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Old 09-13-2005, 06:34 PM   #1
Registered: Sep 2005
Location: Baton Rouge
Distribution: Ubuntu 5.10
Posts: 74

Rep: Reputation: 15
Laptop battery saving methods

Hello everyone

I had earlier put up a post on the window manager that will enable me to maximise battery efficiency.

However, now I need some help with some techniques to do the same.

Basically, I would be grateful if someone could come up with a list (even if it is small, it is ok) of commands / options that one could have in a laptop to increase battery life.

Here are some suggestions I found earlier in this forum:

1. Decrease monitor brightness, and use a dark background. Yep, I do that.

2. Disable hardware you don't need. Is there a way to disable my hardware? There are a lot of hardware I don't use often, and they include USB ports, 6-in-1 media card reader, CD Rom Drive, IEEE 1394 port, PCMCIA slot, Ethernet slot (I use wireless while I am at college, so I can not turn that off). Also, is it possible to turn it off and on at will? I mean, is there a command that I can use to turn it off, and if I want it, turn it back on? (Example if I need to use a CD or a USB disk)

3. In Windows there are Standby and Hibernate options. Are there any similar options for Linux? '

4. Also, in Windows Power Settings, there is a setting that allows the CPU to turn off the hard disk when it is not being used. Is it possible under Linux?

5. Also AMD has a PowerNow technology that is supposed to increase battery life. Does it work under linux? (I have a ML-28 processor)

6. What is it with ACPI? Does

If I receive a lot of suggestions, or even few good ones, I will put them up on my webpage and inform here too, so that people can have one common place to look it up. I am pretty sure battery life must be a concern to a lot of laptop users, if not all.

Also, is there any particular distribution that anyone would suggest? I am hoping for something like a good distro with built in battery saving features..

Thanks a bunch people. I really appreciate the help.
Old 09-14-2005, 01:05 AM   #2
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Registered: Mar 2003
Location: Boise, ID
Distribution: Mint
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This is a highly subjective topic, but here's my 2 cents about how to "increase battery life".

1. The first is a matter of semantics. Do you mean "how can I maximize the serviceable life of my battery" or do you mean "how can I make the maximum utility out of a single charge"? To use an analogy, the first question would be akin to "how can I keep my car running for as many years as possible" while the second question is akin to "how can I get the most miles out of a single tank of gas".

2. If your question is #1, then the thing to do is to run on regular power as often as possible. All rechargeable batteries have a limit to the number of times that they can be effectively recharged (assuming you own a cellphone, you'll know what I mean, where a new battery can last for days but it's only a matter of time till that same battery can only hold a charge for about 30 minutes), and therefore the fewer times you need to recharge the battery, the longer it will last overall. Note that this doesn't mean that you should never run off battery power (otherwise what's the point of having a laptop?) but if regular power is readily available, I'd use it. Along these lines, when using battery power, it's a good idea to "exercise" the battery periodically by fully draining and fully recharging it.

3. Assuming your real question is how to get the most out of a single charge, you've already hit the main items: dim the screen brightness, do not waste power by running the CD/DVD, disconnect any devices you don't need (no point in leaving a thumb drive plugged in if you're not actually using it), etc. Personally, I don't use suspend in Linux (if you're going to be away from the PC for that long, just turn it off) nor do I try to spin down the drives (wear and tear on the drive is not worth a few extra seconds of battery life)

That's just my 2 cents, I'm sure others have other comments -- J.W.
Old 09-14-2005, 01:33 AM   #3
Registered: Sep 2005
Location: Baton Rouge
Distribution: Ubuntu 5.10
Posts: 74

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Thanks !

Hey I never thought of it that way.. Thanks a lot

Well.. to be precise, I meant the second option initially, but reading your first option set me thinking.

Thanks for your suggestions. I guess not suspending is a good idea.




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