Framework motherboard drawing insufficient power

Currently, I’m working on a project using the framework motherboard (i5-1240P). Originally I was trying it out with a 45W Anker 713 (Anker 713 Charger (Nano II 45W)) and it worked great, drawing the full 45W available.

However, as 45W is insufficient for maximum performance I upgraded to a 65W Anker 715 (Anker 715 Charger (Nano II 65W)).

After this upgrade the power consumption of the system drops to 30W and the CPU now refuses to boost above 2.1GHz at full load. Why does this happen? Clearly it is severely power constrained, even though the power supply has increased.

Is there any way to know what power supply will properly power the framework motherboard?

(The motherboard is running standalone with no battery plugged in. No docks or hubs are being used to power the board, it is plugged in directly using a quality cable.)

Check your wires! It may be likely to be the charger, however if you’re using a long cable or one that did not come with the device, then it can have a host of resistances that anger a lot of PD circuits (usually those in macbooks or high power laptops). Otherwise I suspect the charger may have a defect from the factory.

Most laptops are capable of running at peak performance off of their battery even if the charger power is insufficient, however faulty negotiation in the charging circuit can anger the power delivery circuitry on the charger port or even down the line at the power management ICs. Hope you figure it out soon!

Thanks for the tip Skyy_Bleu!

After doing some more experiments I think I managed to rule out all components for being defective.

  1. Framework motherboard functions at full power with a Dell USB-C dock
  2. All chargers function at full power using an HP x360 laptop
  3. Two seperate USB-PD cables function at full power using an HP x360 laptop.

All components appear to be working fine. It seems my specific combination of components is incompatible. Indeed I would suspect that some part of the power delivery negotiating with the framework motherboard is not working correctly. At this point I’m not sure what kind of power supply to purchase that will power the framework correctly.

(I don’t have an original framework charger, and getting one would be quite expensive in Europe.)

Individual test results:
Framework + Anker 713 45W charger = 45W power draw
Framework + Anker 715 65W charger = 30W power draw
Framework + Anker 735 multiport 65W charger = 30W power draw
Framework + Dell WD19 dock = 75W power draw

HP x360 + Anker 713 45W charger = 45W power draw
HP x360 + Anker 715 65W charger = 60W power draw
HP x360 + Anker 735 multiport 65W charger = 60W power draw

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@Kieran_Levin, could this be related to the MOSFET thingy / issue we had with the 11th gen board…that was then patched in BIOS? Remotely related?

History: USB-PD 15V mode issue

Specifically, this post:

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Based on these results, it would seem the Framework Laptop only negotiates 15v, however the Dell WD19 dock is the only charger capable of presenting 5.5 Amps on the 15v rail - thus 75W, while the 713 and 715 are restricted to 3.0 Amps each on the 15v rail for a maximum of 45W. Not sure why the 715 Negotiated a lower power than the 713 but I guarantee it’s angry about voltage drop or reference voltage anomalies etc etc. Don’t get me started on the Multi Port Charlatans that claim 60W when only using a single port, more trouble than it’s worth for that kind of troubleshooting headache.

Whereas the HP x360 appears to negotiate the full band of 5-20v at 3A max (60W exactly @ 20v), I’d say this is more of a limitation of compact and generalized charging hardware and Framework’s higher power draw in the Medium-powered laptop range.

Just saw this as I was responding, Interesting to see confirmation on the 15v exclusive negotiation. Could explain exactly why OP’s Dock was the only one capable of charging at above 60w due to the 15v 5a rail. The issue described doesn’t seem to be a large one as long as a battery is installed and can buffer a few minutes of turbo.

Not sure if it applies in you case, but with the multiport chargers, some of them have different charging limits per port, or when multiple devices are attached.
Have you checked all ports? do you have an additional device attached?

Interestingly, I’ve measured the output voltage for the Anker 65W and Dell dock and in all cases it is 20V. It does appear the framework motherboard is correctly negotating full power delivery. (Also on the multiport charger when only the framework motherboard is attached.)

Regardless, it simply is not drawing any more than around 30W. I did some digging and seems like the power limit is implemented in the Framework Laptop Embedded Controller(EC).

My OS MSR settings are non-limited, evidenced by the fact that with the same MSR settings the system does function at full power with a different charger, so it must be limited by the EC PECI setting. This seems to be implemented here: (EmbeddedController/cpu_power.c at hx30 · FrameworkComputer/EmbeddedController · GitHub)

The PL limit calculation looks fine to me. The actual negotiation seems to be handled by two Cypress CCG5 controllers, and I can’t really see what would be wrong there either. One thing I did note is that the EC code does add an additional 39W to the PsysPL2 power limit if the battery is present and above 30% charge. That might explain why this power issue isn’t widely seen, as commonly a battery will be attached.

In my case, running the framework motherboard standalone, it looks like the max charging current is being misreported to/by the embedded controller so it configures low PL limits. It’s pretty hard to come up with any failure mode that would explain the 45W charger to work while the 65W fails.

The only one I’ve though of is that I’m using USB-c cables without emarker chips, that means they are rated to 20V/3A (60W) max. The charger is 3.25A, so the controller should fall back to 60W max power draw, but perhaps something is going wrong here as it appears to fall back to 20V/1.5A (30W) instead. Unfortunately, without attaching a progammer to the EC, I’m not sure how to verify this.

In light of all this, I’m still looking for advice for how to select a USB-C power adapter that will play nice with the framework motherboard and provide full power to the board.

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You seem to have it working with far less power but the official Framework position as I recall it, is that the mainboard requires a power supply of 100 watts minimum. This is to ensure the system can provide enough power to the CPU, chipset, USB / Thunderbolt subsystems, etc.

If you are not using a 100W power adapter that could also be an issue.

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You’re referring to this… or something more official?

or this:

but it is also talked about more in that thread.

I’m not sure if this still holds true with the 12th gen, but it would make sense that it does.

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Yeah, for battery-less operation, you’ll need to use a 100W PD adapter if boosting is important.

Personally, I just go with 100W PD (or as high as 100W, or even beyond…say 140W) whenever I can, to remove as much “insufficient power” variables as possible. The USB PD will negotiate up to 100W, I just let it do its thing.

Just keep in mind that over 60W, you need an e-marked USB cable. That means it’s got an embedded chip that can certify it can handle the extra current. Most reputable vendors usually mark these cables as 5A/100W, and all Thunderbolt 3/4 cables can do 100W.