NEC Versa 2635CD

Update 12/03

I no longer have Linux on the laptop as of Jul 2002. I have decided to load OpenBSD on it since I got a new laptop. The info on the OpenBSD load is here.

Update 09/98

I decided to do a partial reload of my laptop. I first tried to update it to Linux 2.0.34 (Slackware 3.5) but it caused a lot of problems so I decided to reload the Linux part from scratch.

  • Reduce the Win 95 Partition from 252 MB to 167 MB
  • Added 46 MB of swap space on hda3
  • Added the remainder to Linux partition on hda2
  • Used the kernel from bareapm. so as have access to Automatic Power Management and got the apm tools and compiled them and installed them.
  • Re-installed the hdparm tools
  • Have X use the PS/2 Mouse port. Touch pad isn't used but an external PS/2 Mouse is used. X doesn't freeze anymore.
  • Installed Wabi.
  • Bumped Memory to 81 MB. See below for problems to getting memory bumped up.

    Memory Update Problems/Solution

    When I updated the memory on my laptop, when I turned it on, it was not quite recognized. In the test, it would count up to 32 MB and when it was finished, the count would still remain at 16 MB.

    I called NEC tech support and they did not mention anything about BIO's update. I then returned the memory and got it replaced. I tried it again, same problem. I called NEC tech support back. I looked at the paperwork that came with the memory and it mentioned a BIOS update. I then called NEC and they sent me a program to update the BIOS.

    Download a copy of Bios Update.

    Standard Disclaimer : Use Bios Update at your own risk ! By downloading the update, you waive any rights of holding me responsible if there are any problems that arise from use of program.

    The program will let you update keyboard and system BIOS. When you run it, you will need to put an empty disk into Drive A. Afterward, the program will write to the disk and when it is finished, you then reboot the machine with floppy in drive. You will have to give a few responses and it takes care of the rest.

    Nitty Gritty on Loading Linux

    I bought the laptop at a clearance sale at CompUSA here in Colorado. The computer came with these items:

  • Pentium 133 CPU
  • 800x600 LCD Screen
  • 1.5 GB Hard Drive
  • 16 MB Ram
  • Chips & Technology 65550 Video Chip
  • Sound Blaster Compatible Sound
  • Built in CD-Rom and Floppy Disk
  • Built in Touch Pad PS/2 Mouse, 2 buttons

    I wiped the hard drive of the pre-packaged software and started new. I first loaded the hard drive with Windows 95 for 253 MB and I used a basic install of it. The remainder of the hard drive, 1.250 GB, is used for Linux. I used Slackware 3.1 / Kernel 2.0.27 which is from SAM's Publishing.

    The next items will go into detail of Setup.

    Power Saving

    I kept the hard drives on power saving feature but however, I got a copy of hdparm and set it to hdparm -S 1 /dev/hda which it causes the hard drive to shut down after 5 seconds. I also go into /etc/rc.d/rc.local and add these lines :
    hdparm -S 1 /dev/hda
    I also look for /etc/rc.d/rc.S and change the line of /sbin/update which is also known as bdflush to /sbin/update -f 5 -s 1200 which sets flushing to every 5 seconds and syncing the hard drive to 20 minutes.

    Warning : With syncing being every 20 minutes, if the machine crashes, the repairs through fsck will be messier. When the drives sync, the buffers, etc. in memory are written to disk which in the above example, is every 20 minutes. You can also do a sync from a shell prompt.


    I also turned off the IR Port to where only COM1 (/dev/cua0 or /dev/ttyS0) is active. I use COM1 for a mouse for X. I will expain that under X Setup.

    The Sound and Printer IRQ's to where Sound uses IRQ 5 and Printer uses IRQ 7. Explanation of the setup is under Sound.


    I bought a Link Sys EC2T Ethernet PCMCIA Card which as both a coaxial (10base2) and RJ45 Network Connector (10bastT).

