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Me, Linux and my Acer Travelmate 382 TMI

This is my small report about my Linux experiences with my Acer Travelmate 382 TMI. Well, unfortunately it is not very detailed, because I mostly copied the stuff from my old Acer Travelmate 420 to my new one. Thus, skipping something doesn't mean I haven't checked it.

I have used a Knoppix 3.6 boot CD to resize the WinXP partition with parted and to remove the second partition. Afterwards simply tarred my old Debian installation on it. I am simply to lazy to do it from scratch again. But installing any modern distro should be quite straight forward on this notebook.

In case you have questions you can direct them to chopp(at)derhopp(dot)net.

Recent changes:

Interesting Links

I do not seem to be the only user having Linux on a Acer Travelmate 382 TMI. Osma Ahvenlampi describes in his blog his experiences installing Fedora Core 4 on a Acer Travelmate 382 TMI.

Kernel

Up to version 2.6.11-ck3 I have patched it with Con Kolivas kernel patch set, bootsplash and the drivers for ACX100 [2] WLAN cards (this is not for the built in WLAN card!!!). So please take that into account in case you want to use or study my kernel configuration. Starting with 2.6.14.3 I have patched the kernel with bootsplash and the Suspend2 patches. At the moment I am using a Linux Kernel version 2.6.14.3.

Processor

The processor is a Intel Pentium-M 1.6GHz (a.k.a. Centrino). Thus, you can make use of frequency scaling. I am using cpufreqd for it with the configuration above. This requires that you enable speedstepping for centrinos and the necessary govenors in the kernel.

XFree

Most stuff for the X configuration is really straight forward. You require Intel AGP and i830/i855 DRM support in the kernel to make use of DRI (the i830 modules). And you should integrate the synaptics support to make use of the quite powerful synaptics touchpad.
In case you want to use an external display you might want to have look at the tools referenced above. I am driving a 19" lcd with my laptop without problems.

X.Org

The configuration for X.Org is as easy as for XFree. You require DRM support in the kernel, but you have to use the i915 driver in the kernel. But the most of the special X.Org features like fuzzy shadows or transparency do not perform very well.

FireWire

It requires the modules ieee1384, uhci1384 and sbp2 for external drives (including the external DVD writer) to work.

USB 2.0

The USB 2.0 port was tested with a external harddisk. It utilizes the ehci_hcd module.

PC Card (the bus formerly known as PCMCIA)

I have tried the port with my D-Link DWL-650+ wireless lan card. Yes, I know it's rather useless to put another wlan card in the computer, but it was just for testing the pc card slot. The driver for the bus is called yenta_socket and it works out of the box. Most distros provide services for pc card/pcmcia card recognition and automatic driver load.

DVD Writer

The DVD Writer is a Sony DW-U50A in a Firewire housing. It requires FireWire support and SCSI cdrom support to work properly. Unfortunately there is not much information about that drive in the internet. That's the best I could find about it:

Type1 x DVDRW - 5.25" x 1/6H (Slim Line)
Read Speed24x (CD) / 5x (DVD)
Write Speed16x (CD) / 1x (DVD-R) / 2x (DVD+R)
CD / DVD Rewrite Speed8x (CD) / 1x (DVD-RW) / 2x (DVD+RW)
Supported Media Types CD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-ROM, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+RW, DVD+R
Buffer Size8 MB

Harddisk

The harddisk is a 60GB 2.5" notebook harddisk made by Hitachi. The model number is IC25N060ATMR04-0. The readings of hdparm are the following:

> hdparm -t -T /dev/hda
/dev/hda:
Timing cached reads: 1848 MB in 2.02 seconds = 914.99 MB/sec
Timing buffered disk reads: 68 MB in 3.04 seconds = 22.36 MB/sec

WLAN

The TM382TMI has a 2nd generation Centrino WLAN card. That is a INTEL IPW2200 card supporting 802.11 b/g connections up to 54Mbit. When installing don't forget to download the firmwares from the drivers page as well.

You can only load successfully load the driver if the software (well and the hardware) rf_kill is turned off. You can either press the WLAN hotkey or use the sysfs interface /sys/bus/pci/drivers/ipw2200/0000:02:01.0/rf_kill. Read also the part about hotkeys.

LAN

The LAN is powered by a Realtek 8139 chip. Thus, it is necessary to load the 8139too module.

ACPI

ACPI is working right out of the box with the kernel settings of the kernel above. Anyhow, I was not able to use sleep or standby modes.

