Evernex - i-Opener Info Index
Further access implies
acceptance of Disclaimer

NOTICE: This site is now in archival status, and is no longer being updated. It is presented for reference purposes.

For a good time call:
Quick Links
Page last updated: 2 April 2000 - 14:53PDT
Modified units have arrived!
Warning: Automatic OS Updates from NPLI
Our Statements to Netpliance, Inc. [ 03.30 ]
Local Info Linked Info

Important Info

  • Reports indicate that some lusers have now received units with blobs of goo (probably epoxy) over the BIOS chip and an updated BIOS. More information will be posted shortly. Click here for many pictures of the modified unit. There has also been a report from a trustworthy luser on the mailing list that if allowed to dial into Netpliance, the i-Opener's custom software will update itself with a number of ominous changes. Finally, more information on the EEPROM programmable (ahem) BIOS chip here.
  • D. Nesting writes on the mailing list:
    In case you don't know, the i-opener is able to update its OS and software
    automatically (assuming you let it dial up to Netpliance).
    I left my unit on for the better part of the day, in the root shell,
    and at some point it dialed up, presumably updated itself, and quietly
    /etc/passwd is no longer writable (:w! no longer is able to write).  Other
    changes have been made, but I can't tell if this was due to an account "reset"
    or if these things are actually changed with the new "release". I had assumed
    that they'd gotten my credit card information when I purchased my device, and
    that's how I was able to use the Netpliance ISP on my i-opener these past
    couple of weeks, but after the update was completed today I had an e-mail
    waiting saying that they didn't have my information on file and needed me to
    call.  This can't be a coincidence.
    The odd thing is that the timestamps for all of the files haven't changed
    (except /app/patch.version: "reboot3"), so I'm not 100% certain an
    OS/application upgrade was performed.  The only indication I have is that
    /etc/passwd is most definitely no longer writable on my device (even if I
    change perms).
    You can still copy /etc/passwd to another name, edit the new file,
    and then unlink /etc/passwd and rename the new file in its place.
    Fortunately I'm a fast typer and was able to implement the /app/ztest
    trick in the 10 seconds or so I had before the main menu loads up.
    I most certainly won't be letting it dial up to Netpliance anymore.
    That gave me quite a scare.
  • Don't just rush out and buy any old 2.5 inch hard drive! Lusers are reporting difficulty with fitting 12.5mm drives inside the unit, so 17.5mm drives are probably right out. You'll have to mount them on the outside, most likely (doh).
  • March 18, the EFNet IRC channel was taken over. Go to irc.openprojects.net and join #I-Opener-Linux.
Back to Quick Links

Networking Tidbits

  • Keep in mind a 2.3 kernel will be needed for USB support in Linux
  • USB Ethernet support, check www.linux-usb.org
  • Adapters supposedly supported by linux:
    Dlink 650TX; SMC 2202; Melco LU-ATX; Billionton(?) USB100; LinkSys USB100TX (this is commonly used). All available at buy.com
  • [D. Becker] Linksys USB100TX drivers at www.scyld.com known to work with Linux kernel 2.2.12
  • NetBSD supposedly supports nearly all USB Ethernet adapters on the market.
  • [J. Hamilton] Page about the ADMTek Pegasus chip used in many USB->10/100 adapters can be found here. Now, who wants to write drivers ;-)
Back to Quick Links

BIOS Hacking

  • The BIOS is an SST 39SF020-90-4C-NH, a common 2Mbit EEPROM chip. AWDFLASH 6.31 supports this chip. Specs here. Flash software source code examples here.
  • There is apparently some interest in hacking the BIOS to change the logo that is displayed at boot. Some info can be found in the Specific Hacks section.
Back to Quick Links

Audio Fun

  • The Yamaha YMF715 is supported by the ALSA project (high quality, improved free replacements to the OSS sound drivers). Click here.
    NEW step-by-step instructions to installing the ALSA drivers, thanks to C. Carrier! Click here.
  • Audio out connection will involve soldering. One would think that earphone out would be connected to the speaker wires, and line out would be connected to preamp, but details are very sketchy.
  • [CoYoTe99] The 2 watt audio amp (LM4835MT) pin 10 is Right-In, pin 12 is Left-In and the chip contains volume control circuitry etc.
  • [CoYoTe99] The audio amp IC supports thermal shutdown, bass boost and bridgeable, and has a floating ground. Also, input levels (audio signal) are +/-.3volts.
  • I have heard that 'line out' voltage is 1-1.5 volts. I had an idea of using a transistor on each side from some power source on the board (maybe IDE power) to boost the .3v if necessary, I am sure this is a bit simplistic so if anybody who is better with electronics wants to let me know please do!
  • [J. Hamilton] A link to a datasheet on the Yamaha sound chip: Click Here for PDF.
  • [B. Shoemaker] Quick info on Yamaha chip pins and an idea for audio out (more are being worked on if you can stand to wait):
    This is from the Yamaha datasheet linked above. Here are the pins of interest:
    82 -
    81 -
    Left Mixed Analog Output
    Right Mixed Analog Output
    84 -
    83 -
    Left Aux 1 Input
    Right Aux 1 Input
    94 -
    93 -
    Left Aux 2 Input
    Right Aux 2 Input
    86 -
    85 -
    Left Line Input
    Right Line Input
    92 - Mic Input
    59 -
    58 -
    Volume Up Active Low - ground it to make it work
    Volume Down (same as above)
    49 -
    50 -
    10 to 3 Game Port
    "Just solder a piece of 30AWG wire to the pin(s) on the chip and solder the other end to an RCA jack. (Radio Shack sells "wire wrapping" wire that works VERY well.)
    BTW, I'm not sure about the output levels. According to the Yamaha literature, the Line Output should be 2V p-p. This is way more than enough signal level for any piece of consumer audio equipment."
  • USB audio out, supported by Windoze98 and BeOs: Click Here
Back to Quick Links

