Lenovo ThinkPad Helix
|Form Factor||Tablet/Ultrabook Convertible (detachable keyboard dock)|
|Display||11.6" 1920x1080 LCD with Capacitive and Pen Digitizers|
|CPU||3rd Generation (Ivy Bridge) Core i5-3427U or i7-3667U|
|RAM||4GiB (i5) or 8GiB (i7) DDR3L RAM (dependent upon CPU)|
|Storage||128/160/256GB mSATA SSD|
|WiFi||Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6205S mPCI WLAN|
|Bluetooth||Broadcom BCM20702 Bluetooth 4.0 (USB connected)|
|Camera||5MP Rear and 2MP Front (also USB)|
For the the second generation of Helx hardware (models 20CG and 20CH), see Levovo ThinkPad Helix 2nd Gen.
Due to the fact that there is no optical drive, you need to install Arch from USB stick.
The Arch install media will happily boot under UEFI, so it is recommended to disable legacy boot in the system setup utility. If legacy boot is needed for some reason, it does work fine as well.
To fully support all hardware in X, one needs to ensure that the following driver packages are installed:
- (for the clickpad)
- (for the digitizers)
- (for the GPU)
- (accelerometer/gyroscope, ambient light sensor, digital campass)
If the Broadcom USB device isn't showing up, you likely need to turn it on with
echo 1 > /sys/devices/platform/thinkpad_acpi/rfkill/rfkill0/state
The Lenovo Helix comes with the following input devices (the ids may not be the same on your system):
$ xinput list ⎡ Virtual core pointer id=2 [master pointer (3)] ⎜ ↳ Virtual core XTEST pointer id=4 [slave pointer (2)] ⎜ ↳ Wacom ISDv4 EC Pen stylus id=15 [slave pointer (2)] ⎜ ↳ Atmel Atmel maXTouch Digitizer id=16 [slave pointer (2)] ⎜ ↳ SynPS/2 Synaptics TouchPad id=18 [slave pointer (2)] ⎜ ↳ TPPS/2 IBM TrackPoint id=19 [slave pointer (2)] ⎜ ↳ Wacom ISDv4 EC Pen eraser id=21 [slave pointer (2)]
A Wacom USB device recognized by thedriver will create multiple X input devices from a single kernel device. In the Lenovo Helix's case, three such X input devices are created when properly configured:
- Wacom ISDv4 EC Pen stylus
- Wacom ISDv4 EC Pen eraser
- Atmel Atmel maXTouch Digitizer
The Wacom ISDv4 EC Pen stylus xinput device is recognized by the Udev and Xorg configuration is required to recognize the Atmel Atmel maXTouch Digitizer touchscreen device as well as Wacom ISDv4 EC Pen eraser input if using a pen with an eraser function.driver out of the box. However, additional
With an up-to-date Arch install, install the following packages:
Udev should automatically detect the changes if already running. But, you may want to reboot your system to verify the changes stick.
Additionally, you may want to read the Wacom tablet#Dynamic with udev section to ensure the two wacom input devices are found. On this Helix system, it looks like this:
$ ls -l /dev/input/wacom* lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 6 Jan 20 15:32 /dev/input/wacom -> event5 lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 6 Jan 20 15:32 /dev/input/wacom- -> event5
These two inputs are the pen and eraser, respectfully.
You can also see if the touchscreen was detected properly:
$ ls -l /dev/input/tablet-* lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 6 Jan 20 15:32 tablet-tpc-ec- -> event5
With these three inputs, you can continue to the next section to configure Xorg.
Next, you'll need to tell Xorg to use the new inputs. The driver package has an up-to-date list of devices that the Helix has. But, the package does not install the updated list by default. You'll need to link it for Xorg to see them:
# ln -s /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-wacom.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-wacom.conf
Once done with all the above, reboot and you verify
xinput list looks the same as the above.
Touchscreen / Wacom Tips & Tricks
If you find yourself frustrated by the capacitive digitizer while trying to use the pen, there are a few options as outlined below that can help.
thinkpad-helix-utils: Toggle Touch
/usr/bin/helix-toggle-touch that will toggle the capacitive digitizer on and off with a simple command using Xorg's xinput function. It also installs a
desktop file called Toggle Touch that can be used to toggle xinput on and off with the pen.
Once activated, it disables the touchscreen xinput device until it is ran again to re-activate it.
Another option that also uses Xorg's xinput is xnohands. This utility disables the touch device in a system when a stylus is detected (either pen or eraser) and re-enables the touchscreen once then stylus is pulled away from the screen. It does this by listening to the digitizer's "presence" event, which the Helix's Wacom ISDv4 EC input devices support. You'll need to download and extract it. Follow the README for instructions as it outlines how to set it up.
NOTE: You must have followed the udev and xorg configuration instructions earlier to have both the Pen and Eraser detected, as well as the touchscreen (all three must be detected); or else, this tool will not work.
If you want it always running, install the desktop file in your autostart to have it run on startup:
$ cp xnohands.desktop ~/.config/autostart/
Please note that you can have both the thinkpad-helix-utils Toggle Touch and xnohands installed; but, do not use both at the same time. xnohands will "re-activate" the touchscreen as soon as you pull the pen away from the screen, defeating the purpose of Toggle Touch to keep touch disabled at all times.
For X11 to utilize, install the AUR packageto expose the dbus events. For example, will automatically utilize the dbus events exposed by the package to:
- Adjust the display brightness when moving from dark to bright lighting
- Automatically rotate the display based on orientation.
See the upstream source for more information aboutand how to configure/test its functionality.
If you have both digitizers configured through thedriver and the package, they will automatically rotate with the display.
Alternatively, you can use a simple command like
xrandr --output eDP1 --rotate left to rotate the screen with ease.
If you want to use the bezel buttons (or some other hotkey) to cycle through orientations (or toggle between two specific ones),
helix-rotate, also from from AUR, provides an easy-to-bind command that may serve your needs well.
There is also Magick Rotation, which is supposed to automatically rotate the screen based on input events, but it only seems to respond to docking/undocking the tablet.
Enable SSD TRIM
The built in 128 GB and 256 GB mSATA SSDs included with the Helix all support SSD TRIM functions.
Follow the Solid State Drives#TRIM instructions to enable trim. For example, one could use fstrim and set it up weekly like so:
# systemctl enable fstrim.timer # systemctl start fstrim.timer
fstrim.timer, you can check the history of when the timer was run with:
$ journalctl -u fstrim.service -- Logs begin at Thu 2016-01-07 15:55:34 EST, end at Mon 2016-02-01 15:28:22 EST. -- Jan 25 00:48:58 kodiak systemd: Starting Discard unused blocks... Jan 25 00:49:00 kodiak systemd: Started Discard unused blocks. -- Reboot -- Feb 01 00:07:13 kodiak systemd: Starting Discard unused blocks... Feb 01 00:07:19 kodiak systemd: Started Discard unused blocks.
Helpfully, Lenovo now provides bootable ISO images for the purpose of installing BIOS updates. While it is not stated on their site, these bootable images also include updated firmware for the keyboard dock MPU. It is uncertain as to whether the USB hub firmware is also updated via this utility.
If you do not have access to a USB optical drive and writable media, the information on ThinkWiki is extremely helpful.