The internal hard disk had problems that it was not recognizes by the bios and other software at all anymore. After replacing the hard disk, there was no improvement at all. So consideration had been made to update/reflash the bios and for that the exact model was needed.
Acer Extensa 4101WLMi, printed on the bottom, though beneath the LCD display a sticker says Extensa 4100, which is also printed at another sticker at the bottom, “Extensa 4100 series”, Model No. ZL2. These differences are rather confusing.
I checked the official webpage from Acer, but I could not find an update for this specific model. So I checked Google and found the following site:
Hallo, als Biosupdate (auf 3C29) für das 4101WLMI kann auch das vom Aspire 1690 genommen werden. Unbedingt die readme lesen wegen der Graka
With a linux live cd and the following command we had already found out it has an ATI X700 video card.
lspci | grep ATI
While checking the Acer webpage for a suitable update for the Aspire 1690, there were two Aspire models: a DDR and a DDR2 model. So is this laptop a DDR or DDR2 type model?
Answer is found here:
There are two different models of the Aspire 1690 Series available, with different drivers and BIOS revisions. Please choose the correct model for driver download.
The easiest way to identify an Aspire 1690 DDR or DDR 2 is the bar code on the bottom side of the units. The 3rd, 4th and 5th digits of the S/N stands for the model code as following:
Unfortunately these model codes doesn't resemble that of the L4101WLMi model (which has LXE200500150xxxxxxEM01).
To find out the memory chips which are used I unscrewed a bottom plate under which there were two SO-DIMMS of the type DDR1:
| MDT SODIMM
512MB PC400 CL2.5
1Bank 512M Chip (64×8)
Nevertheless I tried to flash with DDR2 bios versions, because these versions were of a more recent date, but winphlash refused to do so. All I got was an error -144. (I tried L3263A17, L3263A28,L3263A30,L3263A41,L3263A45) (Also even not in (free)dos phlash16, with /mode=3 and other settings).
The only files that are being accepted are the DDR files: L2263C29.WPH, L2263D02.WPH and probably L2263c25.wph (did not test the latter)
Note that L2263D02.WPH is the older file (Although the filename perhaps would indicate it is more recent)
When trying, you maybe have to set the option to ignore the more recent bios date check. Flashing with these files gives the following:
Flashing with L2263C29.WPH
(Hex file analysis: SVGA BIOS Build Number: 1219 PC 14.8 03/31/2005 13:33:53)
Flashing with L2263D02.WPH
The only difference is the system BIOS Version: S3c29 or S3D02. I have the idea that the older file (L2263D02.WPH) puts the fan of the notebook in a more silent operation mode. At least much less noise comes from the fan.
Because the bios update didn't improve the hard disk recognition. I checked the mechanical connection on the motherboard. I suspect Acer forgot to use two screws to attach the hard disk connector onto the motherboard. Without these screws all force and vibration caused loose contacts and the connector even comming off from the motherboard. After soldering the pins at the connector and screwing the connector to the motherboard the hard disk worked again.