Introduction

This guide contains very specific tweaks, not needed by the average user. Only one fix is strictly necessary to make the netbook work at all - setting "Network Boot" as the first boot device in the BIOS; see the Booting USB media section below for more details.
Depending on the model / hardware variation you have, this machine can be the an excellent FOSS netbook choice, with almost all features working out of the box since Ubuntu 11.10.

Overview

Click on a specific feature to read the remarks about it. Columns correspond to the support status in various Ubuntu versions.

Feature

11.10

12.04 LTS

12.10

13.04

Booting USB media (installation)

Ethernet

Wireless

Suspend and Hibernate

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Video

Desktop effects (Compiz)

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External monitor (vga/hdmi)

Touchpad

Keyboard functions (Fn keys)

Sound (speaker/headphone/hdmi-audio)

Sound (microphone)

SD card reader

Webcam

Bluetooth

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(works out of the box) (works, with remarks) (needs manual install) (won't currently work completely) IconsPage/question.png (not yet documented)

Different hardware versions

The Acer Aspire One 522 netbook exists in different versions (original/renewed), different models (with or without built-in 3G modem and bluetooth), and also differing brands of internal components:

* AMD C-50 1.0GHz dual-core CPU, AMD Radeon HD 6250 graphics card [original version]
(wifi=broadcom/atheros, touchpad=alps/synaptic/elantech, bluetooth=broadcom)

* AMD C-60 1.0GHz dual-core CPU, AMD Radeon HD 6290 graphics card [renewed version]
(wifi=atheros, touchpad=synaptics)

The Acer AspireOne722 has similar specifications, but has larger screen and resolution (11.6" 1366x768 instead of 10" 1280x720). An excellent guide to the 722 can be found at http://bernaerts.dyndns.org/linux/251-ubuntu-precise-acer-ao722.

Booting USB media

Presently, the Acer Aspire One 522/722 only boots and installs Ubuntu 11.04 (or higher) USB installation media successfully if the BIOS option "Network Boot" is put on top of the list (positioned first) in the BIOS "Boot" section! You can make that change in the BIOS by pressing the F2 key at Boot and setting the "Boot priority order" like: "Network Boot" > "USB-HDD" > "HDD0". Use the F5 and F6 keys to move items up and down in the menu. Failure to set NetBoot as the first device to boot may result in serious problems, like frozen login screens.

Note: In at least some 722 models, the "Network Boot" option is no longer requried to boot into Ubuntu as of version 12.10. It is unknown whether it is still required to install 12.10 from USB.

After installation is complete, for future boots you have two options:
* either put NetBoot down in the list (recommended choice if you connect to the internet via network cable frequently)
* or leave NetBoot at the top of the BIOS boot order (disadvantage: when a network cable is plugged in, the machine will not boot)

Ethernet

Works fine, as long as the BIOS option (NetBoot) discussed earlier is set correctly. Look at Suspend and Hibernate for occasional issues after hibernation.

Wireless

Models with the Atheros 9285 wifi adapter work fine.

Models with Broadcom adapters experience disconnect issues, which can be addressed as follows.

On newer releases of Ubuntu, Mint and possibly other Linux distributions, the brcmsmac open source driver handles the BCM4313 wireless card and does a decent job. However, it is interfered with by an older one: bcma. If you're seeing frequent random disconnections for wireless networks, try disabling bcma by blacklisting it.

Blacklisting method #1:

add this to /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-bcma.conf:
blacklist bcma

Blacklisting method #2:

add this to /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf:
blacklist brcm80211
blacklist b43
blacklist brcmsmac
blacklist brcmfmac
blacklist ssb
blacklist bcma

add this (it has to go before "exit 0") to /etc/rc.local:
modprobe -r wl
sleep 10
modprobe wl

Suspend and Hibernate

Depending on which video driver you are using, the support status is as follows.

Open-source Radeon driver

* Suspend works fine
* Hibernate partly works, but on wake it needs an ethernet cable to be connected, otherwise the system will freeze. As a quick fix to prevent this, you can blacklist the module for Ethernet as follows:
sudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf # and add the following line
blacklist atl1c

Proprietary AMD Catalyst driver

With older versions of the Catalyst driver,

* Suspend does not work (on wake display remains black)
* Hibernate does not work (edit if you know fixes)

Note: version 12.9+ of Catalyst (still in beta as of late September 2012) is reported to have fixed suspend and hibernate issues, only with Ubuntu 12.04 LTS for now. Needs more testing.

Video

Open-source Radeon driver: they are installed by default, you do not have to do anything to enable them. Disadvantage: slightly slower than proprietary drivers.

