VOGONS


First post, by Kahenraz

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I've been working with a Fujitsu U810 miniature notebook lately and wanted to share some of the problems and solutions I had while working with it. This notebook is not particularly powerful but has some unique features such as having a left/right mount button and thumb stick available to the user while opened and while the screen has been rotated into tablet mode. It runs Windows XP or Vista and includes an optional stylus.

For a quick summary of features, this is a 1.56 lb. mini-notebook has a 5.6" 1024 x 600 touch screen display with built-in webcam. It comes with an Intel A110 800Mhz processor and 1GB of memory that is not upgradable. It has a 40GB 1.8" HDD that uses a 50-pin ZIF connector that makes finding a replacement difficult. There is also an SD card slow, a CF slot, a USB port, and 3.5mm headphone and mic ports. VGA and ethernet are NOT standard but can be added with a dongle adapter. There is also a dock but this is very hard to find. The notebook also has a biometric fingerprint scanner.

The unit I purchased came with Windows Vista but there are official drivers available from Toshiba's website for Windows XP. I had problems installing some of them on regular Windows XP; they seem to check and require that you have the Tablet PC components installed. I had no problem with any of the drivers when using the "Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005" version specifically.

The first issue I found was that the CMOS battery had died. This wouldn't normally be an issue except for the fact that this laptop uses a battery that isn't made any more. It's a CR1620 3V coin cell (16mm x 2mm) with a very specific connector. I wasn't able to find an exact match so I tried a few variations. A larger CR2032 will NOT fit but a smaller ML1220 will. The ML1220 is the same height as the CR1620 but with a smaller diameter and therefore a smaller capacity. I don't think this will create any problems and it seems to work just fine.

Here is a photo of the original battery with collector and the correct polarity for the wires:

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The second thing I needed to tackle was the hard disk. The unit I received came with a 40GB Toshiba drive and there wasn't anything wrong with it. But personally, I prefer swapping out old drives with an SSD or CF card when possible. The problem I encountered here is that this notebook used a 40-pin ZIF connector. This is NOT the same as the 50-pin ZIF connector used with Toshiba drives in various iPod models.

Here is a picture of the drive:

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Considering how unusual this connector is, I was lucky to find a seller on eBay who did stock something that was compatible. Here is a photo of the product:

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I found that the ZIF cable used in the laptop had a height that is thinner than what the adapter was designed for. This meant that the end of the cable would just flop about and would not fit snuggly into the adapter. I managed to get it to work by taping small piece of paper to one side of the ZIF cable to increase its height.

After installing Windows XP there was a new problem. At every boot I would get a popup saying "your system has no paging file, or the paging file is too small". I was able to find a number of examples of this error from other Windows users but none of the workarounds fixed my problem. I eventually figured out that the cause was because my CF card was being recognized as a "removable disk" instead of a "fixed disk". Windows was protecting itself by not allowing the page file to be written to a removable disk but this also happened to be the only one available and in my case was a fixed disk.

I managed to work around this using a special driver "cfadisk.sys" which was originally intended for use with a Hitcahi microdrive. It is used in place of the Microsoft driver and masks the bit responsible for reporting to the operating system that the drive is removable. This has to be installed manually so it shouldn't cause any issue when plugging in a USB driver later.

I also had an issue with the Toshiba provided "Omni Pass" software which is designed to work with the fingerprint reader. For some reason the OS will hang for a very long time during the boot process before the login screen appears. Removing this software fixed this issue for me.

I think that's all of the problems I had to deal with. It was a lot of fun getting to this point and now I can enjoy pulling out this cute little thing to entertain either myself or others when I have company.

Also of note, it is not possible to use the original Fujitsu restore disc after swapping out the original hard disk. Otherwise you'll get the following error:

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I also had an issue where the computer was unbootable after installing Windows XP and problems reinstalling XP on top of another copy where the installer would not delete the old partition. I worked around this issue by booting to a gparted disc and deleting the partition manually.

The most up to date video drivers from Toshiba's website also give an error about the product not being correct when trying to use their installer. Extracting the files and installing then manually works around this issue.

The bluetooth drivers for some reason are not provided on Toshiba's website. They are too large to attach here but they are called "Bluetooth Stack for Windows by Toshiba", if that helps.

Reply 1 of 6, by Kahenraz

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Final Fantasy 7 running on the Fujitsu U810. Quake 1 also runs great with OpenGL and leilei's Engoo engine.

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Reply 2 of 6, by Kahenraz

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OpenGL Quake (fitzquake) running at full FPS at 1600x1200 on an external monitor.

There is no VGA connector on the unit itself. A dongle is required.

