I’ve been really excited about the framework laptop for quite some time and one of the biggest short comings in my opinion is the expansion cards being slightly too small to be able to fit dual functions (dual USB-A, USB-A+USB-C or even dual USB-C). Judging from the threads I’ve seen, I’m not the only one bothered by this. This is something I could live with if it was a technical issue but it bugs me even more by the fact that it it a mechanical/physical issue. So a new direction I wan to explore is that instead of haven an expansion card that fits 2x USB inputs on one expansions slot, why not see how feasible it is to have 3x functions on two expansions slot wide card?
I dont have a framework laptop myself but from the pictures I’ve seen it seem like the space between the expansion slots is not very well utilized. So by allowing someone to slot in a dual expansion card that takes up all that space, this would actually allow for enough space to have three different functions. Of course this would require quite some modification on the case and not really sure if the motherboard actually utilize that space but if it doesnt the it seems like it should be a matter of just modifying the case. Can someone please shed some light on if this is possible and maybe even share some pictures of how the space between the expansion cards look like and what is actually there. I would be really interested to continue explore this path as it would potentially allow for more ports with the current 4 slot design of the 13"
I got some good close up pics of the expansion bay area and feel like it actually would be very possible for this to work.
It looks like the main component occupying the space in-between the expansion slots are the mechanics for locking them and a light guide (by the look of it both sides are identical).
Now putting the locking mechanics aside for now my suggestion would be to have the now fixed in-between part (marked in red above) as a separate detachable rail guide that you can attach by the top screw. This would allow the laptop to be compatible with single slot expansions cards or, if that rail piece is removed, compatible with a dual slot expansion card.
To think about it we dont even need to have a dual slot expansion card but could maybe even have a combo of a single slot expansion card and one slightly oversized expansion card.
For addressing the mechanical securing of the expansion cards my suggestion would be to utilize the expansion bay cover (see pic) and have rails on the underside of it.
The oversized expansion card could then have rails on the top to allow it to be secured into the laptop. I do believe the overall mechanical fixture of the expansion cards would be slightly less rigid than the current solution but don’t really think this would be a problem as I’m not worried they will be asserted to too much force during normal everyday use.
I would really like to hear some thoughts about this and how feasible it is. I’m really close to getting a framework laptop myself as I feel that my old laptop is about to give up on me and having this work would be a major boost in the usefulness in my opinion.
This is an awesome idea, I hope the removable center piece becomes a thing in the next generation of Framework laptops. From the looks of it, this might actually just be a change to the chassis and compatible with older motherboards!
Others have suggested a mouse card here and here and I think a dual-slot card might grant enough space to make it a more reasonable size.