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-   -   seeking test for laptop battery (

SaintDanBert 12-19-2012 01:35 PM

seeking test for laptop battery
I want to test the battery for several laptops in the world of Ubuntu, Mint, Debian.

Q1. Is there a package that will grab charge and discharge data and prepare a graph vs. time?

Q2. Is there a package that will generate a simulated workload -- processes, network, keyboard and pointers, disk, computation, etc -- that I can use while the graphing package runs?

I have a dumb script that writes the time and current battery state to a file. When the battery quits, the file stops so I have some idea of "how long" to discharge. Charging is a different matter.

Every laptop has a battery. Today, most are Lithium-something with a couple of hours of "typical use" before needing recharge. I'm speaking of a true laptop and not a tablet or thin-book or similar. One may try to:
  • charge the battery
  • disconnect from wall power
  • use the laptop until "low battery" warning
  • repeat
but often we remain connected to wall power when it is available. That is very hard on battery chemistry for several reasons discussed elsewhere.
NOTE -- As I understand things, a major cause for battery death is the heat resulting from continuous or long term connection to wall power.

Another point of trouble is the nature of the "low battery" warnings themselves. In my case, I get an on-screen pop-up for a very few seconds. The pop-up then leaves the screen without acknowledgement. If I'm not watching when this happens, I'm not aware that I'm low on juice and my laptop suddenly enters low-power, evasive action out from under whatever I'm trying to accomplish.

For those of us who need to work while walk-a-bout, we need a good idea about how long our battery is likely to last under real usage conditions. Many of the battery life articles suggest behavior and settings that are not practical for getting actual work done.

Thanks in advance,
~~~ 0;-Dan

Joyeux NoŽl

SaintDanBert 12-20-2012 10:36 AM


I still don't understand why this happens on LQ:

I post a new topic. My settings automatically subscribe myself to that thread.
The next day, that thread appears in bold on the subscribed threads list.
When I look at the thread, the only content is my original posting.
If bold titles mean that the thread has not-read content, okay, I have not
read my own post ... but it is my own bloody post ....

Is it too difficult to sort the difference between "not read posting" and
"not read reply to an OP that you created" ?


(grin, blush) No, I don't look at the replies count or last posted by details.
I'm usually reading LQ over my morning coffee.

Joyeux NoŽl,
~~~ *<:}( )=// Dan

Shadow_7 12-20-2012 06:25 PM

It just seems like a lot of trouble for not really knowing anything more than you already know. As in the battery is dead, maybe it's time to charge it. When I've run on battery on linux, the cpu throttling kicks in when the battery gets low. And that's normally a good indicator that I should find a plug.

As far as equipment life. I just assume that laptop fans last about one year. Their batteries usability about three years. And their hard drives five years. "If you're lucky". As I look at my 6yo laptop running from a $5 flash drive with no functional fan and tethered to a wall for power. Although I probably could still get 10+ minutes on battery if I had to. But it was only 80-ish minutes at it's best new-ish. If you need the extra battery life then bring an extra battery, or a 2nd laptop since they cost about the same these days.

As far as tracking and guessing how much longer you have, there's too many variables. And just looking at it (recording the data over time) changes at least a couple of those variables.

frankbell 12-20-2012 09:41 PM

Concerning your question about un-replied-to threads, LQ automatically gives a one-time "bump" after 24 hours to threads that have had zero replies.

SaintDanBert 12-22-2012 04:10 PM

One of the most frustrating aspect of this entire issue is the "not notice" shutdown.
The system 'notifier' does fire twice: (1) low, and (2) critical. The on-screen-notice
only appear for a few seconds. That means one must be present to see. I would be better
able to live with things if I could re-configure or re-program the system notifiers.
(Something else I have not discovered how to accomplish.)

Joyeux NoŽl,
~~~ *:-}( )=// Dan

jlinkels 12-24-2012 02:29 AM

AFAIK most modern laptops stop charging the battery completely. So leaving a laptop plugged in continuously is no longer cause for battery failure.

About notification problems, I use KDE power management which is satisfactory. It is highly configurable and even usable. But that is KDE 4.4.5, and most KDE applications either don't work correctly, or they stop working at the next upgrade when they did work correctly.


SaintDanBert 12-24-2012 11:16 AM


Originally Posted by berrymartin (Post 4855896)
Battery Eater is a simple, free tool that measures the performance of a laptop battery while running a variety of real-world tasks.
Find out more here

This link takes me to an Italian site -- doh ".it" -- but I don't find 'Battery Eater' anywhere.
Also, given the sites focus on remote control things, I suspect the software is win-dose centered and not linux. I'd appreciate a clarification of your "more here" details.

Joyeux NoŽl,
~~~ 0;-Dan

SaintDanBert 12-24-2012 11:19 AM


Originally Posted by jlinkels (Post 4855938)
About notification problems, I use KDE power management which is satisfactory. It is highly configurable and even usable. But that is KDE 4.4.5, and most KDE applications either don't work correctly, or they stop working at the next upgrade when they did work correctly.

Is there someone out there who can talk (or direct me to details) about notification on Mint, Ubuntu, Cinnamon-desktop instead of KDE.

Joyeux NoŽl,
~~~ 0;-Dan

memilanuk 12-24-2012 11:51 AM

Hello Dan,

This is something I've been curious about myself, as I have a new Lenovo ThinkPad T530 - a 15.6" 1600x900dpi i5 quad-core 2.6GHz 'slab' of portable computing power ;)

I was intrigued (but highly skeptical) of the vendor's claims of 12+ hours of battery life, even with the extended 9-cell battery pack sticking out the back side. This machine came loaded with Win 7 Pro, and there are a number of included utilities that apparently do allow fine-grained control of the power draw under different scenarios... some of which have the thing so powered-down its not good for much beyond light web browsing or reading a PDF, but it does work. I've never ran the thing in full 'battery stretch' mode for any length of time... but it easily lasts 4+ hours.

Under Linux... I'm lucky to get 2+ hours thus far, which is rather disappointing to say the least. So I'm starting to look for different tools to help eke out some more life out of the battery under Linux.

One of the sites I've found is, which does have a number of tips/tricks as well as a small app (powertop) that can help identify how much power you are expending on various things. It also has a test suite that you can d/l and run on your local machine (bltk) with a variety of simulated work loads. I haven't done that yet myself, but it might be what you're looking for.


Shadow_7 01-02-2013 10:43 AM
- intel centrino
- ti omap platforms

$ apt-cache -f showpkg pm-utils

Taking note of the dependencies and perhaps install pm-utils and some of those dependencies if power management is your goal. (assumes a debian based system / YMMV)

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