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Dell Latitude XPi P133ST

Referred to by

By Julian H. Stacey


Contents laregely in sequential order of releases tried. Notes from Ian FREISLICH
  • I gave up
  • the most recent bios update from Dell broke text mode on the LCD. A CRT still works.
  • PCMCIA chip isn''t supported any more
  • last version of -CURRENT I tried on it wouldn''t boot.
  • only 24MB of RAM.
Runs fine, recognises & configs ep0 & xe0 pcmcia ether & can access pcmcia cdrom, need no special /boot/ magic.

FreeBSD-6.2 is a Nightmare:

  • IDE: It wont write disc successfully unless a load of magic marked Dell Latitude XPi P133ST above is used (I don''t know which subset of the tediously long mess is necessary, as can''t install to put in loader.conf & edit & experiment faster.)
  • Safe Mode at least can write a disc partition. (Normal can not write disc !)
  • Loader options Im currently hand typing at each boot for Dell Latitude XPi P133ST are marked Dell Latitude XPi P133ST
  • PCMCIA: FreeBSD-6.2 wont automatically recognise any cards I''ve tried (Ian F''s either). I''ve seen this problem on numerous laptops.
  • PLIP is broken.
  • SLIP I had no luck with (but that may be my fault, lack of time/ patience with FreeBSD-6.2 !)
  • 2 options left to get install data: graft disc with adapter onto another FreeBSD-6.2 box
  • Install a FreeBSD-4.11 partition with enough space to hold a FreeBSD-6.2 CDROM & mount under FreeBSD-6.2. This finally provided data for an install:
    • I booted FreeBSD-4.11 floppies.
    • erased all disc slices.
    • repartitioned 4G disc,
    • creating a single 2G slice,
    • installed FreeBSD-4.11 from pcmcia cdrom,
    • read in FreeBSD-6.2 cdrom to hard disc /usr/6.2
    • booted FreeBSD-6.2 floppies, (with all the Dell Latitude XPi P133ST loader.conf option above)
    • created a 2nd 2G slice for FreeBSD-6.2
    • installed FreeBSD-6.2, using the data mounted from s1 /a/usr/6.2
    • rebooted
    • Now FreeBSD-4.11 & FreeBSD-6.2 both wont boot, obviously a
      FreeBSD-6.2 & FreeBSD-4.11 fdisk / geom collision.
    • Booted FreeBSD-4.11 floppies, F4, Fdisk saw both F1 & F2 marked as active partitions, set just F1, also ran Fdisk -B # Reinitialise the boot code contained in sector 0 Now it boots the FreeBSD-4.11 without going through an fdisk choice of F1 or F2.
    • Fdisk -a # set to 2, reboot. Reports Error loading operating system.
  • : NetBSD i386cd-3.1.iso
    • Didn''t seem to like MBR left by FreeBSD-6.2
    • does briefly access external cdrom via pcmcia, then hangs on /sbin/mount -rt cd9660 /dev/cd0a Then hangs showing: Status: Running Command: /sbin/mount -rt cd9660 /dev/cd0a /mnt2
    • reinstalled FreeBSD-4.11 on 1st 2G
    • NetBSD-3.1 again Both with all 4G as 1 slice preallocated to FreeBSD-4.11, or a single 2G slice of FreeBSD-4.11, it reports:
      This disk matches the following BIOS disk
      BIOS    # cylinders heads   sectors total sectors   GB
      0x80    992 128 63  0   0
      a This is correct geometry
      a Edit the MBR partition table
      Installed FreeBSD-4.11 with 2G slice
      NetBSD-3.1 floppies
      a:    Start 0 Size 1998 Flg a FreeBSD/386BSD
      Scroll to b
      kind: NetBSD
      accept b start 1998 c size 1000 d end 2996
      e change to active
      f change to Install:Yes
      g bootmenu: leave as don''t know
      Do you want to update the bootcode in the MBR
      accept default Yes
      Accept root of 1G
      External CD drive seeks.
      Then hangs showing:
      Status: Running
      Command: /sbin/mount -rt cd9660 /dev/cd0a
      Xircom card did not work with DHCP  **
      My ep0 10/100 card works with DHCP
      Lots of
      Failed to write ./usr/share/.... (No space left on device)
      panic: ffs_valloc dup alloc
      Stopped in pid 1492.1 (tar) at 0xc025b9dd:     leave
      I think disklabel looks inconsistent:
      Why does a start at 0 yet c at 2K ?!
      Start   End Size    Type    NewFS   Mount   Point
      a   0   127 128 FFSV1       /
      b   128 223 96  swap
      c   1998    2995    997 NetBSD partition
      d   0   3908    3909    Whole disk
      e   224 479 256 FFSv1       /var
      f   480 735 256 FFSv1       /tmp
      g   736 1997    1262    FFSv1       /usr
      h   1998    2995    997 FFSv1   Yes Yes /
      I disabled all but C & H
      NetBSD installed successfully & reboots OK,
      but it doesn''t boot through FDISK offering FreeBSD, so stuck on NetBSD
      Xircom card needs "media 10baseT/UTP"
      3com does not need that, it auto configures.

