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Use a neoware CA5 as stand alone linux machine

You do any of these mods entirely at your own risk. I am in no way laiable if your unit explodes or your house burns down, you have been warned.


The Neoware CA5 a basically a small PC. It has a 200Mhz SIS processor, it's Intel opcode compatible and similar to the VIA C series. Being clocked so slowly the CPU manages to consume little power (for a PC!). The unit takes about 15w of power in total. It runs an embedded linux thats a modified Redhat. Ethernet is an internal pci rtl8139, display is an sis550 VGA chip. It has serial, an on board IDE interface with a laptop pitch IDE header, a disk-on-chip module (16MB typical), sound sis7019, USB 1.1, 32MB of RAM on board and a socket for laptop style DIMM.
Internal Laptop Drive
Back panel
Drive and Cable

It's possible to squeeze a laptop drive into a CA5 machine. You need to get hold of a 2.5" to 2.5" ide cable, I found one on ebay but they can be hard to find.
The mod is pretty simple, place the drive in a suitable position - check nothing metal is shorting to the drive PCB. Drill a couple of mounting holes and cable it all up. I also replaced the front panel LEDs with bright blue ones, mostly so I could tell this machine apart from the other similar ones here.

Software

Once up and running add some RAM - I added 64MB to bring it upto 96MB, but more would be better. Then I installed a built from scratch 2.4 linux kernel. Redhat 2.4 kernel versions will probably work, but the 2.6 Fedora version I tried didn't work, the 2.6 Debian I tried also failed to boot properly. This is the .config I used for linux-2.4.32 kernel

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