Nokia N900 (nokia-n900)

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Nokia N900
Nokia N900 running cmus
Nokia N900 running cmus
Manufacturer Nokia
Name N900
Codename nokia-n900
Released 2009
Category community
Pre-built images yes
Original software Maemo
Original version 5 (Fremantle) (Linux 2.6.28)
postmarketOS kernel Mainline Linux
Chipset TI OMAP 3430
CPU 1x 600 MHz Cortex-A8
GPU PowerVR SGX530
Display 800x480 TFT resistive
Storage 32 GB
Memory 256 MB
Architecture ARMv7
Type Slide-Out Keyboard Handset
Unixbench Whet/Dhry score 58.4
USB Networking
3D Acceleration
Mobile data
Internal storage
Ambient Light
Hall Effect
Power Sensor
Built-in DVB
Camera Flash
Memory Card
FOSS bootloader
Primary Bootloader
Secondary Bootloader
Internal Storage
SD card
USB Peripheral
This device is based on the TI OMAP 3430.
See the SoC page for common tips, guides and troubleshooting steps
Running i3wm
Splash screen


Users owning this device

Additional info

Cameras are supported in the kernel, but have very complex media pipelines. Megapixels has preliminary support for at least the rear/main camera.

The GPU is a PowerVR SGX530 which does not have FOSS drivers, so 3D acceleration does not work with the mainline kernel. However, the blobs, patched mesa, and patched wlroots that permit it to work on mainline with postmarketOS are maintained in the pvrports project. It packages the work of the linux openpvrsgx dev group , which maintains a "near-mainline" kernel fork with the required kernel driver.

Voice calls work, but need to route the speech data. Integrating this in pmOS is WIP.

There's bluetooth support at bluetooth-next, but that works on N950, not on N900. Bluetooth . The driver compiles fine and loads firmware correctly, then times out on the bluetooth 'read_BD_ADDR' HCI command.

The FM receiver, located inside the bluetooth chip, is enabled by a magic bluetooth packet, so it requires a working bluetooth stack to be available. Otherwise it is a regular i2c device and has simple routing to the codec. Its driver needed some work in the kernel and was eventually dropped. It should not be too difficult to get it working once chip is enabled.

OTG might work since the kernel has support. However, like Wileyfox_Swift_(wileyfox-crackling), there is a hardware limitation that prevents the N900 from automatically detecting that there's a connected device, and also detecting the USB version/speed it supports. With some work, it most likely should work with manual activation


Boot from the SD card

  1. Follow the instructions on the installation page for installing postmarketOS to the SD card. Running from internal storage is not recommended and probably has no real benefit since it is quite slow.
  2. If you do not already have u-boot installed, boot Maemo Fremantle (the stock OS) and install u-boot from pali. If this does not work from Hildon Application Manager, you may run sudo apt-get install u-boot-flasher in maemo terminal (see wiki#16 and pmbootstrap#1371). See Additional Info below for instructions on configuring pmos to boot by default.
  3. Place the sdcard into the n900 and boot it with the keyboard slide open
  4. Choose the u-boot shell
  5. enter run sdboot into the shell

Configuring U-boot (optional)

In order to configure pmos to boot by default on the N900, using U-boot, you will need to boot into Maemo and create a /etc/bootmenu.d/10-pmos.item file as the root user with these contents:


It can be set as the default boot option by creating a symlink:

root@Nokia-N900:~# ln -s /etc/bootmenu.d/10-pmos.item /etc/default/bootmenu.item

Finally, run u-boot-update-bootmenu:

root@Nokia-N900:~# u-boot-update-bootmenu 
Default bootmenu entry is '/etc/bootmenu.d/10-pmos.item'
Adding bootmenu entry for: 'Maemo 5 with attached kernel (Internal Nand)'

Configuration file: /etc/bootmenu.d/10-pmos.item
Adding bootmenu entry for: 'postmarketOS'
Configuring this bootmenu entry as default

Generating u-boot bootmenu script...

