What new Expansion Card types do you want to see released?

@Ian_Darwin Neat writeup. I’d never considered that a “dongle” could provide both power and ethernet. I usually abhor dongles, but I figured I could deal with one, until the ethernet expansion card is available.

I sort of wish that the expansion cards were large enough that you could fit a USB-C-PD + ethernet on the same card. They seem sort of like an in-between size where they’re too big for single ports, but maybe maybe a tick too small to comfortably fit multiple ports.

A bit off topic, but I’m failing to see the utility of USB-C. I know they can do charging/video/etc. but most peripherals (mice, headsets, flashdrives, etc.) are still USB-A and need even more dongles/converters to support USB-C. Now instead of having a smaller port, I have an even bigger converter, and yet another item which could fail on me.

@Kimberlee_Model Thanks for the feedback! My intention in posting the link to my Hubs review was not to convert people to USB-C PD hubs but to show that there are hubs that can solve the wired-ethernet problem in the short term between shipping the laptops and shipping of the Gig Ethernet expansion card. Y’all don’t need to rush out and buy one this week, unless @nrp says the gig ether expansion card won’t appear until December :slight_smile: I too have USB-A in my shopping cart for mice & such like, and agree on the expansion card sizing, but that’s surely cast in stone, other than the fact that Nirav did mention the possibility of a community-built double-height card (with extra feet to raise the laptop).

It strikes me that the “community-built expansion card” is somewhat like open-source software. Many people have ideas on how to improve it, and (not singling you or anyone else out here) few have the technical skills to make those ideas happen, and fewer yet have the funding to hire those with the skills to make the good ideas happen :grin: I am sure there will be some, but I’m not sure how many will actually materialize. A lot, I hope, because I do believe that “choice is good.”

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4G or 5G LTE so I can connect on the go without wifi. This would be really helpful to me for work.

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No; mine has the 3200x1800 screen which was discontinued in later models. (Which I like; 13" is a little small for 1920×1080… and having recently gone back to a 1920×1200 screen after “getting used to” 4k, I have to say, high-DPI really looks much better. Which is why I think the current 2256×1504 is terrible; it’s even worse for 1x scaling, and too few pixels for 2x.)

How does the expansion card width compare to the M.2 Key connection size?

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From a width perspective, M.2 22mm connectors will fit. From a length perspective, it would need to be oversized to accommodate M.2 2230 cards.

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@Whinis

I like all of the ideas here, a would definitely love a dual USB-C port in the future, or a full-size SD card reader/Ethernet port Expansion Card

One neat idea would be an HDMI-in port to be able to utilize the Framework Laptop as a display (Think of it like a Target Display function a-la iMac)

While I don’t know much about tech or if that is possible in the small size of that expansion ad, it would come in handy if I want to record footage from any of my gaming devices or use my laptop as an external display when out at the park to play Switch hehe :slight_smile:

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Ooooh. HDMI in could be useful definitely. For example, I’d be curious if while on vacation if I could plug my chromecast into the framework laptop. @nrp what do you think. Is this currently possible with the current hdmi expansion card?

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@1111 HDMI input is not supported by the HDMI expansion card. However there are several HDMI-USB bridge chips that could be used to build a HDMI capture card. You would have to go through the whole usb-os-graphics stack to render the output to the display with some latency.

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In the small form factor, would it be possible to create a battery that would be powerful enough to be worth it?

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@Kieran_Levin Thank you! That is unfortunate… but thankfully I do have a capture card via USB that works pretty good. Latency drops a tad bit, but it’s not bad. I use it mainly to record my Switch games on current computer :slight_smile:

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@James_cody Do you mean packing a battery into the expansion card’s size? If so, probably not. You’d probably struggle to put anything more than about 1 amp-hour into something that size, if that. That might keep the laptop running an extra few minutes, but nothing useful. However, if you opened your requirements up to something that’s bigger than the expansion card, for example some big battery pack that sits under the laptop and doubles as a stand, you could probably fit a relatively large battery that supports 60W (or higher) USB-C PD, for example. My main worry there would be that if the port is the only connection point, you might be risking damage to the USB-C port if you mishandle the laptop by even a little. Much less risk in my book to simply purchase an off-the-shelf USB-C PD power bank, and just bring that along when you think you might need the extra juice.

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@Frosty gotcha, yeah that’s what I was thinking. Thanks for the response!

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@Kieran_Levin do you know if an “hdmi in” module would be possible without it being treated as a capture card? or are you saying that because this is a laptop display, the only way forward would be a capture card?

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@Colton_Idle there is no direct electrical path from the expansion card slot to the display. You would have to use a software solution to capture video and display it on the internal display.
AFAIK no laptops support this. But there is a separate category of mobile phone docks that can do this.
Someone with the right skills might be able to get a software solution in place that DMAs uncompressed video from a capture device direct to the gpu framebuffer and get sub ~1frame latency.

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Summery of Suggestions

  • multiple type-c in 1 Expansion Card
  • Multi-Gig Ethernet 10/5/2.5/1
  • SD and Micro SD reader together
  • USB C port + USB A port
  • microcontroller
  • 4g/5g cellular modem
  • “folded up” ethernet jack
  • 3.5mm MIDI (IN/OUT)
  • 3.5mm audio interface microphone and speaker
  • VGA
  • wifi 2.4 and 5 GHz card
  • extra battery?
  • drawer for “snacks”
  • Slot that fits screw driver
  • RS232
  • CAN bus
  • RS-485
  • RS-422
  • Profibus-DP
  • HART
  • UART
  • LORA
  • DeviceNet
  • Honeywell Data-highway
  • Allen Bradley Control-Net
  • IEC61850 certified ethernet
  • SC or ST fibre ethernet
  • DNP3
  • i2c
  • spi
  • a whole numpad
  • card readers for older cards
  • Legacy - Keyboard, Mouse adapters (ps2)
  • FM signal transmitter
  • Software Defined Radio
  • wifi antenna
  • double-height card
  • NFC and RFID
  • smart card/badge reader
  • Alternative power connections (mag-safe connector/barrel)
  • HDMI input / video capture card
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I’d also be interested in some fun radio stuff. High-power WiFi with external jack, SDR, LoRa, etc.

Some flexible mesh networking would make it really interesting for EMCOMM.

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It may be possible to put this USB 3.0 NanoHub from Muxtronics on Tindie in a card with some modifications.

The source files for USB 2 is Muxtronics NanoHub , and USB 3 Muxtronics USB 3.0 NanoHub .

I don’t have enough time to work on this, but it shouldn’t be too difficult to modify this to have two A ports, and a single C plug. Could also use C ports as well.

This will ONLY be USB 3, and not any PD, display, or thunderbolt.

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@ cowpod Links are useful, Thanks.