Improve Laptop battery life and reduce Overheating

Overheating of laptops is a common issue, not only in Ubuntu but in any operating systems and it also affects the battery life span. Until Ubuntu 12.10, Jupiter was the best tool to reduce overheating, but since its development has stopped, the next available alternatives are TLP & CPUFREQ.

 

TLP is a power management tool for Linux that allows your laptop save battery life with the appropriate settings. TLP comes with a default configuration already optimized for battery life

Install TLP in Ubuntu, Linux Mint

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:linrunner/tlp  sudo apt-get update  sudo apt-get install tlp tlp-rdw  sudo tlp start

tlp-01

Install CPUFREQ in Ubuntu / Linux Mint

CPUFREQ is a small daemon used to adjust cpu speed and voltage for kernels using any of the cpufreq drivers available. The CpuFreq Linux kernel capability is available in all recent kernels.

Install CPUFREQ in Ubuntu, Linux Mint

sudo apt-get install indicator-cpufreq

Note: It appears this does not work well on Intel machines

tlp-02
 

Easily Increase Your Battery Life With TLP for Linux

Easily Increase Your Battery Life With TLP for Linux

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Linux tends to guzzle up more battery life than Windows, even though most Linux installations are lighter than Windows on system resources. Why is that? 

It primarily comes down to a lack of optimized, under-the-hood power settings. Happily, there are Linux tools for optimizing your energy usage. Perhaps the best known is called “laptop-mode-tools”, but it’s  been incorporated into the Linux kernel. Additionally, another common tool named Jupiter was recently discontinued.

Don’t worry, though, because there’s another tool worth looking at: TLP.

What’s TLP?

TLP (no one knows for sure what this acronym stands for) is a simple tool available for various Linux distributions. It’s meant to enhance your battery life (or your power usage, for the occasional desktop user who is interested in power savings). You can change a lot of settings by editing a configuration file, but TLP comes with a default options for optimizing battery life. So, if you don’t care about the little details, you can simply install TLP and forget it, and reap the benefits.

tlp_stat
TLP increases battery life with the default configuration by having an ac and a battery mode. In ac mode, performance is preferred, while in battery mode, power savings are preferred. It accomplishes this by changing various states and timeouts of various system devices to reduce the amount of power they draw. These are all settings that you can only access “under-the-hood”, and not via the Gnome or KDE power settings.

Installing TLP

Installing TLP is a quick three-step process. You’ll need to add a new repository, install the packages, and then either start the service manually or simply restart. I’ll be covering installation instructions for Ubuntu and Fedora here – for other distributions, check out the official installation guide.

Ubuntu

In Ubuntu, you’ll want to do the following:

  1. Run this command to add the repository: sudo add-apt-repository ppa:linrunner/tlp.
  2. Run sudo apt-get update to make your computer aware of the new repository.
  3. Run sudo apt-get install tlp tlp-rdw to install TLP.
  4. If you are on a ThinkPad, you’ll need to install a few more packages for maximum battery life, which you can do with the command sudo apt-get install tp-smapi-dkms acpi-call-tools.
  5. Finally, run sudo tlp start to start the TLP service. You won’t need to do this ever again as it should start automatically on each boot.

Fedora

In Fedora, you’ll want to run these commands to add the necessary repositories:

yum localinstall –nogpgcheck http://repo.linrunner.de/fedora/tlp/repos/releases/tlp-release-1.0-0.noarch.rpm
yum localinstall –nogpgcheck http://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/rpmfusion-free-release-stable.noarch.rpm

Please notice that the second command adds the “free” portion of the RPMFusion repository. If you already have this added, you can skip it. If not, or you’re unsure, do it anyways.
 

There are various tweaks that you can apply to your laptop to save battery power, but many of them depend on the hardware, Linux distribution, some are outdated or too hard to apply for regular users and so on. TLP is an advanced power management command line tool for Linux that tries to apply these settings / tweaks for you automatically, depending on your Linux distribution and hardware.

Ubuntu laptop

TLP applies the following settings depending on the power source (battery / ac):
  • Kernel laptop mode and dirty buffer timeouts;
  • Processor frequency scaling including „turbo boost“ / „turbo core“;
  • Power aware process scheduler for multi-core/hyper-threading;
  • Hard disk advanced power management level and spin down timeout (per disk);
  • SATA aggressive link power management (ALPM);
  • PCI Express active state power management (PCIe ASPM) – Linux 2.6.35 and above;
  • Runtime power management for PCI(e) bus devices – Linux 2.6.35 and above;
  • Radeon KMS power management – Linux 2.6.35 and above, not fglrx;
  • Wifi power saving mode – depending on kernel/driver;
  • Power off optical drive in drive bay (on battery).

