How to Turn a Fujitsu LT C500 Tablet PC Into an IPad (sorta)

About: I am an artist, educator, tinkerer, and repurposer, err, recycler.
Want an iPad that plays Flash, has a USB port and you can use a wireless keyboard with it? Get yourself a Fujitsu LT c500 Tablet PC instead and install Ubuntu on it. These tablet PCs were first introduced in 2000. Ahead of its time, the LT c500 came with a 8.4" touchscreen and loaded with Windows 2000. Today they can be picked up for about $50 on ebay. You could keep Windows 2000 on it, but why run such an old distro when you can put Linux on it instead? Plus if you're saving up for that iPad, this will make you forget all about buying one. ;-)

There is some information online about how to do this, but it is scattered about and not all of it pertains to this model or OS. Yet, I owe much to those who have posted their findings and experiences. I found this linkto be invaluable as well as this one and this one.
My model has the maximum supported RAM at 256 and a 6GB hard drive, more than enough for an older linux OS. After a lot of trial and error, I can only recommend Ubuntu or Xubuntu 8.10 for this model.
So first up, you'll need to download and burn an ISO file of Ubuntu 8.10. This is the site for the ISO file. Here are some instructions for burning the disk.

UPDATE: As of April 30th Intrepid 8.10 will no longer be supported or updated by Ubuntu. But for the moment you can still download the ISO image and do an initial update once the system has been installed to your computer. If you want to play encrypted media the Medibuntu repositories can still be added by using an older version of Ubuntu Tweak.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: The Adapter Cable and CD/DVD Drive

The LT c500 will not boot from a USB device nor an external optical drive (CD or DVD drive). So to install a new OS you'll need to remove the hard drive and temporarily connect it to another computer.

To connect the drive to another computer you'll need a USB 2.0 to IDE SATA for 2.5" 3.5" HDD Adapter Cable. I bought mine from ebay for under $10.00.

An external CD/DVD drive can be bought at any big box electronics store for about $50.00

Step 2: Removing the Hard Drive

To remove the hard drive first remove the battery, then lay the unit face down and remove the panel on the far right side of the back. It is secured with 2 screws.  In these shots the battery is still attached because I forgot to remove it. (oops!)

Slide and lift the panel and you should see your hard drive and a brown connector ribbon.

The ribbon is connected to the motherboard on the left side. Gently lift this end and unplug it. You should now be able to remove the hard drive. Remove the sleeve and put it somewhere safe. 

The next step is to remove the ribbon connector from the hard drive. This is the hardest part of the process. The ribbon could easily damaged and it is very snugly attached to the hard drive. I used a razor blade to pry a space between the connector and the hard drive and then I used a small screw driver to continue lifting the ribbon until I could lift it completely off the drive.

Step 3: Install Ubuntu Onto the Hard Drive Part 1

Although the photos show an Eee Pc 701, I actually used an Eee Pc 900. Either would work and of course, any other laptop would work as well. It has been suggested that the computer you choose have a similar processor to the Fujitsu. Whether that makes a difference or not I don't know. Both the 701 and 900 have Celeron Processors and that is why I used them. I also removed the hard drive from the Eee Pc so that there would be no boot issues later. The Eee Pcs have SSD drives and are pretty easy to remove.

The photos below show the steps to remove the Eee Pc hard drive. Just reverse the steps to re-install.

Step 4: Install Ubuntu Part 2

Make sure the cd is loaded into the drive. Plug it in to the laptop. Also plug the Fujitsu's hard drive into the laptop using the USB 2.0 to IDE SATA for 2.5" 3.5" HDD Adapter Cable. Boot your laptop and it should boot into the Ubuntu menu. Choose Install Ubuntu and follow the on screen prompts.

When you get to the partitioning window you can let Ubuntu do it for you or you can choose manual.
If you choose manual partitioning, select about 500 MB for swap and the rest as /.  Continue to the next window and at the bottom choose the automatic login option.

Step 5: Putting Everything Back Together

Once the installation is finished, it will ask you to reboot. Follow the prompts to shut down and remove the disk but then turn OFF your laptop rather than letting it reboot with the hard drive attached.

Re-install the hard drive in the LT c500. Reattach the ribbon connector, put the drive back in its sleeve, and plug the other end into the back of the computer. Finally, screw the panel back on and attach the battery. Plug in your Fujitsu and it should boot right up with your new OS!

