Asus Eee PC X101CH and Intel Atom = Fix Everything: Speaker, Microphone, Video, Brightness, Etc.

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sebastjava
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Asus Eee PC X101CH and Intel Atom = Fix Everything: Speaker, Microphone, Video, Brightness, Etc.

Post by sebastjava » Tue Jan 16, 2018 7:30 pm

Turn On The Internal Speaker,
Fix The Microphone,
Get A Smooth Video Playback,
Get Precise Brightness Control,
Restore Missing Blue Function Keys,
Etcetera.



FIRST, CHOOSE THE RIGHT LINUX DISTRIBUTION: LINUX MINT MATE

I got tired of using Windows 7 on my little Asus netbook, the Asus EeePC X101CH. This netbook is now much faster, functional and beautiful after i installed Linux Mint MATE on it. You have to choose the best Linux distribution for your small computer. There are four different Linux Mint distributions. For such a small computer, you need a lightweight one: XFCE or MATE. But i found some flaws on the XFCE. The most serious one is with the screen. The screen is off after resuming from suspend, so the computer is still working but you can't see anything! Also, it will not check if you have unsaved documents before you shutdown the machine. And there are other small flaws on the XFCE. If you really want to keep your XFCE, read this: How To Switch On Your Black Screen: Shortcut & Script. But i strongly recommend you avoid the XFCE and choose Linux Mint MATE instead (32-bit version). LM MATE is a fast, functional and beautiful system. I found just a few minor flaws on it and... i got it all corrected! They are listed here along with simple instructions on how to fix them.

Not convinced? I tried Lubuntu, Xubuntu and Linux Mint XFCE before finally choosing Linux Mint MATE. The latest one: 18.2. I installed it alongside my Windows 7 so i can go back to Windows if i need to. But i rarely do.

This Linux Mint MATE has a few little flaws, but less than the other systems. Most of those flaws are specific to your machine and its devices. The manufacturers are making drivers for their devices to operate in Windows, but not in the other systems. So there are people working hard on retro engineering to make those drivers for Linux. But they can't test everything on every machine. So we are going to "tune up" our machine all by ourselves.


DO WHAT CAN'T BE DONE

Your screen is very small and there are a few windows that won't fit. In that case, the bottom part of the window is hiding below the bottom of your screen. Just press the Alt key while dragging the window... By pressing Alt and dragging, you can push the upper part of the window outside the screen so you can access the lower part.


FIX THE SPEAKER

I had this problem with the other Linux distributions as well: the headphones are OK but the internal speaker is not working. Alsamixer is responsible for that. We can fix that.

By looking at alsamixer in the terminal i got this information:
ASUS EeePC X101CH = Card: HDA Intel, Chip: Realtek ALC269VB
Then i went through the pages listed at the bottom of this tutorial.

Follow these steps:
  1. Add this line of text:
    options snd-hda-intel model=headset-mic
  2. At the end of this file:
    /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf
    To do this you need root access, so right-click on this file to open it in your text editor (Xed) as "administrator" or "super-user". Add the text line at the end and save the file.
  3. You must restart your computer to see (and ear!) the change.

FIX THE MICROPHONE

If you want to record something, like when using Cheese, the sound input from the internal microphone is just noise. You could temporarily fix this by opening alsamixer in the terminal and turn down Mic Boost to zero. But you would have to do this again and again after each shutdown/restart. Try if you want.

To get the right Mic Boost setting once and for all, you need to make small changes in 2 files in .../pulseaudio/alsa-mixer/. That's because PulseAudio and Alsa-mixer interact with each other. So just do what follows:

Disable Mic Boost:
  • Edit as root: /usr/share/pulseaudio/alsa-mixer/paths/analog-input-internal-mic.conf
  • Edit as root: /usr/share/pulseaudio/alsa-mixer/paths/analog-input-mic.conf
  1. Under "[Element Internal Mic Boost]" set "volume" to "zero".
  2. Under "[Element Int Mic Boost]" set "volume" to "zero".
  3. Under "[Element Mic Boost]" set "volume" to "zero".
Search all 3 "[Element..." in both files to make sure that the required changes are all done. There aren't many, it takes 2 minutes. Save the changes and restart your computer to see (and ear!) the results when you record something with the microphone.


GET AN APPROPRIATE VIDEO PLAYER

Xplayer is not well suited for this Asus Eee PC. The CPU and GPU are not able to run the required frame rate. Lots of frames are skipped so it almost looks like a slide show. Lets go through some explanations and then we will find an appropriate video player.

