Amazon Polly audio version of this post
The Insignia Flex 11.6″ tablet (NS-P11W7100) felt like a great deal at the time. It was about $100 and came with a quad core 1.4Ghz CPU and a paltry, but possibly sufficient 2GB of RAM. Storage is also only 32GB. For Windows 10, this is just crap. So I decided to install Xubuntu Linux to get it to run things faster.
And faster it was! Wow! I can play HD video without stuttering, and many other simple tasks now happen instantly instead of waiting forever for Windows 10 to get around to it.
Only one problem, many of the devices did not work out of the box. So I’m going to share with you today part of my journey: getting the touchscreen to work in Xubuntu Linux!
For now, I’ll skip telling you how to install Xubuntu. There are other tutorials on the Internet for that, but if someone comments asking for a better walkthrough, I’ll certainly give you one. I had success by using Rufus to create the bootable USB key, though. Also you’ll need to set the security setting in your BIOS to off (Del key at the Insignia logo).
I was able to obtain the firmware for the Insignia Flex NS-P11W7100 touchscreen by visiting the gsl firmware repository by onitake on Github. There is a thread there where I have also documented my journey.
You will need to copy this file to /lib/firmware/silead on your own machine.
tar -xvf mssl1680.fw_.tar /lib/firmware/silead/
This will take a while, and once it’s finished, you will have the firmware necessary for your Insignia Flex NS-P11W7100 on your machine. Yay!
But that’s not all! Now you need to install Xorg evdev. This package seems to work far better than the default. It works for me, so I’m sure it’ll work for you. (Unless Xubuntu changes significantly after I make this tutorial.)
sudo apt install xserver-xorg-input-evdev xserver-xorg-core xinput-calibrator
This will install evdev and xinput_calibrator which will be used in the next step. For now, reboot your machine.
Once you reboot, you should notice your tablet responding to touch! But it’s all wrong! It’s up in the top left of the screen no matter where you touch and it’s upside-down! xinput_calibrator to the rescue!
Now you’ll see your screen is completely taken over by a calibration program. Follow the instructions, pressing first the + at the top left of your screen, then top right, then the bottom two. It may take a few tries before the calibrator accepts your input. Once it does, it will present you with your calibration details and they should look like this:
$ xinput_calibrator Calibrating EVDEV driver for "silead_ts" id=13 current calibration values (from XInput): min_x=42, max_x=1946 and min_y=1500, max_y=11 Doing dynamic recalibration: Setting calibration data: 50, 1944, 1517, -9 --> Making the calibration permanent <-- copy the snippet below into '/etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/99-calibration.conf' (/usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/ in some distro's) Section "InputClass" Identifier "calibration" MatchProduct "silead_ts" Option "Calibration" "50 1944 1517 -9" Option "SwapAxes" "0" EndSection
Immediately you should notice touch is working much better. If not, try running xinput_calibrator again. If the problem persists, I suggest you read the repository linked above. It has a lot of great info.
Save your changes
But we’re not done yet! That output is telling you something important! You need to save your config in order for it to work next time you reboot. So let’s do that now. Copy the “Section … EndSection” value and open the terminal again to edit the config file.
sudo nano /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/99-calibration.conf
Now you can paste in the configuration.
Section "InputClass" Identifier "calibration" MatchProduct "silead_ts" Option "Calibration" "50 1944 1517 -9" Option "SwapAxes" "0" EndSection
That’s it! You have configured your touchscreen! Enjoy! Paint a nice picture on your lovely (actually really crappy) touchscreen and share it! 🙂
Bonus round: fix the sound!
I had issues after re-installing Xubuntu for this tutorial. I had no sound! Audio apps couldn’t even find a working audio output. They just froze at 0:00 time. (Both Parole and YouTube in Firefox were tested.)
To fix it, I simply downloaded the whole repository here: https://github.com/plbossart/UCM
Download a zip or check it out. It doesn’t matter. Get the files and copy them over to /usr/share/alsa/ucm/
After doing this I had sound! But it was too quiet. 🙁
The fix was to open up alsamixer, make sure the headphone output wasn’t muted for headphones, and turn DOWN the volumes of the left and right headphones and speakers. The headphone gain seems to be reveresed. The speaker gain seems to shut right off after green. So I just set it to the top green value.
Hope this helps someone!