Optimising battery life on my netbook

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Optimising battery life on my netbook

Postby IzayoiFlandre » 2017-11-20 11:06

Hey,

I noticed the battery life is quite bad on this netbook, on Windows it lasts around 3.5 hours, apparently it has 2550 mAh and 2368 mAh is a full charge. On Debian 9 LXDE Stable the battery life is even worse... does anyone have any idea how to optimise battery life? I haven't checked the wiki yet, in case there's something there, though I really should have done :P

Thanks :3
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Re: Optimising battery life on my netbook

Postby Wheelerof4te » 2017-11-20 11:28

Power management is worse on Linux than on Windows, but there are noticable improvements being made constantly. The latest one:
https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page= ... bata-power

But, my experience with Debian is better than in Windows 8.1. Battery lasted for about 1h 40m (it's weakened) in Debian, while it barely reaches 1h 20m in Windows.
Try using the latest kernel from backports.
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Re: Optimising battery life on my netbook

Postby IzayoiFlandre » 2017-11-20 11:35

I'll give it a go later and report back when I am done. I'm running on an Atom N270 in this netbook, though the article there says something about Haswell and newer...
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Re: Optimising battery life on my netbook

Postby bw123 » 2017-11-20 12:48

I used laptop-mode-tools on jessie, haven't decided yet on stretch. There are some good threads on the forum here as I recall.

The three big drains are a spinning disk, the screen brightness and the wireless.
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Re: Optimising battery life on my netbook

Postby Ardouos » 2017-11-20 13:34

tlp is another notable package.

Sadly, battery life varies on what laptop you have and what kernel you are running.
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Re: Optimising battery life on my netbook

Postby n_hologram » 2017-11-20 20:28

IzayoiFlandre wrote:I noticed the battery life is quite bad on this netbook, on Windows it lasts around 3.5 hours, apparently it has 2550 mAh and 2368 mAh is a full charge. On Debian 9 LXDE Stable the battery life is even worse... does anyone have any idea how to optimise battery life? I haven't checked the wiki yet...

Check the wiki, lol.

As a long-time netbook user, I completely sympathize. I'd be happy to share some tips and packages I learned over the last seven years. The biggest tip is to leave your screen brightness as low as possible; here are some others.

1. Use a lightweight session. The two big "uh-uh's" are Gnome (Debian default) and KDE -- they will destroy your battery, and probably won't run very well on a netbook, anyway (not to mention you're stuck with their packages and dependencies). XFCE4.12 is also pushing itself in that direction, though it still qualifies as "lightweight;" however, the customization is top tier (you can strip it down quite a lot, and replace features with ones you find more desirable).
Some sessions I really like include: openbox, fluxbox, dwm, and lxqt.
2. Build debian from minimal/netinstall. This allows you to prune whatever packages you deem unnecessary, and in their place, use ones geared towards your needs.
3. Use another spin. There are great spins that, while not Debian proper, are geared towards machines like netbooks. Three that come to mind are antiX, devuan, and bunsen (formerly crunchbang). Obviously, this will require your own research, and don't expect help from this forum.
4. Beware desktop environment metapackages. You can't know what you want until you try, but it is a lot harder to remove unwanted programs and dependencies than it is to never install them. If in doubt, a better bet is to either make a live disk, or try them in a virtual machine.
5. cpufrequtils is your friend. Play around with it, and don't be afraid to underclock, so long as your system still remains usable.
6. Other apps: alsa (not pulseaudio, very resource heavy, check it in htop when you're playing music), laptop-mode-tools, leafpad, deadbeef (music), tint2, and basically any program that can run in the command line or is built on the ncurses library (htop, wicd-curses, etc.)
(As a personal note, I've found my systems to run more efficiently and use less power when as many systemd resources are neutralized or removed, but that's your call since it is a crucial part of Debian proper.)

Here's my setup, if you're interested:
openbox-session, with tint2 panel, lightdm, wicd, and xfce utilities(power manager, thunar, screenshooter, etc) -- a lot like crunchbang, except openbox's default session uses fewer resources, and I manually configure the power management through a script (although that reminds me I need to reach out to another member about a question...). The nice thing about adjusting to this kind of setup is I can easily apply it to any Linux or BSD distribution. Preferred browser is palemoon because it's quite lightweight, geared towards security, and has basically as many features as stock firefox.