This Asus Eee PC X101CH is based on an Intel® Atom™ N2600 processor. The Graphic Processor is integrated on this same silicon chip (IGP). These processor and graphic processor are from Intel's "N" serie, previously called "CedarView" serie. So i found this, among other things, on askubuntu:
How to install Intel CedarView drivers on Ubuntu 12.10 or higher?

I am fairly sure this is impossible. The problem is that CedarView drivers are closed-source, outdated and Intel is no longer updating them. The driver supports 3.2 kernel only, and its DKMS module fails to compile under any newer kernel ( including 13.04's kernel: 3.8 ).

Because the driver's source is closed, neither Canonical nor Ubuntu developers are capable of modyfing it to be compatible with newer kernels. Also there is no way you could patch it on your own by following some magic guide, for such patch will never exist as long as the driver's source is closed.
[...]
_answered by Rafał Cieślak on askubuntu.com
...So there is no available driver for this GPU. That means we can't use hardware graphics acceleration. But we can still get a much better video quality by installing another video player. We will install SMPlayer. We will also install MPV player. SMPlayer is a great MPV player front-end. Installing SMPlayer should also cause the installation of MPV (dependency).

So, using the Software or Package Manager (Mintinstall or Synaptic), we will install 2 packages:
  • SMPlayer
  • MPV
You should install SMPlayer first. Installing SMPlayer first should also trigger the installation of MPV.

Next, open SMPlayer and make sure you got the right "MPlayer/mpv executable" setting. Check this by opening Options/Preferences, go to General menu / General tab: you should read "MPlayer/mpv executable: /usr/bin/mpv". It should be already set this way; if not, change it.

Now, go to Options menu / Preferences and change these settings:

General / General
Enable screenshots = false (unchecked)

General / Video
Output driver = x11
Start videos in fullscreen = true (checked)

General / Audio Synchronization
Audio/video auto synchronization = true (checked)
Audio/video auto synchronization Factor = 100
A/V sync correction = true (checked)
A/V sync Max correction = 0,10

Performance / Performance
Allow frame drop = true (checked)
Threads for decoding = 4
Use core AVC... = true (checked)

Now, try it! Play some video file from your hard disk. Still not perfect? You will probably get much better results by pressing letter F to switch to full screen, if not already done. Now, there are (probably) no frames being skipped so the movement is fluid. Pretty good for such a small computer!

Finally, go to: Start Menu > Preferences > Preferred Applications. Select Multimedia tab. Make SMPlayer your preferred Video Player, if you want.

Tested and approved with these versions:
SMPlayer Version: 15.11.0
MPV Version: mpv 0.14.0


TRY CHROMIUM WEB BROWSER

You should compare Firefox and Chromium. Depending on versions, one might be faster when browsing or give better results on video streaming. There could be a huge difference with video streaming. If your movie looks like a slideshow, try some other web browser! You could also use your SMPlayer instead. If you are not satisfied with Firefox, try Chromium. Chromium is made possible by the Chromium open source project and other open source software. It is the open source, Ubuntu version of Chrome. It looks and feels just like Chrome. It works well. You can install it with the Software Manager.


FIX THE BRIGHTNESS CONTROL KEYS

Reduce or increase the brightness of your screen, using the special keys. Did you find something strange? It goes down or up two steps at a time, with a 1/4 second interval. It's not a big deal but it doesn't look very clean and it lacks some precision. The problem here is that both MATE-power-manager and ACPI's backlight management are acting here. So we just need to deactivate one of them. We will deactivate acpi_backlight since MATE-power-manager already does that job and adds an On Screen Display (OSD).

Just add this to your Kernel Boot Parameters:
acpi_backlight=none (no spaces; exact typing!)
You must TEST IT first, then make it permanent. Follow these instructions on how to change your Kernel Boot Parameters:
https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Kernel/KernelBootParameters

You will get:
  1. Precise screen brightness control via keyboard.
  2. OSD still working.
  3. Brightness settings "remembered" from last session (after login screen at 100% brightness).

