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Acer Aspire 1551

Introduction

The Acer Aspire 1551 is a great alternative to a netbook, similar format 11.6 inch monitor, inexpensive and with fairly good processing power. Installing GNU/Linux (OpenSuse 11.3) on this little machine was a bumpy ride but the result is rather satisfying.
This page is just for discussing using Linux on the Acer Aspire 1551. For a general discussion about this laptop you can visit the Acer Aspire 1551 page on LapWik.

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Specifications

For full specifications see the Acer Aspire 1551 specifications page.

NameAcer Aspire 1551
ProcessorAMD Turion™ II Neo Dual-Core Mobile Processor K625 (2MB L2 cache, 1.50GHz)
AMD Athlon™ II Neo Dual-Core Processor K325 (2MB L2 cache, 1.30GHz) (sub model 4650)
Screen11.6“ (1366×768) Widescreen
RAMUp to 4GB
HDDup to 320GB
Optical DriveNone
GraphicsATI Radeon™ HD 4225
Network10/100/1000 Ethernet
Acer InviLink Nplify 802.11b/g/n

Linux Compatibility

DeviceCompatibilityComments
ProcessorWorkstested on K325
ScreenWorks
HDDWorks
GraphicsWorksRecommend Proprietary Driver [see below]
SoundWorks
EthernetWorks
WirelessWorks broadcom wl driver from packman
USBWorks
HDMI OutWorks
VGAWorks
Card ReaderWorks tested with SD and Xd
WebcamWorks tested with skype
Build-in micWorks well in some distros tested with skype, Ekiga

Notes

IMPORTANT UPDATE

As of openSUSE 12.1 DVD installation is working out of the box without workarounds!!!

Installing openSUSE 11.3 x86-64 on Acer Aspire 1551-4650 (AS1551-4650-US):

I first tried booting from USB flash drive with openSUSE-11.3-KDE4-LiveCD-x86_64.iso flashed as per instructions on openSUSE web site. The live USB will not load unless acpi=off is passed to the kernel. Installation from the Live CD hangs when trying to configure the bootloader for reasons that are not necessarily machine specific.
Note: It is important to md5sum the image before flashing the USB drive as the test installation media will fail because the live USB will modify files on the fly as you boot.

The viable alternatives that I tested were: 1) Network install from flash drive (if you have access to an ethernet connection) and 2)installation using an external DVD drive (if available). A third possibility that may work is flashing the DVD image onto a USB flash drive (requires a minimum of 8GB flash, which I did not have).
If you care about your Windows Installation, you MUST BACK UP YOUR SYSTEM before proceeding.

1) Network Install using a flashdrive:

Download the network install image (openSUSE-11.3-NET-x86_64.iso) from the openSUSE download site. Before flashing the image following the instructions in Live USB Stick, you have to turn the downloaded file into a hybrid image as indicated in the above flash installation page (use # isohybrid openSUSE-11.3-NET-x86_64.iso).
Boot onto newly prepared usb flash drive and choose Install, write acpi=off in the kernel option line. Follow installation menu as per instructions in Network Installation. After installing all packages and writing some configuration files, the system will ask to reboot, the instructions from here on are similar to DVD install. Continue with “Common Instructions”.

2) DVD install from external DVD drive:

Download DVD install image (openSUSE-11.3-DVD-x86_64.iso) from the openSUSE download site. Boot onto DVD and choose install, write acpi=off in the kernel option line. Follow installation menu as per instructions in Installation Help. After installing all packages and writing some configuration files, the system will ask to reboot, the instructions from here on are similar to network install. Continue with “Common Instructions”.

Instruction Common to both methods

The system will hang when trying to reboot to the newly installed OS, this is a little untidy but do not worry, just press the on/off key until the computer turns off. Then restart the computer with the acpi=off kernel option. Run a system update to bring your installation to the most current versions of kernel and drivers, this will take some time. After the update, there were two sticking issues pending:
a) wireless LAN did not work
b) X seemed very slow, composite kept disabling itself
c) Power management did not work

a) Wireless Lan

Launched Yast Control Center and, within Software Repositories choose “Add”, “Community Repositories” and selected Packman and Videolan (Noticing that the updater applet will keep causing trouble in accessing package manage, I temporarily disabled it). Once the two new repositories were configured, I launched Software Management from Yast Control Center and installed the linux driver broadcom wl:

  • broadcom-wl-kmp-desktop

Reboot the system using kernel option acpi=off.

b) - The Graphics Driver

There seems to be a clash between power management and the stock radeon driver selected by the installation software. The solution I found as of this writing (10/2010) is to install the ATI Catalyst Proprietary Driver. Download and install the driver as indicated at the ATI Support Page.
Choose the following options:

  • Notebook Graphics
  • Mobility Radeon Series
  • Mobility Radeon HD4xxx Series
  • Linux x86-64