Proprietary AMD Catalyst drivers (fglrx): you will be asked if you want to install these, optionally. We suggest you do not do the automatic installation. There are problems with suspend and resume for versions before v.9 of this driver. The automatic options from the Ubuntu repositories are all too old. The only way to avoid this is to download and install the latest stable or beta version from the AMD website. The latest current download 12.10 has been verified to work without issues. Advantage: faster graphics effects and video acceleration (vaapi) with 1080p h264 in XBMC (eden).

Desktop effects (Compiz)

Both with open-source and with Catalyst drivers the performance of Unity is slow, especially on a multi-monitor setup. Using unity2d or gnome-session-fallback increases performance drastically. Probably a Compiz-related bug.

If you want to play with the proprietary drivers (not recommended to all users), then see this guide by zzarko, in particular 7. Slow Unity with Catalyst drivers.

External monitor

Works as of Ubuntu 11.10. We recommend to install Jupiter (see the Recommended tweaks section and follow the link to zzarko's guide).

Remarks:

* If you use the open-source Radeon drivers: VGA out port works. HDMI out port works, but video-only (in Windows it supports video and audio).

* If you use the proprietary AMD Catalyst drivers (fglrx): to be completed.

Touchpad

Horizontal, vertical and two-finger scroll normally work out of the box and can be set in Ubuntu preferences.

However, depending on the brand of your touchpad, you may need additional packages or tweaks.

* AlpsPS/2 ALPS GlidePoint
Needs additional packages for better performance
* SynPS/2 Synaptics Touchpad
* ETPS/2 Elantech Touchpad
Works outs of the box: horizontal, vertical and two-finger scrolling can be set.

To find out the touchpad present in your model, type this in a Terminal:

xinput list --long

or

sudo lsinput

Example output (relevant parts only):

/dev/input/event7
bustype : BUS_I8042
vendor : 0x2
product : 0x8
version : 0
name : "PS/2 Mouse"
phys : "isa0060/serio1/input1"
bits ev : EV_SYN EV_KEY EV_REL

/dev/input/event8
bustype : BUS_I8042
vendor : 0x2
product : 0x8
version : 29478
name : "AlpsPS/2 ALPS GlidePoint"
phys : "isa0060/serio1/input0"
bits ev : EV_SYN EV_KEY EV_ABS

For Alps touchpad, install psmouse-alps-dkms_0.9_all.deb and you will get vertical and horizontal scroll on touchpad, plus more responsiveness.

Webcam

Works fine since Ubuntu 11.10.

Keyboard functions

The Fn keys work fine. They are used for changing volume, brightness, enabling and enabling wifi and touchpad, mute audio, sleep, blank screen. Corresponding LEDs are working fine, too.

A note on LCD backlight brightness keys (Fn + left/right arrow):

* If you use the open-source Radeon drivers: the keys work but jump 2-3 steps instead of 1.
Possible fix #1:
in /etc/rc.local, add the following:
echo 0 > /sys/module/video/parameters/brightness_switch_enabled
Possible fix #2:
install the script described in this page and define, for instance, ctrl + left/right as the keys to control brightness.

* If you use the proprietary AMD Catalyst drivers: the keys already work perfectly, jumping 1 step at a time.

Sound

The internal speaker works partly(left channel only). Note the following about headphones and microphone (internal or external).

Headphones

Works fine (since 11.10), jack sensing/inserting a headphone will disable the audio output of the internal speakers, so audio will only be heard inside the headphone, which is normal for notebooks. The only shortcoming is that the mono internal speaker will play left channel audio only, but the headphone does stereo left and right fine.

Microphone

External microphone: works fine with Ubuntu 12.04.

Internal microphone: needs manual configuration with older kernels, as follows.
With kernel 3.6 and later, everything should work without any extra setup

* Open a terminal window and run "alsamixer"
* press F6 and choose "1 HDA ATI SB" as a sound card to configure by pressing Enter
* to see the mic-related sliders, press F5 and move the cursor keys to the right, only the outermost three sliders need to be set to a level of 56 by pressing the Up key
* then, by pressing the "c" key on each of the three sliders, the volume level of each right channel needs to be put to 0
* finally, quit alsamixer by pressing ESC.

Relevant threads on Ubuntu forums:
* Acer Aspire One AO722 Microphone Not Working Ubuntu 12.04LTS

HDMI Audio

Needs testing, but has worked with both open-source Radeon and with Catalyst drivers. For open-source Radeon, add the kernel parameter radeon.audio=1.

SD card reader

Works fine, but cannot be booted from BIOS.

Bluetooth

Model-dependent, to be completed.

Recommended tweaks

For Ubuntu 11.10, see this guide by zzarko for some useful fixes, which are not mandatory but highly recommended. They include:

* better power management (Jupiter)
* headphone sensing and how to set the correct volume for Skype and Google Talk/Video
* CapsLock indicator
* power regression (improve power consumption by forcing ASPM - Active-State Power Management)

Advanced tweaks

Only try these if you know what you are doing.

