Viability of an ML 1220 rechargable battery for RTC | CMOS (11th gen)

I’m still not convinced this is the case. In my experience, the non-rechargeables last well in excess of five years, i’ve seen ten years+ plenty of times. Rechargeables, which very often have lesser capacity, will almost certainly have depleted their recharge cycles long before this point and will have needed replacement already. Button cells aren’t eneloops, which are without question, exceptional batteries as far as rechargeables go.

I honestly believe framework would be better off ditching the rechargeable button cell and just mounting a holder for a standard cr3032 or cr2016 button cell. It would be more sustainable and trivial to obtain replacements when necessary, which would (should) be extremely rare.


How about an expansion card with an RTC :slight_smile: rather than having to open the laptop with it’s risks :slight_smile:

I’m sure I’ve seen some incorporated in a sliding drawer.

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Given what has been stated via support and customer experience, they have stated this is a design decision but have not provided any explanation as to why. The benefit to them stating it this way is they can pretend this isn’t an issue and don’t have to plan to fix it. The detriment is we are left to believe they plan for this laptop to only be usable for 2 weeks when completely shut down without being connected to power - even though there is plenty of main battery power available (and require users to manually set clock on each use) - yet they didn’t disclose this to buyers despite the fact it is different and limiting versus every other laptop out there. I would not have bought this laptop had I known of this limitation and now am stuck with it. Any other laptop would be more sustainable and require less maintenance given this flaw.

They have now told me they won’t fix the issue, they recommend I sell my laptop 2nd hand, and have stopped replying to my support ticket.

My view of framework has done a 180 faster than any other company I’ve ever dealt with.


My ThinkPad x200 and W520 are in the ten years+ range at the moment. They have yet to give me any hassle for the CMOS/RTC battery. (but I know that’s coming)


Yeah, the justification / rationale is publicly missing here (unknown to us).

I personally believe that the rechargeable CMOS/RTC battery was selected as a temporary workaround, with them initially hoping the drain issue would / could be fixed. i.e. I’m speculating that CMOS/RTC drain issue was a known product issue even during the design stage.

Plus, a ‘reset circuitry’ has been added to the 12th gen board seems to indicate that some reseting procedure will still be expected / stating as ‘normal operating procedure’ going forward. …because now, they’ve explicitly designed and implemented for it.

I see nrp is ‘replying…’, let’s see what the messaging / damage control is.

For some info on the RTC battery KTS ML 1220 here is an equivalent.


Note from the write up

Using rechargeable batteries can save you a lot of money. Despite the higher cost of such products, they can have more than 100 charge / discharge cycles, which allows you to replace the same number of ordinary alkaline or salt batteries. The ML1220 battery belongs to this category of power supplies.

Charge time
From 4 to 8 hours

Not 24 hours

Can I charge
The ML1220 cell is a battery, but charging is not necessary, because the device’s board already has the ability to supply the necessary voltage for its charging to its contacts.

It is not quite right to compare the the more common CR 2032 used in many laptops etc, as they have a capacity of 240mAh compared to the ML1220 of only 18mAh so they can be expected to last considerably longer if doing the same task.

Let’s say 13 times more longevity, so if the ML 1220 could last four weeks the CR 2032 would last a year.

Given the experience of others and myself the CR 2032 last for many years so the ML 1220 would hopefully last 4,5 or six months or more.

But given it’s capacity it does require changing regularly which is where the issue really is. Why does it discharge so quickly and why can’t the main battery look after it?

These are questions I’m submitting formally by the way via a direct letter to Framework proper :slight_smile:

By the way the service life of the CR 2032 is only 30 days so that it last for years goes to show how little drain there is in most computers.

The capacity of a CR 1220 is only 40mAh so it may last six weeks and then have to be replaced, so the ML version is ‘better’ as it could last for years.

So size matters, Skinny laptop, skinny RTC battery


I still have hope for Framework…and the ‘platform’ I bought into. But they really need to put out a quality, reliable product with no bad surprises…otherwise it’s not going to fly with the masses. “Fan base” model isn’t sustainable. Framework will eventually need to compete in the laptop space…like a normal laptop, used by the average joe / jane.

I went from the honeymoon phase, to “wtf is this”, to sour-bitter phase…and I’m now in the “hell, I’ll wait it out and see” phase.

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X220 approaching 12 years. 9 cell battery and no RTC issues. Replaced the main battery a few years ago and it works like new. Never had to manually set the clock. Never had to connect AC power when the main battery had juice.

When the CMOS/RTC does need replacing, I am happy to do it given its extremely long life and zero hassle. This is the true way. Why wouldn’t framework do it this way? The attempts to hide what is really going on is the most concerning of it all.

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Yeah, have that as well, and similar experience. ThinkPads have been my go-to for over 2.5 decades now. Some things have changed over the years for better or for worse (keyboards).

Seriously, when it comes to the CMOS / RTC battery…I don’t think we have a ‘high’ bar here, we just want the ‘norm’ of what the laptop industry has been able to deliver for more than a decade now.

Granted, I don’t have any other 11th gen laptop to compare with…is this something brought on by Intel? (My other recent laptop, AMD R9 4900H based, doesn’t have this issue)

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This is exactly my point. I feel like a dramatic difference vs the norm should be disclosed in the specs to factor in to buyers decisions - at least that is what framework is saying by stating this was a design decision. If it is a design decision that deviates from typical market expectation, it should be disclosed in advance and given it wasn’t, returns should be allowed. If it is a flaw, it should be fixed. If it was a design decision - given all of the detriment and seemingly zero benefits, we deserve to understand why this decision was made.

