MNT Pocket Reform Essentials

Hi everyone,

since some people are getting their first MNT Pocket Reforms a tiny bit quicker than expected, and our handbook is not yet finished, I’m collecting some crucial info here until the book is out:

Powering On/Off, OLED Menu, Standby Switch, Ports

First of all, the Quickstart manual covers turning it on and off, and safety. This is included in paper form as well:

Most importantly: The OLED menu in the keyboard can be accessed by pressing Hyper (diagonal arrow key) and Enter.

The standby power switch (as seen in Quickstart manual) can also be used as an emergency reset function because it will power cycle the system controller, in case things are really stuck.

Read before Installing Stuff with APT

Some packages appear to pull in a kernel upgrade. But unfortunately, this doesn’t automatically install the matching WiFi driver package reform-qcacld2.

Update 2024-05-28: We published an update to the reform-qcacld2 which installs a self-update hook in /etc/kernel/postinst.d which alleviates this problem. To make sure you have the updated package, we recommend to apt update and then apt upgrade after you connect MNT Pocket Reform to the network initially.

Otherwise, if a kernel update is pulled in, you won’t be able to connect to WiFi and will need USB/Bluetooth/Ethernet (or a MicroSD bootdisk) to get it back. We’re working on an automatic hook to fix this.

Keyboard Combos

Then, you’ll need to know about some keyboard combos, i.e. how to get F-keys and curly braces etc for programming. We covered this in a Crowd Supply post here:

There’s an outdated piece of info there: The device is not turned on/off by pressing Hyper+Space, but you can turn it on by holding the menu key combo for 2 seconds (Hyper+Enter), or by dialing “Power On” in the OLED menu. Powering off should be done via normal Linux tools (in the 3 dots menu on a desktop or via systemctl poweroff). If you are stuck due to a crash etc, you can hard power off in the OLED menu.

Keyboard Backlight Color/Brightness

Hold Hyper and roll the trackball!

Screen Brightness

You can regulate brightness with the combos:

  • Hyper+Super+1 (darker)
  • Hyper+Super+2 (brighter)

Desktops and their Shortcuts

On the software side, MNT Pocket Reform’s Debian Linux based system is almost identical to that of MNT Reform, so this guide applies, especially the keyboard shortcuts and config options for Sway and Wayfire (as well as the chapters Linux Console Basics and Software):

https://mntre.com/reform2/handbook/desktops.html

USB-C PD Debugging

If something doesn’t work with a particular USB-C PD power supply (so far we tested successfully Anker, Ugreen, Apple and of course the official CUI supply), you can get a bit of debugging info by listening to the output of the on-board RP2040 system controller. You can do this in the Linux console by entering sudo tio /dev/ttyACM0.

Known Compatibility Issues

  • Framework Laptop PD Power supply doesn’t charge the Pocket (only once?). Might be a timeout issue in our system controller firmware (maybe here).
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I wonder if the hyper key can be remapped considering how import it is

Yet. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the quick guide here and the notes!

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If Pocket is powered off (or started from a powered off state with the charger) it works, only breaking when plugging off the charger while running.

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I’m a bit confused: how I can recognise when it charges? The number on the OLED should be positive or negative?

Negative when charging.

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-0.01A can be considered charging or a rounding error?

More like a rounding error.

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Well, after playing wit different chargers I managed to charge the device with use of the Ugreen USB hub (“Ugreen USB-C Multifunction Adapter”). It seems to hide the actual charger from the Pocket so it does charge at acceptable speed.

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Indeed, the UGREEN CD224 (P/N 70774) power brick works, works even if attached/detached when the Pocket is running. But only if an USB-C…USB-C cable is used. The USB-A port on the charger does not work (no matter if the used cable is marked “power delivery” or not).

Noname power supplies seems to work (at least if connected when the machine is off) in the same case (so with the proper C-C cable). If there is the “A” port then it does not work.

Maybe it’s obvious but I didn’t knew that.

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My pocket came in the mail yesterday! Seems like it charges quickly until the meter reads about 31% and then slows down to a trickle. Tried two different chargers. Could this be a battery meter calibration issue? Should I try a beefier charger?

I also noticed that the batteries aren’t balanced (one is 4.0 volts and the other is 3.6), and theres a bit of a ‘thunk’ when i turn the system upside down

The thunk is most likely the trackball, or it could be the battery cell having some play. You can check by opening up the bottom panel, also to check if the cells are firmly connected. You can also try resetting the power system by toggling the standby power switch on and off (the little one on the left side of the top half). If you have a multimeter you can also confirm on the battery connectors if the voltage shown is correct. But of course be careful not to short anything.

Thanks for the quick reply! I just opened the bottom, it is shockingly clean and well laid out in there, great job! I agree that the ‘thunk’ i’m hearing is likely a battery, and I’m considering adding a pad or something to the bottom panel to fix it in place – is there a material you’d recommend?

Also, i tried the tio /dev/ttyACM0 command above, and it’s reporting state 3, and the charge is reading -0.36 A. If i turn the machine back off, it reads -0.02 A. One of the two cells is at 4.2 V, the other is a bit lower – is it going into a ‘trickle-charge’ mode, and i should just leave it a couple of days? would it be safe to disconnect one battery at a time, charge them to full, and then see where I’m at?

Thank you so much for being so responsive here and on mastodon, MNT is much better to work with then other “boutique” computer companies I’ve bought computers from

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If one cell is at 4.2 then it’s already at the top. Perhaps the fuel gauge is confused or it is trickle charging and balancing the other cell. Two ideas:
—leave it to charge for a day or so to see if it balances
—run it to zero let the gauge learn

I’ll try that, thanks a ton!

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After running the computer dead and charging it, it charged to 84%. I suspect a few more cycles and it’ll get to 100%. Thanks again for all of your advice!

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Re chargers, I have had success with C-C cable on

  • UGreen GanX CD244 65W
  • Aukey PA-B3 65W
  • Aukey PA-D2 36W
  • Hama 25W
    but no luck on a Anker 511 Nano3 30W
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Only one of my many chargers worked at all (a 2yo no name multiport GAN charger that can keep two macbook pros at 100% during heavy use), but it was slow (around 1.1A) at charging the Pocket and backed off to a trickle towards the end of a charge cycle, so based on this thread I bought some UGreen fast charge C to C cables and a UGreen CD224 charger, which now charges at 1.7A - much better!

I also bought a UGreen PB720 powerbank which is PD2.0 and 3.0 capable. With the supplied cable, I can charge the Pocket at 1.7A, and if I plug the CD224 into the other powerbank USB C socket can charge the Pocket at 1.8A at the same time as recharging the powerbank.

Cables, power brick and powerbank with current amazon discounts cost a little over $100 total. I’m glad I didn’t make do with my only other slow charging brick!

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Thanks for the info! Very good to know! But I will say that charging your battery slow is not all bad. It is actually a good way to avoid heating the battery unnecessarily and helps you to not overcharge. All things good for the life of the battery.

Still sometimes we can’t wait long enough for the slow charging and so I’m glad there are options that speed things up!