Installing an OEM Intel 2200bg Mini-PCI card into a BIOS-Locked HP/Compaq nc8000

Thought this was worth a try, so I grabbed a $7 mini-pci card off ebay, and after waiting about a month for shipping from China, installed it into the laptop.  Only then was I hit with the dreaded:

104 unsupported wireless network device detected, system halted, remove device and restart

Ack.  OK, so a quick search brought up this thread from 2004 with many, many angry people trying to figure out how to make this cheap card work without having to buy the HP “version”.  Turns out it’s pretty easy.  A little bit risky, but easy.

Take the keyboard off the laptop, but don’t unplug it – you’ll need it.

Take the cover off the mini-pci slot.

Boot the computer off of a knoppix or whatever live CD.  I used knoppix 3.8.2 (2005-05-05) as suggested.  At the boot screen, HOT-PLUG THE MINI-PCI CARD before pressing <ENTER>.  That is the risky part, although it seems to work OK.  Now press <ENTER> and the system will boot into the default knoppix environment.  Also, don’t forget to plug the regular network adapter into something, since you’ll need internet access.

Open a root terminal session.

Check to see that the wireless card was detected using

# iwconfig

It’ll say that lo and eth1 have no wireless capabilities, and show you some mumbo-jumbo about eth0.  It’s not important, just remember that eth0 is your wireless card.  Or eth1 if that’s what it tells you.  Either way, just remember.

You can also use “ethtool -e eth0” to dump the existing EEPROM configuration to the screen so you can write it down and revert back to it when the FCC comes knocking on your door.  You may want to practice this entire procedure a few times in order to make sure you have enough time to finish before they break the door down and confiscate your laptop.

Now all we have to do is download a mystery driver that looks like it might have originally come from sony, and is still (as of April 2008) available here: http://www.geocities.com/sonyirclib/ipw2200.tar.gz. now available from this site, until I get a complaint. I’ll keep a copy of it somewhere in case it disappears, so if you’re polite and have good acceptable grammar, I might make it available to you.

So, in your terminal session, do this:

You have just downloaded and extracted a new wireless driver, unloaded the default knoppix one, loaded the downloaded one, and re-programmed the EEPROM with values that the HP laptop will accept.  At this point, you should be able to shut down the laptop, make sure the little antenna connectors are plugged into the mini-pci card, re-assemble everything, and boot normally.  The new EEPROM values will fool the laptop into thinking that this is a real HP wireless card, so only you will know that it was only $7 and not $200!

52 replies
  1. Peter
    Peter says:

    Hi, I tried first with Knoppix 7.0.2. No chance to change EEPROM settings on a HP nc8000. With Knoppix 3.8.2 all worked fine. Thank you from Germany.

    Reply
  2. Mike
    Mike says:

    Hi.
    After all the commands in knoppix 3.8.2(and with last bios), my hp NC4010 is starting with that error again. What I am doing wrong?

    Reply
  3. Thomas
    Thomas says:

    hi i can’t find no more copy of knoppix 3,8,2 i have try with knoppix 6,7 but i can’t load new driver for invalid module format can you help me?

    Reply
  4. Dave
    Dave says:

    Not sure if you still read this website 🙂 but just a quick thank you , worked perfectly on 5 different old machines , some funnies but the trick with the wavelan configuration worked for them all when they were showing all 0’s , thanks again for hosting the file

    Reply
  5. Cire Zerep
    Cire Zerep says:

    Unfortunately it seems that every copy of Knoppix 3.8.2 has been wiped off the face of the internet (KNOPPIX_V3.8.2-2005-05-05-EN.iso) Does anybody have a copy they would be willing to torrent or post somewhere? OR, alternatively does anybody know of any other Linux flavor(s) that might also work to run these patched wireless drivers?

    Reply
        • Jeremy
          Jeremy says:

          Sorry – I checked my server, but the earliest version I have is 5.something. I’m sure it’s out there somewhere – have you tried all the mirrors?

          Reply
          • Thomas
            Thomas says:

            i’ve tried all the mirrors but no one gone. If anyone have a torrent or a download site for knoppix 3,8,2 please post the url here it can be usefull for anyone 🙂

          • Snout
            Snout says:

            I found it at: http://ftp.swin.edu.au/knoppix/KNOPPIX_V3.8.2-2005-05-05-EN.iso

            (googled for “KNOPPIX_V3.8.2-2005-05-05-EN.iso “)

            and am downloading it now. Great page – hope it works for me! I have some old NC8000 that for now has to ‘settle’ with a nano-sized USB WLAN plug. 😛

            Speaking of – is the top miniPCI slot WLAN only, or can I use both slots for non-wlan cards (such as plopping in gps and/or 3g or whatnot).

