The Power Adapter

Happy Earth Day! Our focus for every part of the Framework Laptop is on how to minimize environmental impact while maximizing performance and usability. A great example of this is the 60W USB-C power adapter we custom-developed with Phihong, one of the top power supply makers in the world. This is a compact, high-efficiency 20V/3A adapter that supports the latest standards including USB-PD 3.0 and PPS. Its 58x58x27mm housing is made of 20% post-consumer recycled plastic.

We were able to achieve super high efficiency in a small form factor by using a gallium nitride (GaN) switcher IC from Power Integrations. This is the latest advancement in power supply design, enabling higher efficiency and energy density than traditional silicon. With it, the power adapter reaches >89% average efficiency at 20V and <75mW idle power draw, both of which are much better than typical notebook power supplies. With PPS, the adapter can also be used as a programmable power supply in increments of 20mV and 50mA to further improve efficiency on devices that support it.

We designed the adapter to be modular, with both the 1m AC cable and 2m USB-C cable detachable and replaceable, reducing waste in case your cat chews through one of them. Making the AC cable swappable also means it’s easier to use the Framework Laptop internationally. Any IEC C5 cable will plug in, and we’ll offer kits that come with Type B (US, Canada, Japan, Taiwan), Type G (UK, Ireland), Type I (Australia, New Zealand), or Type F (Europe, South Korea). Our USB-C cable has a straight connector on one side and a right angle one on the other to enable easier cable routing. Both cables come with velcro wraps too.

Of course, the best option environmentally is to not need a new adapter at all. With the Framework Laptop DIY Edition, the power adapter is optional, letting you choose to order it if you don’t currently have a 60W or greater USB-C power adapter or want a higher efficiency one.

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That’s so cool! Out of curiosity, would it be configurable to not have the barrel plug? My guess would be no but given your hot swappable adapters It could be possible to replace that with a usbC or a blank one

@Drew the cable to the Framework Laptop is USB-C to USB-C. No barrels here!

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On a related note, how is the power delivery spec applied to the various ports? If you have all 4 expansion bays as USB-C, do they potentially all have the ability to charge the device?

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The Framework Laptop can be charged through any of the four ports.

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This means that either owners will need to buy a USB-C port expansion card or remove one of the non-USB-C expansion cards to charge the laptop, correct? It’s a fine tradeoff that I’m willing to make so I don’t have to buy an expansion card I wouldn’t use. I just want to know that it’s a tradeoff I’m making. Thanks. :slight_smile:

Yes, for now, the USB-C Expansion Card is the one that can be used for charging, as it is a passthrough to the internal USB-C port. In the future, we may have other charging card types.

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I wonder if a charging card could be made compatible with old DELL and HP 19,5V power bricks, these are readily available.

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That would be great! We’re hoping to see people prototype their own charging cards for legacy adapters once we release the design documentation.

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I’ve never had a laptop that charged via USB C before so this might be obvious to others, but if we wanted more than four ports, would it be possible to make a sort of hybrid usb hub and charging cable by plugging the power adapter into a usb c hub instead of to the laptop directly? I’m envisioning both charging and connecting to other devices through the single expansion card.

In case the vision isn’t clear, an example I’m thinking of is plugging the AC plug into the wall, plugging that into the power brick, and then connecting the USB C cable from the power brick to a USB hub/dock. Several other devices would also connect to the hub (ethernet, speakers, external monitor, mouse etc) and then there would be a final usb c cable going from that to the laptop, both charging it, and providing connectivity to the other things plugged into the hub. Would such a setup be possible?

@JPTiger yep! There are a bunch of USB-C docks that support power passthrough for that use case.

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Some modern displays provide this feature. They transfer the picture, let you access devices on the built-in USB hub and charge your laptop - all through the same cable.

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Just an idea, could there be some way to have something similar to the old magsafe connector?

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It is definitely possible for someone to build an magnetic charging connector Expansion Card.

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@nrp what’s the possibility of having an externally accessible hot swappable battery?

It could make the laptop feel like it has infinite battery life as you only need to charge the battery and have the laptop in your backpack etc etc

@Anjan_Katta there are USB-C PD power banks on the market that support passthrough charging. Like Dell PW7018LC for example. You can get any number of these batteries and use them just as you described.

@nrp I may have missed it in some official materials, but will there be a way to restrict the laptop from charging the battery up to 100% like Dell and Lenovo laptops do.

And especially to have a “Charge Stop” and “Charge Start” percentage points, where if the charge start is 50% and charge stop is 75% then the laptop charges up to 75% and then doesn’t start charging the battery again until it goes below 50%.

The in my experience greatly aids battery preservation when used mainly in a plugged-in state as well as helps when using a USB-C PD power bank - because the laptop doesn’t try to charge its internal battery from the power bank and uses only power needed to run itself in the moment. This greatly increases usage time from a power bank because they all discharge quicker when outputting higher current.

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I would definitely like to see some kind of charge limit. Even the 85% one Samsung offers on their laptops would have a significant effect on battery service life.

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We do have the ability technically to enable charge limits, and it is on our firmware roadmap. We likely won’t have that functionality turned on at launch though.

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I got the pre-order email today, and I like what I see! My laptop stays wall-plugged almost all of the time, so the ability to set a charging limit was the first feature that I searched for. I hope the team finishes this up soon—I’ll wait to order until the laptop supports a polished charge limit configuration.

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