Framework team, why did you choose to make the battery internal?

This design decision surprises me: one of the things that props up thinkpad’s repair/customization-friendly reputation are it’s external batteries, which let users slap on extra battery just by putting the bulk outside of their laptops’ base form-factor. In the models that also have an internal battery, this allows great redundancy, and the option to hot-swap batteries without turning off the device. Why wouldn’t framework go this route?


Not a member of the Framework team, but I think the main reason for making the battery internal is saving space. The size (and cost) that would be taken by having another plastic shell and a bulky connector can now be used to make the battery capacity bigger. Besides, I think it’s safe to say that if you buy this laptop you’re going to be able to open up the laptop to replace the battery.


We prioritized size and robustness for this product, since it is a thin and light 13.5" notebook, while still making it easy to replace the battery when it eventually wears down. The battery replacement process takes only a couple of minutes. There are off the shelf USB-C battery packs available that will work well for additional power on the go, and which would be hot swappable.


The hot-swap battery feature, while cool, has become something of a mess on recent Thinkpads. Had more than a few laptops come out of service because users broke the damn battery tabs too.

Internal replaceable is just perfect, so long as the unit is readily available.

For the ultimate in long-term replaceability, running standard cells would be ideal, but it completely ruins the form factor and would make it a much more boutique device. Also, unfortunately, “standard” lithium cells are all the hell over the map. Different chemistries, different voltages, lots of ways for and end user to accidentally set their lap on fire. Long way around, Framework made the right call, though I might be the sort of lunatic that’d buy a unit with a couple tubes for 18650s.

As Nirav pointed out, the external battery pack market has largely eliminated the need for more proprietary solutions. A USB-C pack with 100w power delivery will power almost any laptop on the market. Compatibility across generations, power whatever you might be carrying in your bag.


Have you met the MNT Reform?

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Non-starter. It is using a processor that also is part of the processor line powering the Purism Librem 5. IE: not comparable to an i7 in practically any computationally meaningful way. Cool idea notwithstanding.

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Yeah… as 2disbetter said, it just doesn’t have the practical grunt. Outside of Apple, I’m unaware of a mobile-friendly processor that’d be of interest that isn’t x86_64. Frankly, I’m not at all convinced that ARM is more end-user-friendly: binary blobs and kernel support dead-ends abound, historically speaking.

Honestly, the MNT Reform seems more like an affectation than a functional daily driver. Queue someone responding “oh, it’s great, I use Links for all my web-browsing, Eudora client runs great for mail, and emacs is all I want for creating code or documents”

Also, they went and used a trackball. Trackpoint forever!


There’s also the issue that many battery charging IC’s won’t reliably “reset” and start charging the battery again if you remove it while input power is present. When I was working in the engineering department of a company making another device, even an IC that claimed to be able to do this, in practice sometimes would not, in fact, reset itself.

The IC manufacturer didn’t intentionally misrepresent the capabilities of the IC, it was an oversight that they didn’t get nearly as much feedback on as they would have 10 years ago. So few of their customers actually had a user replaceable battery, that they sold millions of “faulty” ICs that worked perfectly fine in devices with internal batteries.


A bit off topic but this is pretty much why the Raspi is the only SBC I own at the moment. Although there’s still binary blobs involved in the boot process and elsewhere, even the earliest models still get kernel updates despite being too slow for a GUI at this point. Not to mention the thriving community surrounding it and abundance of documentation :grin:

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I was thinking USB c battery banks made this obsolete?

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Even further off-topic, I’ve embraced Pine64 for similar reasons. They’re a little nuts on the “get the hardware into the mainline linux kernel” train, while the rpi, last I checked, pretty much still required their (very well supported) custom kernel.