Viability of an ML 1220 rechargable battery for RTC | CMOS

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)

1 Like

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.

16 Likes

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?

4 Likes

:rofl:

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.

1 Like

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

:om:

:speak_no_evil:

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.

11 Likes

@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?

2 Likes

A battery charge limit will solve this.

1 Like

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?

This TB4 is well off topic by the way and I’m a bit fussy as I took over this topic to focus on the RTC battery.

The TB4 has been discussed elsewhere for example

Yeah, rather off-topic.

There hasn’t been any recent update on TB4 certification status…

1 Like

I feel like you guys are letting them off the hook super quickly. There was a distinct lack of responsibility in this post and no real answers. Also notice how my post still trying to get the truth goes ignored. The only slight improvements are offered in the next generation board of which there is no way to currently obtain.

Meanwhile he points us to support who also just say I should sell the laptop. I have probably less than 10 hours of usage on my framework and every time I’ve gone to use it I’ve dealt with the machine not being able to boot and the system clock requiring to be set manually.

Still there is no reasoning offered why it is this way in the first place. Support said this was a design decision (purposeful) and there is so much mixed signaling going on. It is super weird to me.

1 Like

I have drafted a letter to Framework and will be going over it for a few days, taking into account your and others’ experiences, as I agree, something doesn’t add up.

After rereading my thread with support and nrp’s post above, I think I am now more upset than I started because I feel like there is political maneuvering going on. If you are a new company with a loyal following, you need to admit mistakes, explain them, and make it right. Instead, there is some finger pointing going on both internally (between here, nrp, and support) and externally (blame Intel, manufacturing partner).

The fact nrp solicits users opening support tickets and then support is advising me to sell my machine back to this community makes me feel like they are trying to take advantage of the good will they had previously generated among their supporters (including myself).

Does anyone else think this is the road to generating more waste rather than preventing it?

2 Likes

…that’s because I’ve accepted my fate…at the point where, for this particular issue, there’s nothing to be done in my case. It’s Intel’s issue. For other people, the most they can do is a RTC battery swap, or a board swap…which Framework/nrp mentioned is the path forward.

To me, the past doesn’t matter…it’s the actions going forward that matters now.

In my case, the 11th gen board is a sunk cost. I’ll look to the 12th gen board reviews.

There certainly is. At the very least, nrp’s post is partially, if not fully, related to ensuring a certain level of 12th gen board buy-in.

Nope, support said they won’t do this so it’s not available to anyone. This is basically a series of finger pointing with no admission of mistake or actual resolution.