Lenovo IdeaPad (3000) Y410 Model 7757 and Linux


Getting Linux to run on Lenovo 3000 Y410 is not so hard. However, there are some issues with the Wireless and Sound. The main problem is the Wireless RF kill switch is somehow on and you can’t turn it off even with the hardware switch. It seems that the hardware switch is the same as the Fn-F5 + Fn-F6 keys because that’s how it seems to me. However, I’ve an inkling where the problem lies and I think it’s because some of the Fn keys are not properly initialized during boot. Read on for what I’ve tried.

 I’ve installed openSUSE 10.3, Ubuntu 7.10, Mandriva 2008.1, and tried to install Debian Etch. Debian couldn’t detect the Broadcom Extreme ethernet card – even after I forced it to use the tg3 driver (which is used by Ubuntu).

With openSUSE, Compiz won’t run properly until I upgraded to kernel 2.6.22.17 and Xorg 7.3. With Ubuntu, just can’t get the desktop effect to work, even with the restricted drivers. Mandriva 2008.1 works like a charm, well almost… with a problem common to all the distros I tried except MS Windows. The common problems are two: Sound and Wireless.

It seems that the sound won’t work. I managed to make it work with openSUSE by updating to ALSA xx16 (don’t remember the xx part) and setting model to Auto. Still, the subwoofer doesn’t work. If I set model to acer (i think), subwoofer works as a mono speaker, but front speaker won’t work. In almost all model options tried, none is perfect but Auto is not so bad. And yet, once rebooted, I may or may not get the sound. Same in Ubuntu.

As for the wireless, lspci shows it is detected and properly too but can’t be used because all the linux distro says that the hardware RF kill is on (which is not). I tried overiding the rf_kill value but that is for software kill switch and won’t work – especially in Ubuntu with that kernel bug (still not solved as of today) where you can’t even write to the rf_kill file… confusing. And in Mandriva, it works at first, or sometimes and I think I know why now.

Here’s what I discovered that is the ONLY workaround available in all the linux I tried – I couldn’t find it ANYWHERE on the Internet after searching like crazy for a whole week (sleepless… 20 hours a day on this).

For anyone having the same model, here’s the workaround to get Wireless and Sound to work and it’s actually easy. Actually, two ways but the second one is more reliable if your distro suspends properly.


Method 1: During boot up, at Grub (or in BIOS boot), press Ctrl-Alt-Del for warm reboot. If during the warm reboot the wireless light turns red, you have a chance that the RF kill switch is now off. If not, Ctrl-Alt-Del again. Still, it’s just a chance. To increase your chance, try also to increase the sleep time between modprobe of the ipw driver and the loading of the ipw daemon (in /etc/modprobe.d/ipw3945 — there’s the sleep 0.5 parameter, change to sleep 2 or more).


Method 2: This is more reliable if your distro suspends reliably. Simple actually and I have tested in Mandriva and Ubuntu. Just press Fn-F1 to go to sleep mode and then wake it up. Now, the Fn-F5 (Wifi) and Fn-F6 (Bluetooth) just works! At the same time, so is the sound! (not the subwoofer, though)


If only I’ve tried suspending it earlier, I would have more sleep. I never tried Fn-F1 (suspend) before as I read that it might have trouble waking up. Instead, it actually repairs the keyboard map for the Fn key.

So now, here’s my idea which I don’t know how to do: make the same script that run on wake-up also run during boot. So, does anyone know how? Please, if anyone know how to put the wake-up script also into boot, then I think the bug can be fixed in ALL these distros.

All in all, Mandriva 2008.1 works out of the box (even the webcam and desktop effects) – you just have to press Fn-F1 to enable wifi RF Kill key and sound (same in Ubuntu). openSUSE is still the best for it but I am yet to try the workaround there. I suspect it will work.

I will continue to investigate and I hope all you Linux people out there can also contribute some ideas. Thanks in advance.

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Reader Comments

Is it because of driver issue or just laptop features issue?

I think it’s driver issue because I see it everywhere regarding the lenovo 3000 series. I believe it’s more on the acpi driver. As an update, I see that the problem is that the during boot, the proc device related to the relevant hotkeys are not created so their state cannot be read resulting in being default On of Off). But when ACPI sleep occurs, the script creates the proc devices and then when it wakes up, can read the proper values. But I’m no linux guru so I am only guessing based on investigations.
I don’t think it’s sound and wifi driver issues as they work almost flawlessly right after resume from suspend. The only ‘not perfect’ part is that the speaker does not turn itself off when you put in headphone… but that’s generally how it is with a lot of the intel-hda sound cards in linux.
BTW, I’ve since settled on Linux Mint 4.0 since at least everything works after suspend. I’ll try Ubuntu 8.04 release when it’s out (today!).

