Power cable question

So I have a new Framework 16 and I have run into an odd situation.
I run through USB-C powerr cables rather frequently so I get cheap cables from China. These cables work just fine on my Framework 13 computers.
If I use the cable on the Framework 16, the computer charges just fine … but then it switches to battery power and stays on battery power until the battery is exhausted and the computer shuts down. What’s even more strange, if the computer has switched to battery power and I unplug the charge cable and plug it back in, the computer goes back to charge mode.
I have verified this situation with different cables from different sources (all from China). At the same time, the original power cable that came with the Framework 16 and it’s 240W supply works just fine. The cable that started all this is rated at 100W (or so the supplier says).
So … what’s going on here?
What options do I have for USB-C power cables that does not involve getting the cables from Framework or paying $10 or more a cable? I am thinking about getting short (less than 12 inches) extension cables, hoping that they would be dumb cables and that they would sacrifice themselves for the greater good (the cables always die at the plug to cable junction from flexing)

One more tidbit of information - All my Framework 13 laptops run Linux but the Framework 16 runs Windoze. I would assume that charging is a hardware function but one never knows …

The problem is “cheap cables from China”. I have one of those cables with the watt display on it from China. It is labeled usb4 and supporting 240W. Well, with the framework charging and gaming, maxing out the 180W of the power supply, this “240W” cable will last a few minutes before it completely turns off and is too hot to touch. Moral of the story, cheap Chinese sellers lie. I put up a review on Amazon explaining my experience, to which they almost immediately offered me a full refund. They know.

This same cable also does what you are experiencing, stops charging and will not start again until i replug it.


Thanks! I am glad I didn’t try a higher power rated cable from China. I had not noticed the power cable getting warm but I will check that. My idea of a dumb extension cable seems to be a no-go … they all seem to be smart (ie rated for a certain power) and generally they are just as expensive as the male/male normal power cables.
I had always assumed that ‘smart’ also meant ‘smart enough to only supply the amount of power it can safely handle’. That’s what I get for ass-u-mi-ng :slight_smile:
Any suggestions about reducing the cost of ‘consumables’ (ie power cables)

There’s a reason why those cables are cheap. Thin wires that can’t handle the current of 100w+. They cut corners on stuff so probably doesn’t support USB PD or the extended PD.

My suggestion is to buy a higher quality cable from a reputable brand and try to take good care of it. You might find that the higher quality cable might actually last longer. I’d trust Framwork cables since I don’t see why they would make a cable that doesn’t support the rest of their hardware. Belkin is a reputable brand.

I did a bunch more testing. My power cable does not heat up and I am not convinced that the cable is ‘defective’ but rather I think there is an incompatibility of some sort. It could be the computer or the cable. The reason I am saying this is because I plugged in another cable last night for another test. The computer was still on AC power this morning which was great to see except a couple of hours later it flipped to battery power … go figure. The computer was on but not being used …
What I am now suspecting is that the problem is related to the computer flipping between charging and not charging while the battery is at it’s pre-configured charge limit.
I am currently set up to charge to 90%.

Cables for devices wanting 100W or more require what’s called an E-Marker chip in the cable. This chip is supposed to tell the device how much wattage the cable can safely handle (since high amps requires thicker wires). Very cheap chinese products are notorious for cheaping-out any place they can, since there are no consequences for them. This includes making bad copies of IC chips. Which sometimes work ok, but other times have nasty bugs and incompatibilities. The E-Marker chips might not follow proper USB standards and just randomly cause problems in certain situations with certain devices.

The wires might be thick enough to not heat up a lot, but the cables could still be defective due to buggy E-Marker chips inside them.

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Interesting, I think you are right, but the incompatibility lies with the Framework charger. I have several 60-100w usb-c chargers around the house that all work fine (granted, the framework16 will discharge when using more than the rated wattage and will not run the GPU in high performance mode). But they never stop charging completely on me. Of note, I have used a Monoprice 100W charger with a few of my “mid-quality” usb cables (Jsaux, etc) - no issue. I have a Lenovo 100W usbc laptop charger, cable attached - no issue.

But using a different cable (in my test, same Jsaux cable as above) with the Framework charger, and sure enough, it stopped charging once it hit the 90% mark my bios limit is set, to and then started discharging. Very interesting.

Interesting. I guess time to start leaving negative reviews and sending back any cable that says it supports more than 100w and doesn’t work. Good to know.

