Exploring the Embedded Controller

Just two quick notes:

  1. I’ve updated the post linked above to be true to the actual upstream code (yay!), and archived the original reverse engineered info. It also includes a section on ongoing work, which contains a blurb about the patches and the Windows CrosEC driver.
  2. Some positive developments on v2 of the linux patch series, suggesting that it might get in for v5.18.
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Thanks. The 80% charge setting will help extend the usable life of the battery for those who use the laptop plugged in more often than they do on battery. It’s a lot more flexible than the BIOS “battery disconnect” option, which requires a working AC adapter to revert back to normal operation, so if you happen to lose power, you’re shift out of luck. Still a useful option in some cases, maybe for a slightly expanded battery that you want to keep from getting worse until you can get to a better place to take it apart (i.e. if you’re on a trip but still able to get by with it only on plug power, not using the battery, but you don’t have a good place to unscrew the laptop and take the battery out until you’re done with the trip)

A “charge threshold” adjustment in the BIOS would have been better (so it would be in effect even when the computer was shut down but still plugged into power) i.e. still charging up to 100%, only if the battery has fallen below (insert threshold here) since you won’t be drawing power from it when you are using it plugged in, so the only reduction would be self-discharge.

Also, how about a simple “cooling mode” option, without having to adjust a whole curve but there were 2 predefined options, one of which was called “quiet/default” and the second being “Performance cooling” where the fan defaults to a higher value in idle as well as kicking up higher at a lower temperature, so the CPU could spend more time doing it’s “Mobile Turbo” thing. Suggestion for next Framework model? :slight_smile:

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+1 for configurable fan speeds from cli (over bios) which can be changed at runtime.

This is already available, in Linux at least. Look higher up in this thread for details and exact commands to use for direct control of the fans or to restore automatic mode.

I’m unsure of the status of Winblows support for this at the moment, because I refuse to allow that degenerate OS within 100m of my framework :slight_smile: but @DHowett said he was working on such a thing.

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I’m thinking of making a quick little config profile for NoteBook Fan Control (Windows utility) - any chance someone has already done that? Given the state of things, seems like it takes 90% of the hard work out of coding (creating a driver, UI, etc) and just need to point it to the right commands and data to send to the EC. Hmm…

Its design is geared towards fan control (which doesn’t currently seem possible), but it could easily serve as a battery charge-limit utility in the interim, 'til fan control comes out (if anyone still needs it - honestly it seems to work admirably well as-is - I haven’t needed to boost the fans as it knows when to run full speed on its own! Uh, take that, Apple).

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There is a limiter in the bios for battery max charge.

What fan control do you want? Surely you would want the CPU temp to decide that, and there are four settings already, in Windows, for CPU control which effectively control temperature.

Battery Saver: PL1 10-12W (I need to double check)
Best Battery: PL1 15W
Balanced: PL1 28W (with thermal throttling control to limit max temps)
Best performance: PL1 28W with higher thermal limits.

The point of much of this thread has been about user-land control. I try and avoid rebooting the computer… really, only when it crashes. Rest of the time, sleep and hibernate. So yeah, talking about user-land control here :wink:

I only ever want to control the fan to run faster for whatever reason I happen to have at the time.

It’s always such a nice feeling to have to reply in defense of what I’m asking for, instead of replying in collaboration of establishing a solution. :roll_eyes:

I actually did try to do this at one point, and I was reasonably confident about the EC register for fan speed (I think it was 0x21? I didn’t write it down so not 100% sure), but I couldn’t actually control the speed by writing to that register. I saw someone mention that there’s a separate command that needs to be used to first disable automatic fan control before the fan speed register does anything – that’s presumably the hang up here.

Fan control through NBFC would definitely be super nice to have. Even though the Framework has one of the overall best tuned fan curves I’ve used on a laptop, it would still be helpful to be able to manually set the fan speed (especially without needing to reboot). For example, the fan is super trigger happy when plugged in, even on the lowest Windows power mode, to the point where it spins when the package temperature is hovering around 50° C when watching a YouTube video. It would be nice to be able to manually turn off the fan in cases like these since the cooler is clearly capable of passively cooling the chip under low load, and this is exactly how it operates when on battery power anyway.

Honestly, I think this is because the fan is targeting more than just the CPU temp. When charging, the power conversion circuitry can get fairly toasty as it wolfs down a full 60 watts. That may be the cause there… maybe.

I dug into using NBFC for battery control and gave up after stumbling into a big roadblock: it only takes one arbitrary value, “register”, as an 8-bit value (0-255) and have single byte (or word, as an option) outputs. The values for EC are 16-bit addresses with variable length values, so it doesn’t make much sense, didn’t know how to convert it. Maybe NBFC is made for an earlier generation of laptops, prior to this whole Windows 11/“always connected”/new-world-ROM sort of thing. I suspect an entirely new generation of EC goes along with it.

All I really want is user-land battery control, but since I power my laptop solely by battery bank (OmniCharge 20+) and solar juice, I’m almost always running on battery anyway, and the battery inherently stays in its happy zone (anywhere under 90%) just by usage patterns. Been an EV nerd for over 10 years now, so the car and the laptop batteries both ought to last basically forever. haha

My CPU rarely reaches 40° and I have been using Solar exclusively for 40 years.

Hardly a noise from the fan.

Ah okay, I never actually got to the point of looking at NBFC’s tools for making configs since I couldn’t even control the fan by writing to EC registers directly. I’m not super knowledgeable about either NBFC or firmware programming, but yeah from your analysis it does seem like NBFC might not be compatible with the Framework.