[...] such a joy but it’s based on Ubuntu. It works out of the box (almost, if you don’t mind putting the notebook to sleep every boot and then waking it up again to get wireless, bluetooth, and sound working). So, I like Mint but the applications are limited. [...]

[...] to work is a pain especially since openSUSE won’t suspend my notebook properly and thus the workround doesn’t [...]

Hi syafril, this is egg from malaysia. Read many of your post on linux and manage to know something from it. I’m using Y410 as my study tool and media equipment. Currently start studying linux on this machine. Can you give me help on this matter as i’m a newbie and know nothinng much on this OS. Can we stay in contact via email or messenger so that i can ask you about linux and discuss on it?? Thanks very much.

Hi egg. Well, I am not an expert in Linux. Although I’ve been using Linux on and off for the past 10 years, it’s more “off” than “on”, he he.
By the way, I’m more on XP lately because I hit a snag with Hardy. I had trouble getting proper round-tripping for Word 2007 documents from OpenOffice to Word.
Stay in touch. Maybe we can learn Linux together (and have more stuffs for our blogs too!).
I’ll touch your email soon.
But today.. it’s Opera 9.5!!! I’ve been waiting for that in ages!

I am using VISTA premium home. The sound in this model is being very low and the sound effect is also not gud compared to other models. Could you advise how it can be improved.

Sound problems seem to affect the whole 3000 series.

I cannot get sound working with Mandriva on a 3000 N200. I have got USB speakers as a stop-gap till I have time to figure it out.

Cyrusmd, I’ve heard the issue before. It’s a driver problem and there are updated drivers from Realtek. See this post by Kennseiba in Lenovo’s support forum: For Low Audio Output Speakers on Lenovo Y410. Should help you.

Graeme Pietersz, funny isn’t it how USB audio seems to work so easily in Linux? I was quite surprised when I plugged-in the USB speakers and it worked straight away.
Maybe sound card manufacturers should all build usb-standard sound cards, even the internal ones – just like the mouse. Then we can use sound in any system and it will all be standard.

[...] No more the need to put the Y410 to sleep first. Then, I used the connection to upgrade the packages to the latest [...]

THANX……………
THANX…………..
A LOT……..universal cynic
hi,
method 2 really worked.
man sound was killing me
i had sleepless nights.but i can fully switch to FEDora 9.thats what i have.
universal cynic has great knowledge abt linux and its hardware interactions.
now sound is really working fine,…….

Thanks tikeshwar. I don’t know much about linux… just trying out to make things happen.
BTW, the new Ubuntu 8.10 doesn’t have this problem anymore! Yay!

I agree, Ubuntu 8.10 fixes the sound problem(speaker & headset)on lenovo y410 but the wireless don’t seem to work after i upgraded from 8.04 to 8.10. At the network manager, it shows “device unmanaged”. Waht i did was edit /etc/NetworkManager/nm-system-settings.conf and changed the line under [ifupdown] to managed=true

thanks to skroops who posted this fix: http://backports.ubuntuforums.com/showthread.php?t=940364

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Hi, folks. My name is Frank (or MrSpock, because of my ears and my dream). I have started programming in 1985 and I work as a software developer now. I am basically both an old-school programmer (started with Pascal) and a new one (a child of the Internet era HTML, PHP) at the same time. I have basically lost a decade in the programming world. Losing the nineties is not as bad as it seems; I skipped the Windows era ;-)

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My webcam is not working. my laptop is Lenovo Y410 and m using Mandriva 2009. Plzzzz help…

Hi Suresh,

Have you checked that the webcam is enabled? (try Fn-Esc). I tested in Ubuntu and it worked (using Cheese to take picture). If it doesn’t try putting the notebook to sleep (Fn-F1), and then turn it back on.

I love Ubuntu Linux. They announced a new version named Ubuntu Maverick Meerkat. Does anyone else here upgrade as soon as the new one comes out?

I have run into some problems with upgrading too soon, but the forums always seem to help me fix them fast.