Fan control

WIP -- we may get it on/off if we found a way to control it on EC.

The final idea is to put acerhdf working for Acer Aspire One 522.

There is also the "old" script called acerfand.

GPU dynamic

Undervoltage means a cooler GPU, less fan speed and noise, less energy used (longer run time with battery usage).

Dynamic frequency switching (depending on GPU load). The "dynpm" method dynamically changes the clocks based on the number of pending fences, so performance is ramped up when running GPU intensive apps, and ramped down when the GPU is idle. The re-clocking is attempted during vertical blanking periods, but due to the timing of the re-clocking functions, does not always complete in the blanking period, which can lead to flicker in the display. Due to this, dynpm only works when a single head is active

In your /etc/rc.local file, add:

echo dynpm > /sys/class/drm/card0/device/power_method
edit request:How does this compare to the Catalyst driver?

Undervoltage

Undervoltage means a cooler GPU, less fan speed and noise, less energy used (longer run time with battery usage). It makes a big difference on AO522: fan runs slower, quiet and the air is cooler.

First download undervolt from SourceForge project page.

Read to understand how to use ''undervolt''.

Here is an example /etc/rc.local file (with values determined after performing some tests on Casainho's Aspire One 522 model):

undervolt -p 0:0x35
undervolt -p 0:0x35
undervolt -p 1:0x3c
undervolt -p 1:0x3c

Undervolt need the msr module loaded and so you should add it to modules file executing the following commands on terminal:

sudo gedit /etc/modules

add msr to file and save.
edit request:How does this compare to the Catalyst driver?

Embedded Controller

NOTE: please help us find the registers on Embedded Controller (EC) for controlling the fan.

The Embedded Controller (EC) is an interface to the lower level hardware on laptops. It has 255 registers (0x00 to 0xFF). All EC registers are 8 bit, and we read their contents as unsigned decimal values from 0 to 255.

Unfortunately, the meaning and contents of these registers varies on each Aspire One models, however they may be equal on Aspire One 522 and 722.

Using acer_ec.pl script we can see EC registers. I found that on my Acer Aspire One 522 the following registers are used:

- 0x90 to 0x9f --> string with name of my 6 cells battery, market name "ACER AL10B31 battery":
83 S
65 A
78 N
89 Y
79 O

65 A
76 L
49 1
48 0
66 B
51 3
49 1

- 0xb0 --> CPU temperature
- 0xb9 --> LCD back light value (from 0 up to 9)
- 0xbb --> 0 for Wifi off; 0x45 for Wifi on

You can read all register values by doing: sudo ./acer_ec.pl regs
You can read one register value by doing (example for reading 0xb9 register which holds value for LCD back light): sudo ./acer_ec.pl ?= 0xb9
You can write a register value by doing (example for disable Wifi using register 0xbb): sudo ./acer_ec.pl := 0xbb 0x0

Unlock advanced menus in BIOS

There exist some locked/hidden BIOS menus, which are enabled with an unofficial, "hacked" BIOS version. You will have to flash the BIOS in order to use it. Note: only do this if you are confident, as you can damage your netbook!

The BIOS can be updated from Windows (easier) or from FreeDOS (see below).

Download file 100%_AO522_BIOS_Acer_1.12_A_A_UlkdMenus_ByCamiloml.zip.

See pictures of BIOS unlocked menus.

Read this thread to know more.

BIOS update using Linux and FreeDOS

You will need to install Unetbootbin on Linux Ubuntu. Then you will use a USB disk to be bootable and run FreeDOS, where you can place the DOS BIOS update files. Finally, boot your AO522/722 with this USB disk and run the BIOS update.

When booting into FreeDOS, make sure you choose the "Live CD only" version, otherwise the BIOS will not flash.

Also, make sure your netbook is plugged into AC, or the flash program will yield an error.

You can see examples here and here.

See also

Ubuntu forum discussion threads about Acer Aspire One 522 and 722:

* Acer Aspire One 522 - Smiles and Frowns
* Acer Aspire One 722 Ubuntu 11.04 fixes
* [xubuntu] 11.10 on Acer AO722
* Acer Aspire One AO722 Microphone Not Working Ubuntu 12.04LTS

Other useful links:

* http://bernaerts.dyndns.org/linux/251-ubuntu-precise-acer-ao722
* http://www.linlap.com/wiki/acer+aspire+one+522
* http://housegeekatheart.blogspot.com.es/2011/10/installing-ubuntu-1110-on-acer-netbook.html
* http://lordemmet.wordpress.com/2011/08/09/ubuntu-11-04-on-acer-aspire-one-522/

AspireOne522 (last edited 2013-12-13 19:00:01 by knome)