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Reply 3 of 6, by Byrd

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Another U810 owner here - mine came in a state of disassembly, the previous owner looked like they were trying to put in an SSD but failed. It came to me in several pieces but that's why you save screws when taking apart laptops - they come in handy!

Truly a great little machine; mine is coral pink 😁 Folding it back for tablet mode, horizonal mode is a great gimmick. Fujitsu are really good in providing legacy drivers too.

My notes:

- Yes, like you I've tried a ZIF to CF adapter (tried 8GB, 16GB and 32GB cards) and ZIF to mSATA adapter (tested with Intel 30GB, Liteon 32GB mSATA) adapters but they don't play nicely. Had to tape them down into the ZIF connector and use some thick foam to hold the adapters. Neither would properly detect the HD in the BIOS or Windows setup, so I bought a super cheap 1.8" ZIF 120GB drive - it's slow, it's spinning but it works well

- I'm running Windows 7 "lite" on mine, as wanted to see how well I could run a modern browser and music app like Spotify. It just runs such programs, but it's crying out for 2GB RAM - the 1GB soldered RAM is a big limitation. I must try Windows XP; were you able to get the monitor switching modes working OK?

- Mine didn't appear to come with the FM radio transmitter feature installed - in terms of no mystery hardware is found.

JB

Reply 4 of 6, by Kahenraz

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Byrd wrote on 2021-03-29, 05:10:

Truly a great little machine; mine is coral pink 😁 Folding it back for tablet mode, horizonal mode is a great gimmick. Fujitsu are really good in providing legacy drivers too.

That's pretty cool. I knew that Fujitsu made a variant of this notebook in white but I didn't know that there was a pink version.

Byrd wrote on 2021-03-29, 05:10:

Neither would properly detect the HD in the BIOS or Windows setup

Are you sure that you didn't attach the ribbon cable upside down? I managed to do this after losing the correct orientation. Flipping the drive around on the cable fixed it for me. I was surprised that connecting it the wrong way around didn't damage anything.

From my experience, most adapters struggle to map serial devices to parallel. And even if they are able to, they are often very slow. This isn't a problem if the computer is running something like DOS or Windows 9x but it can really bog things down in XP if you want to move around a lot of bytes. I have had excellent success using dumb PATA->CF adapters since the flash device itself natively handles parallel ATA. In this case I paired a 32GB SanDisk Extreme Compact Flash card and I get great performance.

Unfortunately, despite having both SD and CF expansion slots onboard, they are pretty lousy. The SD card slot is extremely slow and the CF card is poorly implemented. The issue with the CF slot is that accessing it, such as copying large files, causes the mouse cursor and the OS to lag until the operation is complete. This makes the CF slot useless for anything other than bulk storage. The SD slot is more useful for random access so long as you can tolerate the speed.

Byrd wrote on 2021-03-29, 05:10:

It just runs such programs, but it's crying out for 2GB RAM - the 1GB soldered RAM is a big limitation. I must try Windows XP; were you able to get the monitor switching modes working OK?

I agree that 1GB is pretty anemic for Vista and above but it runs flawlessly on Windows XP. I managed to get all of the drivers working as well as the hardware buttons for things such as monitor switching. I used the drivers straight from Toshiba's website; except for the Bluetooth driver which I had to copy from my driver CD.

The Atheros wireless card that comes with the laptop also runs extremely hot and all of that extra head gets dumped inside the chassis. I've ordered an Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6235 to see if that will run cooler.

Reply 5 of 6, by Byrd

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Kahenraz wrote on 2021-04-02, 01:24:

Are you sure that you didn't attach the ribbon cable upside down? I managed to do this after losing the correct orientation. Flipping the drive around on the cable fixed it for me. I was surprised that connecting it the wrong way around didn't damage anything.

The Atheros wireless card that comes with the laptop also runs extremely hot and all of that extra head gets dumped inside the chassis. I've ordered an Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6235 to see if that will run cooler.

When I received the U810, part of the jigsaw puzzle was a ZIF to CF adapter with a 16GB high speed CF card (Japanese branded), and yes connected the right way, looks like the original owner gave up. No doubt you tried a mSATA SSD in the Mini PCIE slot and found it's not detected.

Agree the CF, SD card reader is a disappointingly slow (although I did chuck a card in the SD slot for "ReadyBoost" 😀, with some additional development you should have been able to boot off these slots.

I'll try Windows XP next now I know the drivers are OK - thanks and enjoy your U810 too.

JB

Reply 6 of 6, by Kahenraz

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It's important that you install the Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005 as this is what the tablet drivers are expecting. They also require that you have either DotNet 2.0 or 3.5 (which includes 2.0) installed otherwise the tablet drivers will install incorrectly and throw message box error on boot.

DotNet 1.1 comes pre-installed with this version of XP so there is no need to install this version as well.