I boot to about 110mb, and get about an hour more battery life than with Windows. Windows will become more and more bloated, resource heavy, and in the long run, battery-intensive. Hopefully, some of this knowledge will help you in seven years, too.
bester69 wrote:There is nothing to install in linux, from time to time i go to google searching for something fresh to install in linux, but, there is nothing
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Re: Optimising battery life on my netbook

Postby Wheelerof4te » 2017-11-20 20:42

Ardouos wrote:Here's my setup, if you're interested:
openbox-session, with tint2 panel, lightdm, wicd, and xfce utilities(power manager, thunar, screenshooter, etc)


I had a similar setup on my old rig while running Wheezy. Except I used LXDE utilities (LXRandr mostly for res setup), obconf, obmenu and NetworkManager. You don't have to be an expert to set this up, just read about openbox, it really is great Window Manager. With tint2 you get a nice panel and thunar is just one of the best file managers. It will do wonders even with your Atom CPU, too.
Don't worry about your LXDE session, it isn't going anywhere.
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Re: Optimising battery life on my netbook

Postby IzayoiFlandre » 2017-11-21 06:46

Given I've used xubuntu I like thunar. :)
I'll take a look at those software packages you mentioned ^_^
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Re: Optimising battery life on my netbook

Postby alan stone » 2017-11-21 07:48

In addition to the fine answers above, look for the common denominators here (you can refine the search with the drop down fields) and here (search for "portable") to install and configure your Linux based OS accordingly.

Test things out, make notes about your findings and keep the goodies.
Debian 8.9 32bit, WM: Openbox
Computers are like air conditioners. They work fine until you start opening windows. - Author Unknown
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Re: Optimising battery life on my netbook

Postby Ardouos » 2017-11-21 08:10

Wheelerof4te wrote:
Ardouos wrote:Here's my setup, if you're interested:
openbox-session, with tint2 panel, lightdm, wicd, and xfce utilities(power manager, thunar, screenshooter, etc)


I had a similar setup on my old rig while running Wheezy.----


I believe n_hologram wrote that post.

That setup is very similar to mine though. Openbox with tint2, lightdm and pcmanfm. :lol:
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Re: Optimising battery life on my netbook

Postby steve_v » 2017-11-21 09:46

Nobody has mentioned powertop yet?
Between implementing the hints it gives and running laptop-mode-tools, I get 5-6 hours out of my mini (6-cell 5200mAh? battery). Bang on the advertised performance, and better than the Windows XP dual-boot.
Depends on what one is doing with it of course.
Installing an SSD also made a significant improvement, but that was some time ago so i can't quantify it now.
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Re: Optimising battery life on my netbook

Postby alan stone » 2017-11-21 10:24

This and this might be useful also.
Debian 8.9 32bit, WM: Openbox
Computers are like air conditioners. They work fine until you start opening windows. - Author Unknown
Programming is like sex. One mistake and you have to support it for the rest of your life. - Michael Sinz
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Re: Optimising battery life on my netbook

Postby IzayoiFlandre » 2017-11-22 08:17

Unfortunately I decided not to pursue Linux for now on my netbook. I don't have more than one USB lying around so can't make backups of both OSes (the USB I have is only 1 GB in size), so I might as well not dual boot if I can't make any backups... -.-

Thanks for the useful tips though. I'll be on my way for now I suppose.

edit: I almost forgot I had debian 9 on the acer, I'll still be here but not that active :P not that I have contributed anything anyway
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Re: Optimising battery life on my netbook

Postby Wheelerof4te » 2017-11-22 08:32

That's all right, not everyone can use GNU/Linux. Some don't have enough knowledge to do so, some need specific program that doesn't exist for Linux to do their work. Remember the OS is just a tool for launching programs, not a plaything.
And then there are hardware-speific problems like yours. Use what works for you.
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Re: Optimising battery life on my netbook

Postby steve_v » 2017-11-22 09:52

Wheelerof4te wrote:Remember the OS is just a tool for launching programs, not a plaything.
What? Sacrilege. Debian is my plaything. :P
Nothing wrong with playing about with operating systems. Nothing wrong with not playing about with operating systems either though.
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