Please note: This project is no longer active. The website is kept online for historic purposes only.
If you´re looking for a Linux driver for your Atheros WLAN device, you should continue here .

Possible workaround for problems with mini-PCI cards

Many laptops which have mini-pci wireless cards provide a means to switch the radio of the card on and off. Many mini-pci cards respond to a signal on “Pin 13” which controls this function.

If your radio is stuck ‘off’, you will be able to load the madwifi driver correctly, but it won’t find any access points or peers when making scans.

Firstly check the laptop bios settings to ensure that there isn’t a “Disable Radio” or “Disable mini-pci” option selected.

Unfortunatly for us linux users, some laptops operate this mechanism purely in software drivers, requiring either an equivalant linux driver (see http://rfswitch.sourceforge.net/), or to use the NDIS-Wrapper drivers. In some cases, simply getting “ACPI” working may be enough to make appropriate hot-keys turn the radio on / off.

For laptops which don’t have an appropriate driver, you can also control the RF kill feature (on Atheros cards) with a module option:

modprobe ath_pci rfkill=0

This way your wireless card should ignore the state of pin 13.

Masking Pin 13

If this does not work for you, you could try masking off pin 13; sellotape is ideal for this. To find pin 13, hold the card so that the pins, (contacts) are facing you and the key (a little cut in the card) in on the left. Pins are counted up-to-down and left-to-right:

1  key  3  5  7  9 11 13 15 ...
2  key  4  6  8 10 12 14 16 ...

Pin 13 will be thus the seventh pin from the left edge or the sixths pin from the key on the upper side of the card. This picture shows the correct pin to cover, but incorrectly calls is pin 7: http://www.minipci.biz/pin7.jpg

Once you have found pin 13, mask it with a piece of tape, reinstall the card and test.`

Users' Laptops confirmed as needing workarounds

Fujitsu S2020

  • Sellotape over pin 13 causes radio to work. - Switch on back had no effect.
  • Another user from Malaysia - Yup, follow the steps above covering dat Pin 7(if u see it from only one side). My Askey branded mini pci that uses Atheros AR5005 chipset works after doing that. However, take note that the mini pci wifi card sucks up battery power as it has been permanently enabled.
  • (Note from another user: Strange. My Fujitsu S2020 works fine without any tricks like this. Just make sure that the hardware radio on/off switch on the back of the notebook is set to the “on” position… This is with a “Garlic” model S2020, I guess others might be different but I thought that the others had Broadcomm wireless cards.)

Toshiba Satellite 1905-S303

  • with an Askey/Toshiba AR5212 mini-pci card. The radio on/off switch has no effect.

Toshiba Satellite 2430-S101

  • with an Intel Pro/Wireless 2200 b/g mini-pci card. The radio on/off switch has no effect.

Toshiba Satellite 1905-S301

  • with an Askey/Toshiba AR5001X and Intel PRO/Wireless 2100 mini-pci card.

Toshiba Tecra 9100

  • with an Agere Systems MPC13A-20/R; the radio on/off switch has no effect.

Routerboard18 PCI-2-8xMiniPCI

  • The rfkill option works for the routerboard18 - without it only the cards will be detected but no wave will come out. Steffen D.

Fujitsu Siemens Amilo L1310G with Atheros AR5005G 802.11abg NIC (rev 01)

  • The rfkill option worked just fine. The enable/disable button works only in windows with the appropriate software.
  • Taping pin 13 works great also. Also worth mentioning that since this is a software switch there are no drivers for Vista yet. So if you want to use your wireless under Vista on this laptop you'll have to tape the pin. After that it works great.

