Thursday, October 16, 2008

How to make BCM4318 (with Acer wireless button) works in Debian!

My laptop model is Acer 5021. I have a problem with the wireless , in particular the acer wireless button that's in front of the body can't lid up to enable the wireless just like in Windows. In the past I got it work by installing ndiswrapper and acerhk. But after the Edgy came out , it haven't worked anymore.

Now I switched from Ubuntu to Debian and found the same problem. But I see the suggestion message while it's booting. Something likes

[ 59.267579] b43-phy0 ERROR: Firmware file "b43/ucode5.fw" not found or load failed.
[ 59.267588] b43-phy0 ERROR: You must go to and download the correct firmware (version 4).

So I went to the url in the message. It told me to do this

sudo apt-get install b43-fwcutter

Now I reboot and the error message disappeared. But I still can't use the wireless because of the Acer wireless button. I googling more , go to acerhk website. And found that acerhk is stopped and got into the main kernel development (names acer_acpi) that's the good news. and now acer_acpi is moved to acer_wmi.

if you have the kernel>= 2.6.25 , it might have the acer_wmi in the kernel already and be detected to load automatically. You can check this by

lsmod | grep acer

you would found acer_wmi.

so the rest is easy. Due to this useful (and hidden) document , you can

To read the status of the wireless radio (0=off, 1=on):cat /sys/devices/platform/acer-wmi/wirelessTo enable the wireless radio:echo 1 > /sys/devices/platform/acer-wmi/wirelessTo disable the wireless radio:echo 0 > /sys/devices/platform/acer-wmi/wirelessTo set the state of the wireless radio when loading acer-wmi, pass:wireless=X (where X is 0 or 1)

and It works!!!

I wonder this method also works with the other Acer models which have the problem with the wireless button in front of it.

good luck.


  1. Great stuff.. it worked for me and I have a amilio li 2732.. I do wonder if it would work to do the same when using ubuntu..thank ye for the howto here