Hi all, as @TheTwistgibber noted, we have been reading through this thread carefully and listening to everyone’s feedback. There are a couple of actions we’re going to take to improve the experience for 11th Gen users who are finding that they need to reset their mainboard every few weeks or more often. Note that for the vast majority of 11th Gen users, who are using their laptops more often than every few weeks or months or who keep their laptop plugged into power when not in use, there should be no impact or need to engage on these actions.
RTC Battery Replacements
First, if you’re finding that you’ve needed to perform the Mainboard reset procedure more than a few times on your 11th Gen system after long periods of non-use, we will provide you with a free replacement RTC battery, even if you are outside of your warranty period. We will continue to do this for as long as we are able to get supply of these cells.
We’ve uploaded the datasheets for the two cells that our manufacturing partner had been sourcing for us during 11th Gen production. The key callout is that while cycle life is reasonable during normal shallow discharges, doing a full 100% discharge of the coin cell more than 10-12 times results in serious capacity degradation. From what we have seen, this is typical of Manganese Lithium coin cells, but we are reaching out to other coin cell makers to see if anyone has parts that handle deep discharge better.
Note that because these are bare Lithium Ion cells, they require very careful shipping to comply with transportation safety regulations. We’re working with our shipping carriers in each region to set up compliant shipping paths, so it may take some time for us to turn on shipments of these coin cells for all supported shipping regions. We have a small quantity of cells in the US currently, and we’re working on sourcing more of these from our suppliers, which similarly will take time due to lead times and handling requirements. Note also that we are only able to ship these cells to our supported shipping regions. We will also be listing the coin cell on the Marketplace for folks who are interested in purchasing them outside of this replacement process.
After you receive your replacement RTC cell, please make sure to let it fully recharge by keeping your laptop plugged into power for at least 72 hours. We also recommend keeping your laptop plugged into power during long periods of non-use to avoid letting the RTC battery fully discharge. Note that even a normal 5V/900mA USB-C power adapter will sufficiently trickle charge the system and RTC cell. Finally, we also recommend keeping your system up to date with the latest firmware releases. We’ve recently released 3.17 BIOS for 11th Gen.
Rework instructions for 11th Gen Mainboards (For advanced electronics repairers only)
While the above is available to all 11th Gen customers, we have an additional item that we do not recommend except for those who have both advanced soldering equipment and advanced electronics rework experience. This is a circuit modification for 11th Gen Mainboards to charge the RTC battery circuit at all times as long as the main battery is connected, even when the system is off. With this modification, the RTC battery can actually optionally be removed. This modification will make the 11th Gen similar to 12th Gen Mainboards where the RTC circuit is powered and charged directly off of the main battery. Note that because this is an advanced and difficult rework, this is not something we will be providing additional support around or warranty replacement in the event that you damage your board in the process of performing the rework. We will only be providing the instructions for doing the rework. We are currently writing this as a Knowledge Base article and will post in this thread once it is up.