Fujistsu Siemens Amilo Li1718 with Atheros AR242x 802.11abg PCI-e (rev 01)

The rfkill option did NOT work
Masking pin13 did NOT work since its a mini pci-e card, and thus its layout is incoherent to above one.
The wlan switch is a SOFT switch, therefor it cannot be enabled with above methods, however there is a way.....
Download the Acer Hot Key driver , and force a particulair model, this will enable the switch on the laptop

HOWTO : http://www.knights-of-camelot.nl/?page_id=12

Fujistsu Siemens Amilo Li2727 with Atheros AR2425/AR5007EG 802.11abg PCI-e (rev 01)

This entry is similar to the entry just above, only slightly more detailed. My laptop is running Ubuntu 8.04 (hardy) with kernel 2.6.24-19-generic.

First the correct version of the madwifi driver is available under ticket 1192 as specified here on the Compatibility page.

Then in order to swith the card on one must download and install the Acer Hotkey driver for Linux with the following line in /etc/modprobe.d/options:

options acerhk autowlan=1

During bootup, the acerhk driver must be loaded into the kernel and activated before madwifi; one neat way to ensure that this is the case is to add to following line to /etc/modprobe.d/madwifi :

install ath_pci /sbin/modprobe acerhk; echo on > /proc/driver/acerhk/wirelessled; /sbin/modprobe --ignore-install ath_pci

This also has the additional advantage of lighting up the orange wireless LED on the front of the laptop.

Then what I did in order to easily manipulate the interface is to add this line to /etc/modprobe.d/options:

options ath_pci autocreate=none

and configure /etc/network/interfaces as follow:

auto ath0
iface ath0 inet dhcp
  pre-up wlanconfig ath0 create wlandev wifi0 wlanmode sta
  post-down wlanconfig ath0 destroy
  wpa-driver wext
  wpa-key-mgmt WPA-PSK
  wpa-proto WPA2
  wpa-ssid <my ssid>
  wpa-psk <my shared key>

Now the wifi card starts automatically during bootup and can be switched on and off at will using standards 'ifup ath0' and 'ifdown ath0' commands.

Toshiba Satellite P25-507 with AR5211 802.11ab NIC (rev 01)

* Needs kernel parameter 'pci=assign-busses' at boot time in order to see miniPCI behind a 'transparent PCI bridge' * Put a line 'options ath-pci rfkill=0' in /etc/modprobe.d/madwifi * Actual Atheros chipset seems to be AR5001X+, which has AR5211 as one of three chips. * Tested on Debian Sarge with custom kernel 2.6.19.1

Toshiba Satellite 1130 with Broadcom 802.11b NIC

  • Pin 13 trick did the job. Now I can finally throw away the POS usb wireless I was using.

ACER TravelMate 8006LMi

rfkill just did the job. Tested on Ubuntu 6.10. by Herakles

Toshiba Satellite A30 with atheros AR5006XS 108

Was sceptical after hours of fiddling with drivers and settings for atheros AR5006XS. download the latest atheros Wireless Lan driver as of 25th September 08 (7.6.0.130 form toshiba support) and put some magic tape over pin 13 and it detects and connects almost instantly. Hardware switch does nothing on this model although i assume that due to its age it probably only has 1 or 2 fully compatible mini pci cards that make full use of hardware and fn hotkey switching. If anyone can find out how to make the switch work please advise as i feel the battery usage is greater now.

Toshiba Satellite Pro A30

The sellotape over pin 13 trick worked for my Intel Pro/Wireless 2100bg card but unfortunately the range is greatly reduced for some reason. This card works fine with full range capabibities in my newer laptop! - gktechnology

Toshiba Tecra S1

The tape on pin 13 trick worked for me, upgrading from 2100B to a 2915ABG. Before the tape, I could install the drivers but windows config would not pick up any networks. After the tape, it picks up the network, with slightly better reception than the USB stick I was using. The hardware switch does not work.

ACER Aspire 5050

I used the option rfkill=0 and the card got working.

Sony Vaio PCG-NVR23

The tape on pin 13 got my Broadcom 802.11g mini pci nic to work. TY!

