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
Category Supported
SoC TI OMAP 3430 @600MHz
overclock @805MHz
DRAM 256 MB Mobile DDR
Hardware Features
LCD 800x480 3.5" Resistive TFT
Video PowerVR SGX530
Network WL1251
Storage 32GB
USB (Host/OTG) Micro USB 2.0 Slave
Battery Capacity 1320mAh
Software Features
Kernel 6.1
Serial Yes, UART under battery, 2.7V max!
Charging Yes
USB Slave Gadgets only
USB Host With hacks
Touchscreen Yes, single-touch
Keyboard Yes
Screen Yes
TV-out Yes
3D acceleration Yes, closed driver
Vibration motor Yes
Audio Yes (complex, ucm, no speaker protection)
Phone calls Yes
Wifi Yes, firmware required
IrDA Yes, actually CIR, not IrDA
2G/3G data Yes
Bluetooth No
FM transmitter Yes
FM receiver No
Accelerometer Yes
Proximity Sensor Yes
Ambient Light Sensor Yes
Idle Power Consumption 160mW (WIP)


The installation consists of two steps: copying the image to the microsd card, and setting up the bootloader on the phone.

Image installation

dd the image to an sd card.

If using a Windows machine, you can use Etcher

See the next section on how to boot. (using either 0xFFFF/flasher-3.5 or u-boot/bootmenu:

Bootloader (U-Boot) setup


If you don't want to configure u-boot from Fremantle, or your Fremantle rootfs is broken), or you just want to install quickly (dual boot mode):

1. Either download 0xFFFF (binary for x86) from or build from source from on *nix systems make sure to $ chmod a+x 0xFFFF

2. Download u-boot from save it in a subfolder called test.

3. Turn off Nokia N900, issue the following command on PC sudo ./0xFFFF -m test/u-boot-2013.04-2.bin -l you will get a message similar to the following:

0xFFFF v0.8 // Open Free Fiasco Firmware Flasher Not a local device Waiting for USB device...

and the connect Nokia N900 to the PC. you will then get a message like so:

Found USB device: RX-51/RM-680/RM-696 (0x421:0x106) in Cold flashing mode
USB device product string: Nokia USB ROM
USB device serial number string: (not detected)
Detected USB device: (not detected)   
Waiting for ASIC ID...
Detected OMAP3430 chip (revision 87)
Device: (not detected)
HW revision: (not detected)
NOLO version: (not detected)
Kernel version: (not detected)
Initfs version: (not detected)
Software release version: (not detected)
Content eMMC version: (not detected)
Root device: (not detected)
USB host mode: (not detected)
R&D mode: (not detected)
Switching to NOLO mode...
Sending OMAP memory boot message...
Waiting for USB device...  
Found USB device: SU-18/RX-34/RX-44/RX-48/RX-51/RM-680/RM-696 (0x421:0x105) in NOLO mode
USB device product string: Nokia N900 (Update mode)
USB device serial number string: MUN233033
Detected USB device: RX-51            
Initializing NOLO...
Device: RX-51
HW revision: 2204
NOLO version: 1.4.14
Kernel version: 2.6.28-20101501+0m5
Initfs version: (not detected)
Software release version: RX-51_2009SE_21.2011.38-1.203.1_PR_203
Content eMMC version: RX-51_2009SE_10.2010.13-2.UK-IRELAND
Root device: flash
USB host mode: disabled
R&D mode: disabled
Load image:
File: test/u-boot-2013.04-2.bin
Image type: kernel
Image size: 212864 bytes
Sending image header...
Sending image...
100% [#################################################################]

4. Open the keyboard slider on the N900, and then issue following command on PC to test boot: ./0xFFFF -b you will get an output such as:

0xFFFF v0.8  // Open Free Fiasco Firmware Flasher
Not a local device
Waiting for USB device...  
Found USB device: SU-18/RX-34/RX-44/RX-48/RX-51/RM-680/RM-696 (0x421:0x105) in NOLO mode
USB device product string: Nokia N900 (Update mode)
USB device serial number string: MUN233033
Detected USB device: RX-51            
Initializing NOLO...
Device: RX-51
HW revision: 2204
NOLO version: 1.4.14
Kernel version: 2.6.28-20101501+0m5
Initfs version: (not detected)
Software release version: RX-51_2009SE_21.2011.38-1.203.1_PR_203
Content eMMC version: RX-51_2009SE_10.2010.13-2.UK-IRELAND
Root device: flash
USB host mode: disabled
R&D mode: disabled
Booting kernel with default cmdline...

