Power framework mainboard from non OEM battery without using USB port?

I would like to integrate a framework mainboard into a project which will require more power than the FW battery would be practical for. Is their any way to use a different battery or custom li-ion pack with a framework mainboard besides via USB C?
It would be ideal if the laptop was still able to charge via the battery and recognize when it is using the battery and plugged in for battery management.

Is the battery hardware/communication protocol open source? Is their any internal or community development of a framework compatible BMS?


I imagine @Kieran_Levin could answer this. Although I imagine he is crazy busy. My own hazarded guess on this is that the BMS is setup specifically for the battery that the mainboard uses. Charging lipo is bit more complicated that we might understand. It was certainly good of you to ask this question.

Although maybe Framework thought this already through and you can use another battery. You might just need to update the BMS firmware with the new battery’s specifications. (IE: if the voltages, capacity are changing)

@2disbetter I don’t actually care about charging that much though for other peoples use case it could be useful. I had primarily intended to charge it separately for faster charging than the mainboard can provide.

I was hoping for a way to just “trick” the mainboard into recognizing charging and using battery perhaps by pulling one of the battery connector pins high or low with a microcontroller and power the mainboard from the battery connector both when charging and discharging (or some other non voltage sensitive power rail).

Edit: My goal is to add a higher capacity battery to act as a UPS for the mainboard and additional hardware. I have considered using a commercial UPS and inverter but this is very inefficient, heavy, and bulky.

If UPS is the goal, why not just use a USB C PD capable power brick that you leave plugged in?

@2disbetter Because that would lose a USB C port and potentially provide an unreliable connection. Also their would be no detection of when it switches to battery mode which would reduce battery life if it does not switch into low power mode.

Hmm interesting. I am using a 11th gen mainboard as a Virtual Machine server at the moment. I power it directly from the USB C port. What you are wanting would have to be done via the board’s BMS.

I wonder what the answer will be myself.

The GitHub repo for the Framework 13 contains a PDF of the battery’s dimensions and a pinout of the connector:

You could try putting 17.4V across pins 1-3 and 8-10 and see if the mainboard still boots up correctly. If so, you could then build a battery with it’s own BMS and charger and connect it to those pins. If it doesn’t boot, pins 6 or 7 could be something to do with battery presence detection, or you might need to find a way to simulate the framework battery’s BMS. Attaching a logic analyser or oscilloscope to the DAT_SMB pin might let you decode the signals by converting the binary to ASCII - assuming they’re not encrypted.

If you don’t manage to get the BMS communication working but the mainboard boots off the battery without it, you can set the framework, or any laptop, into a sort of low power mode by reducing the CPU clock speed using a tool such as ThrottleStop (it can also throttle start).

Needless to say, there’s considerable risk in not just building lithium based batteries, but also trying to put voltages onto random pins on the mainboard, even if it should be fine according to the pinout…


The ec may get really offended at that but it may still work. Probably worth a try.

@MatthewGB Thank you for the very through response. I will have to try that. Now to see where I can identify and purchase the connector…
Decoding the BMS communication protocol is definitely beyond my abilities. I was hoping this communication would be documented somewhere. Perhaps dissecting a battery I could identify the BMS chip used and get it from the datasheet. If it’s standardized their may even be an existing breakout board for it.

I hadn’t considered manually setting the low power mode but I suppose that could be done via usb serial and a monitoring program running on the mainboard.

You shouldn’t have to go that far. I’ve never explored it myself but I understand Smart Battery communication has standards that are publicly available. This being Framework it feel very unlikely that they use a handshake or verification to block non-Framework batteries, like most other laptop makers seem to do.

The protocol is somewhat standardized but the ec does expect certain batteries. The laptop side of the communication is actually open source, you can see how it talks to the battery and probably make a custom version that doesn’t get a panic attack when it gets dc on the battery connector with a non responsive battery.

From the ECs perspective, having power on the battery pins without the battery talking to it means something seriously went wrong with the battery (if something goes wrong in a laptop battery it usually permanently disconnects the power pins, if it dies and could not do that something went really wrong and that battery is probably not safe to use).

It may actually take different batteries, didn’t read that far into the ec code jet but power on the power pins without battery communication is not a normal state to be in, this hints at something in the battery being really wrong, and I’d be a bit concerned if it didn’t get at least a little offended at that and really concerned if it tried charging it.

I wasn’t suggesting that it would just accept no communication. I was just saying that other manufacturers actively try to block you from using 3rd party batteries & that Framework likely doesn’t do that.

Yeah that probably not but it looks like the battery may need a specific controller chip. If there was some asshole blocking you could just take it out, open source ec for the win. Honestly one of the main reason why I was so interested in the framework.

I have this exact question. This may also help you or others… and I’d really like to know the answer.


Thank you.
TI BQ40Z50 Li-ion battery pack manager
Just to save the need to zoom in & search it up.

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I am curious if you manage to pull this off, I am actually interested in a smaller battery to fit my 10.5" tablet project better. I guess I can´t just replace the cells with smaller ones xD Also, do you guys think it would be in realm of possibility to have 2 batteries connected at once? What I would really love is to have a smaller battery in the tablet (that would help me to make it much thinner) and the stock battery in a case - and neither would use USB-C ports (I am already using one for the display) and both would charge via the mainboard. But I feel like I am well out of my league here as I am not even close to electrotechnician, so please don´t laugh if I said something utterly stupid.

Anyone in this thread knows how to tune(or at least get accurate data) the battery pack? I ran into this problem and did a few tests but I don’t know how to read the BMS chip.

Someone has identified that the BMS in the battery is a TI chip and the datasheet for that is readily available. He identified that the same chip is used for both FL13 and FL16 batteries.

IIRC this is the chip used.


Thanks you for this information

After reading the manual I found the BMS has “UNSEAL key” which means the battery manufacturer has the means to restrict third party or DIY tuning. If the protocol is open source you can DIY battery packs for this laptop relatively easy, but “aftermarket tuning” the original battery could be much harder as hacking might be required.

It has impedance track algorithm, so a full charge-discharge cycle for calibration is largely unnecessary. It also has tons of protection, however the “Capacity Degradation Permanent Fail” is planned obsolescence.

It has a temperature-voltage grid to tell the power management of the device what to do, this could explain why the battery is charging at 1.0C initially, then 0.7C when the voltage exceeds 4.1V/cell. This is a MCC-CV, charging algorithm. This could also explain why the charging is incredibly slow 0.2C when below 20 degrees Celsius, there are different states at different temperatures and voltages to set different current, the manufacturer must accidentally (if it was an error) or intentionally (if the battery is a snowflake) set the LT at 20 degrees Celsius and the current set to 0.2C.


Which module do you recommend for tuning the battery pack with BQ40Z50-R2? Is this EV2400 suitable? I heard this from a DIY drone community, but it could also be used for a wide range of laptop batteries.