Heat Issues With Shell Module

I ran some tests recently in Windows 11 Pro and Fedora KDE on laptop temperature and how the fan reacts to it.
TL;DR at the bottom.

Testing Methodology
Play three 4K videos simultaneously from YouTube and observe cooling fan behavior in the GPU module and the Shell module through sight (looking through the grill with a flashlight), sound (hearing fan spin and air movement), touch (feeling the air movement), and with a laser thermometer (non-medical).
I ran the test described above first on Battery, then on AC in both Fedora KDE (with latest updates) and Windows 11 Pro (with latest updates). I even rebooted in each OS twice to make sure it was consistent. I also made sure the interpose connector was securely in place for each module.

Testing Environment
The Framework 16 was tested on a flat wooden desk, in a large room, underneath a ceiling fan on low with a window open at dusk. The Framework 16 had at least 15.24cm (6 inches) of clearance on the side vents and 10.2cm (4 inches) of clearance on the back vents (when GPU was installed).
Ambient air temperature: 25.6C (78.1F)
Humidity: 76%
Region: North East, USA

Test with Shell Module
On Battery or plugged into AC power, the fans will not spin above (what I can only assume is) their lowest setting. Even as the Keyboard surface temperature hit 39.1C (102.4F). The fans were spinning at such a low speed that I could not hear them, nor could I feel any air coming out of the side vents. The only way I detected that they were moving was by shining a flashlight through the gill from underneath. If the fans were broken or the interpose connector was not properly installed, they would not spin at all.

Test with GPU Module
On Battery or plugged into AC power, the fans behaved as one would expect from a hot laptop. They ramped up after a load was introduced and adjusted their speed accordingly as that load fluctuated. The temperature of the keyboard surface was still above 37.8C (100F), however, the cooling fans were working hard to shed the heat. I could hear the fans clearly and I could feel the air rushing out of the side and back vents. When I took the load away (closing all browser windows), the fans eventually stopped (checked with a flashlight), letting the Keyboard surface temperature rest at about 36.7C (98F).

Possible Causes
A) It could be that the CPU temperatures are either not getting read or not getting reported but the GPU temps are getting read and reported. This would explain why the fans only ramp up with the GPU module and not the Shell Module.
B) It could be a BIOS or Firmware issue.
C) It could be a specific problem with my laptop.
D) It could be some thing entirely different.

This issue highlights the need for BIOS fan control in the Framework 16. The user should be able to either select from a variety of predetermined fan curves during certain conditions (battery or AC, GPU or not) or be able to select fan settings based on specific temperature ranges under certain conditions. If this problem is more than just my laptop, a lot of computers are going to cook themselves and their owners this summer, especially in hotter climates than mine. I would much rather have the option for my laptop to try and cool itself down than to have it cook my hands and wrists.

Below are some pictures of how hot the laptop keyboard and internals get while the Shell Module fans practically do nothing.

Readout from the Linux program “glances”.

Framework 16 Shell Module fans don’t do much cooling.
But that GPU though, can haul.

If you have any suggestions for a fix, have a similar experience or have a completely different experience, please post about it in the comments. I want to know if I should write a support ticket or not and if this is a wider problem than just me.


Can you be more specific about what you are concerned about? Is it mainly just that the keyboard is uncomfortable?

System fans off at 45° makes sense to me—the maximum CPU temperature is 100°, so running them would consume power and create noise and wear for no particular reason.

Notebook Check includes thermal measurements in their reviews, so you could try looking there to compare temperatures.

Someone wrote fw-fanctrl if you want to set your own fan curves.

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My concern is less about the laptop running hot and more to do with the Shell Module fans not doing what they are supposed to.
The fans on the GPU module ramp up normally under load. The fans on the Shell Module never go above idle under load (even when on AC power and Performance mode).
It’s almost like if you had an umbrella, but never opened it even if it was raining.

I’ve tried fw-fanctrl but ran into problems. I’ll dig around more today and see if I can get a software solution for both Windows and Linux.

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If the Tctl reaches 100° and the fans never start to spin up, then I agree you seem to have a fault, but if the Tctl is 45°, the system is not actually under load. Instead of playing YouTube videos, try running some software that is specifically designed to stress test the CPU and see what happens then.

While I can attest that the fans in my GPU module did work properly when I had the laptop together, they are quite sluggish to turn on and the laptop did frequently pounce off of 100 Celsius without actually being under a hard load. To me this is an uncomfortable temperature for the laptop to hit frequently and usually does not result in the longevity of hardware.

The lack of fan control to me is a grade A type issue where your skin temperature on the laptop becomes way too high and in general the laptop seems to be way too hot.

At this point though, I have RMA in my laptop and I guess that will be that. Though maybe someday in the future if framework introduces a new model and can confirm that absolutely everything is risht with this model. Then I may consider to purchase something from framework again.

I hope that the framework team adds an application in Windows/Linux that allows controlling aspects such as fans or TDP.