This should present u-boot from which you can select external SD card and boot to Maemo Leste. The screen might not be backlit so it will be difficult to read. 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. The screen might be very dim and look off. So it might be difficult to see. Boot up the first time will take a long time full 2 min on test. Some text will show and will then go back to black screen but eventually you will see the splash screen and later the icons will show.

To flash u-boot permanently, you can issue the following command

(Be careful though. This will replace the existing fremantle kernel. Only do this if you do not care about the existing maemo installation or you know how to recover from this condition))

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

Existing Fremantle

If you have a functional Fremantle installation, you can follow these steps instead:

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"

4. Reboot the device with the keyboard slide open (U-boot will boot the default option if the keyboard slide is closed)

Increase filesystem size

Run the following script: /etc/


Use this command line (specifically the part after rootwait):

root=/dev/mmcblk0p2 rootwait console=ttyS2,115200 verbose earlyprintk debug



  • Speakers are enabled by default, but be careful of very high frequencies/levels - there are concerns regarding the possibility to blow them. There is no clear consensus about this, but it is best to err on the side of caution.


The N900 has an Analog Devices ADP1653 flash controller, mainly for use with the camera. It drives two white power LEDs connected in series, and has an additional red indicator led (referred to as a privacy indicator). The ADP1653 has a driver in mainline kernel, and it probes fine. However, some DTS changes are needed to make it work, since the driver requires it to be tied to a camera.

In the meantime, the LEDs can be used as a torch manually using i2cset. However, BE WARNED: setting wrong values via i2c runs the risk of over-driving the LEDs and causing permanent hardware damage.

Install the prerequisites
$ sudo apk add i2c-tools

Unload the driver in case it is already loaded. We will use i2c manually
$ sudo modprobe -r adp1653

Enable the chip
$ echo 88 | sudo tee /sys/class/gpio/export
$ echo "out" | sudo tee /sys/class/gpio/gpio88/direction
$ echo 1 | sudo tee /sys/class/gpio/gpio88/value

Turn the torch on, using the lowest torch current - DO NOT use other values here or you risk burning the LED
Values between 1 and 7 enable the red privacy/recording led, with different intensity
0x8 is the lowest torch intensity, and we do not recommend going above it
$ sudo i2cset -y 2 0x30 0x0 0x8

Turn the torch off
$ sudo i2cset -y 2 0x30 0x0 0x0

Disable the chip
$ echo 0 | sudo tee /sys/class/gpio/gpio88/value
$ echo 88 | sudo tee /sys/class/gpio/unexport

Power Management

This ticket tracks hitting idle states for the N900:

Power usage right now is reported to be about 45mA (idle, modem ON and data ON). On a good battery this will last for about 30 hours. Power management on the N900 is being worked on:


modprobe ledtrig-default-on


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.

See this code for a work in progress power management script:

Battery calibration

Nokia N900 has bq27200 integrated circuit for monitoring battery state. The datasheet can be found here: 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


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


Overclocking is now available in -devel using cpufreq boost.

It uses 250-500-550-600-720-805-850MHz frequencies

To enable it, edit:


And replace 0 by 1.

It is possible to customise max/min/available frequencies editing files in:


No other steps are needed and updates/upgrades work with boost mode.

Installing cpufrequtils is useful to change frequency governors.

Prefer "conservative" instead of "ondemand" governor.

"Performance" governor locks N900 at 850MHz.