    • Article archived here
      Message-ID: <58413.2001:6f8:101e:0:20e:cff:fe6d:6adb.1182230072.squirrel \
      In-Reply-To: <790c34130706181335n73fc48eeo15bddd1157db730a \
      References: <790c34130706181335n73fc48eeo15bddd1157db730a \
      Date: Tue, 19 Jun 2007 07:14:32 +0200 (CEST)
      From: =?iso-8859-1?Q?Bj=F6rn_K=F6nig?= <bkoenig \
      To: "Brian Hoort" <brian.hoort  @@>
      Cc: freebsd-mobile  @@
      Subject: Re: pccard not working on old laptop
      Brian wrote:
      > I''ve installed 6.2 on an old laptop.  I''ve been unable to get it
      > to detect the pccard bus, and therefore have no networking.
      > It worked on this laptop in the BSD 4.x days. I''ve seen several
      > posts in the archive mentioning that the fix prior to 6.x was
      > to replace:
      > device cbb
      > device pccard
      > device cardbus
      > with:
      > device pcic
      > device card
      > but that this old driver was removed in 6.x.
      You have to be patient. Support for old ISA pccard bridges will be
      reintroduced with 7.0, 7.1 or probably later. There are already signs of
      effort in the source code.

      Article archived here
      Subject: Re: Pcmcia problem
      From: Björn König <bkoenig  @@>
      Date: Tue, 26 Jun 2007 15:20:01 +0200 (CEST)
      To: "Jimmie A" <demodog  @@>
      Cc: freebsd-mobile  @@
      Jimmie wrote:
      > Is it possible to get a 16 bit network card to work in freebsd 6.2?
      If it is a very old laptop with a 16-bit cardbus I would say that it is
      not possible yet. Can you give a little bit more information about your
      system? "pciconf -lv" and "/var/run/dmesg.boot".

    NetBSD-3.1 Up & Running.

    • dmesg
    • Not yet tested PLIP etc to a FreeBSD-4.11
    • Not yet solved fdisk to allow boot of co-resident FreeBSD-4.11.
    • Even though man xi says:
      Even with the 10/100 cards, do not expect more than ~450KB/s.
      I see with Norbert''s card 835 KB/s ftp binary from remote to laptop disc.
    • fdisk
      Disk: /dev/rwd0d
      NetBSD disklabel disk geometry:
      cylinders: 7944, heads: 16, sectors/track: 63 (1008 sectors/cylinder)
      total sectors: 8007552
      BIOS disk geometry:
      cylinders: 992, heads: 128, sectors/track: 63 (8064 sectors/cylinder)
      total sectors: 8007552
      Partition table:
      0: FreeBSD or 386BSD or old NetBSD (sysid 165)
      start 63, size 4093677 (1999 MB, Cyls 0-507/84/1)
      1: NetBSD (sysid 169)
      start 4093740, size 2042964 (998 MB, Cyls 507/84/1-761), Active
      2: <UNUSED>
      3: <UNUSED>
      Boot selector disabled.
      fdisk -a -B
      Installed boot file doesn''t support required options.
      Update the bootcode from /usr/mdec/mbr_bootsel? [n] y
      Boot selector enabled, timeout 10 seconds.
      How to get it to allow FreeBSD partition to boot
      ie to listen to F1 ?
      ** It was prompting "Fn: dskn"
      fdisk wd0
      Partition table:
      0: FreeBSD or 386BSD or old NetBSD (sysid 165)
      start 63, size 4093677 (1999 MB, Cyls 0-507/84/1), Active
      1: NetBSD (sysid 169)
      start 4093740, size 2042964 (998 MB, Cyls 507/84/1-761)
      Boot selector enabled, timeout 9 seconds.
      fdisk -c  /usr/mdec/mbr wd0
      fdisk wd0
      Boot selector disabled.
      ** It boots without even waiting.
      fdisk -B -c /usr/mdec/mbr_bootsel
      0: The first active partition
      fdisk -c  /usr/mdec/mbr /dev/rwd0d
      fdisk /dev/rwd0d
      0: FreeBSD or 386BSD or old NetBSD (sysid 165)
      start 63, size 4093677 (1999 MB, Cyls 0-507/84/1), Active
      1: NetBSD (sysid 169)
      start 4093740, size 2042964 (998 MB, Cyls 507/84/1-761)
      2: <UNUSED>
      3: <UNUSED>
      Boot selector disabled.
      NetBSD with no option to use MBR
      Booted FreeBSD-4.11 floppies inc Fixit
      fdisk -B
      install new boot block ?    Y
      install new partition table ?   Y
      It Still goes straight to NetBSD!
      fdisk -c /usr/mdec/mbr