Additional TLP functions:

  • I/O scheduler (per disk);
  • USB autosuspend with blacklist;
  • Audio power saving mode – hda_intel, ac97;
  • Enable or disable integrated wifi, bluetooth or wwan devices upon system startup and shutdown;
  • Restore radio device state on system startup (from previous shutdown);
  • Radio device wizard: switch radios upon network connect/disconnect and dock/undock;
  • Disable Wake On LAN;
  • WWAN state is restored after suspend/hibernate;
  • Undervolting of Intel processors – requires kernel with PHC-Patch;
  • Battery charge thresholds – ThinkPads only;
  • Recalibrate battery – ThinkPads only.

TLP applies these settings automatically on startup and every time you change the power source. To use it, all you have to do is install TLP, however, there are some settings that you can apply manually, overwriting the TLP default settings, such as enabling or disabling the WiFi, Bluetooth or Wwan (3G or UMTS) radios, switching between AC or battery settings, ignoring the actual power source, apply autosuspend for all attached USB devices or power off the optical drive.
 
There are also some TinkPad-only settings that you can use, like temporarily changing the battery charge thresholds, temporarily set battery charge thresholds to factory settings, recalibrating the battery and more.
 
For more about these settings, see the TLP homepage or consult the TLP manpage (type „man tlp“ in a terminal).
 
I’ve only been using TLP for a couple of hours so I can’t say yet how efficient this tool is regarding battery life, but I’ve noticed that my laptop’s temperature is lower than before using TLP. You may have seen an icon on my Unity launcher in some posts on WebUpd8, which displays a number that’s usually around 65 – that’s Psensor and it displays the CPU temperature (Celsius; it’s 165 degrees Fahrenheit) – here’s an example. Well, after installing TLP, the CPU temperature didn’t go past 55 degrees Celsius (135 degrees Fahrenheit), at least not yet, with regular desktop usage: using a browser with quite a few tabs open, a text editor and a few AppIndicators running, under Unity. This, of course, depends on various factors but so far this tool seems to do its job. Also, some Reddit users have reported that TLP makes quite a big difference.

Install TLP in Ubuntu

Before proceeding with the installation, there are a couple of things you need to do:

  • firstly, if you’ve added any power saving settings / scripts (e.g.: in /etc/rc.local), remove them or else TLP may not work properly;
  • remove laptop-mode-tools („sudo apt-get remove laptop-mode-tools“).

Ubuntu (and Linux Mint, etc.) users can install TLP by using its official PPA. Add the PPA and install TLP using the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:linrunner/tlp sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install tlp tlp-rdw

TLP will automatically start  upon system startup, but to avoid having to restart the system to get it running for the first time, you can start it (required only the first time) using the following command:
sudo tlp start

There are some optional packages you can install for some extra features:
  • smartmontools – needed to display disk drive S.M.A.R.T. data;
  • ethtool – needed to disable wake on lan.

Install these tools (available in the Ubuntu repositories) using the following command:
sudo apt-get install smartmontools ethtool

There are also some ThinkPad only, optional packages you may need:
  • tp-smapi-dkms – needed for battery charge thresholds and ThinkPad specific status output of tlp-stat;
  • acpi-call-tools – acpi-call is needed for battery charge thresholds on Sandy Bridge and newer models (X220/T420, X230/T430, etc.).

Install these packages using the following command:

sudo apt-get install tp-smapi-dkms acpi-call-tools

While the default TLP configuration should be enough to provide optimized power saving out of the box, you can modify the TLP settings and access some advanced features by editing the TLP configuration file called „tlp“ located under /etc/default/. To open this file as root with Gedit, use the following command:
gksudo gedit /etc/default/tlp
Make any changes you like, then save the file and to apply the changes, either reboot the system or simply run „sudo tlp start“.

Other Linux distributions: there are TLP packages for Debian 6.0+, Arch Linux, openSUSE 11.4+, Gentoo, Fedora 16+ – see the TLP homepage for installation instructions. You can grab the source / report bugs @ GitHub

Make sure to also read the TLP FAQ.

 

 

Improve Laptop battery life and reduce Overheating