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"Fun" with my Classmate

July 15, 2008 — BarryK
Oh dear, this must rate as a fatal design flaw

I was testing the latest Puppy on the Classmate, did an install to the internal Flash memory, booted, worked, then chose to save to the entire partition (it is ext2). Upon reboot, the mouse cursor appeared on a black screen and the system froze.

I rebooted with pfix=nox and got to a prompt ok. Attempting start X had the same problem, but this time it responded to CTRL-ALT-BACKSPACE and I saw a kernel dump and frozen again -- I see on the screen the word "unionfs" amongst the crash dump.

So I decided to boot with 'layerfs=aufs', but aufs was unable to mount the layered f.s. with an error message "/pup_ro2 is overlapped", then I got a kernel panic.

That's when things got nasty. Normally, if there is a kernel panic, I can hold down the power button for 4 seconds and the system will power-off. Not this time. There is no hard-reset button. I was unable to turn off the laptop. Closing the lid did not work. The fan was not working and I could feel the CPU getting hotter.


Battery removal
Username: Raffy
Battery removal should therefore be part of any introductory tutorial for the Classmate PC. Another caution I,ve read about the Intel UMPC is that the battery can burn if it had cracked (such as from dropping). I don't know how true this claim is.

Error 17
Username: lobster
"I had a similar experience recently with the Eeepc. No reboot was possible. No reset, not even the hard reset (using a paperclip). In the end I had to run the DVD that came with the hardware (on an XP machine), install to USB keydrive and boot and install from keydrive. I have Puppy 4.1 Alpha 3 running fine from USB keydrive but settings are not retained. I can not install to removable SD drive or connect to Wifi (perhaps with tweaking) and so use Xandros, despite its limitations. My criteria are 'just works'. Guess I am still an end user at heart . . . I believe the classmate, Eeepc and other emerging Atom powered ultra portables are the future reference machines, so their support will make Puppy mobile :smile:

Been there...
Username: Dougal
"Yeah, that happened to me a few months ago, though the bios does control the fan, so I was able to just leave it until the battery drained out completely (someone (Greg?) actually said that maybe holding the power button down for 30 seconds will do the trick). Anyway, the new versions have a removable battery, apparently. BTW, have you ever gotten electrocuted by the keyboard? Happens to me quite regularly...

Nylon cord
Username: ANOSage
"My little MITAC 286 DOS sub-sub-sub miniPC (four would easily fit in an anorak pocket) still runs perfectly and has a reset rubber button in the keyboard. Progress in mobile PC s since then has been negative. I have given up accepting laptops as gifts. Those that I do retain all have a loop of nylon cord around the back of the battery pack for yanking it out when any of the above events occurs. We shall see what Elonex and the rest of the gang have dreamed up soon. If there's no reset button, it'll be one more thing to solder onto the pcb. That's not 'electrocution', Dougal, that's electrostatic discharge - try taking your shoes and socks off, maybe even spray the air with water. Unless of course, you have a short circuit from the lcd screen electronics - that'll give you a belt, but <0.5microamps and perhaps blow a fuse?

Classmate problem
Username: JustGreg
"I had similar experience with the Classmate. As Dougal noted, I have held the power key for about 30 seconds to a minute. I think there is a "hardware watchdog timer" that checks the power key. One has to wait until the watchdog checks and sees the power key is pressed then the watchdog timer toggles the power state. On shutdown, I get a similar problem if there is a USB storage device attached, X windows does not shut down properly. I get a screen of two shades of gray blocks. Once again, you have to hold the the power key down until the Classmate (and 2goPC) power off. Adding a "reset" (maybe paper clip type) that forces the processor to initialize would be a good design addition.

Username: ANOSage
"Good idea, pre. In a separate thread on the Forum, I pointed out that CTRL-ALT-BKSPCE on a SiS chipset causes a complete and immediate power shutdown for Puppy. This might be useful for folks not able to shutdown, but there might be other key combinations on other chipsets to do this and/or reset? On my SiS boards, I have not yet been able to find the combination to revert to the console after a crash. Maybe Barry knows what is going on within the FW?

Tags: puppy