I do not think that the E-marker chip is the issue. When the computer was plugged in, it had 80% charge and everything was working fine and the computer was drawing all the power it could negotiate with the charger. It ran for about 12 hours with no issue with the computer on but not being used. In other words there was very minimal power being supplied to the laptop via this cable (remember the battery was charged at this point) when the laptop decided to switch to battery mode.
Of course I am only guessing but it appears that the switch to battery power only happens when the battery is full and the computer is cycling between charging and not charging. I would think this is not a high current issue.

Do you have a Framework cable, or any cable from a major quality brand? You need to eliminate possibilities. You start with the easiest to eliminate and / or most suspect.

Other elements should remain the same when trying to narrow possibilities. The power supply you are using throughout should remain the same, and the particular port on the laptop that you connect to.

You’re using the Framework 16" power supply (180W)?

The E-marker chip isn’t only involved when drawing high current. It’s in the path of the communication line that’s used for negotiating with the power supply. So bugs can happen at other times.

When the battery is fully charged, I would expect the Framework to drop down to requesting a lower voltage, since you can get can be better efficiency, produce less heat from conversion losses. When that communication goes through might be the time that the chips in very cheap cables glitch.

It might not turn out to be the cable, but it’s the part to eliminate first.

Yes, the power supply being used is a Framework 16 180W power supply (thought it was 240W but checked and it is only 180W). The problem seems to only be an issue with a cheap aftermarket cable although these cables work just fine on my Framework 13 computers (using the Framework 13 power supply). Of course that would be a much lower power draw.
Since the issue doesn’t happen right away, I will run a longer test and confirm that the issue does not happen with the Framework 16 cable.

Final update:
Framework 16 with the Framework supplied USB-C cable and 180W supply - works fine
Framework 16 with an aftermarket USB-C cable and 180W supply - Charging turns off intermittently.
Framework 16 with aftermarket cable and 60W Framework supply - works fine
Framework 13 works fine with either supply and either USB-C cable
Note that the Framewwork 13 is running Ubuntu and the Framework 16 is running Windoze 10
Lastly, I have found mountains of posts regarding incompatibilities between Framework 13 laptops and chargers. There also is mention of a BIOS fix for the 13 (not sure if this is available at this point)
So, from my point of view, the problem I am seeing is likely the same issue that everyone else has been seeing with the Framework 13 computers. I will file a ticket with Framework support.

The issue for FW13 has been fixed, and the BIOS fix is already installed from factory on all FW16 laptops.

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While the issue might be fixed on Framework 13 laptops, it obviously is not fixed on my Framework 16 laptop.
While I can work around the issue for now, I have filed a support ticket in case the issue gets worse and I am outside the 12 month warranty period.

I didn’t mean to downplay your issue. Just saying that it’s likely unrelated to all the FW13 posts you’re seeing.


Ah, got it … yes, that is of course possible

Words of wisdom: Never cheap out on a cable for anything. Cheap cables may say that they are certified for something, but they probably are not. They are using much cheaper materials, so they will break faster and are more likely to not work properly with every device. If a good-quality cable dies, your device is usually safe. If a cheap cable dies, I can take your device with it.


This type of thinking will guarantee repair shops always have a captive audience. You are inviting damage to the cables (by shorting) and most importantly your laptop by doing this.

One of the reasons some cables charged and others did not is because the circuitry is trying to protect the charger and the device by negotiating charging voltage and current. Keep going down this road and you will have more than a cable to worry about purchasing…

This thread is going south remarkably fast but let me address the points you make:
ALL cables, no matter how good and no matter how overbuilt they are will eventually fail at the connector end. Yes, cheap cables are likely to fail faster. I do not know if the difference is significant. If quality cables (ie original Framework cables) would be soooo much better, I wouldn’t be running a bunch of laptops with aftermarket cables.

Neither you or I KNOW what the quality of the cables are that originated in China. Do you know where the Framework cables are sourced? Do you know where any of the so called ‘brand name’ cables are made? Like I said, I fully understand that cheap cables ‘might’ have a shorter life span but the problem I am having is not related to life span. Besides that, you may or may not know that Framework had an issue with their cables fraying at the connector as well. They did apparently supply replacements because the issue was wide spread… but even brand name cables can have issues.

To sum it up, the issue occurred with a known working cable (I tested multiple cables) and has nothing whatsoever to do with longevity of the cable…

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