VectorLinux

The nuts and bolts => Portable VL => Topic started by: GrannyGeek on June 17, 2008, 08:01:10 pm

Title: Laptop fan runs continuously [SOLVED]
Post by: GrannyGeek on June 17, 2008, 08:01:10 pm
Yesterday I made the unsettling discovery that my laptop fan runs almost continually. It's a very quiet fan and although I've been running 5.9 Standard since betas in October or so, I never noticed it until yesterday.

I booted into Vista on the same machine and it runs much cooler there. Fan doesn't run nearly so often.

I always run on AC power, never on battery. I don't use hibernation or suspend mode or anything like that. When I turn off the computer, I really turn it off.

Is there anything I can do about this? I don't want to have the laptop running so hot all the time.
--GrannyGeek
Title: Re: Laptop fan runs continuously
Post by: LLL on June 17, 2008, 09:46:26 pm
I would think you need to look at vcpufreq - it should be in the system folder of your menu. You'll want to set your CPU-scaling to "on demand" so that it ramps down the processor speed when the extra oomph isn't needed. Letting it slow down keeps things cooler, and allows your fan to calm down a little.

...in my experience, anyway!

LLL

P.S. Interesting to note, Flash video drives my CPU nuts, and it's only a minute into a video that my fan whirrs to life in what sounds like an e-panic to cool things down...
Title: Re: Laptop fan runs continuously
Post by: caitlyn on June 20, 2008, 11:13:15 am
What brand of laptop is this?  I know that on Toshiba laptops the fan is controlled by ACPI and the toshiba_acpi module is not included in the VL kernel.  If it isn't a Toshiba (and I'm assuming it isn't) is ACPI enabled?  Also, some laptop brands do have utilities specific to their hardware for Linux.  Again, for Toshiba there are toshset (CLI) and toshutils (CLI and GUI) which allow you to turn the fan on and off manually.  I don't think Toshiba is unique in this regards.

For Toshiba users, toshset is in the repos for both 5.9 (testing) and 5.8 (extra).  toshutils is only in 5.8 so far but I'll get around to figuring out why I've had problems building a 5.9 package eventually.  The 5.8 package does work in 5.9.
Title: Re: Laptop fan runs continuously
Post by: GrannyGeek on June 21, 2008, 06:52:25 pm
I would think you need to look at vcpufreq - it should be in the system folder of your menu. You'll want to set your CPU-scaling to "on demand" so that it ramps down the processor speed when the extra oomph isn't needed. Letting it slow down keeps things cooler, and allows your fan to calm down a little.

When I run vcpufreq, I'm at a dead end right at the start:
cpufreq driver    UNAVAILABLE

I don't see CPU-scaling as an option. Actually, I don't understand anything in there and tried
man vcpufreq
but there is no man for that command.

Where do I go from here? The CPU is an AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-56.
--GrannyGeek
Title: Re: Laptop fan runs continuously
Post by: GrannyGeek on June 21, 2008, 07:10:07 pm
Caitlyn,
The laptop is a Gateway purchased in August, 2007. ACPI is enabled through VASM.

I have to get this fixed or I won't use VL on this laptop. The difference in how hot it gets when running Vista as compared to running 5.9 Standard is astonishing. I did Web browsing and some other tasks for about three hours in Vista today and the case was cool to the touch. And while hot air could be felt at the fan outlet, the fan ran very infrequently. I then rebooted to VL and the case was cool and fan not running at the start of my session, but after about 15 minutes the case is quite warm, the fan is running full tilt and louder than it ever is in Vista, very hot air is streaming out of the fan outlet, and the palm rest is getting warm.

I wondered why I hadn't noticed this before and then I realized that from the time VL 5.9 was up to Release Candidates, I nearly always ran Linux on the laptop and didn't used Vista often or for very long. The fan isn't loud and I probably assumed the laptop was running in VL the way it was supposed to. It wasn't until I needed to run Vista a few days ago for a more extended period that I noticed how much cooler and quieter the laptop was running.

The laptop never got so hot that it turned off by itself, but I hope I haven't shortened its life by running it so hot for so many months.

