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Thread: HP ZE4560us - Anything and Everything

  1. #1
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    HP ZE4560us - Anything and Everything

    I have been tinkering with Knoppix on my HP ZE4560us laptop for a while now and I have decided to post what I have learned through experience so others may benefit.

    First of all, this tutorial assumes you're using Knoppix version 3.7 as it is the current version. I may update the tutorial for later versions as they are released but since I don't have the CDs for previous versions anymore, nor do I wish to re-download and burn them, I cannot support them.

    --- Getting the dang thing to boot at all without freezing at a black screen.
    Use these boot options for best results with this notebook:
    knoppix26 fb1024x768
    This will boot the 2.6.9 kernel and set your framebuffer to 1024x768 which is the max resolution of your screen.

    --- Getting the internal wireless card to work.
    You will need the driver files for your card. They're called "bcmwl5a.inf" and "bcmwl5.sys." Make sure that the inf file you get has the 'a' on the end. It's very important. You can get these driver files in several ways. If you have Windows XP installed to the HDD and the wireless card is working in there, it will work here as well. Mount the windows partition by clicking on it on the desktop, and then open a terminal window. type 'su' to get root access, and then at the root prompt, type in 'updatedb'
    This operation will index all of the files in your system. Once it is complete (it will take a minute and a half or so) type: 'locate bcmwl5a.inf'
    You should only get one result, and it should be somewhere in your /mnt/hda1. Remember that location. You can skip the next section if this method worked for you.

    The other way to bring in the driver file (note: this is the harder way, but will be the only way you will get it to work if you don't have windows on your hdd at all) is to store it on some form of USB media, be it floppy disk or USB flash key. I used the USB flash key, and here are the instructions:
    Use a windoze machine to decompress the driver exe from the manufacturer's website (if you require the driver files, reply to this thread and I will arrange for you to get a copy of them) Grab the bcmwl5a.inf and bcmwl5.sys files and store them in the root directory of your USB media. Boot knoppix, get a root terminal open, and enter this command: mkdir /mnt/usb
    now type this command, but do not execute it yet: mount -t vfat /dev/uba1 /mnt/usb
    plug in the usb flash key, wait a couple seconds, and hit enter. It seems this distribution freaks out with USB flash keys if you don't mount them right away. If you get no feedback at the command line, your flash key was mounted successfully. Now, follow the directions below.

    Now click on the penguin next to the kicker menu button, and open the network/internet submenu. Click on the 'ndiswrapper configuration' button. It will ask you for the location of your driver. Point it to the location you found using the locate function (or /mnt/usb if you used the flash disk method), and click OK. It will take a minute or so for it to load the module for your WiFi card, but it will work. Next, open up that same network/internet submenu and click on "Network card configuration"
    Choose the one that has "wlan0" in the title, and click OK. This will activate DHCP on your card. If it fails, you will need to run the "Wavelan configuration" script from that same menu and enter any details the card may need to know about the network you're trying to connect to, such as ESSID (if it's not broadcasted) or WEP encryption key.
    Once you have made any necessary changes in the wavelan configuration script, run the "Network card configuration" script again and it should run just fine. Now, go back to that terminal window and run this command to check if you have been assigned an IP address:
    ifconfig wlan0
    If it shows an IP, you're connected, and you can try accessing network resources or the internet now. If not, you missed something. Go back through the steps and make sure you did everything.

    -- Getting LILO to not take FOREVER when it's loading the kernel on a HDD install
    edit the lilo.conf file by:
    sudo vi /etc/lilo.conf
    [enter root pw]
    go down to the line
    # compact
    hit the "i" key to get into "insert" mode
    delete the "#" character, hit escape, make a colon, type 'wq" and hit enter
    back at the command prompt, type
    sudo lilo
    [enter root pw]
    reboot and enjoy the much faster kernel loading time

    -- Watch this thread. I'll be updating as I learn more about this notebook and its capabilities under knoppix. I previously wrote that I would be attempting to hack down the original wireless driver file, but after trying for a few hours the other night, it just doesn't look like it's going to happen. As mentioned earlier, if you would like the files, I can email them to you at your request.

  2. #2
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    How do you do this ? get to boot in 1024 768

    --- Getting the dang thing to boot at all without freezing at a black screen.
    Use these boot options for best results with this notebook:
    knoppix26 fb1024x768
    This will boot the 2.6.9 kernel and set your framebuffer to 1024x768 which is the max resolution of your screen.

  3. #3
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    when you first boot the laptop you get a boot screen. at the bottom, it has a "command prompt" where you can enter these "cheatcodes" to get it to boot on your system.
    you enter knoppix26 fb1204x768 to get the 2.6.9 kernel which is the one i have found the most success with, and it sets your screen resolution to the proper dimensions so it displays correctly.
    That said, if you don't want to have to enter cheatcodes every time you boot, i have been experimenting with Kanotix recently and it doesn't require any cheatcodes on this notebook computer.
    here's the site if you want to try it out.
    http://kanotix.com/info/index.php
    I'll be revising this guide soon with all of the tips and tricks i've compiled for use with kanotix.

  4. #4
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    foamrotreturns,

    I had been tinking about putting Linux on my laptop (ze4560us) for a while, but I didn't want to mess with the Win XP and NTFS. Finnaly, it struck me to look into Knoppix. I was concerned on how well it would work, so I checked this forum to see if anyone else had any issues on a 4560 (hopefully resolved ones) and this thread was the first non-sticky in the forum. I took that as a sign that all would go well. I followed your tips and had no problems.

    Thank you very much!

