Showing posts with label Laptop. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Laptop. Show all posts

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Linux Kernel will soon provide better Samsung Laptop support

As posted by Greg Kroah-Hartman on his blog,

Finally, after many years of people asking for this, Linux can now properly support all known Samsung laptop devices. This means we can now handle backlight control, wifi button issues,and the weird "performance mode" keys as well as some of the other function keys.

If you have a Samsung laptop, I suggest looking at the driver in this post on the linux-kernel mailing list, and letting me know if you have any problems with it or not. If your laptop is not listed in the DMI table, please feel free to send me a patch to add it so we can properly support it.

Many thanks to Samsung oh so long ago for providing some of the needed information to get this to work, and to Ingmar Steen for putting all of the pieces together properly to handle the devices that were not being handled by the old in-kernel driver. posted Wed, 09 Feb 2011 in [/linux]

As a Samsung Laptop user I think this is great news but reading the mailing list and the kernel patch file I saw something interesting.

Some Samsung laptops have different "performance levels"
+ that are can be modified by a function key, and by this
+ sysfs file. These values don't always make a whole lot
+ of sense, but some users like to modify them to keep
+ their fans quiet at all costs. Reading from this file
+ will show the current performance level. Writing to the
+ file can change this value.
+ Valid options:
+ "silent"
+ "normal"
+ "overclock"
+ Note that not all laptops support all of these options.
+ Specifically, not all support the "overclock" option,
+ and it's still unknown if this value even changes
+ anything, other than making the user feel a bit better.

So it seems like there is some confusion as to what the performance levels should do. Well, based on my observations in Windows,


Set CPU frequency scaling to [Power Saver] + deactivate fan. But if temperature > [Active Fan Trip Point] activate fan on until temp < [Active Fan Trip Point + 10]

Or some other variable

[Active Fan Trip Point] is a BIOS set value which varies according to model/processor. On a Samsung R510 it is set to 71c


Set CPU frequency scaling to [Balanced] + Activate BIOS fan control

Set CPU frequency scaling to [Performance] + Activate BIOS fan control

A more appropriate label for 'Overclock' should be 'Performance'. In fact in Windows this performance level is referred to as 'Performance'

It is important that the Silent mode activates the fan if the [Active Fan Trip Point] has been reached, failing to do so will cause the processor temperature to continue rising until it reaches the critical shutdown temperature.

And not to mention the potential of causing many unhappy Samsung users, claiming Linux killed their laptop.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

How to open a Samsung R510 Notebook / Laptop


Make sure you have and use the right tools. Many small screws require a sharp small screwdriver and using the wrong size may damage the screw and screwdriver.

Opening your Laptop will void its warranty.

You are responsible for your Laptop and open it at your own risk.


This guide will show you how to fully open and disassemble a Samsung R510 Notebook / Laptop.

Laptops are always tricky to open but I am happy to say the Samsung R510 isn't that bad. Essentially to fully disassemble a Samsung R510 involves doing the below steps more or less in the order as follows,

Step 1 - Remove battery, CD / DVD unit and Hard Drive
Step 2 - Keyboard removal
Step 3 - Disconnect SPK, MIC, Touchpad and remove top cover
Step 4 - Disconnect the LCD connector, WiFi module, Internal hinge screws and Monitor screen
Step 5 - Removing the Motherboard
Step 6 - Fan and Heatsink removal
Step 7 - Cleaning and Refitting

Putting it back together involves reversing the steps above but if you decide to take the heatsink off you must renew the thermal material before re-attaching the heatsink.

This means removing and cleaning the old thermal material completely from the Processor, Northbridge chip and heatsink.

I used Isopropanol Alcohol (IPA) to clean the old thermal material and applied Artic Cooling MX-2 thermal compound.

Step 1 - Remove battery, CD / DVD unit and Hard Drive

Place the R510 on a flat surface, upside down. Place a soft cloth to protect the piano black lid.

Underside of a Samsung R510

Remove the battery.

Remove the securing screws for the KDB and CD / DVD

There are 2x keyboard screws and 1x CD / DVD

 Slide the CD / DVD unit out.