Note: This will set pmos as the default boot option. Maemo will still be accessible when booting the N900 with the keyboard slide out and selecting the relevant boot option in the u-boot boot menu.



You can use NetworkManager's console UI to connect to your network. Please note that nmtui does not work properly when started from tmux.

$ nmtui

With iwd

From the 5.15.13 kernel package onward, you are also able to use iwd to manage wireless, if you so prefer.

Power saving / ping times

It should be possible to disable power saving for better ping times, see maemo-leste#172.

$ sudo apk add iw
$ sudo iw dev wlan0 set power_save off

Keyboard Backlight

There are 6 keyboard backlight LEDs that can be adjusted, they are found under /sys/class/leds/lp5523:kb{1-6}. To adjust brightness, write a value, $VAL between 0 and 255, to the brightness parameter as the root user:

for i in $(seq 1 6);
    do echo $VAL > /sys/class/leds/lp5523\:kb$i/brightness

Keyboard layout

The keyboard layout is asked during pmbootstrap init after you select the nokia-n900 device.

Available keymaps:

se/rx51_se and fi/rx51_fi (same for Swedish and Finnish).


NOTE: during installation pmbootstrap will typically ask you for the desired keymap. The following is only for experimentation: normally all should just work fine after setting up the SD card from pmbootstrap. The following section may be dated and pmbootstrap has already done the job for you.

To obtain your desired language keymap file for the RX-51, such as this one:

  • On the N900, install kbd-bkeymaps, either by using pmbootstrap install --add kbd-bkeymaps on the host system or by running apk add kbd-bkeymaps on the device itself.
  • The keymap must be in binary format, bmap. This can be accomplished using the loadkeys tool:
$ apk add kbd kbd-bkeymaps
$ loadkeys -b > rx51_us.bmap
$ gzip rx51_us.bmap
  • Compress it and copy it to /usr/share/bkeymaps/us/ on the N900.
  • Log into the N900, and run sudo setup-keymap, then select us and finally rx51_us.

(TODO: Need to pull 'official' vconsole keymaps from Maemo5 if they exist..)


NOTE: during installation pmbootstrap will typically ask you for the desired X11 xkb keymap. The following is only for experimentation: normally all should just work fine after setting up the SD card from pmbootstrap. The following section may be dated and pmbootstrap has already done the job for you.

In X11 you can use setxkbmap to configure the desired layout.

Right now it's configured to use the nokiarx51/us layout by default (see 40-xkb.conf) then the pmbootstrap script will patch this file to set the Option "XkbLayout" to "nn" where "nn" is your country code.

Note Info: Tab is ctrl+i
Note Info: In any X11 UI, you can take a screenshot by fully depressing the camera button while keeping the proximity sensor covered

Console switching

You can use the Nokia-n900-blue-arrow.PNG blue arrow key in combination with the Volume Up/Down to switch to a different virtual terminal.

If you installed postmarketOS with a UI, you first have to enable again the other VT by editing the /etc/inittab file and uncomment the following lines:

# Set up a couple of getty's
tty1::respawn:/sbin/getty 38400 tty1
tty2::respawn:/sbin/getty 38400 tty2
tty3::respawn:/sbin/getty 38400 tty3
tty4::respawn:/sbin/getty 38400 tty4
tty5::respawn:/sbin/getty 38400 tty5
tty6::respawn:/sbin/getty 38400 tty6


With DRM enabled (pmbootstrap!197), the display can be managed at this location: /sys/devices/platform/omapdrm.0/graphics/fb0/

For example, the display can be turned off by:

# echo 1 > /sys/devices/platform/omapdrm.0/graphics/fb0/blank

To adjust brightness:

# # Replace $VAL with a value from 0 to 255:
# echo $VAL > /sys/class/backlight/acx565akm/brightness



I3wm is the recommended UI. It is lightweight and fast, and we have a custom N900 configuration that optimizes for its keyboard (photos). The most important keybindings are described below, for details see i3wm.conf. This file gets installed to ~/.config/i3/config and of course you can customize it. If you have good additions, please make a merge request so everybody benefits from an improved default config.

default mode
  • shift + space: switch to "command mode"
command mode
  • t: open terminal
  • k: kill current program
  • w: workspace mode
  • r: restart i3wm (use after modifying the config)
  • q: go back to "default mode"
workspace mode
  • a/s/d/f/g: switch to workspace 1/2/3/4/5
  • q: go back to "command mode"
Display brightness

With the current configuration, you can adjust the display brightness using the volume keys while holding the Shift key


Xfce4 also works very well on the N900


There are also Mate, etc.

