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Old 07-05-2006, 03:24 PM   #1
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Registered: Jul 2005
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wifi adapters causing kernel lockup

I've been using Slackware on this laptop for three years now. It's a HP Pavilion ze4315us running Slackware 10.2 with a 2.6.17 kernel. It has no built-in 802.11 so I use cardbus and usb adapters. I have four different ones, each uses a different driver, and with each I've experienced some type of (kernel?) crash. Sometimes everything freezes and the display slowly tints yellow while vertical lines appear. Sometimes just the keyboard stops responding and I don't notice until I try to type because the mouse still works. Although it happenes rarely, it's still annoying when it happens.

Most recently, and what causes me concern is, I left the laptop running a screensaver (xspirograph within Fluxbox) for about 5 hours. The screen was down which turns off the display, which I believe is BIOS-controlled on this model. My usb 802.11g adapter was plugged in, the zd1211 driver loaded, but not connected to any ap. When I came back the keyboard was not responding and the hard drive and memory areas were very hot. The heat is the part that concerns me. I wouldn't want it to crash again while I'm away and have the cpu or hard drive overheat to the point of damage.

Three reasons that I'm sure it's caused by the wifi adpters or drivers is 1) this has never happened when connected via dial-up, 2) this has never happened when connected via 10/100 ethernet, and 3) this has never happened when I know that none of the wifi drivers are loaded. The four cards I have are:
Netgear MA111 802.11b using linux-wlan-ng
Netgear WG511 802.11g using ndiswrapper
Netgear WG511U 802.11g using madwifi
Hawking WU54G 802.11g using zd1211

Does anyone know a workaround or better driver for one or more of these cards? If more information is needed I can get it when I get back to the laptop.
Old 07-05-2006, 04:46 PM   #2
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Re: wifi adapters

Does the machine also act up with other peripherals (such as usb memory sticks, various pcmcia adapters?)

Run the dmesg command and see if it complains about IRQ resources and whatnot--some older laptop limitations can cause weird problems.

Also try the following boot parameters in varying combinations:
acpi=off apm=on noapic nolapic pci=useirqmask irqpoll

ACPI in particular will cause intermittent problems when used with an APM BIOS.

See if the above parameters stop the freeze-ups; then you can at least troubleshoot from there.

Last edited by sty_user; 07-05-2006 at 04:47 PM.
Old 07-05-2006, 05:48 PM   #3
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Registered: Jul 2005
Distribution: Slackware
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Thanks for the reply. I've never had a problem with usb flash drives or any other external peripherals, of which I've used many. dmesg has never mentioned any problems with resources when the adapters are inserted and the drivers loaded. The drivers always compiled fine. My machine uses ACPI and I use the acpi=noirq option to let the kernel assign irqs because of a previous issue with the sound and nic both being assigned irq 10. I obviously can't run dmesg after the keyboard locks, and after rebooting and looking back in /var/log/syslog the last entries for that session are:

12:01:05 kernel: ohci_hcd 0000:00:02.0: bad entry ec0fe1
12:01:05 last message repeated 15039 times
16:54:58 kernel: atkbd.c: Unknown key pressed...
16:54:58 kernel: atkbd.c: Use 'setkeycodes...

No one was home at 12:01 or 4:54pm that day. The lid was still down. I suspect the driver for the usb device, which at the time was the zd1211. But I can't help think that if that's the case then why do my other wireless cards cause the same problem(s) - both usb and pcmcia.


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