Nokia N900

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Nokia N900
Nokia N900 - Leste pre-alpha.jpg
Manufacturer Nokia
Codename Rover, RX-51
Dimensions 110.9mm x 59.8mm x 18mm
Release Date 2009-11-11
Specifications
SoC TI OMAP 3430 @600MHz
DRAM 256 MB Mobile DDR
Features
LCD 800x480 3.5" Resistive TFT
Video PowerVR SGX530
Network WL1251
Storage 32GB
USB (Host/OTG) Micro USB 2.0 Slave

The Nokia N900.

Status

Feature Leste supported Notes
Kernel version 5.1 Mainline + PowerVR Patches: https://github.com/maemo-leste/n9xx-linux
Serial Yes Requires special hardware
Charging Yes
Wireless Yes Firmware is non-free
Ethernet N/A
Micro USB Yes USB Network, Mass Storage. OTG not working, although it might be possible
Keyboard Yes
Screen Yes Uses omapfb, not omapdrmfb yet
3D Acceleration Yes Works fast(!)
Touchscreen Yes Resistive
Audio Yes Works (minus speaker protection), but requires complex alsa configuration
2G/3G data Yes Works with ofono; UI under way: https://github.com/maemo-leste/connui-cellular ; see https://github.com/maemo-leste/bugtracker/issues/76
SMS Yes Works with ofono, will be implemented using telepathy-ring, no UI yet
Phone calls WIP Works, no UI, poor quality for upstream audio, not enabled by default (might require pulseaudio audio filters)
Bluetooth No Driver problems in mainline
FM Transmitter Yes Install v4l-utils, then enable chip and set frequency using: v4l2-ctl -d /dev/radio0 -c mute=0,tune_power_level=120 -f <freq>
FM Receiver No Depends on Bluetooth. Removed in Linux 5.4-rc1.
Accelerometer Yes Available as input device, no integration yet. Needs MCE work
Compass N/A Missing in hardware
Proximity sensor Yes No integration yet
Ambient Light Sensor Yes
Vibration Motor Yes
HDMI-out N/A Missing in hardware
TV-out Yes Enable in alsamixer (Jack Function in alsamixer to TV OUT), enable with xrandr --output TV --mode 800x480 --same-as LCD. Set PAL/NTSC with xrandr --output TV --set SignalProperties PAL, and scale with xrandr --output TV --set TVScale 90.
GPS WIP Works using gps3 and gpsd, needs integration still, and work on a-gps
Infrared Yes TX only (hardware limitation).
Camera Needs complex v4l work

Installation

dd the image to an sd card. If using a Windows machine, you can use Etcher NB: Etcher does not warn you before starting the flashing operation, so please be extra careful that you choose the correct device to flash to

Then boot from the sd card using either 0xFFFF/flasher-3.5 or u-boot/bootmenu: http://talk.maemo.org/showthread.php?t=81613

U-Boot setup

If you don't want to use/install Fremantle, or want to install quickly

1. Download 0xFFFF and u-boot from https://maedevu.maemo.org/images/n900/tools/

2. Turn off Nokia N900, issue the following command on PC and connect Nokia N900 to the PC: sudo ./0xFFFF -m test/u-boot-2013.04-2.bin -l

3. Open the keyboard slider on the N900, and then issue following command on PC to test boot: ./0xFFFF -b

This should present u-boot from which you can select external SD card and boot to Maemo Leste. If you are presented with a menu, select the option to boot from External SD card. If you just get a command prompt, type run sdboot.