There are of course a few tweaks to be made to get the touchscreen working, but they are pretty easy to fix.

Step 6: Getting the Touchscreen to Work

Most everything worked on my Fujitsu when I first booted it up. Wifi works, sound is great. The only thing to fix is the touchscreen. Not hard just a couple of things to install and a file or 2 modify.

To get to the terminal go to Applications --> Accessories --> Terminal

In a terminal run
sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install xserver-xorg-input-fpit
sudo apt-get install setserial

sudo dpkg-reconfigure setserial

From there set the configuration to manual. Exit.

Then type
setserial -g /dev/ttyS*

That should give you a read out like this
/dev/ttyS0, UART, 16550A, Port: 0x03f8, IRQ:4
/dev/ttyS1, UART, 16550A, Port: 0xfd68, IRQ:5(this is your touchscreen)
/dev/ttyS2, UART, unknown, Port: 0x03e8, IRQ:4
/dev/ttyS3, UART, 16550A, Port: 0x02e8, IRQ:3

Now enter
sudo gedit/var/lib/setserial/autoserial.conf

In this file comment out all the lines. Add # in front of each.
Then at the bottom of this file add the line
/dev/ttyS1 uart 16450 port 0xfd68 irq 5

Save and close.

Now finally modify your xorg.conf file.
From terminal type
sudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf

Replace that file with this one:

# /etc/X11/xorg.conf (xorg X Window System server configuration file)

Section "Module"
Load "bitmap"
Load "ddc"
Load "int10"
Load "vbe"

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Generic Keyboard"
Driver "kbd"
Option "CoreKeyboard"
Option "XkbRules" "xorg"
Option "XkbModel" "pc105"
Option "XkbLayout" "hu"

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Configured Mouse"
Driver "mouse"
Option "CorePointer"
Option "Device" "/dev/input/mice"
# Option "Device" "/dev/psaux"

Save and reboot.
You should now have a working touchscreen!

Step 7: Giving Your Fujitsu LT C500 the IPad Look

Okay, so it's not an iPad but it is a small, portable touchscreen device that costs less than $100.

To play flash you'll have to download the player from here. Choose .deb for Ubuntu 8.04+. Save the file to downloads. From the downloads, right click on the flash file and select Open with GDebi Package Installer. Install package.

From the top panel select Places -->Home Folder-->Edit-->Preferences-->Behavior-->Single click to open items.

Right click top and bottom panel and select Properties. The check Show hide buttons. That way you can hide the panels when you don't need them

From the menu, you can drag icons of your choice to the desktop. Right click on the icon and choose stretch icon. It's easiest to use a mouse for this part. Align the icons and Voila! you have an iPad! (sorta)

Be the First to Share


    • CNC Contest

      CNC Contest
    • Make it Move

      Make it Move
    • Teacher Contest

      Teacher Contest

    26 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I was just wondering in all your research did you ever come across a mobile ubuntu distro that worked on a 2nd gen iPod touch, because I want to do this but don't feel the need to go and buy a tablet when I could use an iPod as an alternative. Any feedback is welcome :)

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    If you Google "ipod touch and mobile ubuntu" you will see that some people have been asking and perhaps even working on that very thing. Good luck in your search.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    OK, i guess this no longer works b/c of ubuntu 8.10 is no longer supported. When i try to get updates through terminal i get errors b/c they dont have support for anything. Major BUMMER! does anyone know a way around this problem?


    8 years ago on Step 6

    well i have a set back, battery died when i was installing the OS now i cant get anything to recognize the hdd to do a new install. just one of those days i guess, i was able to boot up but the OS is all wonky and would not install the commands i was typing in, i got a bunch of errors. Im sure ill be able to figure it out with some more time. I have been trying to find xubuntu 8.10 to install but i cant find it, i was hoping it would run a little faster than the ubuntu?. i may need some help once i start typing in the commands b/c im very new to linux command line stuff. Oh well, ill be working on it this weekend and ill try to post up some picks when i get it going. thank you for your write up


    8 years ago on Step 6

    i just bought one of these and cant wait to install ubuntu on it. what is the speed like? i have to wait for my dock to come in before i can get internet access but im going to get a head start and go ahead and install 8.10 ubuntu os. i feel like ill be really happy with this setup, there is no way i could do it without this instructable, so thank you very much.

