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My Content
5 Jun 2006
In case you didn't notice the latest kernels built on the i386 now contain SD storage support for some SD controllers including the Ricoh 5C822 popular in certain laptops. (including my Dell Inspiron XPS/2 smile.gif).

Uwe is working on SDIO support now so it seems to be reasonable to expect that we may possibly have proper SDIO support on the Zaurus when the SD support eventually gets enabled.

31 May 2006
This is a walkthrough of the process.

Do NOT try this unless all of the following criteria are met.

1. You don't care about the Warranty of either the device or the card.
2. You have a single screwdriver that will fit the screws of the Zaurus (they are all pretty much the same).
3. You have a soldering iron and skills necessary to use it.
4. You are really so driven to do it that you have to do it.

Do NOT complain to me, Sharp, your vendor or anyone if you break it badly.

Quite probable pitfalls..

1. You have chosen a card that has slightly higher power requirements than the Microdrive.. will cause failures immediately. Note, a working card in the CF slot does NOT mean a working card inside the Zaurus.
2. Your card may fail much quicker than the Microdrive - Trisoft had a card fail within 1 week of fitting it.
3. You may well strip the screws on the PCB of the Zaurus when removing it.. those robots at Sharp screw em in hard and you MUST have a screwdriver that fits exactly.
4. If you are particularly 'cack-handed' or have a screw driver that doesn't fit then the screw driver may slip and gouge a fairly important part of the unit.
5. You could crack the board.
6. You could zap components with static off your body.
7. You could seriously frustrate yourself tongue.gif

OK.. enough of the warnings, here is the nitty gritty.

Remove all obvious components from the base unit..

* CF Blank, Battery Cover, Battery, Stylus, SD Card Blank an Service Console Gromit from the back of the unit

Attached Image

Remove all the screws. Be particularly careful not to lose the screws at the base of the battery compartment inside the unit.

Note all screws are exactly the same so there is no need to ensure that you have them noted for replacement in the same holes.

With the utmost care remove the back housing.. it may seem to come free from the side nearest the SD slot first. Once it is free like this lift the side nearest the battery compartment (the other side is anchored by the earphone socket) and the back should come free without undue force.

Attached Image

Take a close look at the main board. The two Marked A hold the board onto the mount. The two Marked B hold the CF housing onto the other side of the board. At some point you need to take them all out, if they will easily unscrew at this point then do it. If not I will suggest a tactic after removing this board.

Now note the area marked C, this varies from Zaurus to Zaurus. some may have a wire soldered here with enough slack to allow removal of the board. If as in this case there is a Copper Foil strip soldered to the unit then you must unsolder it before removing the board.

Attached Image

Note that each screw has a 'copper track' artwork arrow beside it on the PCB, you will use this to reference their replacement later.

Fold back the board which should now come out quite easily being extremely careful not to damage the ribbon cables attaching it to the screen and keyboard.

Attached Image

remove the two flat screws from the SD controller daughter board and remove the daughter board. If you need to apply pressure to the board to do this use something as a stanchion on the other side of the board. I simply placed the CF blanking plate under that area whilst doing this.

This should now lift off.

Attached Image

The next step is to remove the plastic housing for the CF card which has 2 clips and 2 hooks and if you didn't remove them earlier 2 screws (previously marked as B ). If you had trouble eariler then I suggest that you get the SD Card blank, apply a little tape to it and adhere the tape to the Microdrive so that it holds the SD Card blank under the area where the screw is. You should be able to apply a little more force with the screwdriver now without fear of straining the board.

Attached Image

Now simply replace the Microdrive with your chosen card...

Attached Image

Now reassemble in reverse order, cross your fingers and do the software engineering bit (I class partitioning the device etc in that area).

27 May 2006
OK, I have taken the plunge and ordered a SanDisk Extreme III CF card (133x card) that has ~20MB/sec Read and Write speeds with the intention of replacing my internal 4Gb Microdrive on my Zaurus.


I chose this card because it seems to offer good value for money (about £140 GBP in the UK now), top performance, and a 10 year manufacturers warranty.

Note that there is a Transcend 8Gb card also available for about the same price now, however, the warranty isn't lifetime it is 1,000,000 write cycles and the operational temperature is lower.. I decided to err on the side of caution therefore and go with this card which is known to have write spreading technologies and may yield a considerably longer life (maybe).