To flash u-boot permanently, you can issue the following command (BE CAREFUL THOUGH, AS THIS WILL REPLACE THE EXISTING FREMANTLE KERNEL, ONLY DO THIS IF YOU DO NOT CARE ABOUT THE EXISTING MAEMO INSTALLATION):

sudo ./0xFFFF -m test/u-boot-2013.04-2.bin -f

Existing Fremantle

1. Install "U-Boot with kernel 2.6.28-omap1"

2. Install "Linux kernel for power user (boot image for U-Boot)". This is optional, but recommended.

3. Add Maemo Leste menu item (run as root):

cat > /etc/bootmenu.d/30-maemo-leste.item << "EOF" &&
ITEM_NAME="Maemo Leste"
ITEM_KERNEL="uImage"
ITEM_DEVICE="${EXT_CARD}p1"
ITEM_FSTYPE="ext2"
EOF
u-boot-update-bootmenu

4. Reboot the device

Increase filesystem size

As of 2018/11, the latest pre-alpha image results in a 1.2GB root filesystem with about 100MB to spare. This can be extended, provided that your SD card is big enough. Perform the following steps on a Linux machine with none of the SD card's partitions mounted:

  • assumption: /dev/sda2 is Leste root partition
  • e2fsck -f /dev/sda2
  • use parted/gparted/cfdisk/... to enlarge /dev/sda2 to the desired size
  • resize2fs -p /dev/sda2
  • e2fsck -f /dev/sda2

The latest images have a script, /etc/expandcard.sh from https://github.com/maemo-leste/image-builder/blob/master/rootfs-overlay/common/etc/expandcard.sh

Serial

http://n900.elektranox.org/serial-adapter.html

http://wiki.maemo.org/N900_Hardware_Hacking#Debug_ports

Notes

  • Speakers are enabled by default, but be careful of very high frequencies/levels - there are possible concerns regarding the possibility to blow them

Also see: https://elinux.org/N900

Power usage right now is reported to be about 80mA, which is quite a lot, but on a good battery last for about 15 hours, this is being worked on: https://github.com/maemo-leste/bugtracker/issues/170

Power Management

Run:

modprobe ledtrig-default-on

And:

echo default-on > /sys/class/leds/debug::sleep/trigger

To enable the OMAP sleep debug LEDs (on the keyboard). Open keyboard, turn off the screen with the slider, and the LEDs will turn off if the phone ever reaches sleep modes.

Currently it does not yet reliably reach any sleep modes.

Battery calibration

Nokia N900 has bq27200 integrated circuit for monitoring battery state. The datasheet can be found here: http://www.ti.com/lit/ds/symlink/bq27200.pdf. If you are curious, check the section called "Gas Gauge Operation" for how the battery calibration is done in a low level.

Here are described the steps necessary to calibrate your battery. This should help if you see "Battery not calibrated" message in the status applet.

  • Fully charge Nokia N900. Don't detach the charger immediately, give it some time after you see "Fully charged" message (10 minutes should be enough).
  • Detach the charger and don't attach it again until the battery is fully depleted. Remember: if you attach the charger (or USB cable) at least once, you will need to start the calibration from the beginning (fully charge the device again).
  • You may use the device as you normally do. You may power it off, power it on, reboot. All as usual. Just don't connect the device to a charger or a PC using the USB cable.
  • When your Nokia N900 has battery depleted, it will alarm you with the "battery low" sound.
  • Wait for about 20 seconds and attach the charger. If the device was powered off because of battery depletion, it's fine. The battery should have done the calibration cycle. Just attach the charger to the device, give it a minute and press power button to start booting.
  • If you still see "Battery not calibrated" message, reboot the device.

After the first calibration cycle you will see that it has ~1700 mAh for the fully charged battery. This value is wrong. It's how the battery calibration works in low level: it can't change the fully charged value of the battery in steps that exceed 12.5%. What this means for us: it's needed to repeat the calibration cycle several times to get more accurate value. It may take about 3-7 calibration cycles to get the proper mAh value for fully charged battery. If you spend some time on this process, you will get really accurate battery gauge and you will always know how much charge is remaining.

Tip 1. If for any reason you want to reset the battery calibration value to see the message “Battery is not calibrated” again, you should remove the battery from the device for about 6 hours. Tip 2. If you replace the battery, you may want to do 1-2 calibration cycles described above to update the gauge for your new battery.

Accessing MTD

List devices:

cat /proc/mtd

Mount:

apt install mtd-utils
mkdir -vp /mnt/fremantle
ubiattach -p /dev/mtd5
mount -t ubifs ubi:rootfs /mnt/fremantle