I'll be very grateful for any suggestions on how to make it run right.
--GrannyGeek
Title: Re: Laptop fan runs continuously
Post by: exeterdad on June 21, 2008, 07:11:52 pm
Without seeing your lsmod, I'd bet you need to load a module:
Quote
modprobe acpi_cpufreq
Now try vcpufreq again. I use "on demand".  vcpufreq will load cpufreq_ondemand at startup if you wish.  In turn acpi_cpufreq and freq_table will load as deps.
HTH
Title: Re: Laptop fan runs continuously
Post by: GrannyGeek on June 21, 2008, 11:12:59 pm
Without seeing your lsmod, I'd bet you need to load a module:
Quote
modprobe acpi_cpufreq
Now try vcpufreq again. I use "on demand".  vcpufreq will load cpufreq_ondemand at startup if you wish.  In turn acpi_cpufreq and freq_table will load as deps.

Thanks very much for this suggestion. I tried
modprobe acpi_cpufreq
and got this response:

root:# modprobe acpi_cpufreq
FATAL: Error inserting acpi_cpufreq (/lib/modules/2.6.22.14/kernel/arch/i386/kernel/cpu/cpufreq/acpi-cpufreq.ko): No such device

However, I see acpi-cpufreq.ko in the exact path above. I tried
modprobe acpi-cpufreq
and got another No such device message. I also tried insmod acpi_cpufreq and insmod acpi-cpufreq and was told:
insmod: can't read 'acpi-cpufreq': No such file or directory
I tried all of these as root, of course.

In lsmod I already have freq_table listed. acpid is listed in the processes, as are kacpid and kacpi_notify.

What's the next step?
--GrannyGeek
Title: Re: Laptop fan runs continuously
Post by: kukibl on June 22, 2008, 01:59:28 am
GrannyGeek for AMD Turion you should load powernow-k8 module and then run vcpufreq utility. Ondemand is probably the most suitable governor for every day use.

Module acpi_cpufreq, as far as I know, is for Intel CPUs and it is used instead some deprecated modules in 2.6.20.7 and newer kernels.
Title: Re: Laptop fan runs continuously
Post by: exeterdad on June 22, 2008, 05:45:39 am
Yikes!  If that's the case, I'm sorry GG.  Didn't even think about you using a different processor.
Title: Re: Laptop fan runs continuously
Post by: exeterdad on June 22, 2008, 06:10:11 am
Just booted my mother inlaw's VL/Turion...

kukibl is right :)  Sorry again!
Title: Re: Laptop fan runs continuously
Post by: GrannyGeek on June 22, 2008, 10:12:14 pm
I modprobed powernow-k8 and now vcpufreq lets me choose a governor. I've selected ondemand, as advised here.

So thanks *very much* to all who helped get me this far. The fan is not running. However, I have to make sure it comes on sometimes, and so far it hasn't. The case feels warm, much warmer than it feels after several hours of use in Vista. Is there a description anywhere of what the various governors do?

The fan has now turned on. Now I'm interested in how long it runs before it turns off.

I HOPE this solves the problem, as I was getting pretty lonely for VectorLinux, even though I like Vista well enough. I prefer to use Linux.
--GrannyGeek

Title: Re: Laptop fan runs continuously
Post by: kukibl on June 23, 2008, 01:40:42 pm
Is there a description anywhere of what the various governors do?

http://gentoo-wiki.com/HOWTO_CPU_Frequency_Scaling#Governor (http://gentoo-wiki.com/HOWTO_CPU_Frequency_Scaling#Governor) I hope this helps... :)
Title: Re: Laptop fan runs continuously
Post by: Joe1962 on June 23, 2008, 02:12:40 pm
Sorry I'd missed this thread before. In 5.8, we had it set up so it would attempt to load all the cpufreq modules on boot. This is described as totally safe in the cpufreq kernel docs, as only the correct one will actually load. For some reason this was left out in 5.9, so you have to add it manually to rc.modules or someplace similar.

A little tip for using the conservative governor: it tends to go down too fast and stay way too long in the min freq setting (at least for my taste), so raise the lower freq limit to something acceptable if the min is too low. In my laptop, the min is 300 MHz, and boy does it get slowwwww....  ;D   The min and max limits can let you finetune the range of freqs the governor can operate in, you can even keep your CPU permanently below the max freq, for longer life/lower power use, etc.
Title: Re: Laptop fan runs continuously
Post by: GrannyGeek on June 23, 2008, 06:16:19 pm
Is there a description anywhere of what the various governors do?

http://gentoo-wiki.com/HOWTO_CPU_Frequency_Scaling#Governor (http://gentoo-wiki.com/HOWTO_CPU_Frequency_Scaling#Governor) I hope this helps... :)

Thank you very much for that. I'll give it a closer look when I have a chance. I've read the governors section and now have a better understanding of the options. There's a link to a HOWTO PowerNow! article that should be informative, too.
--GrannyGeek
Title: Re: Laptop fan runs continuously
Post by: GrannyGeek on June 23, 2008, 06:39:55 pm
Sorry I'd missed this thread before. In 5.8, we had it set up so it would attempt to load all the cpufreq modules on boot. This is described as totally safe in the cpufreq kernel docs, as only the correct one will actually load. For some reason this was left out in 5.9, so you have to add it manually to rc.modules or someplace similar.