    KODE

  5. #5
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    cant get it to work!!!

    hi, i'm definitely new to linux but trying my hardest to get it up and working and i realize there are a ton of posts outlining the installation of the dell wireless WLAN1450 broadcom wireless chip. but, i'm having trouble i havent yet seen addressed. i've located the two files i need (bcmwl5a.inf and bcmwl5.sys)...when i boot knoppix 3.7, i use the boot command "knoppix26". i go to ndiswrapper and select the .inf file, but it gives me either the message "perhaps knoppix isnt compatible with your driver" or "this is not a .inf file..." or something along those lines. any ideas?
    thank you in advance
    Joe

  6. #6
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    Ahhhh... back to the forums. I've been gone for a while, but I'm back now and I hope to maintain this thread with a little more consistency.
    I'm currently running Kanotix 2005-3 on my ZE4560us and it's working great. I have been getting into wifi security a lot lately though, so the built-in Broadcom chipset wireless card is getting on my nerves. I'd rather not have to plug in some external card, so I'm thinking about changing out my internal. They're available on eBay.
    I'm specifically looking at the Prism 2.5 and Prism GT chipsets. Both have 802.11g capabilities as well as WEP, WPA, and 802.1x encryption abilities. They're quite cheap, and even cheaper if you buy them in bulk. I'm thinking about buying a batch of them. Would anyone else be interested in getting a group together for purchasing a set of these?
    Single unit price is $22 and shipping is $8. If we buy in bulk, I can get 3 of them for $59 and the shipping charge is the same. Yea, not much difference, but I thought it would be worth it to post it anyway.
    I'm also going to look into how difficult it is to replace the mini-PCI card inside the laptop this evening. I'm pretty sure it's just a panel on the bottom of the computer that can be un-screwed, but I'm going to find out for sure tonight.
    Updates later.

  7. #7
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    Seeing no replies, I have gone ahead and ordered mine - I will be installing it as soon as it arrives. I will post the tutorial here.

  8. #8
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    Update:
    STAY FAR AWAY FROM PRISMGT CHIPSET WIFI CARDS
    Recently, all PrismGT cards started using something called SoftMAC which uses the driver to set the MAC address instead of the hardware. This behaviour is not supported in any Linux drivers so far, and even my best attempts to use ndiswrapper were of no use. I now have a Mini-PCI card without a use. Maybe I'll go upgrade someone's laptop that only uses Windows.
    On another note, I have ordered an Atheros chipset Mini-PCI card. The Atheros chipset is well supported with the madwifi driver, and I will be coming back here to post the details when I receive that item.

  9. #9
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    Placeholder for now - have to catch some sleep before work at 8am tomorrow... but the good news is....

    Drumroll please...

    The ze4560us is compatible with Atheros Mini-PCI cards! Not only will it enhance your reception, but Atheros cards are some of the most well supported in Linux through the madwifi driver project. Also, these cards are available in Tri-Band models (that's 802.11a/b/g) for a similar price to that which you would pay for a PCMCIA 802.11g only card. And the icing on the cake: it's WPA-compliant
    I highly recommend looking into getting one if you have this laptop. It will greatly increase your coverage and will enable you to start using the card with native drivers - which have all kinds of advantages.

    Like I said earlier, this is merely a placeholder post for the time being. Eventually it will have pictures of how to install the card and some explanation about what modprobe commands to use, wpa_supplicant configuration, etc.

  10. #10
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    OK, so here's the tutorial for replacing the built-in mini-pci 802.11g WiFi card with a more linux-compatible card:
    [Disclaimer]By following this guide, you assume all risk of damage to hardware, software, data, or self, and release the author from any and all responsibilities.[/Disclaimer]
    server is down for now, i'll try to get it back up soon
    Sorry for the fuzzy pictures. I couldn't find the macro mode on my dad's camera.
    First, unplug the laptop and turn it over on its back.
    Next, get a small screwdriver and unscrew the two screws that hold the door closed.
    http://outlinux.ath.cx/pictures/ze4560us/P1010131.JPG
    Now gently open the door. The screws end comes out first and the other end has little tabs holding it in. They will come free once you tilt the door up.
    http://outlinux.ath.cx/pictures/ze4560us/P1010132.JPG
    There are two wires attached to the card. Grab the little metal connector on the end of the first wire and tug gently straight up. You can wiggle it on its rotatable axis to break the friction. Keep in mind that these connectors are not screw-on, and they will come off after a little bit of wiggling and tugging.
    http://outlinux.ath.cx/pictures/ze4560us/P1010133.JPG
    Make sure you keep track of which wire goes to which terminal. Next, detach the second wire and remove the card by pressing outward on the two metal clips. The card will pop up when it is free of its restraints. If you have ever installed RAM in a laptop, this is the same mechanism.
    http://outlinux.ath.cx/pictures/ze4560us/P1010134.JPG
    Once the card has popped up,
    http://outlinux.ath.cx/pictures/ze4560us/P1010135.JPG
    grasp it by the part that has come farthest out of the case and pull it up and away from the slot.
    http://outlinux.ath.cx/pictures/ze4560us/P1010136.JPG
    Great! Now you take the new card, and simply do all of these steps in reverse.
    Notes:
    When putting the new card in, make sure that you seat it firmly in the slot, or it will not be recognized. When re-attaching the wires to the terminals, make sure that you press straight down on the terminal and make sure that it pops into place.

    Modprobe instructions:
    sudo modprobe ath_pci
    that command should get any internal Atheros chipset card to be recognized by the OS if it's not already picked up by the hardware probe

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