    1 reply

    Good luck with the project. I just noticed that one of the links I provided is no longer working - and it was the most important one for me when I created this instructable! Good thing I made this when I did.
    Because of the slow processor and 256 ram, the Lt c500 will never be lightning fast. But no crashes and I used midori as my main browser.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Nice instructables, Can i do this with any other phone with touch screen or does it need to be Fujitsu LT c500 Tablet PC

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Hi, This mod is only for a Fujitsu LT c500. And it isn't a phone but an older tablet PC with a 7" screen.


    Umm, not really sure how your "such hogwash" comment really applies to this instructable.
    Good luck with marketing your product.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Yeah!!! It works!!!
    Very nice and thx for your help :)
    I used Xubuntu, because of the lower requirements.. the only thing i needed besides your instruction was:
    sudo apt-get gedit

    Tip: add the information to your instructuion: Only Works with Xubutu, Ubuntu up to Version 8.10 ^^

    1 reply

    9 years ago on Introduction

    Great ible! I have a couple Stylistic 34 and 3500's would this work for those? I tried ubuntu 10 on one of them but no success. Are the touchscreens the same?

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Not sure if the touchscreens are the same. But if you try it and it works, please let me know.


    9 years ago on Introduction

     I have an other problem ^^
    now i have internet (i used my smartphone (nexus one) as an internet sharing device via usb).
    i updated the system and now i have ubuntu 10.4, i think.
    Now two other problems xD

    when i type: sudo apt-get install xserver-org-input-fpid
    i get an message like: could not find package.
    so it doesnt work for me
    i tried to edit the xorg.conf otherwise.. but the file is empty for me.

    next point: you wrote that "dev/ttyS1 uart 16550... irq 5 is the touchscreen and u insert into the file an other row: dev/ttyS1 uart 16450 and without the A.
    Is this correct ore an typing mistake?

    1 reply

    Glad you got the internet thing working.
    So first thing to know that an update and upgrade are two different things.
    The LT c500 doesn't have the processing power for 10.04 and the newer OS 10.04 doesn't use the xorg.conf, but something called HAL.
    I would recommend reinstalling and only updating not upgrading.

    The following is not a typing mistake. Leaving out the A is correct
    next point: you wrote that "dev/ttyS1 uart 16550... irq 5 is the touchscreen and u insert into the file an other row: dev/ttyS1 uart 16450 and without the A.Is this correct ore an typing mistake?

    Next make sure you type this correctly:
    sudo apt-get install xserver-xorg-input-fpit
    In your note it is spelled wrong. But the file should be there.

    If it is easier, you can copy and paste the instructions, rather than retyping.


    9 years ago on Step 6

     thanks for your quick response,
    i'm from germany... the only docking station i found cots 20€ and 25€ for packing xD So thats bretty much ^^

    I have an wireless card, but with this card i cant get into my wireless lan network.. Ubuntu dos not recognize the card.

    I booted up the system and after this i put in the card into the tablet pc.. should i reinstall with the card inside?

    Do you think an reinstall would help?

    1 reply

    You could check System-->Administration-->Hardware Drivers--> and see if there is a wireless driver waiting to be activated. That would be the easiest solution. You could also try to reinstall the OS and then when you boot for the first time in the LT c500 make sure the wireless card is installed so that the system can try to detect it on first boot.

    Check out this site - it's  in German :-) and may have some insights to your wireless problem.

    Check out these sites for advice and support for various wireless cards:

    Good luck!


    9 years ago on Step 6

    very nice instruction.
    but there is  a little problem with it.
    You are using things like: sudo apt-get update, but this is only helpfull with internet acces.
    I'm trying to do this without internet, because i have no Docking ore smomething like that. It would be helpfull to show an other way without internet acces.

    Anyway awesome instruction ;) Thx for your work!

    1 reply

    Hi - Thanks for your comments. I think an internet connection is pretty much essential because you'll need to be able to install the files to give you the touchscreen capacity. You could try to pick up a docking station from Ebay (about $25). That's where I got mine and PCMCIA wireless cards are pretty cheap on ebay as well. You could probably pick up a Linksys card for anywhere from $1.99-9.99 there. I have had good luck with Linksys, Dynex and SMC wireless cards working out of the box with Ubuntu.
    Good Luck!