Lenovo Q150: Setup for HP 7475A Plotter Demo

Starting with a blank 120 GB SSD, I had to disable the “Plug-n-Play OS” BIOS option to get the Lenovo Q150 to boot from a System Rescue CD USB stick. While the hood was up, I told the BIOS to ignore keyboard errors so it can boot headless.


  • 50 GB ext4 partition for Mint
  • 8 GB swap
  • The remainder unallocated

Booting & installing Mint Linux 17.2 XFCE from another USB stick went smoothly, after which it inhaled the usual gazillion updates. Rather than wait for the auto-updater to wake up and smell the repositories, I generally get it done thusly:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
apt-get dist-upgrade
apt-get autoremove

Add my user to the dialout group, so I have access to the USB serial converter on /dev/ttyUSB0 that will drive the plotter.

Configure a static IP address that appears in the appropriate /etc/hosts files.

Install some useful packages:

  • nfs-common
  • openssh-server
  • htop and iotop

Set up ssh for public key authentication, rather than passwords, on an unusual port, so everything else can happen from the Comfy Chair upstairs.

Install packages that Chiplotle will need:

  • build-essential
  • python-setuptools
  • python-dev
  • python-numpy
  • python-serial
  • hp2xx

I think some of those would be auto-installed as dependencies by the next step, but now I can remember what they are for the next time around this action loop:

sudo easy_install -U chiplotle
... blank line to show underscore above ...

Plug the old hard drive into a USB-SATA adapter to copy:

Then chuck up some paper and pens to let it grind out art:

HP 7475A - demo plot

HP 7475A – demo plot

It’s good clean fun…