Intel Atom Windows Tablet "Black screen" issue

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Intel Atom Windows Tablet "Black screen" issue

Postby nz_kiwi » 2018-10-14 23:27

Hi all,
First time posting on here. I've been working on a system for several years, and have never needed to post as I've always been able to search my way around a problem.
I've had debian running on a basic windows tablet for several years. I was able to clone and remake the tablets with the required setup. The tablets were discontinued and since then it's been a world of pain. Every bottom end windows tablet I've tried has the same issue, even tablets with seemingly the same hardware specs.
The issue is that once a basic debian install is complete (jessie or stretch), the tablet boots into a black screen after grub. Adding nomodeset into the grub boot line allows the display to boot, but nothing I've tried will allow the tablet to use the graphics properly.
I've had to leave this and come back to it a number of times, so I've not got a list of all the things I've tried, but it includes uninstalling/installing intel packages etc.
Am I missing something?
Cheers for the help in advance, running out of hair to pull out...
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Re: Intel Atom Windows Tablet "Black screen" issue

Postby bw123 » 2018-10-15 10:32

There are some sections in the installation guide that might help you.
System requirements are here,
https://www.debian.org/releases/stable/ ... 02.html.en
Information you will need is here,
https://www.debian.org/releases/stable/ ... 03.html.en

The first thing I try to find out when I hear "Black Screen" is whether the system is booting, but hanging on the display manager startup.

If you can boot to single user, or get to login prompt at a tty with ctrl-alt-F2 then the problem is probably the dm or graphics setup/firmware, etc.

There's really no point trying to guess what the problem might be without hardware details, every machien is different. Might be a good idea to try and boot a live system on usb.
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Re: Intel Atom Windows Tablet "Black screen" issue

Postby nz_kiwi » 2018-10-15 19:36

Hi bw123, thanks for the reply.
The tty isn't available, but Linux has booted up. My understanding is using nomodeset in grub forces the graphics to use bios settings rather than kernel settings. As this allows a graphical display to work, I assume it's a graphics/kernel issue. How would you go about debugging this?
Thanks
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Re: Intel Atom Windows Tablet "Black screen" issue

Postby bw123 » 2018-10-15 19:51

nomodeset is kind of old-fashioned way to work around the problem, I don't think modern hardware/drivers will run X correctly with it anymore. They require kernel modesetting to function correctly? but since you can boot with it, gather some hardware info.

lspci -v is fine for me, some people prefer output from pkg inxi

It can be quite a lot of output, so use code tags on forum, or post to paste.debian.net and give the forum the link.

It's not debugging, it's installation, you need to ID the hardware and set it up correctly. You don't mention how old is the machine? or much of anything else, atom windows tablet is pretty vague... you mentioned intel, okay what do you want a scooby snack?.

you said 'basic debian install' I'm not sure what that means? please use stretch/stable.

p.s. found this on a websearch for https://duckduckgo.com/html/?q=kernel+p ... +nomodeset
https://askubuntu.com/questions/716957/ ... eters-mean
The newest kernels have moved the video mode setting into the kernel. So all the programming of the hardware specific clock rates and registers on the video card happen in the kernel rather than in the X driver when the X server starts.. This makes it possible to have high resolution nice looking splash (boot) screens and flicker free transitions from boot splash to login screen. Unfortunately, on some cards this doesn't work properly and you end up with a black screen. Adding the nomodeset parameter instructs the kernel to not load video drivers and use BIOS modes instead until X is loaded.
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Re: Intel Atom Windows Tablet "Black screen" issue

Postby nz_kiwi » 2018-10-16 06:08

The reason I didn't post more details about the hardware is because I've tried this on half a dozen different, bottom end, intel atom windows tablets. As I mentioned before, I had this working fine on a previous tablet with near identical specs.
By basic installation I mean I downloaded "debian-9.5.0-i386-DVD-1.iso" to a usb stick, ran through a basic install. This worked fine on the several old tablets I had, the new ones have been bought within the last few months. Most of the new ones had a cherrytrail atom processor, so I also bought one with a baytrail atom processor same as the old tablet, but they all behave the same.
I'm currently away from home. When I've got access to the tablets I'll get the hardware information from a new tablet (not working) and an old tablet (working) for comparison.
I can also take the clone I used for my old tablet, copy onto a new tablet, and the result is the tablet works as expected as long as I edit the grub file with nomodeset.
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Re: Intel Atom Windows Tablet "Black screen" issue

Postby nz_kiwi » 2018-10-17 02:18

As requested here are the outputs from three tablets:
http://paste.debian.net/1047672
Thanks for your help, what would you recommend next to try and "fix" my install issue?
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Re: Intel Atom Windows Tablet "Black screen" issue

Postby bw123 » 2018-10-17 03:55

nz_kiwi wrote:As requested here are the outputs from three tablets:
http://paste.debian.net/1047672
Thanks for your help, what would you recommend next to try and "fix" my install issue?


Your display devices aren't loading any driver, you need to load the i915 like in the old machine's output. I would install the intel pkg, then rebuild the initramfs. Try and boot to single user mode, without the 'nomodeset' parameter.