            I think I saw somewhere – but can’t find it now of course.. – the possibility of patching the laptop BIOS itself to recognize any WLAN card. Didn’t say if the slot could be used for generic miniPCI use though.

          • Jeremy
            Jeremy says:

            Wow, I can’t believe people are still trying to get these old laptops going…

            It’s been so long that I don’t even remember there being 2 mini-pci slots either. You’ll be able to tell pretty quickly if it’s locked though since it complains every time you boot…

          • Snout
            Snout says:

            Well, it’s a nice big screen to have for off-to-the-side stuff next to my ‘real’ monitors. And fun to get crap like this working, found thrown away. 😉 Yeah, two slots – the WLAN one and one underneath, which can be used for anything.

  6. Calin
    Calin says:

    Hello. I have tried with knoppix 6.7.1 on my Compaq CQ61-125EQ but no result. I want to change the Atheros Card AR5007 which came to my laptop with this card Broadcom BCM94321MC.

    I get that stupid error. Waht i have done: I unpluged the wifi, power the pc and pass the bios check then plugin the wifi card BCM94321MC then boot with knoppix 6.7.1

    In knoppix when i run the command iwconfig i get no wireless extensions.

    If i boot with ubuntu the card is ok but when running the command ethtool -e eth1 i get: cannot get eeprom data operation not supported

    Can someone please help me? i don’t have that money to by an HP wifi card.
    Thank you.

    Reply
  7. Tony
    Tony says:

    Like several others, I too experienced all zeros in eeprom readout that could not be changed or rather, reverted back to zeros after switching off. After several hours and almost condemning the 2200BG, I stumbled across this which may work for you too.
    Click on Penguin, move up to Network/Internet and select Wavelan configuration in drop menu. Just click OK to all settings it suggests. Hey presto, the eeprom is filled with lots of values. Proceed to adjust values as given in excellent post above and this might just solve your problem. I used 0xf6 instead of 0xf5 as first value as apparently this is European (extra 2 channels) as opposed to N. American setting.
    Also, don’t forgot to try and insulate pin 13 of card with tape if it does not switch on and you cannot find out why. Also, Vista drivers will work in Win7.

    Reply
      • GuineaPirate
        GuineaPirate says:

        Hi, it’s me again.

        I bought an used 2200BG from ebay. The first one was broken, but the second one gets detected which is good. Bad thing is that it was sold as compatible with HP laptops and my nx6110 BIOS says that 104 error.

        I downloaded Sony driver and copied it to USB memory and I also burned the Knoppix 3.8.2 to disc.

        Now when I boot the laptop as guided I got all zeroes in eeprom. After that I flashed new values, but after boot it was zeroed again.

        I tried Tony’s tip, but it didn’t change anything.

        Next I am going to try this card with nx9010.
        Hmm, that computer didn’t complain anything and was ready to install driver in XP. I check next with Knoppix.
        LOL, nx9010 is able to show eeprom.

        Default values were
        Offset: 0×0000 Values: 02 a5 00 80 20 42 86 80 01 27 86 80 18 00 01 03
        Only one number differs from Fujitsu values.

        Reboot kept all the changes.

        Now nx6110 don’t complain, but knoppix cannot display eeprom.
        I’ll check if Mini XP / Linux will detect this card.

        Reply
  8. Joseph
    Joseph says:

    Hello.

    Just wanted to leave a note to you, that I have had success in updating my IBM 2200BG card and is now excepted by the HP nc6220 laptop.

    Thanks for the information as well as hosting the driver.

    take care
    Joseph

    Reply
  9. Dave
    Dave says:

    Hey Jeremy. I followed your instruction and they worked perfectly. However all the settings are lost once the laptop loses power. I have already verified the cmos battery is working fine. Any ideas? I did all the changes using a newer version of Knoppix. I am about to try 3.8.

    Reply
    • Jeremy
      Jeremy says:

      Not sure, but the CMOS battery doesn’t have anything to do with the values being flashed to the wireless card… Maybe the newer version of knoppix isn’t actually writing to the EEPROM on the card.

      See GuineaPirate’s comments below about trying (and failing) with Ubuntu.

