Compability with non Framework parts

Hello everyone,
I`m curios, is it possible to connect framework mainboard 13 to any laptop keyboards, touchpads, displays etc. (including framework 16 parts) via onboard connectors? Thank you!

Most laptop keyboards these days are probably internally USB I think, so in theory yes, but you’d need to make some sort of adapter to change the connectors to fit. Plus the height and size and connection to secure it to the laptop wouldn’t work.

Touchpad probably similar.

Display is probably in better shape, but you might need a different length cable, and the depth and layout of the screw holes might be different, so you might run into trouble there.

If you’re talking about taking the raw mainboard and connecting it to other peripherals and creating your own “laptop” that way, probably doable, although might need a few cable/connector adapters in some cases. Easier to use a USB hub and simply connect through one of the USB ports that way, although obviously takes up a lot more physical space.

1 Like

to be fair, it wouldve been very impressive to be able to put your old fw13 board into a 16 shell, and only order the shell if you want… like, really impressive!

i also am looking into if i could adapt my fw16 to have an oled screen. no bueno yet

1 Like

Technically, yes, you can use parts from other laptops. Framework has released connector pinouts and open sourced their EC (Embedded Controller), on their github. Things you’d need to make other parts work.

Unfortunately, getting parts like keyboard or touchpads to work with the Framework 13 would take enough work that few are going to do it. You can not just plug them in. 1) the wires / connector won’t match, you’ll likely need to make an adapter. 2) The EC won’t understand them until you modify its code so it can.

Displays present a challenge as well. There are a few different common display-side pinouts. And some displays, like oleds, might use different voltages as well. Motherboard-side display connectors seem to have no common pinout, between manufacturers at least. So you need to use Framework’s cable. Having custom cables made is prohibitively expensive, I understand. And each wire is micro-coax, so just rewiring an existing cable would take a lot of skill. But if you use a display with the same display-side pinout as the Framework one, supposedly it should work. Pinout is open & on Framework’s github. Display-side it’s 4-lane eDP non-touch 40 pin iirc.

I don’t believe so. The FWL16 might be one of the only laptops that uses USB for its keyboard. And it only does that because the keyboard modules were made to be easily rearrangeable. Normally, laptop keyboards just directly connect their key matrix to the motherboard. Touchpads I believe are often i2c. Even the FWL16 touchpad is i2c, not usb. Only the upper FWL16 input modules are usb.

1 Like

Oh their i2c? That’d make sense too. Still pretty standard, but definitely extra work with adapters and stuff.

Yeah, here is the FWL16 touchpad pinout

Thanks, you`re a great help, I was planning on making my own laptop based on framework 13 with touchscreen. Guess I need to go with a dongle.

That’s a VERY ambitious attempt.

If you’re basically talking about a briefcase laptop, that’s different and I expect you’ll be able to accomplish it just fine. Although still with some adapters and such. Or even a somewhat bulky custom 3D printed case.

I’d start with the FW 13 documentation and pinout diagrams, read up on the EC firmware and how to interface with it.