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HP_Compaq_nx6125

This article is part of the Hardware series.
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Contents

The Hardware

There are several different nx6125, the most important difference is that some have an AMD Turion 64bit and some a Sempron processor. This howto will be about the Sempron type, until someone adds informations about the other one :)

Here are the specifications:

AMD Sempron 3100+ with 1.8 GHZ
256MB RAM, extendable up to 2GB
40GB Harddrive
Broadcom BCM4318 WLAN-chipset
Broadcom BCM5788 gigabit ethernet-chipset
DVD+RW
USB and Firewire
ATI X300 mobile gpu

It has a fingerprintreader and a cardreader too, but the first require to patch Sane (see http://gkall.hobby.nl/authentec.html). There is basic support for the Authentec reader in fprint ( see http://www.reactivated.net/fprint/wiki )

For the card reader, you can try the TIFM modules ( http://openfacts.berlios.de/index-en.phtml?title=TI_FlashMedia_xx12/xx21_driver ). That should allow you to use the SD Card reader. Check the link for other types of cards. That's still quite experimental. Successfully tested for SD Card on 2.6.18 kernel. Just untar the archive, type make, and insmod the .ko files... Insert your SD Card and mount /dev/mmc**** wherever you want to.

The driver patch is included however with at least kernel 2.6.23, maybe earlier.

Should you buy it?

The reasons why I bought this notebook was the cheap price and the big feature set. I paid 635€ for it.

Almost everything runs well, although there were some very strange problems about which I'm going to talk about later. It was exasperating. But as you have this nice howto you won't have any problems, so: buy it! :)

The installation

I installed the system using a knoppix-CD. X doesn't work (with 4.0.2). Trying to boot with APIC support slow down the system, you see APIC errors in the kernel-messages. Perhaps it works with newer kernels... If you try booting with knoppix, use this boot-line:

knoppix 2 noapic

to boot without apic and X.

If you need wireless-networking support during the installation, jump to WLAN!

Kernel

You should use a kernel >= 2.6.17.1, so that you can apply the ACPI-patch as described in the ACPI-section. I tried 2.6.16-gentoo-r1 and vanilla 2.6.17_rc3 successfully. Everything should work as expected, now here's what you should activate in the kernel:

Linux Kernel Configuration: HARDWARE HP Compaq nx6125 on 2.6.16-gentoo-r1
# You have a K8 processor :)
Processor type and features  --->
 Processor family (Opteron/Athlon64/Hammer/K8)

# ACPI is important...
Power management options (ACPI, APM)  --->
 ACPI (Advanced Configuration and Power Interface) Support  --->
  [*] ACPI Support
  <*>   AC Adapter
  <*>   Battery
  <*>   Button
  <*>   Video
  < >   Generic Hotkey (EXPERIMENTAL)
  <*>   Fan
  <*>   Processor
  <*>     Thermal Zone
 CPU Frequency scaling  --->
  [*] CPU Frequency scaling
  <*>   'powersave' governor
  <*>   'userspace' governor for userspace frequency scaling
  < >   'ondemand' cpufreq policy governor
  <*>   'conservative' cpufreq governor
  <*>   AMD Opteron/Athlon64 PowerNow!

Bus options (PCI, PCMCIA, EISA, MCA, ISA)
 <*> PCI Express support

Device Drivers  --->
 Network device support  --->
  # Our gigabit-ethernet card
  <M> Broadcom Tigon3 support
 Character devices  --->
  <M> /dev/agpgart (AGP Support)
  < >   ATI chipset support
 Sound  --->
  <M> Sound card support
  Advanced Linux Sound Architecture  --->
   <M> Advanced Linux Sound Architecture
   <M> ATI IXP AC97 Controller

That's all I remember for now, sure I forgot something.

WLAN

The integrated BCM4318 chip works with windows driver plus ndiswrapper and with the free driver net-wireless/bcm43xx. Here is described the use of ndiswrapper. The use of bcm43xx is described at Broadcom 43xx. It is less tested but works with kismet (in monitor mode).

--> At the moment the support for bcm4318 devices (which is used in the nx6125) is broken for me, I'm using 2.6.17_rc3. The developers said you should wait for 2.6.18_rc1...

To use ndiswrapper download the driver [1] and use cabextract to extract the driver:

emerge cabextract ndiswrapper
cabextract SP30676.exe
ndiswrapper -i bcmwl5a.inf
modprobe ndiswrapper

Read about setting up WLAN: Wireless/Configuration

I had some trouble with it. After all I found out that the WLAN-chip goes into a power save mode or something like that after 10/15? minutes. Problem: how to wake it up? It happens if you don't send anything over the interface. I tried many things and I even got to a point where after loading the module ACPI immediately says that it disabled the interrupt, yes...

Solution

Send a ping over the interface every 10 minutes and don't touch the wlan button with the blue light on the keyboard:

emerge vixie-cron
File: Add to /etc/crontab
*/10   *  * * * root    /bin/ping -c 1 google.com

If you don't use cron for anything else (on laptop?!), comment out the other lines in /etc/crontab

ACPI

As of August 10th, 2006 the problem STILL exists. The patch shown here does NOT fix the problem so it is UNRELIABLE. The patch here is simply a work-around and doesn't always function correctly if your laptop has been on for long periods of time. Use caution as your laptop could overheat!! Please see: https://bugzilla.novell.com/show_bug.cgi?id=179702 (Comment #47 and beyond) and from http://bugzilla.kernel.org/show_bug.cgi?id=5534 (Comment #143 and beyond)


In order to have ACPI working correctly, you need to patch your kernel. I've tested it with a 2.6.16-gentoo-r1 and vanilla 2.6.17_rc3. Get the patch from http://bugzilla.kernel.org/show_bug.cgi?id=5534

cd /usr/src/linux
patch -p1 < /path/to/the/patch

You need to append "acpi_pool_size=10" to your kernel-options in your grub.conf.

If suspend/acpi doesn't work, or works bad , you may replace your dsdt with this one : http://acpi.sourceforge.net/dsdt/view.php?id=561 (see the associated threads in Gentoo forums). In that case you'll need to upgrade your BIOS to F.0D. (kernel =< 2.6.17.1 as of June 21, 2006)

Battery Updating patch

The bug where the battery and AC adapter would stop updating it status has been fixed as of 2.6.18-rc1. The patch can be found at http://bugzilla.kernel.org/show_bug.cgi?id=6455 (kernel =< 2.6.17.1 as of June 21, 2006)

Other bugs that should be paid close attention to

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Last modified: Sat, 30 Aug 2008 06:45:00 +0000 Hits: 20,285