    Starting with FreeBSD-7.0BETA3
    Message-Id: <>
    From: "Julian H. Stacey" <>
    Date: Tue, 04 Dec 2007 17:14:44 +0100
    Subject: 7.0BETA3 + Dell Latitude XPi : Disk problem
    ( bcc'd for info )
    Suggestions please to help escape nightmare (below) of 7.0BETA3 installer
    repeatedly failing on a Dell Latitude XPi, (which runs 4.11 no problem).
    It seems the 5,6,7 FreeBSD Installer wont work on this laptop.
    All I can think of now for this laptop is:
       Reinstall 4.11
       Abandon FreeBSD installer for this laptop
       Hand allocate an Fdisk S2
       Hand partition disklabel ad0s2
       Hand install boot sectors
       Hand newfs ad0s2a & f (but UFS2 or 1 ?)
       Hand cross install a complete 7.0BETA3 operational tree
       Hand edit /boot/loader.conf
       Test. & tune boot & loader.conf till disk & pcmcia ep0 work.
       Report back to re@ more conservative values
       (by which time they may well have shipped release).
    Other ideas ?
    Note I have installed 7.0BETA3 on other hosts.
    Detail with 7.0BETA3 below (previous history with 6.2 here:   )
       After continuously failing to persuade 7 installer to do any of
        - install to hard disk OK,
        - recognise & use pcmcia ep0    OR
        - recognise & use pcmcia cdrom card & avoid deathly timeouts
       (& each failure each time needing 7 floppy changes. )
       So I gave up on pcmcia ep0 & pcmcia cdrom to install from, and
       Deleted all fdsik partions
       Installed 4.11 fresh on first 1.5G partition,
       copied 4.11 CD to /usr/cd
       Booted 7 floppies (yet Again)
       set hw.ata.ata_dma=0
        ( About 5 mins wait after it says toot@logan ... sys/GENERIC
           before "real memory" )
       `A' utomatic disklabel fails, (thinks 2.5G insufficient for /usr),
        300G root
        leave 90M swap found from 4.11
        Rest of space for /usr
        Mount old partions as /4 /4/var /4/tmp /4/usr
       Install from filesystem /4/usr/cd
       Finished with no errors.
       F2 refused, so push F1 to boot 4.11 to look:
       # disklabel ad0s2
       # cd /dev ; ./MAKEDEV ad0s2a
       fsck ad0s2a
       # fsck -b 32 /dev/ad0s2a
       Alternate super block location: 32
       ** /dev/ad0s2a
       # uname -a
       FreeBSD 4.11-RELEASE FreeBSD 4.11-RELEASE
       #0: Fri Jan 21 17:21:22 GMT 2005  i386
       # dmesg
       # fdisk
       ******* Working on device /dev/ad0 *******
       parameters extracted from in-core disklabel are:
       cylinders=7944 heads=16 sectors/track=63 (1008 blks/cyl)
       Figures below won't work with BIOS for partitions not in cyl 1
       parameters to be used for BIOS calculations are:
       cylinders=7944 heads=16 sectors/track=63 (1008 blks/cyl)
       Media sector size is 512
       Warning: BIOS sector numbering starts with sector 1
       Information from DOS bootblock is:
       The data for partition 1 is:
       sysid 165,(FreeBSD/NetBSD/386BSD)
           start 63, size 2999745 (1464 Meg), flag 80 (active)
               beg: cyl 0/ head 1/ sector 1;
               end: cyl 1023/ head 15/ sector 63
       The data for partition 2 is:
       sysid 165,(FreeBSD/NetBSD/386BSD)
           start 2999808, size 5007744 (2445 Meg), flag 80 (active)
               beg: cyl 1023/ head 255/ sector 63;
               end: cyl 1023/ head 15/ sector 63
       The data for partition 3 is:
       The data for partition 4 is:
       Next Attempt Failed too, as above, but with changes:
          Not manually typing   set hw.ata.ata_dma=0
            (else as on other laptops, 7 thinks whole disk is free)
          but more comprehensively
            "Safe Boot" (also does hw.ata.wc
            Ref my )
          In fdisk delete S2 & 'C' recreate & 'S' mark bootable & 'Q'
          This time not "Leave MBR untouched" but "Install the FreeBSD Boot Manager"
          After succesfull install with no errors, reboot, & again both F1 & F2
          boots fail, beeping.
    Ideas ?

