Improving Power Management in elementary OS

One thing missing from elementary OS out of the box is adequate power management tools. This isn’t a problem if you’re using this agile linux distro on a desktop but can be critical when using Elementary OS on a laptop. Here’s a quick and dirty setup to get you the bare minimum power management on your fresh Freya install.

  1. Install tlp, thermald, and powertop
    sudo apt install tlp tlp-rdw thermald powertop
  2. Configure tlp (plenty of inscription in the file, including Lenovo battery thresholds)
    sudo scratch-text-editor /etc/default/tlp
  3. Start tlp…
    sudo tlp start
  4. If you have a ThinkPad (for powertop to work)…
    sudo apt install tp-smapi-dkms acpi-call-dkms
  5. Calibrate powertop (this will take a while and many strange things will happen… walk away)
    sudo powertop --calibrate
  6. Reboot.

  7. Check the report with (hint: the powertop.html file will be saved to the root of your home folder)

    sudo powertop --html
  8. Open the powertop.html file and check out the suggestions under the Tuning tab.

  9. You can write the script suggestions to your /etc/rc.local file or if you trust everything that powerTOP says, you can just add the line powertop --auto-tune to /etc/rc.local

With just this most basic of configuration you should be able to squeeze out more juice from your average charge cycle.