Toshiba Satellite 1130

The sellotape over pin 13 trick worked for me with an Atheros AR5005G 108M G+ mini PCI WIFI card (from ebay) in the Tosh. The switch on the side of the 1130 looks like to does nothing. AGT

Fujitsu Siemens Amilo A1650G with Atheros AR2413 802.11bg NIC (rev 01)

kernel: 2.6.25-4.slh.3-sidux-686 #1 SMP PREEMPT Fri May 23 21:58:49 UTC 2008 i686 GNU/Linux
wlan works:

modprobe ath_pci rfkill=0

wlan not working:

modprobe ath_pci

pin 13 not checked

Fujitsu Siemens A16550G with Gadged Computer Atheros Mini-PCI 802.11 b/g WLAN

SuSE 10.3 2.6.22.17-0.1-default kernel modprobe ath_pci rfkill=0 works just fine

Sony VAIO PCG-K64

I added an Intel pro wireless 2100 mini PCI card into Sony VAIO PCG-K64 which was never intended to have wireless and therefore had no hardware radio switch. The workaround of taping pin 13 worked like a charm. I have also discovered that the Intel ProSet? software application (from Intel website) gives the option to switch the radio signal on and off when required so it doesn't chew the battery when wireless is not required. Just have to disable Windows from controlling the wireless device. Thanks madwifi.org I really appreciate your help. Cheers.

Toshiba Satellite 1135-S1554

Using an Atheros AR5005GS card. I covered pin 13 and it worked. I read somewhere else that you're supposed to cover pin 11, too, but that does NOT work.

Nec versa m300

Covering pins 11 and 13 made my ipw2200 bg mini pci to work. Radio is not ON, but you can switch it ON with "iwconfig eth1 txpower on" Thanks to this page I culd find the solution, no way to tourn radio ON with software if you do not cover pins 11 and 13, in the link you have a picture. thanks again madwifi!

http://free.okupaweb.com/punk/varios/gentoo-necversam300.html#ipw.

I bought an Intel 2200BG card for my NEC Versa M300 but the wireless card was "Turned Off". However, I covered pin 13 according to this article and voila! this enabled the wireless card and now it works fine. Many, many thanks for posting this very useful info - I want to have your babies...

Toshiba Equium M50-244

(discontinued model) - PhoenixBios 1.90 - as far as I can see this is the latest firmware, and has no bios setting for wireless. Masking pin 13 for the Atheros AR5006XS worked great, cheers. Front hardware wireless switch has no effect, i.e. no light (as expected) For WinXP using athw.sys v7.4.2.75 device driver from Atheros Many thanks to madwifi.org for info, BTW older version (AR5005G) of the Atheros MiniPCI worked in the laptop ok

Toshiba Satellite 1135-s155

Using Atheros ar5005 mini card. Not native to this machine but responded perfectly to Masking pin 13. Wireless now works great! Been using a crappy usb for ages. Thanks so much for this info!

Toshiba Satellite A30

Using an Intel PRO/Wireless 2200BG Mini-pci card. Wireless LED and switch don't work but masking over pin 13 got it working no problem. I used the little piece if masking tape that was used to hold the two antenna leads down. Thank you so much! I had already typed in my wireless router details so it connected before I even had a look.

Sony PCG-GRT100

The work around on pin 13 worked with a Intel 2200BG. Thank you.

-- sandbayusa@yahoo.com 01-21-09

Hi,

Thanks for your help.

Masking pins 6 & 7 (11 & 13) works like a charm on my Toshiba A30 laptop.

Thanks again...

RK from Australia

Guys,

Hey guys you saved me alot of stress i masked up pins 6 and 7 (pin13 etc..) turned on laptop(windows 7) intel 2200BG wifi mini pci and voila i cant believe it connected lol no more flaming ethernet cable to trip over...

keep up the great work....

andy UK manchester

You are great. I just installed a wireless card from a dell latitude to a toshiba satellite and masking pin 13 was everything. Thanks. Ionut

Acer Travelmate 291LCi

Using Atheros AR5004G mini card from old Toshiba. Not native to this machine but responded perfectly to masking pin 13. Wireless now works great! No led, no interruptor. Thanks so much for this info!