You might want to install something like the acpid to make use of the power button.

Hibernation

With a little bit of trying I was able to get hibernation to work. And I must say it's fast. You have to get the Suspend2 patches and install the hibernation script (available at the same site but also als e.g. debian packages). You need a sufficiently large swap patition. Enable LZW compression and of course suspend2 in the kernel. And with little tweeking to /etc/hibernate.conf it works. Do not forget to put a reference to your swap partition in your lilo.conf (or the any other bootloader configuration) like resume2=swap:/dev/hda6.

Sound

This notebook has a Realtek ALC655 sound processor. Well, that doesn't matter much you can just use the Intel8x0 support of ALSA. That means you have to load the module snd-intel8x0. This should be set as you modutils alias snd-card-0. The analog output works very well with it.
But the SP/DIF output is still causing some headache. Actually the ALSA device hw:0,4 should be the connection to it. But whenever a program tries to access that port the program halts.

Modem

I was almost about to give up on the modem support. But just by accident I ran over the SmartLink link above. They have the necessary tools and a driver. The module slamr gives access to the modem and the slmodemd daemon acts as an interface to /dev/ttySL0. Then start slmodemd and you can connect to /dev/ttySL0. For more information consult the README file shipped with SmartLink modem tools.

There seems to be some Linux 2.6.10+ GPL compilation problem. Some use of Google pointed to a page at www.daiku.com with the explaination and a patch.

The snd-intel8x0m module of the ALSA system doesn't seem to work with this modem. Eventhough it was reported earlier. Well this driver loads and you can communicate with it, but as soon as really want to use the modem line all you get is NO DIALTONE.

IRDA

With the help of a guide for an Acer Travelmate 654 LCI I was able to get IRDA running. First of all make sure that your second serial line is not configured by setserial (setserial /dev/ttyS1 uart none). Then you need to load the module nsc-ircc with the options irq=3 io=0x02f8 dma=3 dongle_id=0x09(in the kernel config look of "NSC PC87108/PC87338"). Then start all the necessary userspace applications of your distro. Well, and it finds my Siemens cell phone with irdadump. So I would say it works.

Hotkeys

I was able to use the acerhk driver. I have tested version 0.5.21 and the Acer TM380 is recognized without problems. There is no need for forcing it into other Acer models.

You can use the keys with e.g. xbindkeys and bind them to programs. But there are other programs to accomplish it. And you have a userspace interface to the settings at /proc/driver/acerhk.

The WLAN key is not really tricky but it not quite an out of the box thing. This switch does a software rf_kill. So whenever you press it it changes the status. The only way to find out which setting the switch has is using the following entry in the sysfs /sys/bus/pci/drivers/ipw2200/0000:02:01.0/rf_kill. But this requires the ipw2200 to be loaded (see also WLAN).

In addition to those "hotkeys" there are "function" keys. These keys require the "Fn" key to be pressed. They include "Brightness +/-", "Change Display", "Turn off Display", "Num-Lock", "Page up/down", "Volume +/-" and "Mute". Except for the sound related keys all of them work right out of the box and seem to be hardwired. "Volume +/-" and "Mute" can be use with e.g. xbindkeys.

Misc stuff

I have found a 2GB partition with the ID=12 (Compaq diagnostics) at the beginning of the harddisk. It is formated with a fat filesystem. It seems to hold some images and some software looking like proprietary image writing software. Maybe someone can tell me what it's used for.

A couple of questions from users came up about the laptop's temperatur and the fan activity. Usually mine runs at 600MHz without fan activity and a core Temperature 46-48C. The fan usually starts at 60C what you easily cat get with full load at 1600MHz. It is anyways recommended for every laptop to put it on a hard flat ground like a desk and to keep the back free for good ventilation.

Like every wireless equipment the Acer Travelmate 382 TCI has of course a FCC ID: namely "HLZMS2130BG". This means you can look up very intesting inside information. Well it's not very much helpful when you install Linux but... well simply look at it! The real good stuff are detailed information about the antenna (location, gain, radiation) and the network card (e.g. connectors). Well, it might be useful if you for example want to connect external antennas (beware warranty, legal issues, hardware failures, blah blah blah... I warned you, okay!).

Disclaimer

I do not give any warranty on any damage done due to this report neither by the software referenced on this page. You are using it on your own risk!

DerHopp <webmaster at derhopp dot net>

Last modified: Thu Jan 12 20:46:32 CET 2006

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