Misc: Middle click and right click

Obviously, you can't middle click with a touchscreen, but this can be annoying when it's one of the few ways to paste in the terminal. This script simulates a middle click:

xdotool mousedown --clearmodifiers 2
xdotool mouseup 2
xdotool keyup alt
xdotool keyup ctrl
xdotool keyup shift

For simulating right click button you can use this command:

xdotool click 3

You can bind it to any key you wish. XF86WebCam is a good choice since it's fairly easy to reach and isn't used for anything.



Battery charging is fully supported by the kernel and does not need any special configuration.

Normally, the N900 will auto-detect the connected charger type, and pull an appropriate current from it. However, in the event that this does not work, you can adjust it manually as follows:

~$ echo 'host' | sudo tee /sys/class/power_supply/bq24150a-0/mode         # sets current limit to 500mA
~$ echo 'dedicated' | sudo tee /sys/class/power_supply/bq24150a-0/mode    # sets current limit to 1800mA

You can also directly set the current limit by writing one of:


to /sys/class/power_supply/bq24150a-0/current_limit. Any other value written will be rounded to the next higher number from this list.

Be sure that the charger/port can supply the amount of current safely

Hint: To disable the LED charging indication, do:

echo 0 > /sys/class/power_supply/bq24150a-0/stat_pin_enable.

Datasheet for the bq24150 charging chip

Battery Capacity Reporting

To calibrate the battery and get a more accurate capacity report:

  1. Charge it up fully, using a wall power adapter.
  2. Unplug the device, then allow the battery to run all the way down. This may take quite a while to happen (>24hrs, but can be made shorter by running a CPU intensive workload). Do not let it charge at all during this time. This means you may not use USB for example, as this automatically causes the device to start charging, albeit slowly.
  3. When the voltage reaches 3248mV (the EDV1 threshold burned into the fuel gauge's EEPROM), the battery charge gauge chip will be calibrated. You may charge it up again to use the device. Note it may require a number of learning cycles to more accurately learn the battery capacity.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to calibrate an N900 that has a non-functional USB port (which is rather common). If you charge your batteries externally, you will notice that the reported capacity of the battery will changing in larger steps (between 5 and 30%). This is due to a very rough estimation that was added in order to avoid showing a 0% permanently, which breaks daemons such as upower.

Datasheet for the bq27200 charge gauge chip


There's battery temperature sensor.

$ cat /sys/devices/platform/68000000.ocp/48072000.i2c/i2c-2/2-0055/power_supply/bq27200-0/temp ; \
  cat /sys/devices/virtual/thermal/thermal_zone0/temp


Setting the hardware clock

If your hardware clock doesn't have the time set you can set it with:

$ date -s "2017-08-14 16:34:50"

# Write the current system time to the hardware clock
$ hwclock -w

Setting the hardware alarm clock

Realtime clock at /dev/rtc0 is on the twl4030 (PMU), and allows setting an alarm to wake the device from sleep, poweroff states.

Control trough rtcwake (Manual Page).

# Suspends the device to memory for 10 seconds
rtcwake --verbose --seconds 10 --mode mem

# Power off the device and power it on after $TIME, where $TIME is the number of seconds since epoch (1970-01-01)
rtcwake --verbose --time_t $TIME --mode no

Manual control from sysfs:

# To set the wakealarm directly, set $TIME to number of seconds since epoch (1970-01-01). Then poweroff or suspend:
echo $TIME > /sys/class/rtc/rtc0/wakealarm
# To set new wakealarm time, first reset time to 0!
echo 0 > /sys/class/rtc/rtc0/wakealarm
Note When setting number of seconds since epoch, make sure you account for your timezone and see how your realtime clock keeps the time (utc or local)!