      Let us know how it goes with 3.8…

      Reply
      • Dave
        Dave says:

        3.8 Won’t work properly. I tried doing it with the newer version of Knoppix again. I noticed that when I #iwconfig that it displays my current wireless settings and info as wlan0 and not eth0. Should I replace “eth0” in the command lines with “wlan0” in order to resolve this?

        Reply
  10. Mitch
    Mitch says:

    I have tried this a million times and i am getting errors when i type anything has has to do with ethtool. For example, I do the ethtool -e wlan0 and it spits back “Cannot get EEPROM data: Operation not supported”

    Anyone have a fix for this?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Jeremy
      Jeremy says:

      The network interface is probably not wlan0. It was eth0 on the machine that I worked on. What does iwconfig report? Are you using the knoppix 3.8 CD that I used?

      Reply
  11. yereverluvinunclebert
    yereverluvinunclebert says:

    I tried it first of all with the latest knoppix and I received the Invalid module format error, then I found a copy of 3.8 here: http://www.kernel.org/pub/dist/knoppix/KNOPPIX_V3.8.2-2005-05-05-EN.iso

    I was able to make the changes as per the instructions, but the even though I successfully tried the whole process, it failed to produce the result and I still get the same old error message.

    I used the values as stated then tried with the European values as suggested here too. The card was an ex-Dell 2200BG so perhaps it was not destined to work.

    Reply
  12. William Lynch
    William Lynch says:

    Hi,
    Thanks for putting this together. The instructions above worked perfectly for my nc4010.

    However, I had some issues with KNOPPIX v3.8.2. That version (and ones prior) have a bug that prevents booting from USB CD/DVD.

    Info about the bug can be found here:
    http://www.knoppix.net/wiki/Bugs/3.8.2
    http://www.knoppix.net/wiki/Bugs/3.9-2005-05-27

    Info about how to config the BIOS to boot USB CD/DVD is here:
    http://www.articlesbase.com/laptops-articles/how-to-boot-hp-compaq-nc4010-nc4000-laptop-from-usbdvdrom-1144417.html

    Once you get to the knoppix line, be sure to use:

    boot: knoppix fromhd=/dev/uba

    Otherwise, you won’t be able to boot Knoppix!

    Reply
  13. ThrillseekerOne
    ThrillseekerOne says:

    Compaq X1000. Followed your instructions exactly. All went fine. was able to confirm with instruction ethtool -e eth0 that new values were showing in EEPROM. Turn and re-start – same error message. Look at values in EEPROM again only to see they are all lost – only zeros showing for all offsets. It’s as if the values aren’t holding in the EEPROM after powerdown. Any ideas anyone?
    $4 card, but I like a challenge, and also resent being restricted by HP from upgrading my old laptop.

    Reply
  14. Geoff
    Geoff says:

    Hi again Jeremy,

    I managed to get v3 to work once I navigated my way around the menu system but couldn’t get the bios to update. I’m trying this on an HP ZT3000/NX7000/X1000 series computer, 2 different ones same result.

    I bought 2 ‘refurbished 2200 cards from China. Both halt the boot process with dreaded error, so some part of the card must be functioning. I’ve followed your instructions , iwconfig gives the results as you suggest with eth0 as the wireless card but I typed ethtool -e eth0 to get a dump but only got a screen full of ‘0’s for all the offsets whereas the genuine cards produce the same offset values as GuineaPirate for the HP card.

    Perhaps the cards are not working properly? Any ideas?
    Thanks.

    Reply
    • Jeremy
      Jeremy says:

      It shouldn’t be _all_ zeros. Most cards probably have a lot of zeros towards the end of the EEPROM though. The card in my server is zeros from 0x0200 onwards… try again with ‘ethtool -e eth0 | more’ and see if the start is normal.

      Did the ./load command work properly?

      What happens if you try to flash these addresses anyways?
      # ethtool -E eth0 magic 0x2200 offset 0x8 value 0xf5
      # 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

      Running ethtool -e eth0 should show these new values after you flash them…

      Reply
  15. GuineaPirate
    GuineaPirate says:

    OK, Knoppix did the work.

