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Linux on the Texas Instruments Extensa 510 Laptop



Hardware

Device identifyable as:
Extensa 510 laptop manufactured by Texas-Instruments - TI (than somebody else, than Acer, I guess).

Original Hardware Configuration

CPU Pentium 100 MHz
RAM 8 MB built in
HDD 810 MB Toshiba
Video Chips&Technology 65545 bult in, 1MB RAM
Sound ess1688 built in
Speakera single built in speaker
Mouse 2 buttons touchpad

Extra Hardware Installed

I have added 2x16MB SIMMs (costed around US$40) so I have 40MB of RAM. Changed the hdd to a 6.4G IBM one. BIOS setup reports it as 147MB hdd, but Linux and even w98se (!) boots well. I've flashed the BIOS to the newest version available, but don't know if it made any difference. Also had to get a new power supply and keyboard, but because they were lost/brocken, so it's irrevelant. A funny IBM PCMCIA network card, reported as ne2000 compatible under Linux and as "IBM Ethernet Credit Card II" under MS-Windows.

Linux

I'm using kernel 2.4.18, recompiled to something as light as possible. The distribution I use is Debian 3.0 Woody. Totally installed from FTP. This method is available only if you have more than 12MB of RAM (this means not good for original configuration), due to installation program requirements (on 8MB configuration it decompresses the tarballs forever).

Hardware installation notes:
PC-MCIA support is provided by i82365.o module.
The sound support is provided by sb.o module from OSS (comed with the kernel)
The video (i use X v4) is set up using driver called "chips"
The screen is 640x480 with only 4 bits color (!).
The mouse is on /dev/psaux, type: ps/2, no repeating, etc. Works in X and gpm simultaniusly.
The power looks to be unmanagable via APM (it can't get the battery status, etc.)
The power can be turned off phisically via "halt" command setting up appropiate options in the kernel
I use lilo as boot manager, and found that the option vga=5 (80x34 characters for console mode) it the best for this specimen. Letters are readable, and the whole screen is used.

Background:
First of all, the lap comed to me as "dead body".
The BIOS was blocked by password, so has to do some chaman dance to unblock it, I still shall have the flash bios tool used for that, but STFW if needed. BTW, i've double checked that this lap is NOT stolen. It's previus owner got is a part of a payment from somebody, and had never used it.
Some cleaning did very well to it, but the battery bay cover is lost, and I really suspect the battery itself is not the same as it was when new. Normally I have around 20 min of autonomy. The charger was lost as well, I'm using a 19v charger form some Compaq lap, no problem detected yet. I would think that anything from 16v to 24v (tested, but not for long time) feets. Under your own risk.

Tricks:
The PCMCIA support is compiled as module. Don't know why, but I was unable to use the network card if the PCMCIA support where built into the Kernel. It's a i82365 bridge. Probably because I missed to compile something else (ds.o ?)
The video (I use X v4) is set up using a driver called "chips" (nice name :) and the screen is 640x480 (I guess it's the physical resolution of this LCD panel) and I where not able to get more than 4 bit color, but I'm working on it. It is supposed to support 8 and 16 bit color, but if set so, the X server comes up, but the screen is completely unreadable. If the color depth is set to 15 or 24 bits, X exits with an error.
Hardware turn off on "halt" command, and LCD turn off while screen saver in console mode works fine.
Win95 was doing something strange with PCMCIA, but w98se (intensively hacked by 98lite Pro and manual registry editing) is good enough. BTW, same shit with the display color depth as in X.

Intended for:
1. Take-PC-to-bed propouse, to play with things, games via dosemu, control DVD-ROM player which is in other room (the tv is in front to bed:), Other nice (cool is not the word to describe this) thing is that it wastes much power in hot, so may be used as personal warmer :)
2. Mobile network diagnostic tool. SAMBA, nmap, tcpdump, iplog, etc are loaded.
3. Mobile NAT router, very useful for LAN-Partys and testing porposes, an external modem (a v90 C-Net one) shall be attached in this case.
4. Some times I do some telephony work, so it's cool to have a device with serial port near of the phone switch.
5. Car MP3 player. It's a future plan. I have to get a charger for car, and a car to plug it in. The built-in speaker is kind of nasty, but the speak-out mini-jack sounds very decent.
6. Didn't test it yet, but it might be used as sound recorder as well.

Survey PCI Devices

Output from lspci:

00:00.0 Class ffff: Acer Laboratories Inc. [ALi] M1511 [Aladdin] (rev ff)
00:02.0 Class ffff: Acer Laboratories Inc. [ALi] M1513 [Aladdin] (rev ff)
00:06.0 Class ffff: Chips and Technologies F65545 (rev ff)
00:08.0 Class ffff: Acer Laboratories Inc. [ALi] MS4803 (rev ff)

You may also use the description how to reveal PCI IDs and the survey of miniPCI Ports in Laptops with Linux .

Moral:

Don't throw it away, find a good place for it.

Good luck, Alk.

This page is a courtesy for TuxMobil by Alexander Kouznetsov <alk_at_dasmico.com.mx>








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© Werner Heuser 1997-2013 · http://tuxmobil.org/ti_extensa510.html · last change Mon Nov 12 2007