[svlug] Help! Laptop losing ~6 seconds/minute

Stephen P Williams stephen_p_williams at pacbell.net
Sun Jun 24 10:43:01 PDT 2001

Hey guys,

I've got a WinBook XL2 laptop that suffered a fatal HD crash and was not
getting any use at work.  I've never seen Windows running on it, but the
Debian 'potato' installer had no trouble with it, and it's now running
Debian 'testing'.

However, I've got a problem that has been driving me nuts all week: the
Linux 'date' command consistently loses about 6 seconds a minute in
comparison to the hardware clock ('hwclock --show').  According to my
watch, the 'hwclock --show' is keeping reasonably correct time.

If I do this shortly after boot:

	date MMDDhhmm ; hwclock --systohc --utc ; date ; hwclock --show 

the times reported will start off very close (~1-2 seconds different).
About an hour later, the 'date' will be almost 6 minutes behind the

The amount of drift suggests that Linux thinks something is running at
33 MHz when it is really running at more like 30 MHz.  I've searched the
BIOS settings for anything like a bus speed.  I've searched the WinBook
manual for any indication of a hidden jumper.  I've tried every
combination of 'linux' 'winbook' '(date|clock|time)' and
'(slow|wrong|losing)' at Google, and through a local directory of
HOWTOs.  Nothing I've found seems to match my symptoms.  

Have any of you ever run into anything similar?

Hardware: (http://www.winbookcorp.com/support/xl2/xl2specs.htm)
  400 MHz Intel Celeron
  64 MB RAM 
  ATI 3D Rage LT Pro w/4MB

Linux installation:  
  Debian 'testing' 
  Custom-built 2.4.5 kernel
    Intel Celeron level optimization
    APM and PCMCIA CardBus features turned on.
	ALSA sound drivers
    I can give details of the configuration if needed.

I don't think the problem is APM-related, because the problem was also
there with Debian 'potato' generic installation kernel 2.2.17 (which
lacked APM support).

Steve Williams

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