The CD / DVD unit is easy to slide out

Remove the 2x screws securing the HDD cover and slide the cover off.

Remember to use the correct size screw driver

Take out the hard drive by sliding / pulling it left. You can use the black to aid pulling it out.

Slide this entire silver unit left

Step 2 - Keyboard removal

Flip the R510 the right way up and open the screen. Along the bottom of the keyboard are three protruding plastic clips. These clips prevent the keyboard from being pulled out.

You will have to push and hold each clip inwards and at the same time pull the keyboard up. Once the base of the keyboard has cleared the clip, release the clip. This process will have to be repeated for each clip.

Notice the clip in the middle of the Fn and Windows key

The second clip, under the space bar button

The last clip, under the cursor key

I used a small flat head screwdriver to push and hold each plastic clip inwards, then carefully pull the keyboard up. I was just about able to use my finger nails to pull up from under a few of the keyboard keys.

Alternatively use a flat piece of card or plastic, eg credit card.

Once the keyboard is no longer being secured by the 3 clips, carfully raise the keyboard. Do not pull it out, as you will see it is still attached to the motherboard via a plastic ribbon cable.

The plastic ribbon cable

To detach the ribbon cable, simply lift up the black latch on the connector. Refer to the picture below.

Notice the black strip has been raised in a vertical position

With the black latch open, slide the plastic ribbon cable out, then close the latch.

You can now fully remove the keyboard.

Step 3 - Disconnect SPK, MIC, Touchpad and remove top cover

With the keyboard out you should now be able to see a few more connectors. These must be disconnected so we can remove the top cover.

Three additional cut outs provide access to more cables

Be careful when removing these connectors, some may seem quite hard to pull out.

Touchpad connector

Touchpad connector, another plastic style ribbon cable

To detach the touchpad, slide the darker beige plastic part downwards. This will release the ribbon cable for the touchpad allowing you to pull it out.

Notice how the darker beige part has been pulled

The plastic ribbon cable can now be freed

SPK and MIC connector

These are both straight forward, simply pull the connectors out.

Smaller connectors can seem harder to pull

Close the Laptop screen, and flip the R510 upside down so you can see the base.

A colourful illustration showing where certain screws are

We are almost ready to remove the top cover but first a number of screws must be removed.

Referring to the picture above, I have highlighted where the screws are. Different colours represent a different type of screw.

To avoid confusion it is best to remove screws of the same type, keeping them somewhere safe in their groups.

First remove the 15x screws highlighted in green.

Then remove the 3x screws highlighted in orange.

A close up of the 3x screws highlighted in orange (above)

Now remove the 1x screw highlighted in blue.

Close up of the screw highlighted as blue (above)

Finally remove the 2x hinge screws highlighted in purple.

Close up of the left hinge screw, right is identical. Highlighted as purple (above)

Flip the R510 back to its normal position and open the screen lid.

With all the securing screws now removed, the top cover can carefully be pulled away from the base.

The left, bottom and right side of the top cover are clipped to the base. The upper part which is under the screen has no clips and was secured only to the base by the 3x screws highlighted above in orange.

The left corner, the top cover is slightly raised.

I found it easier to start from the left corner, pull the top cover from the base working your way along the edge. You will hear a click noise when pulling the top cover from the base which will indicate a clip has been unclipped.

The top cover, partially away from the base

The top cover can flex sightly, working from the left corner I used one hand to keep the left corner of the top cover separated from the base and the other hand to work along the edge, carefully pulling the cover from the base.

Once you have unclipped the top cover from the base, push the monitor screen fully back. This will allow you to extract the top cover completely.

Step 4 - Disconnect the LCD connector, WiFi module, Internal hinge screws and Monitor screen

The LCD screen prevents the motherboard from being removed, due to the left hinge.

The top cover has been removed, revealing the motherboard

Be careful when handling the motherboard and try to avoid contact with any of the electronic components.

LCD connector

Carefully and partially peel back the orange tape, then disconnect the LCD connector and smaller sub connector.

