Saturday, October 20, 2012

Install Ubuntu 12.04 on Acer Aspire 5750ZG

This is not a basic installation guide full of nice screenshots.

I assume that you know how to install Ubuntu already. Since a fresh install of Ubuntu 12.04. (Precise Pangolin) is not fully functional on Acer Aspire 5750zg, this guide should help you set it up properly, show you how to lower the temperature of the laptop (fan noise, too) and make your battery last longer.

Here are a few problems you'll encounter:
Problem #1 - brightness keys not working
Problem #2 - high temperature and low battery life
Problem #3 - wireless not working

Problem #1 - brightness keys not working

Step 1: Open /etc/default/grub with root privileges
sudo vi /etc/default/grub
Step 2: add acpi_backlight=vendor to GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash acpi_backlight=vendor"
Step 3: Save & close the file. Update your grub configuration
sudo update-grub
Step 4: Restart

Now, the Fn + Left Arrow should lower the brightness and Fn + Right Arrow should increase it.

Problem #2 - high tepmperature and low battery life

Acer Aspire 5750zg comes with NVIDIA GeForce 610M graphics card. This card has Optimus technology (switchable graphics) and by default Ubuntu doesn't use it. To remedy this install Bumblebee and you will not only be able to use it, it will automatically result in lowering the temperature and fan noise. It will also make your laptop's battery last longer.

Step 1: Add the bumblebee repository
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:bumblebee/stable
Step 2: Resync the package index
sudo apt-get update
Step 3: Install the bumblebee with the proprietary NVIDIA drivers
sudo apt-get install bumblebee bumblebee-nvidia
Step 4: Restart

Now, when you log in, the NVIDIA graphics card should be switched off which will result in lower energy consumption, lower temperature, lower fan noise, and your battery will last longer. To test the installation type this into your terminal:
optirun glxspheres
To run some program that will use NVIDIA card type:
optirun some-program

Problem #3 - wireless not working 

Acer Aspire 5750zg has a Broadcom wireless card (BCM43227) famous for making Linux users' lives a lot more interesting than they want them to be. To fix this problem:

Step 1: Open System Settings app 
Step 2: Click on Additional Drivers 
Step 3: Select Broadcom STA wireless driver 
Step 4: Clik on Activate button (lower right corner) 
Step 5: Close Additional Drivers and  System Settings 
Step 6: Your wireless card is active. Connect to your network.