Flash Disk

  • Bootable Linux image for the SanDisk courtesy of ZenShadow: Click Here
    mount it read-only. It is based on Debian and has basic utilities such as ls, cp, mv, rm, grep, mount, umount, and lilo; ash as a shell (boots directly into the shell); contains a basic kernel with no sound or networking support (to be added soon).
    To install, simply decompress and
    dd if=sandisk.linux.2 of=/dev/hdb
  • Tips from ZenShadow for those trying to build flash installs (remember the SanDisk has a finite number of writes before it dies, so make em read-only):
    "...The sandisk will always appear to linux as /dev/hdb, whether or not there's a second drive in the system. When you pull the master disk, however, the bios itself will see the sandisk as a totally differnet unit. This makes lilo installs a little... interesting. You'll need the following in your lilo.conf (see the image for an example):
    disk=/dev/hdb bios=0x80
    That'll cause lilo to understand that the disk it's installing on will be seen as the first disk in the system when it's booted."
Back to Quick Links

CPU Upgrades

  • System uses a standard Socket 7 configuration
  • Socket appears to be single voltage and does not directly support dual-voltage CPUs
  • There is a lot of speculation going around about voltage adapters for dual-plane CPUs (I believe that plug into the socket), but as of yet I haven't seen hard info.
  • Modification and/or removal of some resistors is necessary to change voltages when installing various CPUs, so far the only specific info I have found is for a P166MMX, linked to here
Back to Quick Links

IDE Tips

  • Of course, don't try a hard drive bigger than 12.5mm.
  • One person got a 3-disc CD changer AND an IDE hard drive on his i-Opener, apparently the SanDisk gets bumped off the chain by the intelligent controller when there is more than one other device present. See his mirrored site here (just pics for now). I will have full instructions posted here shortly; in his setup, the hard drive is slave, but with proper LILO fun, it works swimmingly.
Back to Quick Links

Links to Relevant Info

i-Opener Background Information and Metadata
Go NetPliance / i-Opener Home
Go Exhaustive collection of links.
Back to Quick Links

i-Opener Modification
Go codeman's site, the original site.
Some pictures, including pictorial examples of how to do certain fun stuff that is not currently available elsewhere (listed below in Specific Hardware Hacks). Not a huge amount of written explanation.
Go Comprehensive site with a lot of fresh updates on hardware and OS issues displayed on the front page. Lots of links.
Go Site detailing disassembly of i-Opener, with lots of excellent pictures. Not so much of a guide as a "here's what I did" sort of thing, but has the potential to be quite helpful.
Go MrBlack and DanMN100's site, Mainly about buying modification kits (you will need special cables, connectors, etc). Has a FAQ here.
Go General guide, has useful info + reccommended buying list.
Go Another general info site.
Back to Quick Links

Specific Hardware Hacks
Go a site dedicated to discussing ideas for projects involving the i-Opener, with step-by-step instructions, while avoiding speculation or misinformation.
Go codeman's Pictorial demonstration of how to upgrade the IDT WinChip CPU to a P166MMX (involves soldering of small parts, and parts used will be different for other CPUs)
Go codeman's pictorial description of how to remount the metal stand (I think). Possibly due to size constraints? A written explanation would be most helpful!
Go Detailed information and graphics on IDE cable hacks.
Go Non i-Opener-specific info on changing logo graphics in Award BIOSes
Go Data sheet on audio amplifier/gain control chip, the LM4835MT
Go Look at this! Right now this site is just pictures, but someone got a 3-disc CD changer AND an IDE hard drive on the i-Opener. I hope to have complete descriptions of how it was done posted shortly, right here.
Back to Quick Links

Compatibility and OS Info
Go Detailed info about the video chipset
Go Linux USB guide, 'matched to kernel 2.3.47'
Go Recommended info source on USB under Linux (note: NetBSD supposedly has good support for USB Ethernet)
Back to Quick Links

Reccommended Places to Buy
Go 2.5 inch hard drives (remember to get 12.5mm or smaller) and CHEAP 3.5 inch to 2.5inch adapter and bracket (needed to load stuff onto 2.5 inch drive from desktop system)
Go Sweet RF keyboard and mouse. Relatively cheap after rebate.
Go Price List from www.i-opened.net. Including IDE cables, VGA out, serial out, HD bracket, 2.5mm earphone jack, RCA audio out, and 2.5 to 3.5 inch IDE adaptor. Note some items still shipping to retailer.
Go USB->Ethernet adapter. dunno about Linux compatibility, although LinkSys models have been known to work.
Back to Quick Links

Places to Talk
  irc.openprojects.net #I-Opener-Linux - as of March 18 the EFNet channel was taken over.
Go i-Opener mailing list, join here.
Go i-Opener web board.
Back to Quick Links

Hosting and design by
Evernex Digital Media

© Copyright 1999-2000 evernex.com and respective authors. Disclaimer