The orange tape is not very sticky

Notice the white wire which is also secured by the tape, remember to free this wire.

WiFi module

The WiFi module, once the black screw is removed, it will spring up

First follow the back and white wire from the WiFi module and make sure to free both wires where ever they are secured by orange tape and the small black rectangle sponges.

Where appropriate, carefully pull back the tape to free the wire, then lightly stick the tape back down. You will need to use it again when putting everything back together.

The wires can effortlessly be pulled from the small black sponges.

There is no need to remove the silver tape, but remember to free the black wire from the plastic base.

Now remove the securing screw on the WiFi module, then pull the module out and place it inside the base on the right side of the motherboard.

Internal hinge screws

There are two hinge screws, one for the left and one for the right.

The left hinge screw

The right hinge screw

Remove both screws.

Lifting the screen

You are now ready to detach the screen, remember it is still being restricted due to the wires but you will be able to place the screen alongside the base as illustrated below.

Just lift the screen up and away from the base.

The screen is no longer attached to the base

As you can see the screen is laying on the left of the base, and the WiFi module plus associated wires are out of the way.

Step 5 - Removing the Motherboard

We are now ready to remove the Motherboard, which is secured by 4 screws to the base.

3x screws, a black and two silver

1x black screw, which also keeps in place a black cover

With the screws gone, the Motherboard can be lifted out. Try and handle the Motherboard by touching the edge of the PCB only.

Before taking the Motherboard out, prepare somewhere to place it. I used an inside out antistatic bag on a flat surface.

The motherboard of a Samsung R510, the wrong way up?

It helps to have plenty of space to work with. Just on the left of the Motherboard is the laptop base, and on the left of that is the Monitor screen.

Step 6 - Fan and heatsink removal

First flip the Motherboard the opposite way up.

The fan can be removed independently from the heatsink.

Fan removal

Flipping the motherboard, gives you access to the heatsink. Nice to see solid capacitors.

Disconnect the fan power connector, then remove the 2x screws securing the fan to the Motherboard.

The fan can now be easily removed.

The heatsink fan

Heatsink removal

Only remove the heatsink if you intend to re-apply the thermal material.

Out of choice I would pick Artic Cooling MX-3 compound but since I didn't have any I had to stick with the older generation MX-2 compound.

Artic Cooling MX-2/3  is an excellent thermal paste, especially given that it is not conductive or capacitative you can make a mess without drastic consequences.

The cooling system, is quite small but does the job

The heatsink is secured in two places, first by the Northbridge chip via 2x screws, and secondly by the Processor via 4x screws.

Note, these screws do not fully unscrew and detach from the springs. Simply loosen them from their mountings.

Once done, the heatsink can freely be detached.

Looks like more than enough thermal paste was used

Step 7 - Cleaning and Refitting

I hope you have enjoyed pulling your R510 apart. Putting it back together is the reversal of removal but you must clean off the thermal material and apply new thermal compound.

I used kitchen towel to wipe off as much of the current thermal material from the Processor, Northbridge chip and heatsink, then used Isopropanol Alcohol for a clean finish.

Sparkling clean, however the Northbridge also requires cleaning

If you were not sure what the Northbridge was, look at the above photo.

I have the Samsung R510 with the Intel X4500 graphics, which is part of the Northbridge chip.

Clean, but the copper base could do with a polish

Clean but why was aluminium used instead of copper?

Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture showing how thermal paste should be applied on the Processor and Northbridge.

The idea is to apply a thin layer on the core, the tiny square / rectangle bit in the middle.

See page 6 of the Artic Silver manual in the below link which gives a good explanation.

Once you have applied the thermal paste to the Processor and Northbridge, carefully align the heatsink and screw it in place. Do not over tighten the screws but make sure they are tight enough.

Putting it back together

To put the R510 back together, just follow the steps in reverse.

If any parts are dusty, give it a clean.

For example, you can use a brush to clean out the fan and heatsink fins. Alternatively use a can of compressed air.

If the Motherboard is dusty, use compressed air only, do not wipe with a cloth. This may cause damage due to static.