I also didn't need the 8Gb version because all my Multimedia stuff is on my iPod.. I prefer to do it this way then at least when the battery is dead from listening to music and watching movies I still have my Zaurus smile.gif

I believe the write levelling on this card will probably (even with constant running) see out the life of this Zaurus but I guess that only remains to be seen.

When the card arrives I will do some benchmarks and provide some information on runtime with both the original Microdrive and this card fitted since the power consumption is also supposed to be a fraction of the Microdrive.

Benchmarks will probably come first since I can perform those with the card in the additional CF slot.

but daaaaamn, I'm going to ruin my 'uptime' figures. I get disappointed if I have to reboot it more than once per month tongue.gif

More soon,


(btw. in case you are wondering why I have been quiet here it's because my Zaurus 'just works smile.gif' and does everything I need it to at the moment... currently it's even running Ruby on Rails with MYSQL - it will be nice to see what performance is like with the new drive for this)
1 Apr 2006

For a while now I have wanted to be able to simply run an X server on a Windows machine periodically to access the Zaurus in the hope of having more screen real-estate. The main stumbling block has always been that there were no quality free X servers that I could install on machines without licensing for each of those X servers.

Another thread got me started on using X/deep-32 which is now free and offers a good X11R6.5.1 server for installation on Windows.

I have been running a moinmoin Wiki on my Zaurus for a while now and have both the X/deep-32 installation and putty.zip files present on the wiki pages for download so that they may be easily accessed for installation on a Window machine without carrying them around on seperate storage. You could use this or apache to host the files... this side of things I'm not going to go into.

What I will discuss are the minor settings required to get xdm login running from the X server.

Step 1, configuring xdm for xdmcp

Firstly it should be noted that the default xdm configuration on OpenBSD runs a local X server and services a login on the local display. This isn't what we are interested in here so the first thing is to disable the local server.

Edit the /etc/X11/xdm/Xservers file, you will find a line that looks like this..
:0 local /usr/X11R6/bin/X

comment that line out with a # and save the file.

Now we must configure the xdmcp chooser..

edit /etc/X11/xdm/Xaccess file and add a line (you may want to position this line near the similar, commented out line, this is a matter of preference)..
*                 CHOOSER NOBROADCAST

I choose to use NOBROADCAST because I only want my own X server to show the Zaurus and I don't really want other clients running xdmcp to spot the Zaurus and attempt to login there.

Finally I created two scripts to be run by root because I didn't want to run xdm constantly from startup.. if you do want to run xdm constantly then simply specify the -tcpPort 177 as opts in /etc/rc.conf. Here are my 2 scripts.

if [ -f '/var/run/xdm.pid' ]; then
echo XDM maybe already running /var/run/xdm.pid already exists..
xdm -udpPort 177

if [ -f '/var/run/xdm.pid' ]; then
kill `cat /var/run/xdm.pid`
rm /var/run/xdm.pid
echo XDM wasn\'t running

Step 2, configuring X/deep-32 for access

Install and run X/deep-32.

On the X-server menu select X-server options and go to the XDMCP page.

Deselect the broadcast options for XDMCP and in the section X-Deep/32 Local XDM Chooser select XDMCP by Query Host then type in either the hostname or IP address of the Zaurus. Note that you may need to set up name resolution either by hosts file on the Windows box or by a name server if you are using a name.

OK, that's it...

If you startxdm now and then start X/Deep32 you will should get an OpenBSD login screen.

Additional tip, if you are using an environment such as xfce4 on the Zaurus and you want this to be active under xdm rather than just on the Zaurus console create a .xsession file in the user's home directory that starts the environment. This is a good place to put in profile type statements also that you may want to use to configure the environment... mine looks like this...

export TERMCMD=aterm
export LANG=en_GB
export PS1="\h$ "

(TERMCMD is used by xfterm4 to select the desired term application, LANG I am using to select the en_GB dictionaries for ispell from AbiWord but it does cause PERL to complain... PERL_BADLANG=0 stops perl complainiing, I haven't seen a downside to using the BADLANG env variable yet. PS1 sets my prompt and finally the startxfce4 command starts my xfce4 environment).

Attached Image

Attached Image

Apologies for the screen shot quality, at 1920x1200 the files are huge unless I reduce the quality considerably.

1 Apr 2006
had some database error on posting, pls ignore this
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