    These were the final values
    Fujitsu values are
    Offset: 0x0000 Values: 02 a5 00 80 20 42 86 80 02 27 86 80 18 00 01 03

    HP European values are
    Offset: 0x0000 Values: 02 a5 00 80 20 42 86 80 f6 12 3c 10 18 00 01 03

    Thank you Jeremy 🙂

    Reply
    • Jeremy
      Jeremy says:

      No problem – you did all the work! 🙂

      The newer kernel in Ubuntu likely doesn’t allow you to muck with the hardware the same way the older ones did…

      Reply
  16. GuineaPirate
    GuineaPirate says:

    ok, this time I tried with the default driver.
    ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ sudo apt-get install ethtool
    ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ sudo ethtool -e eth1
    ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ sudo ethtool -E eth1 magic 0x2200 offset 0x8 value 0xf6
    ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ sudo ethtool -E eth1 magic 0x2200 offset 0x9 value 0x12
    ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ sudo ethtool -E eth1 magic 0x2200 offset 0xa value 0x3c
    ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ sudo ethtool -E eth1 magic 0x2200 offset 0xb value 0x10

    Now I saw that EEPROM info chaged but it still did not work.

    Edit: Typos

    Reply
  17. GuineaPirate
    GuineaPirate says:

    Hello mate,
    I tried to get the intel 2200bg to work with nc6000. I wanted to try your guide on xubuntu 10.04.
    All went well except one thig (at the end):

    ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ iwconfig
    (eth0 = LAN and eth1 = WLAN)
    Output (cutted):
    “eth1 unassociated ESSID:off/any
    Mode: Managed Channel=0 Access Point: Not-Associated
    Bit Rate:0 kb/s Tx-Power=20 dBm Sensitivity=8/0
    Retry limit:7 RTS thr:off Fragment thr:off
    Power Management:off
    Link Quality:0 Signal level:0 Noise level:0
    Rx invalid nwid:0 Rx inv crypt:0 Rx inv frag:0
    Tx excessive retries:0 Invalid misc:0 Missed beacon:0

    ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ sudo apt-get install ethtool
    ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ sudo ethtool -e eth1
    (a list with Offset and Values info)
    ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ sudo mkdir /usr/tmp
    ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ cd /usr/tmp
    ubuntu@ubuntu:/usr/tmp$ sudo wget http://www.jeremycole.com/download/ipw2200.tar.gz
    ubuntu@ubuntu:/usr/tmp$ sudo tar xvzf ipw2200.tar.gz
    ubuntu@ubuntu:/usr/tmp$ cd ipw2200-1.0.3/
    ubuntu@ubuntu:/usr/tmp/ipw2200-1.0.3$ sudo ./unload
    Output: “Unloaded: ipw2200”
    ubuntu@ubuntu:/usr/tmp/ipw2200-1.0.3$ sudo ./load
    Output: “.: 10: unload: not found”
    ubuntu@ubuntu:/usr/tmp/ipw2200-1.0.3$ sudo ethtool -E eth1 magic …
    Output: “Cannot get driver information: No such device”

    Main and Aux are not connected, but the mini PCI card is connected.
    BTW, I see that the ipw2200 is already loaded (unloaded: ipw2200), but should the hack to be done with your tar-package instead?

    Would you kindly give my an advice how to get this thing work, please.

    Thank you in advance

    Best Regars

    Reply
  18. Mark
    Mark says:

    It looks like I was late to the party! The ipw2200.tar.gz file is no longer at the uri. Could you please post it somewhere or send a copy. It would be very much appreciated. I bought 4 of these BG cards off Ebay and I would hate to just throw them away.

    Thanks

    Reply
  19. nc8ktest
    nc8ktest says:

    I tried with 3.8.2. Here are my results.
    root@1[ipw2200-1.0.3]# ./load
    No modules unloaded.
    Loaded: ieee80211_crypt ieee80211_crypt_wep ieee80211_crypt_tkip ieee80211_crypt_ccmp ieee80211 ipw2200
    root@1[ipw2200-1.0.3]# ethtool -E eth0 magic 0×2200 offset 0×8 value 0xf5
    Cannot set EEPROM data: Invalid argument
    root@1[ipw2200-1.0.3]# ethtool -E eth0 magic 0×2200 offset 0×9 value 0×12
    Cannot set EEPROM data: Invalid argument

    Reply
    • Jeremy
      Jeremy says:

      I noticed that the x’s have been changed to fancy x’s (other than the 0xf5) – probably by WordPress… try changing them to normal x’s instead of copying and pasting from my post. I’ll see if I can edit the post to fix them.

      [Edit] OK, they should be fixed now – feel free to copy and paste…

      Reply
    • Jeremy
      Jeremy says:

      I’m going to guess that you tried a newer version of Knoppix and that it didn’t like the Sony driver from ~2004. If so, try it again with the version of Knoppix that I used and see if the driver module will load.

      Reply

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