Viability of an ML 1220 rechargable battery for RTC | CMOS

After dealing with this issue for a couple of days now (and going back and forth with support), I’m glad to have found this thread. It seems odd to me that so many people are popping up with this issue at the same time, while having support say my “RTC battery was not the issue”.

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did you get a fix? what did they say was the issue?

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@Sven_Hiller where exactly did you get your extra battery? I’m finding ML1220s difficult to find at all, but willing to try this.

Unfortunately, no. I’ve gone through extensive troubleshooting with support.

Initially they told me to follow this article, and it fixed my issue… for about a week. The next time this happened (this past Saturday), I’ve been told multiple different things.

Initially they told me to update to 3.07 (assuming I was on 3.06)

I told them I’ve been on 3.07, and they then instructed me to bump my battery limit up to 100% (I’d kept it at 80%), and let it charge up for 24h.

I left it on the charger for ~18 hours (just shy of the 24h they’d told me - but this is my primary machine), and upon getting to work the next day had the same issue occur - no PD charging. I resolved it by trickle charging my setup (USB-A to C cable on the righthand side, PD charger on the left). I checked the RTC cell voltage, and it showed 3.10V (support had said “somewhere around 2.6 to 3 volts”), so I assume that’s fine.

This is the point where they said it “appears that your RTC battery was not the issue”. They told me to go through the Full Mainboard Reset process, which resulted in a functional system… but only when charging on the righthand side of it. My left IO ports will deliver power OUT, but now I can’t charge my laptop on that side - Dumb charging or otherwise.

They’re telling me to check the EMI shielding on that side, but I would be under the assumption that if it had been shorted out, I wouldn’t be able to use it for data or outboard charging.

Sorry for the lengthy post, but it seems like I’ve been in a weird moving goalpost situation, and it’s kinda nice to have everything typed out.

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It definitely sounds like you are facing a different issue if the RTC battery is charged, and you are still having trouble booting. I hope support is able to get you sorted, so best of luck.

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Please look at this post for more info on Laptop failing to start and possible causes and areas for further investigation

Another thought is… Is this problem ONLY on DIY Framework laptops?

Other post, sorry if it isn’t a link

" Power Button Fails to Start Laptop after a day or three switched off"

ok maybe it is :slight_smile:

Regards…

I’m currently asking Support to confirm if this is a design feature or a design flaw. I think that’s a fair question to ask. Buying into a new company and a new product is a trust thing as well as a risk.

I just want to know either way. If its a feature, then I can plan to work around it or sell it on.

If it’s a flaw then I think Framework have a responsibility to fix it or find a way to improve it (happy with either). I was sold this laptop on the idea of being fully repairable.

If after just three months, the first problem I have with it isn’t…well…

So if they cannot, then I think they need to be upfront on the sales page and advise those users that do not live on their laptops day by day, that this is a potential issue.

Without going through all the above

  • I note someone has not used the laptop for a month and had left it unplugged during that time and had no problem switching on with having to plug in external power.

So it would seem not a design flaw.

  • Some people have to plug in the mains after short periods

This maybe as the BIOS/CMOS/RTC ML 1220 battery was not fully charged and or the laptop wasn’t plugged in for long enough even to keep it charged well enough

  • The third case is where the ML 1220 gets so low that it has to be removed the recover before anything will work, this could be a design flaw

but that is arguable as
a) there is no control over how a person uses the laptop
b) it could just be a faulty ML 1220

In the last situation where there is a repeated failure of the laptop to power on without removing the ML 1220 and that it has has plenty of time to charge then

  • it could be a motherboard fault in not charging the battery
  • It could be a duff battery

The simplest solution would be be buy another ML 1220 and see if that works, if not then further analysis of the problem may be helped by contacting Framework.

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I agree. Perhaps adding a link to the knowledge base article on the page might be good. It’s important to fill a gap between a potential customer’s expectation and reality to gain long-term users.

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I got a long reply from Framework to my short question -

" Thank you for your patience. Per a Community post by our Founder regarding RTC Battery functionality:

"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 6 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."

Swapping the mainboard would only be a valid option if the mainboard reset process is needed frequently even after trickle charging the RTC for 24 hours after non-use for weeks/months. If that’s happening, there’s a chance either the RTC battery is faulty or or the RTC battery holder might not have a solid connection to the mainboard. Outside of the above, a swap of the mainboard would not result in any meaningful change to observed functionality as it is expected.
Regards,
Framework Support"

So I’m taking that reply as -

“Yes it’s a design flaw that might (but probably not) get fixed!”

I’ll think about it over the weekend and then might just flog it off on Ebay or something.

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Thanks for that. It’s much as I expected and as I haven’t sent my query yet it saves most of my queries.

So dodgey battery or battery holder
Only happens on some processors ???

Does anyone else think it’s ironic that nrp says to go to support and support quotes nrp in the support ticket?

Support last replied to me June 15. I have sent 3 responses since them and it’s silence. While I admire the optimism of those who assume silence means they are working on it, my gut tells me the opposite is true and they are ignoring it and focusing on selling the next thing rather than supporting the existing product and backers… Kind of the opposite of a sustainability mission in my opinion.

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Well I thinl you are right and that makes sense to me.

  1. First comes the business, make money or go bust
  2. Offer a product that can sell > Does the problem ‘herein’ stop sales > I doubt it
  3. So clearly they will be focusing on the next issue Gen 12 as that is where the money comes from to do a fix.
  4. Sustainabilty in the wider sense I consider a business con but the laptop is eminantly repairable there’s just a problem ‘herein’ which some people have. There’s a workaround for most users but an unpleasant one if the ML1220 is allowed to dischrage >>

So I think the repairabilty mission is on track but needs tweeking

Given this ‘replacement’ wording, there’s no scoping / limitation of what they replace the 11th Gen Mainboard with. Usually there would be wording to the nature of “equivalent or better”.

For example, if it’s a Logitech mouse, Logitech has been known to replace older model with newer model during RMA.

Could this be the case here as well? Replace the 11th Gen Mainboard, with a 12th Gen Mainboard?

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It could be Framework scraping along the edge of compliance (of components. voltages, etc) and when Intel ships chips with silicon bug things start to go south.

I still however think it’s a duff battery.

Could well be and maybe no so difficult to assess :slight_smile:

  1. Buy a new ML 1220
  2. Replace the original and charge for 24 hours
  3. Properly switch of laptop, even battery via BIOS maybe
  4. Leave for a week or [4 or 5 dyas] and see if it switches on
  5. Repeat 3. and 4. and see how long it take before you have to plug in the main power to get the laptop up and running.

Now I won’t be testing as I use the laptop multiple times a day, most often kept in sleep with power attached. Night is always hibernate.

However for those who are having problems after a week or two or three, as they don’t seem to be using the laptop very much then this may not be too much of a bind.

All the best for you testers.

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This is becoming quite the unintended ‘feature’:
You better use the Framework Laptop everyday, or we’ll give you hell.

Force product adoption. LoL.

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The biggest thing I am worried about is 8 days without response to my support ticket and no transparency from @nrp or anyone else from framework on what is going to happen next.

I’d be more willing to be patient and give trust if there was communication and commitment to make it right for their backers and customers. Unfortunately, it has been radio silent. This is a very bad omen.

I can’t comment on why Support has not responded as I have no idea, but you might have better results if you tag the Support or Framework-employed moderators (not the volunteer moderators) rather than the CEO.

Surely the ‘proper’ way is to contact support directly not via the forum at all ??

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