Laptop newbie - Micron TranSport

Forum: Laptops
Topic: Laptop newbie - Micron TranSport
started by: dougz

Posted by dougz on Aug. 12 2008,17:16
Just picked up an antique laptop to play with -- Micron TranSport Trek (Model NBKU370), circa 1999.  PII 266, 64 MB, good screen, battery, and PSU.  Has bad CD-ROM and bad HDD.  

It boots smoothly with DSL 4.4.3.  I'm using a 512 MB USB flash stick with 256 MB FAT32 and 256 MB Linux swap, along with a boot floppy.  DSL finds and uses the swap partition (16 MB swap used @ login).  I plan to replace the IDE HDD with an IDE->CF adapter and a CF card formatted similarly and remove the USB flash.  The CD can stay broken.

Track pad found at /dev/psaux, screen is fine and don't know/care about audio.  DSL did really well!

Goals: Add enough memory to allow "reasonable" use of Firefox and Thunderbird, as an occasional, emergency machine.  Also add both wired and wireless networking.

Memory - Haven't popped the top to see what is in it, but it is supposed to have 16 MB soldered in and two SODIMM sockets.  Should I look to Ebay or are there good U.S. vendors?  What memory amount would you recommend?

Wired networking - Recommend any particular PCMCIA ethernet card?

Wireless - Have Linksys WPC11 ver.3 which should be supported by PRISM.  Not working yet, probably due to my inexperience.  802.11 B-only and apparently WEP-only.  May want to upgrade.

Two config questions --  Can I make the floppy automatically boot with the "dsl fromusb" option until I get the CF adapter & CF card?  Can I switch back and forth between the trackpad and a serial mouse?

Suggestions welcomed.

[Edited because I sent original before I was done.]

Posted by windancer on Aug. 12 2008,22:20
well if you would like to go wireless pcmcia I recommend the linksys wpc11 version 1,2 or 3 they install on boot no config. also the Netgear ma401 installs on boot and these cards are cheap on ebay. Be sure not to get a wpc11 version 4 its probably not compatable with your notebooks pcmcia slot. some of the sellers on ebay leave out the version numbers in their descriptions so be carefull when buying those cards. im currently running DSL 4.3 on a panasonic toughbook CF-25 P166 MMX 96ram I would say it runs ok but I wish I had about 200mhz more and could upgrade my ram to at least 128mb but I cannot do either. Its still fun and its nice to have a use for this old beast
Posted by curaga on Aug. 13 2008,12:14
Memory - Give it as much as the laptop can take. Ebay is fine for older ram like this, that isn't sold anymore, or if it is, damn expensive.

Wired - 16-bit Xircom cards are great

Floppy options - sure. After booting, mount the floppy, browse there, open syslinux.cfg in an editor, and just add "fromusb" to the "default" and "dsl" sections, right after the list of other boot options on the kernel lines.

Serial and trackpad - yeah. No need to reboot, just get out of X, then either change the mouse device in .xserverrc or use startx, and you have the newly selected mouse operational.
If you'd like to use them at the same time, you need XFree86 or Xorg for that.

Posted by dougz on Aug. 13 2008,14:08
Thanks for the tips!

This is the first time I've used DSL on a machine with less than 384 MB, as well as being my first DSL laptop.  Lots to learn; lots of fun ahead playing with my new toy.

I'm really amazed how usable a 256 MHz 64 MB RAM machine with no HDD is.  Both DSL and paging work well on USB (1.1!) memory stick!    

It's really nice to be able to re-purpose a machine that most folks would just trash.

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