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Leon

Dell Latitude ON / Dell Latitude ON FLASH (mirror)

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Orginal and creds goes to: Jeff Avery's blog

Notes:
Hes orginal blog post is being mirroed here (partly) here with the intend of keeping it online - a full webcopy have been made to the URL below, also, since the orginal links for the software needed isent online anymore - corrected links and mirroed copys of the software will be stored here.

Links:
Orginal post:
 http://blog.jeffavery.com/2010/04/25/dell-latitude-on-dell-latitude-on-flash/
Webcopy: http://leon.bollerup.org/mirrors/blog.jeffavery.com/2010/04/25/dell-latitude-on-dell-latitude-on-flash/ 
Software on Dells site: https://www.dell.com/support/home/se/sv/sedhs1/product-support/product/latitude-e4200/drivers

Software:
 - Dell Latitude ON Software Application
 - Dell Latitude/Precision ON Flash Utility
 - Dell Latitude/Precision ON Flash Firmware Update
 - Dell Latitude/Precision ON Flash Application

 - Dell Latitude ON EX Application
 - Dell Latitude ON Reader Application
 

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In November of 2009 I purchased a Dell Latitude e4200 and I decided to add the Latitude ON module to the purchase. It’s an ARM processor based add-on that allows you to boot a small Linux OS (MontaVista Linux) independent of the operating system. I set it up, tried a few things, and realized I would not be doing much with it until I could figure out a way to customize it somewhat.

I recently ran across a Dell forum talking about a “Latitude ON FLASH”. After a little digging I found it was a separate module add-on with a few more features than the ARM based module I already had. The price of the ARM was nearly 4 times as much so I was intrigued about more features for less so I decided to pick one up. It was a bit frustrating to install because the instructions that came with it basically said “install the module”…nice. Mainly I was trying to figure out which of these would be a better option and what the pros / cons of each was. I found little to no information out there that really said anything so I thought I’d put this together.


The Latitude ON Original was an ARM processor based module completely self contained from the rest of the laptop. It can extend your battery substantially if you were simply looking to check mail and browse the web. The Latitude ON FLASH relies on the laptops processor so your battery life is decreased somewhat over the original but, with the cost savings, you could purchase the extended battery. Here is a side by side shot of both cards. The Latitude ON Original is on the left:

 

1big.jpg

 

Here you see the back cover removed (one screw…very nice) and the Latitude ON Original removed leaving the empty space and two antenna wires. Also the WWAN (Cellular Broadband) slot where the Latitude ON FLASH will go.

Click on the image for a larger photo and markings for each slot:
2big.jpg

 

 

One of the reasons for this post was that the instructions were lacking to say the least. It was not clear as to whether you could run both cards simultaneously or only one at a time. The answer is you can run only one of these modules at a time. It may seem intuitive after the fact however, given the lact of documentation, I was unsure if they played off each other. The price was also part of this confusion. Given that the Latitude ON Original was a $199.00 option and the Latitude ON Flash is around $60.00 it seemed that the FLASH module was possibly a compliment to the more expensive module. This is not the case.

 

When I first installed the Latitude ON FLASH module I removed the Latitude ON Original from the laptop. I then installed the FLASH module (photos further down this post) and booted into Windows. When I installed the “Dell Latitude ON Flash – User Configuration Application for Windows” and the associated Firmware (all itemized below).

 

Windows had me create a password for the Latitude ON FLASH user (It will let you create one of two users. Either a user with the same name as your Windows user account or a user named “user”). It finished up with a statement that I had completed the install process and I could press the latitude ON button and boot into Latitude ON.

 

When I tried to boot to Latitude ON I received an error that the Latitude ON module was not installed and to see my Administrator. I played this game, in and out of Windows, for quite some time. I removed and re-added the software and modules in various combinations. Trying both, one and then the other module. I contacted Dell support and, while they were extremely helpful, they really could not do much for me. When I say they were helpful I mean that they did not have me try several pointless things to waste my time or theirs.

 

The technician finally gave up after about 15 minutes of searching and said that he was stumped and that there was little information available on these modules yet. He said he would do some further research and contact me back the following day. I thanked him for not asking me to re-image my laptop and decided to keep plugging.

 

The resolution ended up being disparate BIOS settings between the two cards. I believe what would have made this much easier is if I had gone into the BIOS first and disabled the Latitude ON Original BEFORE removing it and installing the FLASH module. The Latitude ON Original has two options in the BIOS. There is an “Enable Latitude ON” and “Use Instant on mode” (both check boxes). The Latitude ON FLASH only has one option and it is “Enable Latitude ON”.  I’m not sure how, or when, I finally realized this but I believe that having the “Use instant on mode” checked with the newer Latitude ON FLASH installed was causing the issue.

 

Given that the “Use instant on mode” was checked the system was looking for the Latitude ON Original card and since it was not installed the error that the Latitude ON module was not installed and to see my Administrator was thrown.

 

Once I unchecked both options in the BIOS (seen in this photo) I saved and rebooted the laptop. I went right back into the BIOS and the only option available was “the Enable Latitude ON option”. I checked that, saved and powered off the device. I pressed the latitude on button and went right into the new Latitude ON FLASH module. 

 


//Leon

 

 

 

 

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