Framework Parts Power Open Source Console

Framework Parts Power Open Source Console

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An enterprising modder and YouTuber by the name of Steven B has developed their own open-source handheld gaming console. What makes this unique? They made it using parts from a Framework laptop and a range of 3D-printed parts. Steven B dubbed the console the “FrameDeck”—an obvious reference to the Steam Deck handheld gaming console on which it is based. The device, which is still under development, uses a variety of salvaged parts including the mainboard and battery of a Framework 13 Laptop as well as a range of third-party components like the Kailh Chocolate V2 Low Profile Mechanical Keyboard Switch (P.S. iFixit’s step-by-step repair guides for the new Framework 16″ are now live). Projects like the FrameDeck embody a philosophy of circularity, offering users the opportunity to repurpose existing hardware, reducing e-waste and prolonging the lifespan of electronic devices.

The project, dubbed “The First Open Source Framework Powered Handheld,“ has detailed documentation, code, and instructions on GitHub. Embracing this community-driven, open-source approach to development allows enthusiasts to build their own devices or modify them. Gaming is one of the many battlegrounds in the fight for a right to repair. Gaming consoles like the X-Box or Sony Playstation are notoriously difficult to repair, with manufacturers using digital rights management to prevent even simple repairs such as replacing failed optical drives.

A survey by iFixit of game console repair shops globally found 93% reported trouble repairing consoles with broken optical drives. More than half of shops have had a backlog of broken consoles that can’t be repaired due to manufacturer-imposed impediments such as parts pairing. Despite the widespread nature of the problem, gaming industry lobbyists have succeeded in getting consoles exempted from right to repair laws in states like California, Minnesota and New York.

There have been some signs of improvement. Steam Deck has recently started making parts and repair manuals available on iFixit. However, the overall trend of repairability in gaming consoles, both new and old, is heading in the unrepairable direction. Just this week, Nintendo announced the cessation of repair services for the Nintendo 2DS, New Nintendo 3DS, and New Nintendo 3DS LL, citing the depletion of parts inventory (why not release 3D design files for parts, then, Nintendo?). Sadly, this scenario is becoming the norm in the gaming industry and the broader tech landscape.

FrameDeck offers a glimpse of an alternative future, however: products that boast ease of repair and upgradability, coupled with open-source software that shields against manufacturer abandonment. In such a scenario, the specter of short product lifespans would diminish significantly. The FrameDeck, alongside similar initiatives, presents a compelling argument for an alternative trajectory in gaming—and technology at large.

Device Page

Framework Laptop 16"

The second generation of Framework's highly-repairable laptop series. Released in January 2024.

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More News

  • France saved more than 178,000 appliances using the Repair Bonus program: The French “Repair Bonus” program has saved 178,000 devices from landfills in one year, according to published reports. Launched in 2022, it subsidizes 25% of repair costs, up to 60 euros maximum. The most commonly repaired items include smartphones, washing machines, and dishwashers. 39% of respondents prefer repair over buying new due to the subsidy. The program will continue in 2024, expanding to cover electric shavers, epilators, hair straighteners, power tools, and scanners.
  • Under pressure from manufacturers, lawmakers weaken West Virginia bill: A bill in Iowa establishing farmers’ right to fix their own equipment is being watered down due to pressure from the tractor lobby. West Virginia lawmakers modified a bill aimed at establishing farmers’ right to repair their equipment and weakening the planned protections for farmers. The original version of SB 306 would have required manufacturers to provide parts and tools for owners and repair shops, akin to right to repair bills in other states. The amendments stripped out coverage for lawn, garden, and forestry equipment, reflecting differing industry concerns. The revised bill is yet to reach the Senate floor, with potential further revisions and review by the Finance Committee.
  • What the EU’s progress on repair means for the UK: Recent EU legislation on right to repair marks significant progress for consumer rights, focusing on ensuring products are repairable. The legislation goes beyond simply mandating design requirements for products, focusing on obligations for manufacturers and sellers to try to ensure that consumers actually can get their products repaired. Among other things, the legal guarantee of repaired products was extended by 12 months, incentivizing repair over replacement.