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Acer Aspire 3820 TimelineX

Introduction

This is one of the recent Acer notebooks which focuses on long battery life and uses hybrid graphics switching with a discrete high performance ATI graphics and a weaker Intel one.

Specifications

For full specifications see the Look up Acer database for specs, too lazy right now adding it.
There are various variants which differr in hard disk size (320 GB, 500 GB or 750 GB) and the cheapest one does not feature the high-performance ATI graphics card.

NameAcer Aspire 3820 TimelineX
Processor
Screen13.4“ (1366×768) Widescreen
RAMUp to 8GB
HDDup to 750GB
Optical DriveNone
GraphicsIntel® HD Graphics, also ATI Mobility Radeon™ HD 5650
Network10/100/1000 Ethernet
Intel® Centrino® Wireless-N 1000 802.11b/g/n

Linux Compatibility

Tested on Kubuntu Linux 10.10 Maverick with latest updates, backports ppa, xorg-edgers bleeding edge Xorg and drivers, mainline (unpatched) 2.6.36 kernel

DeviceCompatibilityComments
ProcessorYes
ScreenYes
HDDYesParks every 5 seconds or so in battery mode due to faulty acpi
GraphicsYesBut switching graphics cards is a pain in the…
SoundYesSpeaker jacks work fine
EthernetYes
WirelessYesFrequent disconnects with kernel version < 2.6.36
BluetoothEasy fixableFn-key to enable does not work OOTB
Multi-TouchForget it
ModemNot Tested
USBYesMouse, Tethering Android phone, Mass Storages
Card ReaderYes
WebcamYesFine with cheese, Kopete needs the most recent updates

Notes

Note that not all of the problems may occurr on your machine, depending on the variant you are using. This article is tested using the 3820TG with 750 GB HDD.
Using the Intel graphics on your daily work basis should be more than enough, it works smoothly and perfect with the built-in drivers. You may consider upgrading to Mesa 7.10 or newer.
If you‘re planning to use this notebook with Linux only and not to play games, you should stick to the cheapest model without ATI graphics and just use the Intel graphics.
The Intel graphics are not recommended for people planning to attach a bigger screen to that device, it can barely handle a FullHD screen.
It is recommended that you replace the Hard Drive with a standard 2.5in SATA-2 Solid State Drive. This avoids the PWM problems and is amazingly fast.

Touchpad

Out of the box, there is an issue with the touchpad that you cannot scroll upwards, down works fine but scrolling up results in the document jumping to its bottom end.
To fix this, add options psmouse proto=imps to /etc/modprobe.d/psmouse.conf (create if neccessary). Now vertical scrolling using the right edge of the mousepad works fine in both directions.

The touchpad supports multitouch, although this is an ALPS touchpad and not a Synaptics (like in the 4820 model) and those are known for poor linux support. KDE recognizes the touchpad but only states it can detect 1 finger at a time, not multiple.

Screen brightness

To be able to adjust brightness using Fn-keys, you need to add “acpi_osi=Linux” to your Grub kernel string.
Adjusting brightness via software (i.e. based on power profile or a slider in your taskbar) works only on the ATI graphics, setting brightness using the Intel graphics works with Fn keys only and is a bit jerky. Also, Plymouth crashes when changing background brightness on startup.

Disable discrete graphics to gain battery life

When fully charged, even when using Intel graphics, the battery lasts max. 2 hours. This is due to the ATI graphics not being turned off, even though when not used. Unfortunately, you can only force the system to use the discrete graphics or BOTH (switchable) in the notebook‘s Bios. You need a kernel module that disables the ATI graphics. « Google for timelinex_acpi.ko module, works fine here » This will give you a battery life for normal surfing on WiFi of approx. 6 hours which is good. Also consider installing TLP from linrunner PPA.

Frequent WiFi drops

When surfing on WiFi and not standing right next to the WiFi router (even though your signal strength is displayed Good) the connection drops without noticing. The indicator still states connected but surfing (and Ping to the router) fails and you need to re-connect. This seems to be due to WiFi power managment in Kubuntu 10.10. Updating to kernel version 2.6.38 solved the issue and WiFi works fine.

Bluetooth

With Kernel 2.6.35 the enable key is the same as the WiFi key (although there were plenty of other F-keys available…) and so right away, you can only toggle WiFi. To fix this, you need to copy /lib/firmware/ath3k-2.fw and overwrite ath3k-1.fw.
It works fine and out of the box with Kernel 2.6.38
In Kernel 3.0 there is a regression that causes Bluetooth to not be working anymore. To fix this, you need to blacklist the kernel module acer-wmi (or acer_wmi), then it works fine.
Since you do not have a “watchdog” program like in Windows, the Fn-key toggles the WiFi and Bluetooth in about this pattern: 1. Bluetooth on, 2. Bluetooth off, Bluetooth on and WiFi off, Bluetooth off and WiFi on

Webcam

The webcam works out of the box with Cheese but Kopete needs the most recent updates to recognize it, then it works just fine.