You can use ofono test scripts

sudo apk add ofono-scripts; cd /usr/lib/ofono/test

Here's an example using the test scripts to enable the modem and send an SMS:

# ./enable-modem
# ./online-modem
# ./send-sms 5033784582 "I like pizza." 0 

USB Gadget

Mass Storage

The Mass Storage class exposes a block device as a flash drive on your host machine.

For example, to use the "MyDocs" partition as Mass Storage Device, make sure you unmount the partition first (if mounted), then execute:

echo /dev/mmcblk1p1 > /sys/devices/platform/68000000.ocp/480ab000.usb_otg_hs/

If you only need read permissions on the partition, you can set the read-only flag before exporting it:

echo 1 > /sys/devices/platform/68000000.ocp/480ab000.usb_otg_hs/


GPRS can be managed by NetworkManager.

Note Once you perform the following steps, the GPRS connection will be established by NetworkManager automatically on every boot.

Stop ofono in order to set APN:

$ sudo rc-service ofono stop

Edit APN, where <IMSI> should be replaced in the following commands with the IMSI from your SIM card. Replace <APN> with the relevant APN for your cellular carrier (e.g. This file should be created when ofono starts, so you should only need to add the APN.


Start ofono and power on modem.

$ sudo rc-service ofono start
$ sudo rc-service networkmanager stop
$ sudo rc-service networkmanager start
$ ip addr show gprs0
10: gprs0: <POINTOPOINT,NOARP,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1400 qdisc pfifo_fast state UNKNOWN qlen 10
    inet brd scope global gprs0
       valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever


Install the package gps-nokia-n900, then run as follows:

sudo GPS_PTY_LINK=/tmp/n900-gps gps-nokia-n900 -d

The NMEA stream will be available at /tmp/n900-gps.

Note The modem must be Powered on in order to get data from the GPS chip. While it is not absolutely required for the modem to be set Online, it is recommended to do so

FM Transmitter

The N900 contains an Si4713 FM transmitter, it's controlled by video4linux. To start transmitting:

$ v4l2-ctl -d /dev/radio0 --set-ctrl=mute=0 --set-freq=95.21
Now there should be silence on 95.21Mhz instead of noise when tuning in with a radio
$ aplay -vv some-very-good-music.wav


The device has an ADP1653 flash controller, mainly for use with the camera. It drives two white power LEDs connected in series, and has an additional red indicator led (referred to as a privacy indicator). The ADP1653 has a driver in mainline kernel, and it probes fine. However, some DTS changes are needed to make it work, since the driver requires it to be tied to a camera.

In the meantime, the LEDs can be used as a torch manually using i2cset. However, BE WARNED: setting wrong values via i2c runs the risk of over-driving the LEDs and causing permanent hardware damage.

Install the prerequisites
$ sudo apk add i2c-tools

Unload the driver in case it is already loaded. We will use i2c manually
$ sudo modprobe -r adp1653

Enable the chip
$ echo 88 | sudo tee /sys/class/gpio/export
$ echo "out" | sudo tee /sys/class/gpio/gpio88/direction
$ echo 1 | sudo tee /sys/class/gpio/gpio88/value

Turn the torch on, using the lowest torch current - DO NOT use other values here or you risk burning the LED
Values between 1 and 7 enable the red privacy/recording led, with different intensity
0x8 is the lowest torch intensity, and we do not recommend going above it
$ sudo i2cset -y 2 0x30 0x0 0x8

Turn the torch off
$ sudo i2cset -y 2 0x30 0x0 0x0

Disable the chip
$ echo 0 | sudo tee /sys/class/gpio/gpio88/value
$ echo 88 | sudo tee /sys/class/gpio/unexport


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