As root cpufreq-set -c 0 -g conservative

WARNING: some devices can't run at 850MHz. For this specific case, select powersave governor instead of ondemand, activate boost mode, replace 850000 by 805000 (or 720000) in scaling_max_freq file and finally select conservative governor

Overclocking - Old method for testing purpose

To be able to overclock two steps are needed:

1) From Fremantle: add new Maemo Leste menu item (run as root):

cat > /etc/bootmenu.d/30-maemo-leste-Overclock.item << "EOF" &&
ITEM_NAME="Maemo Leste Overclock"

2) From Maemo Leste (run as root):

cp /usr/lib/linux-image-omap/omap3-n900.dtb /home/user

dtc -I dtb -O dts /home/user/omap3-n900.dtb -o /home/user/omap3-n900.dts

(wait for a few seconds...)

chmod +w /home/user/omap3-n900.dts

(then the funny part...)

nano /home/user/omap3-n900.dts

(Now it's time to modify frequencies and voltage: be careful to do exactly the same)

Find "opp-table" with ctl+w and Replace all content in "opp-table { opp1 opp2 opp3 opp4 opp5 opp6 };"

New opp-table for example:

opp-table {
		compatible = "operating-points-v2-ti-cpu";
		syscon = < 0x05 >;
		phandle = < 0x03 >;

		opp1-250000000 {
			opp-hz = < 0x00 0xee6b280 >;
			opp-microvolt = < 0xee098 0xee098 0xee098 >;
			opp-supported-hw = < 0xffffffff 0x03 >;

		opp2-500000000 {
			opp-hz = < 0x00 0x1dcd6500 >;
			opp-microvolt = < 0x106738 0x106738 0x106738 >;
			opp-supported-hw = < 0xffffffff 0x03 >;

		opp3-600000000 {
			opp-hz = < 0x00 0x23c34600 >;
			opp-microvolt = < 0x124f80 0x124f80 0x124f80 >;
			opp-supported-hw = < 0xffffffff 0x03 >;

		opp4-720000000 {
			opp-hz = < 0x00 0x2aea5400 >;
			opp-microvolt = < 0x124f80 0x124f80 0x124f80 >;
			opp-supported-hw = < 0xffffffff 0x03 >;

		opp5-850000000 {
			opp-hz = < 0x00 0x32a9f880 >;
			opp-microvolt = < 0x149970 0x149970 0x149970 >;
			opp-supported-hw = < 0xffffffff 0x03 >;

Then ctl+x to save and close.

And still as root:

rm /home/user/omap3-n900.dtb

dtc -I dts -O dtb /home/user/omap3-n900.dts -o /home/user/omap3-n900.dtb

Check your kernel version:

uname -r

For example if the result is 6.1.30, your vmlinuz version is vmlinuz-6.1.30

In the next command, replace "vmlinuz-<version>" by yours (ie vmlinuz-6.1.30)

As root:

cat /boot/vmlinuz-<version> /home/user/omap3-n900.dtb > /tmp/zImage_dtb

mkimage -A arm -O linux -T kernel -C none -a 80008000 -e 80008000 -d /tmp/zImage_dtb /boot/uImageX

That's it !

Now reboot and select "Maemo Leste Overclock in bootmenu".

(WARNING with old method: always use stock "Maemo Leste" in bootmenu before dist-upgrade / kernel update. (New uImageX must be created again and old uImageX must be removed))

Tips / Tweaks

SD Card and first boot

To avoid overall slowness, SDXC U3 microSD card is a must. Class10 U1 cards are usually too slow to run Leste on N900 unfortunately, most probably because of their lower build quality.

WARNING: unresponsive / freezing screen is normal during Hildon-desktop loading.

First boot is a bit complicated because Leste is loading lot of things even if hildon-desktop is already visible (wait at least 3 min before clicking somewhere). Connecting to Wi-Fi must be avoided until the second boot (otherwise apt-worker starts automatically and N900 is unresponsive for few minutes). Don't forget to run /etc/ on first boot and check if swap is activated. Then reboot.

(Note: it is recommended to dist-upgrade to -devel to enable more features)

Gnome-tracker in $HOME

By default trackers are indexing the entire $HOME folder, causing severe slowdown.

To avoid this issue, the solution (until a proper fix) is to add a .nomedia file in /home/user folder:

touch /home/user/.nomedia

Deactivating apt-worker


gconftool -s --type int /apps/hildon/update-notifier/check_interval 2147483647

Removing 250MHz CPU frequency (example)

Install cpufrequtils.