Other issues or improvements

To enable KWin‘s blur effect on the Intel graphics, you need at least Mesa 7.10.
Mesa 7.10 is shipped by Kubuntu 11.04 and newer.

Summary

This is a quite decent notebook and completely recommandable to people seeking for a quite cheap high-quality notebook with a good keyboard and long battery life.


Discussion

Miller Dona, 2012/04/24 01:48

acer Aspire 3820T Battery Compatible Part No:

Acer 3ICR66/19-2
Acer LC.BTP00.119
Acer AS10B61
Acer AS10B6E
Acer AS10B71
Acer AS10B75
Acer AS10B73
Acer AS10B41
Acer AS10B31
Acer AS10B51
Acer AS10B3E
Acer AS10B5E
Acer AS10B7E
Acer AS10E7E
Acer AS10E76
Acer BT.00603.110
Acer BT.00604.048
Acer BT.00606.007
Acer BT.00607.122
Acer BT.00607.123
Acer BT.00607.124

acer Aspire 3820T Battery Fits Machine Model:

Acer 3820T battery
Acer 3820T-334G32n battery
Acer 3820T-334G50n battery
Acer 3820TG-334G50n battery
Acer 3820TG-434G50N battery
Acer 3820TG-434G64n battery
Acer 4820T battery
Acer 4820T-333G25Mn battery
Acer 4820T-334G32Mn battery
Acer 4820T-434G32Mn battery
Acer 4820TG battery
Acer 4820TG-334G50Mn battery
Acer 4820TG-434G50Mn battery
Acer 4820TG-434G64Mn battery
Acer 4820TG-524G50Mn battery
Acer 5820T battery
Acer 5820T-333G32Mn battery
Acer 5820T-334G32Mn battery
Acer 5820T-434G50Mn battery
Acer 5820TG-334G50Mn battery
Acer 5820TG-434G50Mn battery
Acer AS3820T battery
Acer AS3820T-334G32n battery
Acer AS3820T-334G50n battery
Acer AS3820TG-334G50n battery
Acer AS3820TG-374G50N battery
Acer AS3820TG-434G50N battery
Acer AS3820TG-434G64n battery
Acer AS4820T battery
Acer AS4820T-333G25Mn battery
Acer AS4820T-334G32Mn battery
Acer AS4820T-434G32Mn battery
Acer AS4820TG battery
Acer AS4820TG-334G50Mn battery
Acer AS4820TG-434G50Mn battery
Acer AS4820TG-434G64Mn battery
Acer AS4820TG-524G50Mn battery
Acer AS5820T battery
Acer AS5820T-333G32Mn battery
Acer AS5820T-334G32Mn battery
Acer AS5820T-434G50Mn battery
Acer AS5820TG-334G50Mn battery
Acer AS5820TG-434G50Mn battery
Acer Aspire 3820T battery
Acer Aspire 3820T-334G32n battery
Acer Aspire 3820T-334G50n battery
Acer Aspire 3820TG-334G50n battery
Acer Aspire 3820TG-434G50N battery
Acer Aspire 3820TG-434G64n battery
Acer Aspire 4745G battery
Acer Aspire 4820T battery
Acer Aspire 4820T-333G25Mn battery
Acer Aspire 4820T-334G32Mn battery
Acer Aspire 4820T-434G32Mn battery
Acer Aspire 4820TG battery
Acer Aspire 4820TG-334G50Mn battery
Acer Aspire 4820TG-434G50Mn battery
Acer Aspire 4820TG-434G64Mn battery
Acer Aspire 4820TG-524G50Mn battery
Acer Aspire 5625 battery
Acer Aspire 5625G battery
Acer Aspire 5820T battery
Acer Aspire 5820T-333G32Mn battery
Acer Aspire 5820T-334G32Mn battery
Acer Aspire 5820T-434G50Mn battery
Acer Aspire 5820TG-334G50Mn battery
Acer Aspire 5820TG-434G50Mn battery
Acer Aspire 7250 battery
Acer Aspire 7250G battery
Acer Aspire TimelineX 3820T battery
Acer Aspire TimelineX 3820TG-434G50n battery
Acer Aspire TimelineX 4820T battery
Acer Aspire TimelineX 5625 battery
Acer Aspire TimelineX 5625G battery
Acer Aspire TimelineX 5820T battery

BajK, 2011/10/04 06:22

With Kubuntu Oneiric, i.e. Kernel 3.0 there is another bug with the Bluetooth, so this /lib/firmware/ath3-k2.so (or so) does no longer exist, so this bugfix is no longer applicable. You have instead to blacklist the module acer_wmi (or acer-wmi?) in the /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf, then everything works perfectly.

Screen brightness is still not changeable without acpi_osi=Linux but it is no longer jerky.

Touchpad is being recognized by 2.6.38 but it only states it can recognize one finger, so multi touch scrolling is just impossible with that stupid Alps touchpad (the 4820 and 5820 have Synapticy which work fine)

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acer_aspire_3820_timelinex.txt · Last modified: 2011/10/19 09:04 by 80.226.24.9
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