Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Replacing WLAN card on HP nc6000 laptop


Atheros WLAN card on my hack laptop HP nc6000 died sometime ago. No problem I thought as I had unused Intel 2200BG. After swapping card I was greeted with 104 unsupported wireless network device error. While 2200BG was one of original options for nc6000 one I installed had wrong PCI subsystem ID. Quick googling showed multiple people killing their nc6000 after flashing hacked firmware requiring soldering iron and eeprom programming device to recover. Nothing wrong with that and that most certainly has higher hack value, but not for me this time. Since card itself was ok for BIOS I started thinking if I could somehow change ID supplied by card to one HP BIOS accepts...




  • Download ancient Knoppix from http://dump.asiantuntijakaveri.fi/le_bueno_dumpo/nc6000/KNOPPIX_V3.8.2-2005-05-05-EN.iso
  • Burn ISO to CD. This is too old version of Knoppix to boot from USB stick.
  • Disconnect power from laptop and remove WLAN card
  • Connect to wired network as we need to download few tools
  • Boot laptop from CD but DO NOT continue from prompt yet
  • Hot-plug WLAN card. Yes, you're inserting it while system is powered on, how crazy is that.
  • Hit enter to continue CD boot
  • Launch terminal and switch to root using "sudo su -"
  • Check details of WLAN card with "lspci -d 8086:4220 -vvn"
  • Mine said "Subsystem 8086:2702" while it should say "12F6:103C" for worldwide version and "12F5:103C" for US variant.
  • Check if WLAN card was detected as eth0 or eth1, it was eth0 in my case
  • Download patched WLAN driver that allows writing to card EEPROM
          wget http://dump.asiantuntijakaveri.fi/le_bueno_dumpo/nc6000/ipw2200.tar.gz
          tar xvzf ipw2200.tar.gz
          cd ipw2200-1.0.3/
          ./unload
          ./load
  • Let's go ahead and change subsystem id to one HP accepts

          ethtool -E eth0 magic 0x2200 offset 0x8 value 0xf6
          ethtool -E eth0 magic 0x2200 offset 0x9 value 0x12
          ethtool -E eth0 magic 0x2200 offset 0xa value 0x3c
          ethtool -E eth0 magic 0x2200 offset 0xb value 0x10

  • Reboot, you're done. Yep, it really was that easy.



2 comments:

  1. just got it to work and i am commenting using a "blacklisted" wlan card! haha
    many thanks for the article and providing the files. i have a second one to do at some point but this is much preferable than the bios hack and the switched idsel mod
    result!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello I have a HP Elitebook 2740p. I would like to use mini pci-e card intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3160 apposed to the stock Intel 622ANHMW. Would there be anyway to modify your technique and get this card to work with my laptop? I'm am certain this is the same issue just with a different model laptop.

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