Replace 250000 by 500000 in


More SWAP / SWAP activation

Enabling swap on eMMC 768MB partition if not already activated on first boot (works on the fly):

sudo swapon /dev/mmcblk1p3

(editing /etc/fstab/ is not needed and done automatically on next reboot)

(Note: eMMC swap is highly recommended and faster than SD card swap)

Other possibility: create a simple 1GB swap file on the SDcard if swap is missing:

sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=/swapfile bs=1024 count=1048576

(It takes some time...)

sudo chmod 600 /swapfile
sudo mkswap /swapfile
sudo swapon /swapfile

To make the change permanent open:

sudo nano /etc/fstab

And add this line:

/swapfile swap swap defaults 0 0

To check if the swap is active:

sudo swapon --show

Tweaking Transitions

Many options are missing in CSSU Features package but it is possible to edit them in transitions.ini.

As root

nano /usr/share/hildon-desktop/transitions.ini

See Fremantle documentation for perfect setup.

Note: like Fremantle, blur effect can cause lags and slowness. It is possible to deactivate it through the transitions.ini file:


radius = 0

radius_more = 0

Web browsing

Links2 is currently the fastest and the most usable web browser on N900 -using an easy tweak-

sudo apt install links2

To use it in graphical mode, run in terminal:

links2 -g

or press the hildon desktop icon.

Then press Ctl + Shift + N to disable Hildon composition -links2 performances will increase a lot-

Press Ctl + Shift + N if you want to enable Hildon composition again.

Video playing

Video playing is working fine using SMPLAYER:

- In Options / Preferences / General:

Media engine: Other: /user/bin/mplayer

- In Options / Preferences / Video:

Output driver: xv (0 - OMAP Textured Video)

Only unable Double buffering and Disable screensaver

- In Options / Preferences / Audio:

Output driver: pulse (or User defined)

Disable everything else

Channel by default: 2 (Stereo)

High speed playback: Auto

- In Options / Preferences / Performance:

Unable Allow frame drop

Hardware decoding: None

Prefer 360p - 480p max video format

(With overclocking, Video is working well using KODI 17.6 with equivalent A/V settings)

Voice Calls / SIP Calls

- Dist-upgrade to -devel (not working without)

Now SIP calls and SIP messages are working out of the box using Twinkle. (select voicecall profile in pavucontrol)

Voice calls are now working out of the box as well.

If sound is distorted, run:

sudo chrt -f -p 99 $(pgrep pulseaudio)

Status table

Feature Leste supported Notes
Kernel version 6.1.76 / 6.1.8 Mainline + PowerVR Patches:
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
3D Acceleration Yes closed PowerVR driver
Overclock Yes up to 805MHz (stable), 850MHz is not working with all devices, Turbo mode works.
Touchscreen Yes Resistive
Audio Yes Works (minus speaker protection), UCM support with Jack plug/unplug detection
Video Yes Xv acceleration, up to 360-480p. Max 360p for online streaming with SMplayer.
2G/3G/3.5G data Yes Works with ofono - UI is working, see
4G data N/A no hardware
SMS Yes Works with Sphone or ofono scripts. Works with Conversations in -devel.
Phone calls Yes UCM support, sound is good. Works in 2G, 3G and 3.5G mode, works with Sphone.
SIP calls / IM Yes Works with Twinkle, TLS transport is supported, Telepathy/Sphone integration is WIP
Bluetooth No Driver needs some work
FM Transmitter Yes Select 'FM Transmitter' in Pavucontrol

Install v4l-utils and set frequency using: v4l2-ctl -d /dev/radio0 -c mute=0,tune_power_level=120 -f <freq>

FM Receiver No Depends on working Bluetooth stack
Accelerometer Yes Not used in Leste at the moment, since UI rotation does not work on N900
Compass N/A No hardware
Gyro N/A No hardware
Proximity sensor Yes evdev interface not supported in mce since it depends on iio-sensor-proxy support. for possible 'fix'
Ambient Light Sensor Yes
Vibration Motor Yes
HDMI-out N/A No 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.
Infrared Yes TX only (hardware limitation). Works with pwm-ir-tx driver (patched)
Camera No Needs complex v4l work, no leste integration
Idle power consumption ~160mW / up to 30 hours Device does not enter RET or OFF mode