A little tip for using the conservative governor: it tends to go down too fast and stay way too long in the min freq setting (at least for my taste), so raise the lower freq limit to something acceptable if the min is too low. In my laptop, the min is 300 MHz, and boy does it get slowwwww....  ;D   The min and max limits can let you finetune the range of freqs the governor can operate in, you can even keep your CPU permanently below the max freq, for longer life/lower power use, etc.

Thanks for the tips. I see we can experiment to find the settings we're happiest with. Right now I'm using ondemand and it seems pretty good. The fan is definitely running much less often than it was before. I hope this means the CPU is running cooler.

I'm monitoring the temperature with System Profiler and Benchmark. I'm not sure how reliable it is, as yesterday with ondemand the temperature was reported as around 70 degrees C. I have difficulty thinking it was really that hot, as I think the computer would have shut down. I've heard from some techie types that software temperature monitors aren't all that reliable in laptops, as they often don't interact that well with the monitoring software.

Is cpu-freq intended for laptops or is it useful for desktop systems, too? I tried to load a cpu-freq driver today on my Celeron Tualatin desktop using modprobe acpi_cpufreq and I got a "no such module" message (meaning I was trying to load the wrong one). Does anyone know what the correct module would be for a 1.3 GHz Celeron Tualatin in a tower computer? Maybe these aren't intended for desktops.

Heat has never been a problem on that system, so I'm asking out of curiosity rather than need.
--GrannyGeek
Title: Re: Laptop fan runs continuously
Post by: kukibl on June 24, 2008, 12:04:15 am
Yes, you could use frequency scaling on desktop, but I don't think that you will benefit as much as using it on laptop. :-\ Anyway, proper module should be p4-clockmod. If that doesn't work out you could try with speedstep-* modules (speedstep-ich, speedstep-smi etc).

@Joe1962

Quote
This is described as totally safe in the cpufreq kernel docs, as only the correct one will actually load.

Maybe it is safe, but it is not that good solution. For example, on my previous laptop with Core Duo CPU it loaded p4-clockmod module instead speedstep-centrino. Performance differences were huge!
Title: Re: Laptop fan runs continuously
Post by: GrannyGeek on June 25, 2008, 01:20:45 pm
Yes, you could use frequency scaling on desktop, but I don't think that you will benefit as much as using it on laptop. :-\ Anyway, proper module should be p4-clockmod. If that doesn't work out you could try with speedstep-* modules (speedstep-ich, speedstep-smi etc).

I tried all of those on the Celeron Tualatin desktop, but the only one that loaded was speedstep-lib. However, when I ran vcpufreq, the cpufreq driver was listed as UNAVAILABLE. So I did rmmod speedstep-lib. I guess cpufreq is not in the cards for the processor. No big loss. It's a PIII-class CPU, not a P4, and definitely doesn't do speedstepping.

I didn't have that laptop on yesterday, but the day before it ran pretty cool until I started Opera, which heats it up considerably to what Hardinfo reports as around 70 C (which report I don't trust). Regardless of what the actual temperature is, it definitely gets noticeably hotter when Opera is running.  With SeaMonkey the temperature stayed in the reported low 40s. I'll see what I can find out from htop.
--GrannyGeek
Title: Re: Laptop fan runs continuously
Post by: exeterdad on June 25, 2008, 06:14:06 pm
I was going to give my opinion the other day when you asked about using on a desktop.  "I" feel it would be worth it to green up a desktop. Though laptops would show the most obvious short term gain, a desktop would gain as well.  No sense at running full tilt for surfing the web, reading emails, or other low impact tasks.  At today's gas prices, you don't keep you gas pedal floored while going to the grocery store.  You just go at a reasonable pace. But on the other hand, it's nice to know if you ever see "Blue lights" in your mirror, and happen to have the back seat loaded to the gills with moonshine, you can get the heck outta Dodge if you have to.
Same thing with the desktop.  With "ondemand" the processor will run slower and cooler when doing light duty tasks, and then kick it in to high gear if you start doing something more demanding.
I've seen many debates amongst PC "experts" about what is more expensive. Running a desktop 24/7 or booting when you need it.  Some feel it's no more expensive to run 24/7 at a constant load compared to booting as needed and drawing larger amounts of power to get it started.  So I deducted that the cost of running 24/7 is trivial, and my desktop would be up and ready the moment I needed it. Recently my wife put her foot down, and forced me to shut the desktop down when I go to bed. I had no argument as I don't run servers or anything.  We immediately noticed our electric bill dropped just over a $100.00 a month and has been down that much consistently.  I still have it running nearly every day during the day. Also, the monitor is LCD rather then CRT.