Code: Select all
$ apt policy xserver-xorg-video-intel
xserver-xorg-video-intel:
  Installed: 2:2.99.917+git20161206-1
  Candidate: 2:2.99.917+git20161206-1
  Version table:
 *** 2:2.99.917+git20161206-1 500
        500 http://deb.debian.org/debian stretch/main amd64 Packages
        100 /var/lib/dpkg/status


If you still get an issue, then there's a readme and a sample xorg.conf to try in /usr/share/doc/xserver-xorg-video-intel The KMS might come from other pkgs, I don't know how you could have installed without it. I guess anything is possible though...

Code: Select all
$ ls /usr/share/doc/xserver-xorg-video-intel/
changelog.Debian.gz  copyright  README         xorg.conf
changelog.gz         NEWS.gz    README.Debian


The output you posted is missing all the "Kernel Modules: " entries that lspci provides,
Code: Select all
$ lspci -v | grep -m 2 -e Kernel
        Kernel driver in use: i915
        Kernel modules: i915


so I'm wondering, what kernel are you using? (uname -a) sometimes a newer kernel can help.

Anything show up with grep dmesg for error, firmware, intel, etc...
Code: Select all
# dmesg | grep drm
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Re: Intel Atom Windows Tablet "Black screen" issue

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2018-10-17 05:13

bw123 wrote:Your display devices aren't loading any driver, you need to load the i915 like in the old machine's output. I would install the intel pkg, then rebuild the initramfs.

The i915 driver is part of the kernel; the xserver-xorg-video-intel package provides the Intel DDX driver and Debian actually recommend uninstalling that in favour of Xorg's builtin modesetting driver if the hardware is recent.

@OP: do the devices work if you try a distribution with a newer kernel?
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Re: Intel Atom Windows Tablet "Black screen" issue

Postby nz_kiwi » 2018-10-17 10:06

All the later tablets I've tried have had this problem with the earlier kernel and the later kernel that installs with Debian 9.5
Is the lack of display driver because of using nomodeset?
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Re: Intel Atom Windows Tablet "Black screen" issue

Postby bw123 » 2018-10-17 10:57

Head_on_a_Stick wrote:The i915 driver is part of the kernel; the xserver-xorg-video-intel package provides the Intel DDX driver and Debian actually recommend uninstalling...


Yes, but but modesetting driver isn't listed as available either by lspci. I was hoping the OP would imitate me and show some output, or maybe find a problem with apt when trying to install it. The lack of modules capable in lspci output is a little odd. Man page says that has been available since kernel 2.6 or so. The "kernel modules: " line is missing for all entries, not just display device, so no, that would not be from 'nomodeset' parameter.

If you don't want to show any info like kernel ver, versions of pkgs installed, and the dmesg output it's going to be hard to help. Those things could be related to the problem. I showed you how it works for me on stretch, that's the best I can do.
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Re: Intel Atom Windows Tablet "Black screen" issue

Postby nz_kiwi » 2018-10-17 17:46

I posted the entire output of lspci, the kernel information wasn't in there, I haven't withheld any information. Why would it be missing?
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Re: Intel Atom Windows Tablet "Black screen" issue

Postby nz_kiwi » 2018-10-17 21:27

On the old tablet with old kernel:
Code: Select all
uname -a
Linux debian 3.16.0-4-686-pae #1 SMP Debian 3.16.36-1+deb8u2 (2016-10-19) i686 GNU/Linux


New tablet with new kernel (fresh install of Debian 9.5):
Code: Select all
uname -a
Linux debian 4.9.0.7-686-pae #1 SMP Debian 4.9.110-3+deb9u2 (2018-08-13) i686 GNU/Linux


New tablet with old kernel (error exists, needs nomodeset):
Code: Select all
$ lspci -v | grep -m 2 -e Kernel
        Kernel driver in use: iosf_mbi_pci
        Kernel modules: xhci_hcd


Old tablet with old kernel (no error exists):
Code: Select all
$ lspci -v | grep -m 2 -e Kernel
        Kernel driver in use: iosf_mbi_pci
        Kernel modules: i915


New tablet with new kernel (error exists, needs nomodeset):
Code: Select all
$ lspci -v | grep -m 2 -e Kernel
        Kernel driver in use: iosf_mbi_pci
        Kernel modules: i915


Any suggestions?
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Re: Intel Atom Windows Tablet "Black screen" issue

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2018-10-18 04:59

The Debian stretch kernel is not new, it is ancient.

I think the current version is 4.18 or something.
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Re: Intel Atom Windows Tablet "Black screen" issue

Postby nz_kiwi » 2018-10-18 06:22

That's the kernel that installs with the stable 9.5.
The old tablet, which had very similar hardware, runs on kernel 3.16.
How I can I work out why the new tablets do not work on either kernel when the old one does?
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Re: Intel Atom Windows Tablet "Black screen" issue

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2018-10-18 15:41

nz_kiwi wrote:That's the kernel that installs with the stable 9.5

Yes, I know. The latest version of the kernel found in Debian stable is very old, try a different distribution's live ISO and see if their newer kernel makes stuff work.
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