Download the installer (ati-driver-installer-10-10-x86.x86_64.run at the time of writing). Read the instructions on the “Installer Instructions” (download and print the pdf if necessary). You will need to install a number of prerequisite packages, some of which are not listed (such as kernel source and symbols). In Yast Software Management, select the package groups for software (C++) and kernel development.
Switch to superuser and launch the installer:
su
bash ati-driver-installer-10-10-x86.x86_64.run
Select the manual option to create the package for the specific OS (i.e. openSUSE 11.3 64 bit). Exit and install the newly created rpm by issuing:
rpm -Uvh fglrx64_5_5_0_SUSE113-8.783-1.x86_64.rpm

Reboot your system, this time WITHOUT the acpi=off kernel option.

Another option is to add the repository for ATI drivers:

zypper ar -f -n ATI http://www2.ati.com/suse/11.3/

Then install the following package:
zypper in x11-video-fglrxG02

IMPORTANT: In the version I was using this package installed kernel-default, but the installation above was done with kernel-desktop. You may have to manually install the module corresponding to kernel-desktop.
zypper in ati-fglrxG02-kmp-desktop
If you decide to switch to kernel-default, make sure that the appropriate broadcom package broadcom-wl-kmp-default is also installed.
zypper in broadcom-wl-kmp-default

NOTE: When upgrading the ATI driver I encountered various issues. One command that is very useful is
aticonfig –uninstall[=dryrun]

The flag dryrun is optional, it tests the command without running it and discovers potential problems.

c) Power Management

Installation of the proprietary graphic driver solved many power management issues. However, as of this writing
my computer does not recover from suspend to memory and does not complete the suspend to disk shutdown. I will update this page as I gain more insights.

Update on sleep/hibernate/resume:

After reading the comment below and doing some exploration, here is the progress:

Create a file named:
/etc/pm/config.d/acer

Containing the following two lines:
S2RAM_OPTS=”-f -a 3“
SUSPEND_MODULES=“wl atl1e”

Also, modify grub to include the noapic kernel option. Here are two ways to do it:
Edit the file /boot/grub/menu.lst to add “noapic” to the line corresponding to the default kernel:
Here is how it looks in my system (yours maybe different depending on partitioning, kernel version, etc):
kernel /vmlinuz-2.6.34.7-0.5-desktop root=/dev/sda2 resume=/dev/sda4 splash=silent quiet showopts vga=0x317 noapic

Alternatively, run Yast→System→Boot Loader and edit the default line to add “noapic” in the Optional Kernel Command Line Parameter box.

Note: After a suspend/resume cycle, knetworkmanager will not be active, the only workaround that I found so far was to kill knetworkmanager from console and initiate another instance of it, also you will need to press Fn-F3 to turn wireless on and active wireless in the new instance of knetworkmanager (right click). After a few seconds, network will be up again. Connecting to a wired network will reactivate knetworkmanager without requiring a kill, but this is not always an option.

Mario J. Borgnia (mborgnia_at_gmail_dot_com) Monday 25 of October, 2010 [22:27:15]

A user reported at http://permalink.gmane.org/gmane.linux.kernel.suspend.devel/8559 that they were able to get suspend to work using s2ram from uswsusp. Debian Squeeze currently uses pm-utils, so I have adapted that user's settings to Debian Squeeze by performing the following:

1) Edit /etc/default/grub. Add the option noapic to the variable GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX:
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX=“noapic”

2) Add an option file for pm-utils in the directory /etc/pm/config.d. This directory should be empty at initial install time, and the file may be named anything. I named mine “acer-aspire-1551”. The contents should include the following:

ADD_PARAMETERS=”–quirk-s3-mode –quirk-vbemode-restore“
# The following may not be needed, but isn't harmful. This removes both networking drivers from the kernel
SUSPEND_MODULES=“wl atl1e”

3) Compiz is incompatible with resumption from suspend-to-ram. I found that running
$ metacity –replace &
prior to suspending, and
$ compiz –replace &
afterward worked just fine. Maybe there is a way to automate this, too?

4) The wireless module is off, by hardware switch after the restore from suspend. You may need to Fn+F3 to restore it, or maybe there is a software solution for that button.

Build-in mic works well with some distros

The build-in mic works well in Fedora 14, Fedora 15, Fuduntu 14.10, doesn't work in Ubuntu 10.10, Ubuntu 11.04, openSUSE 11.4.

This issue made me open a bug at launchpad.

search keywords: acer 1551, microphone, sound, noise, silence, skype, ekiga


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a1551, 2011/12/01 09:42
As of openSUSE 12.1 DVD installation is working out of the box without workarounds!!!

Did someone test how build-in and jack-in micro work in PulseAudio apps? (I mean Skype especially)

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acer_aspire_1551.txt · Last modified: 2012/06/14 09:06 by billg
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