Maybe, although in my experience the fan speed seems unrelated to whether the laptop is actually charging or just maintaining the battery level while plugged in. Also, manually lowering the CPU boost aggressiveness by increasing the Speed Shift EPP makes it behave like it does on battery, i.e. the fan remains off even when streaming a high res video. This is the workaround I’m using right now, but it’s definitely not ideal because the fan sometimes still comes on (and stays on for a minute or two) if there’s a moment of high load.

Honestly, this particular thing is a very minor inconvenience, but the point is that it’s never bad to have more options because someone will have some way to make use of them. Having fan control – even through some custom utility if not through NBFC – would be in my opinion a very nice value add to the already extremely customizable nature of the Framework.

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Honestly this would be a cool lever to have at my command, whether plugged-in or not. Often, when I’m processing something, I’ll slide the Windows power slider (another thing missing in Windows 11, yay regression) over to performance mode, then slide back when it’s done. Or, conversely, when there’s a background task or I’m running low on battery, I’ll slide it to power-saving. Even that isn’t enough sometimes - in desperate times, with prior laptops, I’d edit the power profile to cap the CPU at 25% when something I’m running has a poorly designed tight loop and doesn’t really need the performance it’s demanding.

With the Framework’s new-world architecture, something totally unusual has occurred: there’s no longer any CPU power settings at all available to me. Something wants to run-away? Yeah, it’ll goose the CPU to 3GHz in power-save mode, and ain’t a damn thing I can do to stop it.

It’d be nice to have a tool with such settings available. Especially for a laptop as nerd-friendly as Framework :wink:

I’m not sure what you mean.

  • There are three selections under Windows 11 > Settings > Power and battery

  • You can create your own setup in Control panel > Power options > Create a power plan > Change settings > Change advanced power settings > Processor power management > etc.

Maybe you can set a few plans and make links to them?

No, you can not. That’s my point. (I’m very familiar with all the dials you can turn for power settings - you might think I’m not a noob needing to be pointed to this panel!) This Framework laptop - and my build in particular it seems - seems to have some differences from even other Framework laptops. For example, the default hibernate timing was “20 minutes”. Nobody else had seen that - on a clean install with the Framework driver bundle.

Zero controls. (that “Network connectivity” one is something I even had to hack-in with a registry tweak - and I don’t think it has any effect anyway)

Mine’s a newer one, bought from the store and shipped in a week, no batch number. Has the Tempo audio chip and came to me with BIOS 3.07. For what it’s worth. :man_shrugging:

How strange that you can not where I can ??

Maybe you are thinking of soemthing different that I ?

Never mind I’m sure you have an idea of what you want and are doing.

All the best. :slight_smile:

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If you’re not aware, the tool I’m using to adjust CPU behavior is Throttlestop. It can do quite a lot (more than the built-in Windows settings could), and even though it has a lot fewer usable controls on Tiger Lake than it had on previous platforms, you can at least adjust power limits and Speed Shift EPP which might be able to get the behavior you want. If you haven’t already, I would consider taking a look at it to see if it helps you at all.

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fw-ec-keyboard-console

this is a custom hook, not built-in. sorry!

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@DHowett, you seem to be accessing the EC console, which is pretty much exactly what I’m looking for right now.

Background: I’m investigating Laptop powers *on* after hibernate when unplugging/unpowering dock - #6 by Matthijs_Kooijman and want to verify whether the EC is responsible for powering on the machine. I found the ectool console command that allows reading the console, but the buffer is too small, so the startup overflows the buffer, so I can’t see what happened at poweron. If only I could access the console chan command to disable some of the debug channels, I should be able to see the log from actual startup moment.

I looked at the hardware UART, which has no connector soldered on and it is really tiny, if I would want to try that I should probably get the official connector that’s intended to go there (and even then I’m not sure I would manage to solder that tiny…).

I was wondering how you managed to access the console, and why it curiously seems to be running in a text editor, and then I found your code at Commits · DHowett/framework-ec · GitHub. Hah! You hijacked the keyboard driver in the EC to (when enabled with F12) insert keypresses into the console stream and emit output back into the keyboard, that’s superclever :slight_smile:

Doesn’t really help me, though, since if I am going to flash a custom EC firmware (which I’m a bit hesitant to do, lacking a way to unbrick things if I really mess up), I might as well hardcode disable some console output :slight_smile:

So, do you happen to know if there are any host commands (or other tricks) I could use to capture more output? I looked through the list of host commands, but nothing seemed appropriate…

Edit: I just found your ECTool.efi build and tried to see if that would maybe run early enough to capture the poweron output with its console command, but it’s still drowned in PORT80 log lines, unfortunately…

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Thanks! :smiley:

Unfortunately, apart from changing the parameters and building it yourself I don’t see a way to quiet some of the more spammy logs. Nobody updates channel_mask outside of the chan command.

I was thinking that you may be able to use ectool's i2cread/i2cpassthru to get at the cyp5525’s BOOT_MODE_REASON. It would require some digging and the definitions for what those boot reasons are. However, I don’t think it’ll help with the problem at hand – the cyp5525 is probably coming up because it received power, and that doesn’t explain why the rest of the board is powering on.

\_(shrug)_/

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That’s great, I’ll definitely try this out!

Is there also a way to change the power or current to charge the battery. If it can be set to a very low level, you can keep the battery at the same charge state without switching charging on and off.