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Minor Versionm

by Nirav Patel

Introduction

After over a year of prototyping and experiments, we've been able to come up with a way to reduce system power consumption when an HDMI Expansion Card is present, by making the card pretend that it is not a display output when there is no monitor connected.

You can rework an existing HDMI Expansion Card to have this behavior by following this guide to solder a jumper wire internally and flash new firmware to it. Note that this requires advanced soldering skills, so we recommend that you only try it if you're familiar with extremely fine-pitch SMT rework and have the necessary tools for it. Damage caused by failed reworks is not covered under warranty.

Beta release: Note that the firmware and instructions are still in beta, so there may be further revisions. The firmware update tool from our supplier currently is only available for Windows. We're also running a beta test with 2nd Gen HDMI Expansion Cards with Batch 1 of 13th Gen that has a slightly different modification.

  1. With the T5 bit in your Framework Screwdriver, remove the two fasteners holding the lid onto the Expansion Card. Hold the Expansion Card with both of your thumbs on the lid and slide the lid towards the USB-C plug.  It will take a little force to get the lid to unlatch.
    • With the T5 bit in your Framework Screwdriver, remove the two fasteners holding the lid onto the Expansion Card.

    • Hold the Expansion Card with both of your thumbs on the lid and slide the lid towards the USB-C plug. It will take a little force to get the lid to unlatch.

  2. Using the T5 bit in your Framework Screwdriver, remove the two fasteners that hold the PCB in.  This will let you get to the underside of the PCB, where you'll solder the jumper wire.
    • Using the T5 bit in your Framework Screwdriver, remove the two fasteners that hold the PCB in. This will let you get to the underside of the PCB, where you'll solder the jumper wire.

  3. This is the hard part!  We recommend using a 28 AWG solid wire about 7mm long, along with a microscope, tweezers, a fine tip soldering iron, a tiny amount of solder, and some soldering flux.  It takes very little solder to make the connection. If you're at this point looking at the tiny pads and wondering about the steadiness of your hands, it is totally ok to turn back now rather than risking damaging the card.  This is definitely a non-trivial soldering exercise.
    • This is the hard part! We recommend using a 28 AWG solid wire about 7mm long, along with a microscope, tweezers, a fine tip soldering iron, a tiny amount of solder, and some soldering flux. It takes very little solder to make the connection.

    • If you're at this point looking at the tiny pads and wondering about the steadiness of your hands, it is totally ok to turn back now rather than risking damaging the card. This is definitely a non-trivial soldering exercise.

    • In the first image, you can see the two points that need to be connected. The right pad on the unpopulated resistor footprint, to the third pad on the IC.

    • If your HDMI Expansion Card has a resistor on the footprint that the left orange arrow is pointing to, remove the resistor first.

    • In the second image, you can see an example of a wire soldered into place. Note how little solder is used for the connection. Be extra cautious to not use too much solder, bridging to other contacts, but enough solder that the circuit is solid. Take a close look with a microscope to ensure the solder joint is good.

  4. Screw the PCB back into place using the two black T5 fasteners. Slide the lid back on, and screw it on using the two silver T5 fasteners.
    • Screw the PCB back into place using the two black T5 fasteners.

    • Slide the lid back on, and screw it on using the two silver T5 fasteners.

    • Now that you've completed the hardware part of the rework, you can reflash the HDMI Expansion Card with the new firmware. Note that we currently only have a Windows-based updater available from our supplier.

    • Download the HDMI Expansion Card version 105 firmware here. Unzip it. With the HDMI Expansion Card plugged in, run Framework_HDMI_Card_3.0.16.105.exe. After the update completes, you can run Framework_ReadVersion.exe to confirm that both "Image 1 version" and "Image 2 version" state 3.0.16 build 105.

    • We also recommend marking the card in some way to indicate that you've modified it, in case you have multiple cards in the future.

Conclusion

With the rework completed and the firmware flashed, you can expect to see improvements in power consumption in different scenarios. Make sure you're also running the latest firmware on your laptop to see the full results.

7 other people completed this guide.

Nirav Patel

Member since: 03/24/2021

21 Guides authored

Team

Framework Member of Framework

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19 Comments

After the mod in windows 11 I get a warning that the USB device is not recognized if no HDMI cable is plugged in and if I plug in a device via HDMI, everything works fine. Under Linux MINT 22, I get not warning. I hope this is normal... Nevertheless, everything seems to work fine :)

BTW: This mod is really really difficult, I almost gave up after 2h of work (However, I had no SMD experience nor a microscope) and I think I only did it by chance.

133U - Reply

Very fiddly. Working with a magnifier on a helping hand, a strand of wire from a mm thing wire, and not the finest soldering tip on my TS100. Everytime I went to solder the pad end, the chip end would come free. A lot of patience required, but I eventually got a connection on both ends.

Needed to do this as my Samsung monitor pre-mod was limiting display refresh rate to just 30Hz at 4k, having done this mod, and flashed the new firmware I now have 4k@60Hz. No need to buy a new module.

AMoonRabbit - Reply

I'm following up on this and hoping you can share the 3.0.16 build 980 firmware update for the HDMI v2 modules so I can fix mine? Or should I contact support?

I realized my past post had an error, however the short of it is that after running the v3 update file on my v2 module, the firmware reports as being downgraded to 3.0.16 build 105. Originally it was 3.0.16 build 980, so you can see the issue here?

Thank you in advance! Sorry I don't check this page often, but I would like to run the proper firmware if this older build will cause other issues.

Caleb Morche - Reply

Hello! I'm making a duplicate of my comment as a new post as I'm not sure if it will be noticed within the others.

I own both the 1st and 2nd gen editions of this card, but I mistakenly ran the firmware update for the 3rd gen and it changed my 2nd gen card to now report the firmware as "3.0.16 build 105", which is older/different from the firmware that coriginally ame with the card, "3.0.16 build 980".

How can I revert my 2nd gen card back to "3.0.16 build 105"? Or am I now stuck with "3.0.16 build 980"? What issues might this cause, if there are indeed hardware differences between the 2nd and 3rd?

Thank you!

Caleb Morche - Reply

3.0.16 build 105 is actually a newer firmware than 980, but was designed for 3rd Gen. We haven't tested it on 2nd Gen, but if it seems to be working, there probably isn't a strong reason to change it.

Nirav Patel -

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