Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Linux drivers for Zoostorm Pink laptop model 7873-9043

I thought I would post this article as there are a number of out of date articles about this floating around the internet.

I recently bought a Zoostorm model 7873-9043 laptop from Ebuyer (the pink one they sell for £280). It is manufactured by Clevo (the Clevo model number is W251EL) and very nicely specified.

I installed Linux Mint 13 which is the current LTS (long term support version) and the WiFi would not work. The WiFi chipset is RTL8723AE. Some articles I found are suggesting installing windows drivers or downloading unofficial drivers via Realtec staff.

I had a look at installing drivers, but this did not make sense as the WiFi had worked when I had tried a live disk of the latest version of Linux Mint. The problem seemed to relate to the version I had chosen to install, which was 13 LTS. On examination I could see that the drivers were there but I could not turn the card on even using manual commands. I think there are software switches required in relation to this chip set which are only present in more recent Linux kernels. Mint 13 is kernel 3.2 whereas Mint 16 is kernel 3.11.

So I experimented with updating the kernel in Mint 13 to 3.11. Although the OS worked as before and the Bluetooth worked the WiFi still did not.

Rather than faffing about with drivers, the simplest way to make it work was to install Linux Mint 16. When I did this the WiFi worked straight away. The driver loads every time i start the machine and it automatically connects to my WiFi. Linux Mint 16 is not an LTS release, but it will be by the end of May 2014 and it seems stable already.

I hope this helps someone else avoid the heartache of trying to install drivers unecessarily.