So if you are able to save real money in any amount, and not sacrifice performance by simply enabling a feature of your hardware.  I think it is worth it.

Another point worth mentioning, many users aren't aware that many desktops are capable of sleep/suspend and hibernating.  And resuming from sleep/suspend to a working environment can be in as little as three seconds. With open documents, browser windows or whatever, open right where you might of left them.
Title: Re: Laptop fan runs continuously
Post by: GrannyGeek on June 28, 2008, 09:38:33 am
The laptop is now running nicely with vcpufreq. No more fan on all the time! However, if I run Opera, it heats right up and stays there as long as Opera is open--even with plain old Web pages. This is too bad, as Opera is my favorite browser. However, I'm content with SeaMonkey and Firefox, so I'm using SeaMonkey as my usual browser on the laptop and start Opera just when I need something Opera offers that SM or Firefox don't. On my desktops this doesn't happen and Opera has no bad effect on them. Strange. I loaded powernow-k8 on my fastest desktop (on which I'm writing this) and configured vcpufreq for ondemand. The other desktop won't accept any cpufreq modules.

Thanks again, everyone!
--GrannyGeek
Title: Re: Laptop fan runs continuously
Post by: kc1di on June 28, 2008, 11:49:20 am
However, if I run Opera, it heats right up and stays there as long as Opera is open--even with plain old Web pages. This is too bad, as Opera is my favorite browser.

Thanks again, everyone!
--GrannyGeek

Hi GrannyGeek,

I noticed on one of my desktop installs when running 5.9 light and LXDE desktop that Opera would max out my CPU usage (100%) and it would stay there until I rebooted the machine.  it did not stop even after shutting down Opera or logging out and back in.  only a reboot would stop it and only if I did not run Opera again. Don't know what's causing that.. but since have gone back to Standard and not notice a problem with Opera.


Title: Re: Laptop fan runs continuously [SOLVED]
Post by: GrannyGeek on June 29, 2008, 07:01:43 pm
I remember reading that, Dave. I have 5.9 Standard Deluxe on my three Linux computers. Only the laptop has this problem with Opera. I have no idea why.
--GrannyGeek
Title: Re: Laptop fan runs continuously [SOLVED]
Post by: kc1di on June 30, 2008, 02:59:45 am
I remember reading that, Dave. I have 5.9 Standard Deluxe on my three Linux computers. Only the laptop has this problem with Opera. I have no idea why.
--GrannyGeek

Well light RC2 has been released will have to give it a try see it I get the same with Opera on that platform.

Title: Re: Laptop fan runs continuously [SOLVED]
Post by: wcs on July 18, 2008, 03:07:48 am
Quote
Is cpu-freq intended for laptops or is it useful for desktop systems, too?

I sometimes use vcpufreq with my desktop (an Intel Core 2 Duo).
It only gives me two options (1.6GHz and 1.86Ghz), though, which makes its usability somewhat limited.

I usualy run it in performance, which keeps it at 1.86, but if I see my temperatures going up on a particularly hot day, I might go for ondemand or conservative. Not that the lower frequency makes that much difference.

I find lmsensors (displayed by conky) to be very useful to monitor the current frequency and temperature.
However, the values are slightly different from the BIOS ones... there's also the coretemp module for intel's dual-core cpus (monitoring each core separately), which also gives different temperatures.

I'm not sure about these differences... different sensors, different monitoring.... I came to look at it in a relative sense (relative to some "normal" baseline on colder days), and don't care much about the actual absolute temperatures.
Title: Re: Laptop fan runs continuously [SOLVED]
Post by: exeterdad on July 18, 2008, 06:49:28 am
I didn't know about the coretemp module. Thanks!