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Old 09-23-2010, 11:03 AM   #1
Registered: Jun 2005
Location: Aachen, Germany
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"Smart Battery" not found by kernel

I recently bought a new laptop (Acer TravelMate 7740G) and now I realized that Linux (2.6.32) does not find the battery, which makes it impossible to tell how much time I've got left.

I've done some searching on the Internet and I found a few similar cases (also Acer TravelMate) but those are all about 5 years old. It seems the problem is that Acer uses so-called "Smart Batteries" in the TravelMate, but the Linux Kernel has long added support for those batteries, so why is mine not recognized?

This is what happens when the "battery" module gets loaded by the kernel:
[ 5.627122] ACPI: Battery Slot [BAT1] (battery absent)
/proc/acpi/battery doesn't exist, /sys/class/power_supply doesn't show the battery either.

Does anyone know these Smart Batteries? Is it possible that my kernel is too old? I'd really like to get a warning before the computer just "drops dead"^^
Old 09-24-2010, 09:23 PM   #2
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You can install smxi into Debian Squeeze if you wish

I have smxi, sgfxi, svmi, and inxi installed by default in AntiX.

System:    Host antiX1 Kernel 2.6.35-3.dmz.1-liquorix-686 i686 (32 bit) Distro antiX-M8.5-686-update 27 July 2010
CPU:       Single core Intel Celeron M (-UP-) cache 512 KB flags (nx sse sse2) bmips 1795.27 clocked at 897.636 MHz 
Graphics:  Card Intel Mobile 915GM/GMS/910GML Express Graphics Controller X.Org 1.7.7 Res: 800x480@60.0hz 
           GLX Renderer Mesa DRI Intel 915GM GEM 20091221 2009Q4 x86/MMX/SSE2 GLX Version 1.4 Mesa 7.7.1 Direct Rendering Yes
Audio:     Card Intel 82801FB/FBM/FR/FW/FRW (ICH6 Family) High Definition Audio Controller driver HDA Intel BusID: 00:1b.0
           Sound: Advanced Linux Sound Architecture Version 1.0.23
Network:   Card-1 Realtek RTL8187SE Wireless LAN Controller driver r8180 at port d800 BusID: 01:00.0
 Card-2 Atheros AR8121/AR8113/AR8114 Gigabit or Fast Ethernet driver ATL1E at port ec00 BusID: 03:00.0
Disks:     HDD Total Size: 12.0GB (1.3% used) 1: /dev/sdb ASUS 8.1GB 
           2: USB /dev/sda Flash_Reader 4.0GB 
Partition: ID:/ size: 7.4G used: 2.6G (37%) fs: rootfs 
Sensors:   System Temperatures: cpu: 55.0C mobo: N/A 
           Fan Speeds (in rpm): cpu: 1390 
Info:      Processes 98 Uptime 1:16 Memory 144.3/1001.3MB Runlevel 5 Client Shell inxi 1.4.14
On my EEEPC 701SD you can see smxi helped me to install

Kernel 2.6.35-3.dmz.1-liquorix-686
which I needed to do to get wireless support for my
Network: Card-1 Realtek RTL8187SE Wireless LAN Controller driver r8180 at port d800 BusID: 01:00.0
which for some reason the 2.6.32-1 mepis smp kernel did not have my wireless module (rtl8187se.ko) included in the kernel.

I use conky to check on my battery status. My Conky line for my battery below. Yours may be different though. Don't know what Desktop you are Using (Edit: OOPs, I see you run KDE). I use Icewm. Desktop can also matter on which battery monitor module you may wish to use to monitor battery status. I just prefer conky to monitor my Desktops. There are others in synaptic you can use. Just do a search in synaptic for "battery". There are some that will put a battery monitor in your taskbar.

${color}Battery: ${color} ${battery_bar BAT0}
Notice mine says Bat0 instead of Bat1.

I am just suggesting this because your hardware is newer than the 2.6.32 kernel. Using a more recent kernel like I did might pick up your battery
MAYBE. I am posting my screenshot so you can see how conky monitors my battery. Another suggestion is to make sure acpi, acpi-tools and lm sensors are installed in synaptic also. Good luck with the new gear.

Edit: I should also mention that if for whatever reason the 2.6.35 liquorix kernel fails to boot. You have your 2.6.32 kernel to fall back on to get you to a Desktop. Liqourix kernel can be uninstalled through smxi also.

Last edited by rokytnji; 09-24-2010 at 09:38 PM. Reason: Unincluded Info
Old 09-25-2010, 10:03 AM   #3
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Make sure you have the kernel module sbs and sbshc inserted.

  ┌───────────────────────── Smart Battery System ──────────────────────────┐
  │ CONFIG_ACPI_SBS:                                                        │  
  │                                                                         │  
  │ This driver supports the Smart Battery System, another                  │  
  │ type of access to battery information, found on some laptops.           │  
  │                                                                         │  
  │ To compile this driver as a module, choose M here:                      │  
  │ the modules will be called sbs and sbshc.                               │  
  │                                                                         │  
  │ Symbol: ACPI_SBS [=n]                                                   │  
  │ Prompt: Smart Battery System                                            │  
  │   Defined at drivers/acpi/Kconfig:353                                   │  
  │   Depends on: ACPI [=y] && X86 [=y]                                     │  
  │   Location:                                                             │  
  │     -> Power management and ACPI options                                │  
  │       -> ACPI (Advanced Configuration and Power Interface) Support (ACPI [=y])


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