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Topic Title: Wireless card upgrade in HP/Compaq laptops
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Created On: 05/29/2007 09:42 PM
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 05/29/2007 09:42 PM
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Mime
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Hey everyone... Some of the long time members here might remember me complaning about the not-so-great support for Broadcom wireless controllers under linux when I first got my laptop. The reason for complaning being of course that my laptop has one of those... or at least it did until today. I swapped it out for another controller that I knew had better support, and then had the lovely surprise of finding out that the laptop won't boot with the card in there. The error message was...

104-Unsupported wireless network device detected.
System Halted. Remove device and restart.


It's a full out BIOS lock that checks against a list of known PCI IDs. If the card has a PCI ID that's not in the list, then your machine won't boot. I've read a number of different reasons, mostly centering around an FCC rule I'm not at all the first person to come across it. It looks like the deal started some time in 2004.

Through a little cheap hackery I have the machine up and running with the card working in linux right now, but as soon as I reboot I'll get locked out again. If anyone else has run into this then please let me know what you did about it. Otherwise, I'll post my findings once everything is happy again.

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 05/29/2007 10:29 PM
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Charlie22911
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my first guess would be to piddle around in the bios with a hex editor and bios modding software (is it award, phoenix or what?)... other than that im not sure what else you could do.

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Desktop:
Phenom II x6 1055T @ 4GHz | 4x2GB Patriot DDR3 1600 @ 2000 | 3x AMD Radeon HD6970 Crossfire

Laptop:
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 05/29/2007 10:51 PM
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Mime
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Yeah that looks to be one approach. It'd be the nicest approach to take also, but currently I'm looking at a way of changing the PCI IDs of the card. I figure I'll be better off if I end up breaking something because the worst case scenario there is $30 for another miniPCI card rather than risk hosing the entire machine.

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 05/30/2007 12:17 PM
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Charlie22911
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i overlooked the fact that laptop bioses are non replacable...
im on my palm now, once i get home from summer school i will look up a website that cought my eye, it had a program listed that lets you convert windowsXP drivers to linux (i assume thats what you mean by lack of support?). i have a simular problem as you with a dektop 802.11g linksys pci card, but im a bit of a linux noob

-------------------------
Desktop:
Phenom II x6 1055T @ 4GHz | 4x2GB Patriot DDR3 1600 @ 2000 | 3x AMD Radeon HD6970 Crossfire

Laptop:
Core i7 2960xm @ 4.2Ghz | 4x4GB Kingston DDR3 1866 | 2x GTX 580m SLI OC 725/1450/1500
 05/30/2007 02:51 PM
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Mime
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That program I believe would be ndiswrapper, and yeah... tinkering with windows drivers in one way or another is the only way to get the broadcom controller working under linux at all since there are no native linux drivers for it. I used ndiswrapper for a while, but unfortunately never got very good results, so I decided during school this semester that once summer came around and I had time to breath again I'd look into things more closely. I wasn't expecting to have to get this deep into it, but I guess that's the way it's going to have to be.

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 05/31/2007 10:01 AM
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Charlie22911
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yeah, thats the one, didnt work well here either. maybe native drivers will be released, broadcom chipsets do seem rather common. if you cant get it to work, i guess you would have to resort buying a pc card with a prism chipset. drivers and the learning curve are the only thing holding me back from linux. good luck and keep us posted, im curious to see how this turns out.

-------------------------
Desktop:
Phenom II x6 1055T @ 4GHz | 4x2GB Patriot DDR3 1600 @ 2000 | 3x AMD Radeon HD6970 Crossfire

Laptop:
Core i7 2960xm @ 4.2Ghz | 4x4GB Kingston DDR3 1866 | 2x GTX 580m SLI OC 725/1450/1500
 05/31/2007 04:21 PM
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Mime
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Wahoo! We have boot!

I'm no longer greeted with an indignant beep and that silly error message. I'm not quite done, however, since the drivers for the card have absolutely no idea what to do with the thing now that I've changed all the device IDs. As soon as I fix that everything should be happy again.

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Do not meddle in the affairs of archers, for they are subtle and quick to anger.
 05/31/2007 05:20 PM
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Charlie22911
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Awesome! so how did you do this? glad to see its going okay, but it shouldn't be too hard to edit the drivers . nicely done .

-------------------------
Desktop:
Phenom II x6 1055T @ 4GHz | 4x2GB Patriot DDR3 1600 @ 2000 | 3x AMD Radeon HD6970 Crossfire

Laptop:
Core i7 2960xm @ 4.2Ghz | 4x4GB Kingston DDR3 1866 | 2x GTX 580m SLI OC 725/1450/1500
 05/31/2007 06:12 PM
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Mime
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I found a patch that allowed me access to the EEPROM on the card. That's where the BIOS was looking when the machine booted. I used it to change the vendor and device IDs of the card so that it looked like I still had the broadcom card in there. The patch is a couple years old now, and the version it was built for didn't compile on my system, so I had to roll up my sleeves and pick through the driver code myself in order to apply the patch to the current drivers. Not pretty... but it worked, and having the patch written for me was definitely very nice. Web developers aren't used to dealing with these sort of things.

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 05/31/2007 08:49 PM
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Mime
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Woot! I'm posting wirelessly once again.

In addition to more modifications to the driver I had to change modules.alias and modules.pcimap in order to stop ubuntu from getting confused at boot. I've been kind of reluctant to get into the dirty details thus far, because messing around with EEPROMs and some of the other things are not for the faint at heart. I could have easily destroyed the wireless controller, or the entire machine if I hadn't have been very careful at each step along the way. If anyone has a laptop like this and wants to know the specifics let me know.

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Containment Breach

Do not meddle in the affairs of archers, for they are subtle and quick to anger.

Edited: 05/31/2007 at 08:55 PM by Mime
 06/01/2007 12:55 AM
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anonzzz
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Sparklan, Toshiba etc:

http://www.sparklan.com/category.php?cat_id=11

Perhaps you can convert Netgear Wireless card to Atheros MiniPCI. There is a linux driver for Atheros chipset.
You need a soldering iron and an experienced technician.

http://www.larsen-b.com/Article/243.html

Edited: 06/01/2007 at 01:00 AM by anonzzz
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