Hi all, just providing more detail on this. The RTC battery (CMOS battery) powers the very low power subsystem that preserves the real time clock (responsible for providing the calendar clock to the system) and some processor state. This battery exists to allow system time to be preserved while the main battery is in ship mode, disconnected, or drained. The RTC battery recharges when the laptop is plugged into power.

Normally, when the RTC battery drains below the voltage threshold needed to power the RTC subsystem (if the laptop was left unplugged for months on the high end or weeks on the low end), the impact would be that the system clock resets. With most operating systems, this wouldn’t be noticeable, since the OS will automatically grab the current time off of a network time protocol server and update the system clock again. However, with 11th Gen Intel Core processors, Intel shared that there is a silicon bug where low voltage on the subsystem that the RTC battery powers can put the processor into a stuck state that needs to be manually reset (we wrote this guide to share the reset process: Fully Resetting the Mainboard State - Framework Guides Note that allowing the RTC battery to fully recharge by keeping the system plugged in for >24 hours after a reset or after leaving the system unplugged for more than a few weeks is important). This happens randomly, in that only some instances of the RTC battery reaching low voltage will result in the CPU going into a bad state, which is both how Intel didn’t find this during development of the processor and neither we nor our manufacturing partner saw it occur during design of the laptop.

For folks on 11th Gen Mainboards, our guidance continues to be that if you plan to leave the laptop unplugged for weeks/months, to do so with power plugged in. If not, there is a some percent chance that the manual reset will be needed at the next time the laptop is used. We know that if this is a behavior you regularly need to follow, that it is annoying and decreases the enjoyment of using the product. Since this does occur randomly, it is possible there are processors or RTC batteries that it is more likely to occur on than others. If you are seeing this happen unusually often, reach out to Framework Support, and we will work with you to swap you out a replacement RTC battery or replacement 11th Gen Mainboard. There are possible mitigations we are investigating in firmware, like having the main battery “power up” to recharge the RTC battery when the system is unplugged for long periods of time, though over a long enough period, that would result in both the main and RTC battery being empty and still risking entry into the stuck state. This firmware mitigation is speculative though, so we don’t have a firm plan for it.

For the future, with 12th Gen Intel Core, there are a few changes that prevent this from occurring. We’ve reduced RTC battery power consumption to make the RTC rail stay powered for about twice as long with the system unplugged. We’ve also designed in a path that allows the main battery to keep the RTC battery charged. Finally, we’ve designed a reset circuit that prevents the manual reset process from being needed, doing an automatic process instead.


Love this update / messaging. Detailed, transparent, forward actions and reasoning. That’s all I needed.

(…and FFS Intel)

Questions: Has this silicon bug been addressed by Intel on the 12th gen processor? (i.e. is the reset circuit a ‘let’s plan for it, just in case’, or a ‘it will happen, let’s handle it’?)

Also, why wasn’t this particular message made public earlier? There’s some factors at play here, it seems.

Can we also expect a similar level of transparency with regard to the state of the TB 4 certification process, for both the 11th gen and 12th gen boards?



but I’m still standing, slightly rocked by the shock waves from the RTC battery but there’s a lot worse on the horizon.

Yeah, still standing…but only because it’s not my daily driver. This is a YMMV kinda thing, and you seem to have a better experience than I do.

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It’s all the good vibes man or should that be dude/peep



I don’t believe we’ve gotten any specific answer on this for 12th Gen. I would guess yes, but we’ll probably never find out since we’ve prevented entry to the state where we could check it.

I believe we’ve communicated each part of the post separately in different threads and support documents, but it’s always helpful to collate it together into one summary.

The same goes for TBT. We’re working with the USB-PD controller supplier and test lab on it. We’re doing unique things (having 4 ports, for one), so it takes new types of development and validation that they haven’t faced on other products, resulting in more time and iterations required.


@nrp Thank you for replying!

This is no different from other laptops and PCs. The questions still unanswered is why did framework choose to use a very low capacity battery that only lasts a couple weeks? In combination, why does this battery drain so quickly versus typical laptops? Is there a higher drain in framework versus typical machines? If so, why?

Laptop users expect system clock to be retained for years unplugged, not weeks.

I think I understand what you are trying to say but this is a little misleading - according to sites like Desktop Operating System Market Share Worldwide | Statcounter Global Stats Windows is the operating system that most use. Saying this isn’t a problem for “most operating systems” is a bit of a downplay. I realize the Linux distribution is likely higher among framework customers but for Windows users, internet will not sync automatically if far off. Internet is unusable with a wrong system time (certificate mismatch) and software that relies on logging even without internet is useless without clock.

Worth noting this is opposite to the recommended practice for preserving battery longevity.

Is there any possible design solution that can allow the pressing of the power button to boot the machine?


A battery charge limit will solve this.

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For me, I’ll just go old school: wall plug on/off schedule → power adapter → USB-PD → Framework laptop. (On for 8 hours, one day a week)

That seems to be the workaround for now.

And now that I know it’s Intel who fxxxed us on this, I’ll bark at their tree.

This is good, really good. With this info / knowledge made public, I can see that the “improved reset circuit” is not just for ‘reset’…but also a preventive measure. Knowing this now, it gives me an increased confidence level towards the 12th gen board.

I’m also good with this justification. Just needed to know we’re still moving forward / progressing.

Really appreciate this update. It’s the level of transparency I’ve seen at the beginning…but somehow lacked in the past few months. We’re good again.

Can you confirm whether the 11th gen board is still on the certification train? i.e. There’s no known hardware issue / limitation resulted from testing (or the certification process) that prevents it from ever getting a TB4 certification, right?