HP EliteBook (EliteBug) 8470p adventures

My Asus U36S died so I have bought a refurbished enterprise HP. It was not a great deal, as is common with enterprise stuff…

Pros:

  • 1600×900 display
  • CPU with AVX and AES-NI
  • 802.11abgn WiFi
  • lower power consumption while suspended

Cons:

  • fucking thick and heavy!!!
  • crappy keyboard
  • worse touchpad than Asus
  • buggy BIOS and platform controller with DRM
  • 25% smaller battery
  • DisplayPort instead of HDMI (which seems to be more common in presentation rooms)
  • the power port is not a standard barrel jack that is available everywhere

BIOS boot bug

If the partition is not marked bootable, it will just say “no bootable medium found”. I think BIOS should not care about partition table flags, that's the business of first stage of the bootloader.

Crappy spacebar

I have 3D-printed two of the following and glued them with cyanoacrylate to the spacebar housing, so the spacebar won't wobble while pressed on the side. (I'd suggest 6x6x6 millimeters instead of 5x5x5)

Battery charging and DRM

After two months, the battery stopped charging (adapter was reported on-line, but the current was 0 mA). Okay, so I have charged the battery externally. However, there is a charge counter and once it counts down to 7 %, s2ram will be blocked (probably a feature to prevent data loss which is not possible to turn off) and once it counts down to 0, the thing won't boot. It won't boot either when the communication with the charge counter fails. So there is no way to power your laptop except with the genuine power supply (so bye if you have a 12-Volt system, a solar panel or whatever that will not work with the original PSU).

Fixing the charging:

Fixing the DRM: The battery seems to conform to Smart Battery Data Specification 1.1. The pinout from the outside is: Vdd, Vdd, SDA, SCK, NC, NC, GND, GND. I have dumped the communication to boot-to-linux-and-shutdown.sr. You can write an emulator that will lie to the platform controller and convince it that a genuine battery is connected.

 
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