself and I’m good through the end of 2022). Mike was able to point me at the part number for the right part for my PC, but unable to help me get an RMA number or figure how to properly return the unusable adapter I already have.

Lenovo X380 Ethernet Extension Follies: Part 2 (Who pays for return shipment?)

Right now, I have one apparent choice as regards return of my unusable Ethernet adapter. I can pay the shipping back to the return address myself, and include copies of the order paperwork and hope that my PayPal account will get credited for the purchase. I’m not that trusting a soul however, so I’m reaching out through other channels to see if I can get some help. In the long run, I’m out exactly $35.71 so it won’t be the end of the world if I have to eat it. But wow! Does it really have to be this hard? I wonder . . .

[Note Added August 27, AM]

My son woke me this morning before 8AM to tell me an early FedEx delivery had arrived at the house. Rousting myself out of bed, I ripped into a box from Lenovo that included not one, but two of the parts I needed. That part number is 4X90F84315 (depicted below). Stuck it into the mini-Ethernet port and it fired right off immediately. Ookla Speedtest reports the following: 13 ms Ping, 620.79 Mbps download, 42.35 Mbps upload (results do vary by local LAN load, but that’s pretty normal for a wired GbE device on my LAN). It is about twice as fast as USB, and about 12 times as fast as 802.11 locally.


I still don’t know what to do with the wrong part, but now I have two of the right parts. Very interesting!
[Click image for full-sized view.]

Once again, the Lenovo guys blow me away with their rapid and helpful response. But it’s weird to get stuff in the mail without an email or phone call to say “Hear you’re having a problem. We’ll help you with a solution.” This byplay makes me no less grateful, but it does leave me a little perplexed. Thanks guys!

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