    I downloaded the newest version of PCMCIA Utilities which includes drivers for newer PCMCIA cards. I went into the /etc/pcmcia/config and added these lines
    card "Linksys Ethernet"
      version "Linksys", "Combo PCMCIA EthernetCard (EC2T)"
      bind "pcnet_cs"

    You must be careful when you type such as spacing and caps.

    When the Ethernet Card becomes active and you use PPP/SLIP connection to the net, you need to do a route del default which removes a route line which can interfere in the connection to the net. Also, there are a couple of errors that pop up such as tranceiver error. Just ignore it. To verify ethernet connection, fo a ifconfig and look for a line with ethN where N is usually 0. You can also check by pinging another machine on the network.

    X Window

    I set up X-Window to recognize the CT 65550 Video chip and I use a serial mouse which is hooked into port COM1 (/dev/ttyS0). The touch pad PS/2 mouse does not quite work too well with the X Server. It is another bug I am looking into.

    Here is a copy of my XF86Config File :
    Section "Files"
    	FontPath "/usr/lib/X11/fonts/misc"
    	FontPath "/usr/packages/andrew/X11/fonts"
    	FontPath "/usr/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi"
    Section "ServerFlags"
    Section "Keyboard"
    	Protocol "Standard"
    	Autorepeat 500 5
    Section "Pointer"
    #	Protocol "PS/2"
    #	Device "/dev/psaux"
    	Protocol "Microsoft"
    	Device "/dev/ttyS0"
    	BaudRate 1200
    Section "Monitor"
    	Identifier  "RandomMonitor"
    	VendorName  "Unknown"
    	ModelName   "Unknown"
    	BandWidth   85
    	HorizSync   29-65
    	VertRefresh 47-120
        ModeLine "640x480" 25 640 664 760 800 480 491 493 525
        ModeLine "640x480" 31 640 664 704 832 480 489 492 520
        ModeLine "800x600" 36 800 824 896 1024 600 601 603 625
        ModeLine "800x600" 40 800 840 968 1056 600 601 605 628
        ModeLine "800x600" 50 800 856 976 1040 600 637 643 666
    Section "Device"
    	Identifier "RandomDevice-4"
    	VendorName "Unknown"
    	BoardName  "Unknown" 
    	Chipset "ct65550"
    Section "Screen"
    	Driver "svga"
    	Device "RandomDevice-4"
    	Monitor "RandomMonitor"
    	Subsection "Display"
    		Modes "800x600" "640x480" 

    CD Player

    The CD Player is built in and it is IDE/ATAPI compatible. On my machine, it is known as /dev/hdc. I also set a link from /dev/cdrom to /dev/hdc so as to be recognized from the CD Player Software.


    I bought an EigerCom 33.6 PCMCIA Modem. The Modem is Plug'N'Pray. Since I turned off COM2 (/dev/cua1 or /dev/ttyS1), the modem uses COM2 Port.


    The built in sound on the laptop is Sound Blaster Compatible. In the BIO's you want to keep the default audio settings such as IRQ 5, Addr 220h so that way the Kernel would be set. Other Linux Kernel's might be set up differently such as using IRQ 7 instead. You can swap the LPT Port and Sound IRQ so the Kernel would use IRQ 7 for sound if it was built that way. CD Player works as well as xvmixer. I use xmcd for a CD Player. You can also get xplaycd which is simple to set up and use.

    PCMCIA Drivers and misc

    You can download a copy of the newest PCMCIA Utilities from FTP site There is a Linux PCMCIA Info page at

    When the machine boots up, it looks at the PCMCIA ports and there is a particular problem I haven't solved yet. Socket 0 comes up and sets up the driver for whatever is plugged in. In my case, the modem is plugged in Socket 0. The Ethernet Card is plugged into Socket 1. I have to do a command
    cardctl eject 1; sleep 2; cardctl insert 1
    to get socket 1 to be recognized and active.

    In the /etc/pcmcia/config.opts file, I also put in the line
    exclude irq 5
    so as to not have IRQ 5 assigned to something other than Sound.