DSL on MSNTV 2???

Forum: Hardware Talk
Topic: DSL on MSNTV 2???
started by: jshaw

Posted by jshaw on April 11 2006,03:53
Check < this > out.

After looking through the forum at toc2rta I have found 2 people that have mentioned DSL on their MSNTV.  One of them said it was too much trouble.  I have an MSNTV 2 box that was just recently given to me and I'll be trying to install DSL on it soon.

Here's the specs:
Chipset - Intel 830M mobile chipset (northbridge) and ICH4 southbridge. (Low power)
Cpu - Mobile Celeron 733mhz 256kb cache
Ram - 128Mb Ram
Flash - 64mb sandisk compact flash card
Network - 100mbit intel pro.
Usb x 2 ports
Modem - most likely a Winmodem :(
Serial (onboard, no external connector)
IR - keyboard / remote - visible as PS2

This would make a great platform for DSL.  The motherboard doesn't have a VGA out, but it does have a spot to solder one on.  Same with the IDE.  The IDE is reported to work and shows up as the second channel (hdc/hdd).  Some have said the VGA will also require some resistors to be soldered on.  For now I'll be using my MSNTV box to replace my noisy big Sempron 2200+ box on my TV.  If all goes well with it I'll probably get another and see if I can find someone to solder the VGA header and then I'll used it as a desktop DSL machine.

It's going to be a few weeks before I can start working on mine, but I know a few things I'll have to do first.

First:  The CF card on the board will have to be replaced.  I'll probably just used a 128MB.  The reason is that the BIOS looks for 3 partitions and the first two have to be a certain size.  The third one can be larger than on the original card, so I'll use that for the KNOPPIX file.

Second:  The hack sets up the BIOS to look for and boot vmlinux.bin and then uses a config file to find the rootfs.  I will probably need some help figuring out how to get DSL to boot this way.  I'm thinking that if I have to I can recreate an uncompressed isolinux on the first two partitions of the CF card and boot from there.  I'm just hoping that's not harder than I think it is, or else there is an even easier way.  Any ideas here would be appreciated.  I've messaged one of the toc2rta forum users asking how he boots DSL and I'm waiting on his reply.


Posted by AwPhuch on April 11 2006,04:23
This involves flashing the soldered down bios correct?

How easy is it to do this...or do you even have to with a modified CFDisk?

Man those would make some great network video players...or as you have cluster apps!

Let us know how it all turns out for ya bud!


Posted by 300c_pilot on April 11 2006,06:24
They would make cheap terminals as well, I will be following to see ow this turns out.

Posted by jshaw on April 11 2006,12:47
AwPhuch, to flash the bios you have to copy the patched bios onto the CF card (using a card reader) and then access the bios through the serial port.
The serial port is on the motherboard, it looks like a floppy power connector.  It runs in TTL mode, which, I've read, is what is used on PC/104 boards and other embedded devices.
Adapters can be found on the internet to translate TTL to RS232.  Then you can connect to the MSNTV box through a serial terminal.
There are a series of commands that can be entered there to flash the bios.  Then you just have to put Linux on the CF card.

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