RESTORE THE SYSTEM MONITOR KEY

This one is a little extra option. In Windows, you could press Fn-F9 to quickly access the System Monitor. You can have this in your Linux Mint by adding a keyboard shortcut:
  1. Open: Menu > Preferences > Keyboard Shortcuts
  2. Click on Add
  3. Name it "System Monitor" and enter this Command: mate-system-monitor (exact typing!)
  4. Click on Apply
  5. In the "Shortcut" column, click on "Disabled" and press Fn-F9
  6. Close the window

SWITCHING THE WiFi CARD ON OR OFF

This function key is also missing. In Windows, you could press Fn-F2 to switch the WiFi card ON or OFF. You can't do that quickly with your new system, as far as i know. But if you really need to switch the WiFi card On or Off, you can:
  1. Restart your computer, then press ESC key immediately after restart, when the Asus logo appears.
    From there, Enter Setup (BIOS)
  2. Go to "Advanced" tab >> "Onboard Devices" >> "WLAN"
    Change it to "Disabled" or "Enabled". Press Fn-F10 to save and exit.

REPLACING THE WiFi KEY

But sometimes i have to reset my WiFi network. I used to quickly, simply switch the WiFi card Off and then back On. You can do better than that with your Linux Mint MATE. You can make better use of that F2 key. You can turn it into a shortcut to restart the network manager:
  1. Open: Menu > Preferences > Keyboard Shortcuts
  2. Click on Add
  3. Name it "Network Restart" and enter this Command: service network-manager restart (exact typing!)
  4. Click on Apply
  5. In the "Shortcut" column, click on "Disabled" and press Ctrl-F2
  6. Close the window
Now, if you have some trouble with your network, you can restart it just by pressing that Ctrl-F2 key and typing your password.


FRENCH, SPANISH & OTHERS IN THE MENU

Those using French, Spanish or any other language with special accented letters will find some errors in the menu here on the bottom left corner. There are things like "À propos de moi" or "Économiseur d'écran" which do not appear in alphabetical order. They stand at the bottom of the menu list. That's because their names start with an accented letter. Remove that accent and the menu item will fall in the appropriate alphabetical order.

Right-click on any misplaced menu item, select Edit properties, then change the name from something like "Économiseur..." to "Economiseur..." and close. Repeat this for every misplaced menu item.


STAY WITH MINT-X (until Linux Mint MATE 19.x)

You can choose from different Appearance themes in the Menu > Preferences. The Mint-Y is much more "zen" with it's bright, pure look. But, at the time of testing, it is not ready and has some bugs:
  1. No visual hint on default button (ex.: "Save" vs "Close without saving")
  2. Scrollbars-junction: it looks like the slider stops before reaching the end...
  3. Progressbar-osd has half-rounded corners.
  4. There is a weird and ugly 1/4 second flash around tooltips.
  5. IMPORTANT: In Caja file manager > View menu: Extra Pane ON and both Views in List mode: Select one file in the first List and then another file in the second List: the first selected file "disappeared!" (white text on white background!)
This Mint-Y might be ready by the time you read this, but if you still get those bugs, just stay with Mint-X. Mint-X is mature. Or do what i do, contribute in making Mint-Y better...

...
You now have a nice, well working computer.
...
Tested on Linux Mint 18.2 MATE with the latest kernel.
Linux Mint 18.2 is based on Ubuntu 16.04.
...
This guide was written by Sébastien Bouchard in Montréal on January 2018.
...

Sources:

Changing alsa-base.conf to fix the speaker:
https://doc.ubuntu-fr.org/audio_intel_hda (in french...)
https://www.alsa-project.org/main/index ... _Intel_HDA
http://git.alsa-project.org/?p=alsa-ker ... xt;hb=HEAD

Fixing the microphone:
https://askubuntu.com/questions/279407/ ... put-volume

Video player and graphics driver:
https://askubuntu.com/questions/290515/ ... -or-higher
Last edited by sebastjava on Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:55 pm, edited 17 times in total.

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sebastjava
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Re: Asus Eee PC X101CH - Fix Everything! Including: Speaker, Microphone, Brightness, Etc.

Post by sebastjava » Sat Jan 20, 2018 1:48 am

Coming soon: get an appropriate video player.

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sebastjava
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Re: Asus Eee PC X101CH - Fix Everything! Including: Speaker, Microphone, Brightness, Etc.

Post by sebastjava » Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:28 pm

added section:
GET AN APPROPRIATE VIDEO PLAYER

User avatar
sebastjava
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Posts: 33
Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2017 8:01 pm
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Re: Asus Eee PC X101CH - Fix Everything! Including: Speaker, Microphone, Brightness, Etc.

Post by sebastjava » Sat Jan 27, 2018 8:00 pm

updated section:
GET AN APPROPRIATE VIDEO PLAYER

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