I suspect there's something sick with this BIOS or MBR, So I did a test:

  • first I installed FreeBSD-4.11 on whole disc, possibly dedicated, to try to erase it, (but I doubt I achieved that)
  • Then installed 4.11 on a 1G slice, booted OK,
  • Installed 4.11 on a 2nd 1G slice,
  • Then neither would boot, both F1 & F2 just beeped, just like FreeBSD-7 & NetBSD


  • 6 Escape to loader
  • ed /boot/loader.conf # Add hw.ata.ata_dma=0 This should be added automatically, a send-pr for that & other things will be via here


Disk Transplant

I didnt have to try this ultimate fallback as slip worked. I'm happy I didnt have to try as some PC BIOS uses disk in different ways, LBA native & what not, so would have had to try up to 3 times.

SLIP Serial Line Internet Protocol

  • Installed at 9600 Without -h in slattach. I've sent a send-pr to remove -h as some cables do not support it.
  • Kernel hang a long time as usual calibrating clocks
  • After "Timecounters tick" Many ad0: FAILURE - READ_DMA Mount of ad0s1a fails.
  • power off,
  • vi /etc/start_if.sl0 # /sbin/slattach -a -l -s 115200 /dev/cuad0
    chmod a+rx /etc/start_if.sl0
  • EUREKA ! A maximal speed (I suppose, check later if faster possible) SLIP con with TCP-IP after months on & off trying.
  • Uploaded 250M of cdrom distribs over 115200 SLIP, built src with make world, & upgraded to 7 Stable


pciconf -l -v

hostb0@pci0:0:0:0:      class=0x060000 card=0x00000000 chip=0x00011066 rev=0x04 
    vendor     = 'Picopower Technology (A division of National)'
    device     = 'PT86C521 Vesuvius V1-LS System Controller'
    class      = bridge
    subclass   = HOST-PCI
isab0@pci0:0:6:0:       class=0x060100 card=0x00000000 chip=0x80021066 rev=0x00 
    vendor     = 'Picopower Technology (A division of National)'
    device     = 'PT86C523 Vesuvius V3-LS ISA Bridge'
    class      = bridge
    subclass   = PCI-ISA
vgapci0@pci0:0:7:0:     class=0x030000 card=0x00000000 chip=0x000110c8 rev=0x01 
    vendor     = 'Neomagic Corporation'
    device     = 'NM2070 MagicGraph 128'
    class      = display
    subclass   = VGA
atapci0@pci0:0:8:0:     class=0x010180 card=0x00000000 chip=0x06431095 rev=0x00 
    vendor     = 'Silicon Image Inc (Was: CMD Technology Inc)'
    device     = 'PCI0643 PCI EIDE controller'
    class      = mass storage
    subclass   = ATA

vmstat -i

interrupt                          total       rate
irq0: clk                         803370        999
irq1: atkbd0                           7          0
irq4: sio0                         18351         22
irq6: fdc0                            11          0
irq8: rtc                         102815        127
irq14: ata0                         3669          4
Total                             928223       1154

X Windows

Finaly Works ! - Well Half Works, Not very well. Driver is flakey: does not erase old used pixels, so there's a sort of memory efefct.
How I did it:
I had previously compiled the base on host=lapd,
Then discovered startx can do an auto config :-)
Saw startx exiting on some xterm syntax error,
not sure where from /var/log/Xorg.0.log did not say where it was importing it from,
Also saw modules not loaded, so
cd /host/fire/usra/ftp/pri/lapd/7/usr/ports/x11-drivers/xf86-video-neomagic
su; make reinstall
cd /host/fire/usra/ftp/pri/lapd/7/usr/ports/x11-drivers/xf86-video-fbdev 
su; make reinstall
There was also in log some fbdev.hw module missing I couldnt see in ports/x11-driver
Tried xinit, also auto configs (or inherited a config from startx ?
Mouse works,


su; scanpci

pci bus 0x0000 cardnum 0x00 function 0x00: vendor 0x1066 device 0x0001
 PicoPower Technology PT86C521 [Vesuvius v1] Host Bridge

pci bus 0x0000 cardnum 0x06 function 0x00: vendor 0x1066 device 0x8002
 PicoPower Technology PT86C523 [Vesuvius v3] PCI-ISA Bridge Slave

pci bus 0x0000 cardnum 0x07 function 0x00: vendor 0x10c8 device 0x0001
 Neomagic Corporation NM2070 [MagicGraph 128]

pci bus 0x0000 cardnum 0x08 function 0x00: vendor 0x1095 device 0x0643
 Silicon Image, Inc. PCI0643


Works, but judders horribly, just like it does on host=lapd


ep0 was not recognised, but is now. Why ? Now one can jack out the card, changed to a Xircom (xe0) & the ep0 is still seen & the xe0 is not seen.

Maybe that ep0 above was the expansion port ? 'Cos...

20 Jan 2009 I got the expansion port/ docking bay working with Ethernet ! it appears as ep0 ! (I got this working with my LAPN.small custom kernel, having turned off various other things in BIOS that might have conflicted for IRQs etc.



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